Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak:
To a growing number of Republican activists, [Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney]looks like the party's best bet. But any conversation among Republicans about Romney invariably touches on concerns of whether his Mormon faith disqualifies him for the presidency.I've posted a fair amount on what I consider the un-American nature of religion-based opposition to Mitt Romney. The best examples are here, here, here, and here. Americans who won't vote for Romney merely because of their interpretation of his religious beliefs (interpretations that are almost always either mistaken, or mean-spirited, or both) ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, but that is precisely what is being posed now. Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . .
Romney is well aware that an unconstitutional religious test is being applied to him, but he may be seriously minimizing the problem's scope as limited to relatively few fanatics. He feels the vast majority of conservative voters worried about his faith will flinch at the prospect of another Clinton in the White House. But such a rational approach is not likely to head off a highly emotional collision of religious faith and religious bias with American politics.