There’s been some chatter today about the fact that Obama is meeting at the White House today with Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also referred to as the Mormon church). As with Obama’s Vatican visit a few weeks ago, there’s always interest when a president meets with the head of a major world church (although the LDS Church’s 13 million members globally falls somewhere between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Seventh-Day Adventists–and far short of the Roman Catholic Church’s 1.1 billion).
It’s not unusual, though, for a U.S. president to meet with the leader of the LDS Church. George W. Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the late LDS President Gordon Hinckley in 2004, and he met with Monson in Salt Lake City just last year. And although Mormons are overwhelmingly GOP voters, it’s not even unusual for a Democratic president to hold similar meetings with church leaders. Bill Clinton had a private meeting with Hinckley at the White House in 1995.