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I think this is an interesting question, as many conservative Christians are uncomfortable with his Mormonism. What do you all think? Will this help or hurt him?
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mitt Romney: a man of deep religious convictions who happens to be running for president, or a man running for president who happens to have deep religious convictions?
No one has defined him in religious terms, so now it's up to Mr. Romney himself to write his own narrative. He'll do that tonight with help from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who are expected to show the compassionate side of the Massachusetts businessman and politician who wants to lead the nation.
The question is whether he will portray himself as a compassionate Mormon church leader or as a conservative ideologue with policies rooted in faith.
Voters could find out tonight when he accepts the Republican presidential nomination in a speech that could be a defining moment of the campaign.
So far, Mr. Romney has largely avoided talking about his Mormonism except when pressed. But on the night he accepts the party nomination, he also will put his faith on display: his missionary work in France, his philanthropy and his decade as a lay bishop.
His reluctance to discuss it could stem from public sentiment that Mormonism is a secretive cult. Founded by Joseph Smith in 1820, it's a relatively young religion with few adherents compared to other denominations.
Robert Gleason, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, said most voters aren't bothered by Mr. Romney's Mormonism.
"The glass has been broken on it as far as people say it's a cult and different things. I don't think anybody believes that anymore. It's absolutely not a problem," said Mr. Gleason, former head of Pennsylvania Catholics for Bush. "I feel a candidate should be who they are. We can all see through if they try to be something else, can't we?"
Mr. Romney's faith guides his life and forms the basis of his positions on health care, reproductive rights, gay marriage and welfare reform. To ignore it would be leaving out the core values that make the former Massachusetts governor who he is as a leader and as a man.
Academics who study religion and politics will be watching to see whether he embraces his Mormonism the way President John F. Kennedy embraced his Catholicism.
"There's been a lot of debate in Republican circles on whether or not he should make a big deal about it ... or treat it as incidental," said Gaston Espinosa, a professor at Claremont McKenna College in California and the author of the just-published book "Religion, Race and Barack Obama's New Democratic Pluralism."