That's more or less the headline of a note posted at the Newsroom (at LDS.org) concerning an article in The Christian Century entitled "A Mormon president? The LDS difference." I'll make the article my online essay of the week. The article is written by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, a religion prof at UNC. The Newsroom really likes the article.
The author nicely emphasizes the variety of opinion represented within Mormonism as a cultural and religious movement:
Just as one can't tell very much about the behaviors of individual Catholics just by listening to the pronouncements of the pope or even reading passages of scripture, we cannot easily predict the behaviors of Mormons by examining particular teachings. Variety among Mormons is as common as in many other Christian traditions.
That doesn't get stated enough, and it should help readers and journalists disabuse themselves of the notion that all Mormons think alike, politically or otherwise. Thank you, Senator Reid.
The section on church and state gets down to brass tacks.
Mormons exhibit a unique blend of American patriotism, rugged sectarian insularity, and a wariness toward secular authority borne of having experienced government persecution.
Wary sectarian patriotism. What an interesting mix of terms, reflecting as it does the unique arc of the Mormons in America. From Gov. Boggs' extermination order in the 19th century to the three-year roast of Reed Smoot before he took his seat in the Senate in the early 20th century to serious candidate Romney in the 21st century — my what a long strange trip it's been. But here's the money quote that finally makes the political comparison between Evangelicals and Mormons that I've been waiting to see in print for months:
And having a Mormon president certainly seems less dangerous than the perils represented by a born-again president who equates his decisions with God's will. Because of their own history of persecution Mormons, by and large, are far more committed to the protection of individual rights and wary of governmental intervention than are conservative evangelicals.
[Note: Eric at Waters of Mormon has a post up on the same article, which I didn't notice until I'd posted this. Make sure you read his post, too.]