People who share the same faith often embrace divergent political ideologies. This is certainly the case when it comes to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but despite sharing a faith allegiance, their theoretical constructs couldn't be more oppositional. On Monday, these differences came to a head, when Reid took aim at Romney's faith, claiming that he is "not the face of Mormonism." Following these comments, Utah state Sen. Ben McAdams (D), also a Mormon, chastised Reid and defended Romney.
According to CNN, the Nevada Democrat made his anti-Romney claims on Monday during a conference call with reporters. At the time the statements were made, Reid was speaking about the notion that LDS adherents in his state purportedly don't view Romney as the face of the faith.
"[Romney's] coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church," Reid explained. "They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism."
The comments mark the first time that Reid has invoked the presidential candidate's faith as a point of criticism. Despite the senator's claims, The Salt Lake Tribune notes that others have praised the presidential candidate on the religious front:
In contrast, other prominent Mormons have thanked Romney for presenting a positive image of the church.
J.W. Marriott, head of the Marriott hotel chain and a family friend of the candidate, told Romney’s church congregation in Wolfeboro, N.H., that Romney’s presidential run has been good for the Utah-based faith.
"There has never been as much positive attention to the church, thanks to the wonderful campaign of Mitt Romney and his family," Marriott said, according to news reports.
Even on the Democratic front, not everyone is comfortable with the criticisms that Reid has thrown at Romney. Take, for instance, McAdams, a Democratic political leader who is also the executive director of the national LDS Democrats Caucus. Rather than supporting Reid's claims against Romney, he lambasted them.
“I for one don’t want to engage in the business of whether Mitt Romney or Harry Reid is devout by my standards,” McAdams said in an interview with The Daily. “I don’t think that it is appropriate to measure somebody’s faith or how they exercise their faith.”
McAdams also added that, despite not agreeing with all of the candidate's politics, he's "proud of Mitt Romney." In the end, like Marriot, the senator believes that Romney's candidacy "is bringing a positive might to Mormons."
Reid took his criticisms beyond merely claiming that Romney isn't the face of Mormonism. The politician responded to an opinion piece by Gregory A. Prince on The Huffington Post, which focused upon Romney's now-infamous comments about the 47 percent of Americans who embrace government handouts.
In the article, Prince asked readers not to judge the Mormon faith based on Romney and his statements -- a sentiment that Reid obviously agrees with.
"He said that Romney has sullied the religion that he, Prince and Romney share," Reid explained on the conference call. "And he’s so disappointed that in his words, ‘It’s a good religion and he’s hiding from it.’"
Romney's faith has been a focal point at various times throughout the campaign. While the Democrats have pledged not to make it a campaign issue (specifically on the basis that it could be viewed as discriminatory), Reid's critiques are noteworthy. After all, he's a Mormon going after a fellow member of the faith, giving him more flexibility in the comments he can make against Romney.