For Beltway Mormons, Religion Key

Members, visitors and investigators sing a hymn during a Sacrament Meeting of the Washington DC 3rd Ward at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints October 23, 2011 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  The Washington DC 3rd Ward is temporarily meeting at the Chevy Chase church while the Church of Latter Day Saints build another structure on 16th street in Washington for the Ward.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is part of the Mormon religion, a Christian religion founded by Joseph Smith following his publishing of the Book of Mormon in 1830.   As the battle for the Republican presidential nomination gets into full swing, the issue of religion has resurfaced, with frontrunner Mitt Romney forced to defend his Mormon faith.  While critics have called Mormonism a cult and anti-Christian, those who belong to the church say the possibility of a Mormon winning the White House could help the faithful to make their beliefs better understood.    AFP PHOTO / Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    Brendan Smialowski, AFP / Getty Images

    Whether or not Mitt Romney straps the dog onto the family car and heads down to take up residence in the White House after this year, there are already a good number of Mormons who hold prominent government positions, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat. Across the Potomac from the capital, the town of Crystal City is sometimes colloquially known as “Little Provo” for the number of young Mormon professionals who have settled there. And while the number of Mormon political professionals in Washington is not disproportionate to the 2 percent of the population who claim to be adherents, many say that their faith helps drive their interest in civic involvement.

    Read it at CNN