There's a significant possibility that 2012 will be the year that America confronts the question of whether a Mormon can be president. It seems like a question with an obvious answer ("I don't know. Can he?"). But surveys in recent years have consistently found that a large minority of voters are set against the idea, and the prejudice may be even more deeply rooted among a Republican primary electorate that is, as my colleague puts it, "struggling to decide which it hates most—being a Mormon or being sensible."
I'd like to step back from the question of whether a Mormon can be president to take up a more fundamental query: why don't people like Mormons? No other faith, save perhaps Islam, catches so much flak in the United States. Even among Americans who aren't hostile to Mormonism, the default position seems to be scepticism or ridicule rather than anodyne appreciation for the varieties of religious experience. That's weird. Every other major religion can count on being defended by members of other faiths.
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