Senator Marco Rubio, thought to be the GOP’s top-pick for the vice presidential nod in 2012, might experience some difficulty convincing factions within the right wing who are long-sour on the Mormon church. Why? Because the Florida Senator actually used to be a Mormon, having been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was roughly 8 years old, before returning to Catholicism by age 13.
Some of Rubio’s cousins served as whistle-blowers, and later, a Rubio spokesman confirmed it. However, aides seem to see the story as potentially detrimental, and have since started doing damage-control.
Ticket balance is key on both sides of the aisle when it comes to formulating a campaign. It can be said that the election doesn’t really hit its stride until VP candidates are announced, and how the presidential candidate and the VP candidate level each other out can change the course of an election. GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is well-known as a Mormon, and a Catholic Rubio combination would put both minority traditions on a Republican ticket for the very first time.
So why is Rubio’s past association with the Mormon church a problem? Grand scheme, it probably isn’t, except that it can affect voter-perception. The past is the past, and sometimes the public will let it go, even if the media doesn’t. However, Rubio never formally requested that his name be removed from LDS Church records, and he frequently attends a non-denominational Baptist church these days. Anyone with a Judeo-Christian background knows the basic differences between Catholicism and mainstream Christianity, and may see Rubio’s religious affiliations as watered-down or malleable, much like what current President Obama is frequently criticized for in religious bases.
No word from Rubio himself just yet, but with the 2012 election really taking shape this year, we’re sure this won’t be the last we hear of Rubio’s religious leanings, especially if he ultimately picks up the nod for VP. Rubio has been said to scare Democrats somethin’ fierce, so maybe this will be a focus for all-too-familiar campaign mudslinging in the future.
Do you think that a candidate’s religious affiliations should affect their chances to hold public office?