Does the religion of a presidential candidate matter to you? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments field below. Or click the link above to read about a new documentary that explores the connections between Mormonism and the U.S. presidency.

“The two things you aren’t supposed to talk about in this country are religion and politics. But that’s the explosive combo that makes this such a fascinating subject,” said Adam Christing, filmmaker and member of the Mormon History Association, in a press release about his new documentary, "A Mormon President, Joseph Smith and the Mormon Quest for the White House."


The documentary looks into the history behind the Mormon links to the U.S. Presidency, and it will be released on DVD on August 23.


Christing, the film’s director, says opposition to the candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman is rooted in the historical battles among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Americans. He thinks his film will shed light on that rift.


The documentary covers the charismatic Mormon prophet Joseph Smith's run for the U.S. presidency and the events that led up to his murder by an angry mob. The DVD contains a “bonus feature” that examines Mitt Romney and other Mormon candidates in the modern age. (Mitt Romney refused to be interviewed for this film.)


Christing, who is not a member of LDS, adds, “You can’t really understand the gigantic challenge facing presidential candidates Romney and Huntsman until you understand the secret world of Joseph Smith, polygamy and Smith’s political ambition to build a theocracy in the United States.”


For more information go to www.amormonpresident.com.


Week in Religion


- Aug. 17, 1809, in Pennsylvania, Thomas Campbell, 46, and his son Alexander, 20, formed the American Movement for Christian Unity, which later became the Disciples of Christ Church.


- Aug. 18, 1927, Christian radio pioneer Theodore Epp was converted to a living faith at age 20. In 1939, he founded Back to the Bible Broadcast, an evangelistic radio program with outlets today on over 600 stations around the world.


- Aug. 19, 1953, Israel's parliament conferred Israeli citizenship posthumously on all Jews killed by the Nazis during the years of the Holocaust (1933-1945) in Europe.


-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church


Survey Says


A study found 63 percent of people in Pakistan, 64 percent in Egypt and 77 percent in Israel are worried about Islamic extremism in their country. Similarly in the West, 68 percent of the people in France, 69 percent in the U.S. and 76 percent in Russia are worried about Islamic extremism in their country.


-- Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life


Good Book?


“God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales” by Penn Jillette


Not only can the man rant, he can write. From the larger and louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist's experience in the world. In this rollicking yet honest account of a godless existence, Penn takes readers on a roller coaster of exploration and flips conventional religious wisdom on its ear to reveal that doubt, skepticism and wonder -- all signs of a general feeling of disbelief -- are to be celebrated and cherished rather than suppressed. And he tells some pretty funny stories along the way.


-- Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group


Quote of the week


“It is no great matter where we are, provided we see that the Lord has placed us there, and that he is with us.” – John Newton, Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter


The Word


Theocracy: A government ruled by religious authority or people who believe they are carrying out divine directions.


-- ReligionStylebook.com


Religion Around the World


Religious makeup of Italy


Roman Catholic: 90 percent


Other: 10 percent (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)


- CIA Factbook


GateHouse News Service