Rushville Republican

October 31, 2012

Can a minister of religion effectively serve as U.S. Commander-In-Chief?

Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — Dear Editor:

Some commentators have opined that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has all the qualifications necessary to be “commander-in-chief.” That’s the supreme military position a U.S. President holds in addition to his many civic duties.

I find it interesting, although you may not think it significant, that Mitt Romney is the father of five strapping boys and of these six males, none have served in the armed forces.

Ann Romney, appearing on a TV talk show a few days ago, declared that Mitt and each of the five sons had served a two-year term as Mormon missionaries and she felt that was the equivalent of their having served their country in the armed forces.

I find this to be somewhat of a stretch in reasoning, but I could be wrong. What do you think, is service to the Mormon Church (or, to be fair, any church?) the equal of serving in this country’s military?

I found this information on the ‘net:

“Before joining college, Romney had received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon ‘minister of religion’ for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and one-half years. At the time, there was an agreement of sorts between the church and the Selective Service allowing exemptions from the draft for missionaries. Before and after his missionary deferment, Romney also received nearly three years of deferment for his academic studies.”

This comparison of service as a “minister of religion” vs. U.S. military service is a subject that has not been sufficiently addressed by politicians or the media, due, no doubt, to the innate fear of being accused of criticizing religion.

I’d like to hear your opinion, if any, on the matter. Write to

NOTE: President Obama did not serve in the military. For various reasons, neither did this writer.

Best regards,

Norm Voiles

Resident of Rush County; native of Decatur County