The President also said that he did not believe “in the literal truth of the creed as it is recited in the orthodox evangelical churches.” He did, however, believe that Jesus had set forth an outstanding system of moral precepts.
Although the general views above were shared by Thomas Jefferson, the President quoted above was William Howard Taft, who served from 1909-13, and later as a very good Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Americans today tend to congratulate themselves for being more tolerant and open-minded than their ancestors of a century or two ago. Yet those earlier Americans elected the great Jefferson twice, and elected Taft once. Taft is not today remembered as a great President, but he at least he did much less harm to the United States than the man who succeeded him, Woodrow Wilson.
I find it disgusting that a Gallup Poll found 22% of Americans (18% of Republicans, 19% of Independents, and 27% of Democrats) say that they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate of their party who happened to be a Mormon. That’s actually an increase compared to 17% who gave the same answer in 1967.
If some Christians want to take the theological view that Unitarians, or Mormons, or, for that matter, Catholics are not true Christians, that’s their privilege, and it’s very legitimate source of religious debate. I don’t think that whether a candidate fits a voter’s definition of orthodox Christianity is a legitimate basis for voting for a public official.
Kudos to Mitt Romney, in his speech today at the Values Voters summit, for denouncing the “poisonous language” of Bryan Fischer, another invited speaker at the event, who makes the idiotic claim that the First Amendment was not intended to protect non-Christians.