BOISE -- One of Idaho's congressional leaders appeared on national television Easter Sunday to talk about what role religion plays in politics.
Freshman Congressman Raul Labrador is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a featured panelist on "Meet the Press.”
Labrador told NBC's David Gregory, the host of “Meet the Press”, that everyone in politics is going to be influenced by faith.
He also said on the program he believes candidates should allow their religion to inform voters of who they are.
“I think we can't talk about having politics void of any religious faith because then what you are saying is you are asking people to not be who they are,” Labrador said.
He said he has not endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is also of the Mormon religion, but said Republicans should get behind the nominee to get President Barack Obama out of office.
On Easter Sunday in Boise, worshipers were seen filing out of St. Michael’s church after service. KTVB asked residents when, if ever, is it okay to mix church and state?
“I think that religion and politics should be completely separate,” said Boise resident Adrienne Stark. “We are seeing some attempts to undo some things that are laws that need to stay laws."
“I believe that if you have a religious belief, that is going to be the background basis for which you will have a world view,” said Iyorliam Tardzer, who was just visiting Boise. Tardzer also said he would be hesitant to vote for someone who was not forthcoming about their religion.
“I think religion is something to be taken into consideration but it’s certainly not something that people say, 'Because you are of a certain religion, now I can't vote for you,'” said Boise resident Michael Keith.
Labrador discussed his missionary work on the show and said, “I was a missionary for two years in South America. My son, and my oldest son, is now a missionary in South America.”
Labrador also said presidential candidate Mitt Romney should talk about whom he is and what formed him.
“It’s one of the most formative things that you can do in your life," said Labrador. "It really forms who you are for the rest of your life,” said Labrador.
Labrador told Gregory that his religion has been attacked by the media, including by the NBC network, of which KTVB is an affiliate.
“Look at your own network - MSNBC," Labrador said to Gregory. "Lawrence O'Donnell just saying some really nasty things about the Mormon religion, about the founding of our religion, that it was based on some guy just waking up some morning and deciding that he had an extramarital affair and that is how the religion was founded."
This was Labrador's third appearance on "Meet the Press" since taking office in January 2011.