Harry Reid, the four-term senior senator from Nevada, is running for re-election against Tea Party-backed Republican candidate and former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle. As part of a Politics Daily series providing background about the major candidates in 2010, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about his life.
What is Harry Reid's religion?
Reid is a Mormon.
Was Harry Reid born a Mormon, or did he convert?
Reid grew up largely without religion
. The town of Searchlight, where Reid was born and spent his life before high school, did not have a church. Reid traveled almost 50 miles from Searchlight to the town of Henderson to attend high school, and would often spend the week boarding with his Uncle Joe and Aunt Rae, who was a Latter-day Saint. Aunt Rae convinced him to attend a Mormon seminary, taught by an LDS bishop, which helped propel Reid down his eventual path. That path was solidified when Reid decided to marry his high school sweetheart, Landra Gould, but was blocked by her parents: they were Jewish and did not approve of her small-town, unchurched fiance. Reid and Landra eloped while attending the College of Southern Utah and were married by the same bishop who had once introduced Reid to the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Shortly thereafter, the Reids made the final plunge and got baptized into the church. Since then, Sen. Reid has gone on to hold the highest political office ever held by a member of the LDS
: Senate majority leader.
What has Harry Reid said about Mormonism?
Of the five LDS members in the Senate
(Robert Bennett, Utah; Michael Crapo, Idaho; Orrin Hatch, Utah; Gordon Smith, Oregon; and Reid), Reid is the only Democrat. As such, Reid often finds himself explaining his unique position. In a speech
to the students of Brigham Young University, Reid said, "I also say that my faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it."
Sen. Reid has also made the claim that it is easier to be a good Latter-day Saint as a Democrat than as a Republican, saying in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal
: "One of the reasons I feel so strongly about the philosophy of the Democratic Party is that we're concerned about people who have little. Look at the programs we've pushed: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Republicans opposed those, every one of them. ... I don't see how a person who cares about their fellow man could oppose these programs."
What is Harry Reid's reaction to the mosque planned near the World Trade Center?
Sen. Reid has expressed
his respect for the First Amendment and the protections it offers to religious practice but says it should be built "someplace else."
Read Harry Reid's full bio on his official website.
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