Confutus says: "Nothing is more secret than what no one wants to know."
In her recent piece, "A Californian to the Candidates, Leave Christmas ALONE" Mary Lyon at the California Progressive Report launches something of a diatribe against the Republican candidates Mitt Romneyand Mike Huckabee.
I think her criticism of Romney and his religion is poorly informed. I'm not going to say anything about Huckabee. Her article might have appeared less biased had she included Hillary Clinton, but perhaps as a Progressive Democrat she thinks imposing taxes, spending a hefty percentage of it to support the federal bureacracy, and doling a fraction of the remainder in the form of well-meant but rule-bound social programs is genuine goodwill. I don't. (Not that the Republicans have done much differently lately).
Ms. Lyon seems to have missed the part of Romney's speech where he declared that he would not put the interests of any one church or denomination, not even his own, above what he sees as his public duty, as well as the declaration by the LDS Church that it does not dictate public policy to its members who hold public office.
Romney has quite properly refused to discuss the details of his religious faith. While he may have erred, stricly speaking, in claiming that to do so would violate the prohibition on the religious test described in Article VI of the Constitution, his refusal is nevertheless correct.
Candidates in the United States are expected to be able to make a distinction between their personal preferences and their public duty: between the (possibly narrow)interests of their particular denomination and the general welfare.
If Romney were to discuss or defend his particular beliefs, he would introduce confusion about whether he is prosyletizing or acting as an apologist for his particular denomination, or whether he is campaigning for public office in the interests of all Americans, including those whose religious beliefs differ from his own. Furthermore, anything he says can be seized, twisted, and spun by hostile and self-interested critics, some of whom have many barrels of ink and many electrons to command.
However, while Romney may be limited in what he can appropriately discuss as a candidate, there are dozens of Mormon scholars and apologists who are not candidates for public office and who are ready, willing, and able to discuss the very toughest of questions with anyone who is not obviously trying to entrap them. Though not authoritative, www.fairlds.org is a good source. More authoritative but also more basic information be found at www.lds.org and www.mormon.org.