Baylor University President Ken Starr took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to declare he could stomach voting for a Mormon.
In the first paragraph of the piece, Starr asks, “Can I vote for a Mormon?” And his answer? A resounding yes.
Starr advocates judging candidates on their belief in the constitution and “qualifications, platform and policy positions” rather than their faith. (The piece mentions neither neither of the two Mormon candidates for GOP presidential nominee by name—former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.)
In my own life, I have drawn great strength from my religious practices and, according to the teachings of my faith tradition, I intend to continue to keep in prayer those who are chosen to lead our nation. That said, the litmus for our elected leaders must not be the church they attend but the Constitution they defend. … If an unbeliever such as Jefferson or non-churchman like Lincoln can serve brilliantly as president, then America should stand — in an intolerant world characterized all too frequently by religious persecution — as a stirring example of welcoming hospitality for highly qualified men and women of good will seeking the nation’s highest office
Starr served as dean of the Pepperdine Law School, a Church of Christ institution (he was reared in that faith), but joined a Baptist congregation when he took the helm of the country’s largest Baptist university, the Houston Chronicle‘s Kate Shellnutt reported. (Maybe now he’s gunning for the top post at BYU?)
At Mitt Romney Central, Jeff Fuller finds much to celebrate in the op-ed, dubbing it “a great historical and constitutional argument why he/we could definitely vote for a Mormon,” he writes. “For those that may feel that voting for Romney is an endorsement of Mormonism, [Starr’s op-ed] may open some hearts and minds to supporting the best choice and best chance to replace President Obama … Mitt Romney!”
At Blount Speak, Houston-based blogger Luke Blount thinks Starr’s sentiment is nice, but unrealistic:
It’s a noble thought, indeed. But it’s not exactly a sentiment that connects with most conservatives. In that line of thinking, then I guess Ken could vote for a Muslim or Buddhist as well, but I certainly don’t think that would be the case. That’s because religion does matter (however unfortunate that may be).
An open atheist, Muslim, or Buddhist could never be elected president in this country.