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The ist district House race remains Topic A in Idaho – and beyond: We just got off the phone with a reporter from the Washington Post, so look for an ID-1 piece there soon – so: Here’s another log on the fire . . .

We’ll refer now to the blog byBubblehead (a term derived from his years in military submarine service, in case you wondered), a Republican who has issues with Republican 1st district House nominee Bill Sali. This paragraph in a recent post caught our attention.

Your biography indicates your faith plays a great role in your life, and I respect that. Many people in this district feel the same way. Do you feel that you could effectively represent those in this district who don’t share your beliefs? I’m a little concerned about this because the national leader of your church, Calvary Chapel, doesn’t believe that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are Christians. Considering that over 25% of Idahoans are Mormons, I think it would be of interest to us to know if you believe the teachings of Chuck Smith in this regard: do you personally believe that Mormons are Christian?

This brought back to mind an incident fron seven years ago, on the edge of the 1st district.

Reel back to July 1999, to Spokane, when the Mormon church – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – was building and preparing to open their first temple in the city, a big event for the faithful in the area, and an indication of the solid growth in church members in the area. (Temples serve large regional groups of Mormons, as opposed to the local LDS ward buildings which appear in many communities around the Northwest.)

At the time, the largest single Christian church there and then was Calvary Chapel Spokane – you notice the name – was decided, amidst this activity, to bring in a high-profile guest speaker to preach at three well-promoted events. He was Bill McKeever, founder of the California-based Mormonism Research Ministry, and his speech was aimed at debunking Mormon doctrine. (It was not a one-time thing: The Spokane church still has a thorough criticism of Mormon doctrine posted on its web site.) The basic Mormon response was to “turn the other cheek,” rather than get into a theological war. But the incident still had to sting. (A Spokane Spokesman-Review account of this can be found about halfway down a research web document.)

The Kuna church does not include such items on its web site. But, taken together with attitudes toward religion nationally and in governing circles in Washington, it does suggest that Bubblehead’s question isn’t irrelevant.

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