Romney to become first presidential candidate of Mormon faith - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Romney expected to explain Mormon faith during speech

Mitt Romney rehearses at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for his big speech Thursday night. (Source: CNN) Mitt Romney rehearses at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for his big speech Thursday night. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - When he accepts the Republican nomination Thursday night, Mitt Romney will become the first major party candidate who is a Mormon.

And he's expected to dedicate at least some of his acceptance speech explaining a faith that leaves him outside of the historical presidential norm.

The invocation for tonight's proceedings will be given by Ken Hutchins, who is a Mormon leader in Massachusetts, and his wife Priscilla. Scheduled to do some introductions is Grant Bennett, who also is Mormon.

These speakers can help Romney introduce the country to his religion and how his faith shapes his views.

Throughout American history, Protestantism has reigned as the religious branch of choice for the majority of presidents.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion, nearly half of U.S. presidents have been affiliated with the Episcopal or Presbyterian churches.

John F. Kennedy faced scrutiny when he ran for president in 1960. To this day, he is the only Catholic president in U.S. history.

Speakers at the 2012 Republican National Convention have spent the week downplaying differences of faith, focusing on his business experience, character and leadership ability.

"Mitt and I … go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I've been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable," Paul Ryan, a professed Catholic, said during his Thursday night acceptance speech.

"Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, an evangelical preacher in the Baptist church, said "I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country."

The Republican Party has traditionally appealed to those who identify themselves as religious, particularly evangelicals.

A 2007 Barna Group survey shows evangelicals favor the GOP over the Democratic Party by more than a 3-to-1 radio.

Only 2 percent of the U.S. population identifies themselves as Mormon, according to a 2010 Religious Census by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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