When the Dallas pastor called Mr. Romney’s faith – Mormonism – a “cult” at a recent convention of Christian conservatives, he brought into the open a simmering issue: whether a leading Republican presidential candidate should be judged over religious beliefs some Americans see as outside the mainstream.
Romney’s “Mormon moment” was bound to happen sooner or later in this campaign. Four years ago, during his first presidential campaign, it happened when the chatter over Mormonism got loud enough that the former Massachusetts governor saw fit to deliver a major speech on faith. Most memorably, it was presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, who made headlines by wondering out loud if Mormons believe Jesus and the devil are brothers. He later apologized to Romney, but the damage may already have been done.