Mixing Faith and Politics, Labrador Talks About Mormonism on Meet the Press

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Republican Rep. Raul Labrador appeared on NBC's Meet the Press this morning, making his third appearance since beginning his Congressional term in 2011. In what was billed as a special Easter interfaith panel, Labrador, a Mormon, joined Democratic Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who is a Methodist minister, as well as evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, who is the daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, and Jon Meacham, the executive editor at Random House.

"Everyone in politics is going to be influenced by their faith," said Labrador. "We can't talk about politics being void of any religious faith. You're asking people to not be who they are."

Labrador took particular aim at MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell.

"He's saying some really nasty things about the Mormon religion—that it was based on some guy who woke up one morning and had an extramartial affair and that's how the religion was founded," said Labrador. "I think we need to realize that everybody's faith origins are peculiar. We need to look at the man. I have not endorsed Mitt Romney but it looks like he's going to be the [GOP] nominee. We need to look at his life, and he's had a very, very good life."

Meet the Press moderator David Gregory quizzed Labrador about a summer 2011 poll that showed 29 percent of Republicans polled and 46 percent of Democrats polled would feel uncomfortable with a Mormon president. Labrador said Romney should talk more about his LDS mission work but less about "the theology."

"Every church has a different dogma, different teachings," said Labrador. "But [the U.S.] Constitution tells us that we shouldn't be having religious tests."