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SALT LAKE CITY — A Florida pastor is calling on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to denounce his religion, calling it a "racist Mormon religion."
Rev. O'Neal Dozier, senior pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center Church on Pompano Beach and outspoken advocate of social issues, released a statement over the weekend calling on Romney, an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to renounce his religion.
"The purpose of this request is to foster and maintain good race relations here in America," the press release says. "The Mormon religion is prejudiced against Blacks, Jews and the Native American Indians. These allegations are substantiated and validated by the writings of the former Prophets and Seers of the Mormon Church."
The release comes shortly after Rick Santorum praised the conservative endorsement of the Florida pastor, who is an honorary chairman of Santorum's Florida campaign. In January, Santorum spoke at Dozier's church, who has openly criticized gay rights, saying gays "make God want to vomit."
Dozier went on to "substantiate" his claim in the release, pulling verses from the Book of Mormon to show the church's so-called racial bias and history of discrimination. Dozier also sited several statements included in "Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R. McConkie and the "Journal of Discourses" by former prophet Brigham Young, which the pastor says shows the racial bias of the church.
The statement concludes, saying the facts would only make racism synonymous with the Republican Party if Romney were to become the nominee.
"(We) believe that a Romney Presidential nomination for the Republican Party would widen the racial divide to a point of no return, because the Republican Party would be viewed as a racist political party."
"(We) believe that a Romney Presidential nomination for the Republican Party would widen the racial divide to a point of no return, because the Republican Party would be viewed as a racist political party. Romney's nomination would cause the erroneous view that has long existed in the minds of black people, that the Republican Party is prejudice to become a reality."
And although the subject of Romney's religion has surfaced during his bids for the White House, Romney has embraced his religion, saying in a major speech in 2007 he will not distance himself from his religion.
"I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it," Romney said. Since his 2007 speech, Romney has upheld his religious convictions, showing no signs of abandoning his faith because of political pressure. Additionally, Romney has never been accused of racial discrimination or having beliefs that would suggest a racist background.
Dozier will hold a press conference Monday with "concerned Clergy and other Christians" to formally and publicly ask Romney to renounce his religion.
A call to the Santorum and Romney campaign were not returned.