In Print: Romney and religion

 

BowmanAs the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States gathers speed, Mitt Romney’s religion is getting more attention. If elected, he would be the first Mormon President in this country’s history.

Dr. Matthew Bowman (at right), a visiting assistant professor of religion, recently published the article “Mormonism’s Surprisingly Deep Affinity for Progressive Politics” in The New Republic (www.tnr.com). In the article, he explains how Mormons of the early 20th Century saw reflections of their own beliefs in the growing progressive movement of the time and used that movement to move into the mainstream. The Romney we see, says Bowman, is the product of this marriage between the political and religious groups.

In the article he says: “The instincts that made Romney a success in American capitalism are derived from his progressive inheritance. As a businessman and politician he has proven himself a pragmatic technocrat committed to efficiency and ordered cooperative effort. He presents himself as a problem solver, confronts challenges through the deliberative consensus of meetings, and doesn’t offer only ten or twelve economic proposals when he can come up with 59. He believes that administration can change the world. But he is not merely a pragmatic technocrat; he is a pragmatic technocrat who believes that competent management can solve humanity’s problems, nourish civilization, and even cultivate virtue. He, like many Mormons before him, bears a profound faith in the efficacy of organizations.”

Random House will publish Dr. Bowman’s book The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith in January.