When President Obama meets with Mormon president Thomas S. Monson this afternoon, it’s safe to say that Obama is not exactly speaking to his base.
Less than half of Mormons (45 percent) approve of his job performance, according to a recent poll by Gallup. That’s a sharply lower total than among Catholics (67 percent) and Protestants (58 percent). Forty percent of Mormons disapprove of his job performance.
Monson, who has headed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since last year, will be joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is also a Mormon. Kim Farah, spokesperson for the church described the private meeting as a “brief courtesy visit.” (More on the subject of the meeting below)
Is it worth pointing out that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, could be Obama’s Republican rival for the presidency in 2012?
The Salt Lake City Tribune points out that one sensitive topic virtually guaranteed not to come up in the meeting between Obama and Monson is the posthumous baptizing of the president’s late mother. A church member performed a “baptism for the dead” of Sanley Ann Dunham in 2007, according to a researcher.
Back in Salt Lake City, there’s been a bit of a dust-up over kissing. For the second consecutive weekend, about 100 people gathered to stage a “kiss-in” to protest the treatment of two gay men cited for trespassing July 9 after they shared a kiss on the plaza owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reports the Associated Press. Both gay and straight couples exchanged kisses during the protest.
UPDATE: Post pollster Jon Cohen points out that there weren’t enough Mormons in the national exit poll to break out the percentage of Mormons who voted for Obama, But, he notes, in (uber-Republican) Utah, they made up 75 percent of the electorate and broke 78 percent for McCain to 19 percent for Obama.
SECOND UPDATE: Statements from administration spoxe Jen Psaki: “President Obama is looking forward to meeting with President Monson of the LDS Church, Elder Dallin Oaks, Chair of the genealogical committee and Senator Reid later this morning. The meeting was set up by Senator Reid. LDS Church leadership has met with previous presidents and presented them with genealogical records detailing their family history.”