After a BYU religion professor caused a firestorm by defending racist positions held by the Mormon church in the past, LDS was quick to condemn his statements and distance itself from its history on race. Some think negative publicity about the church and race could reflect badly on Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the White House. The Desert News has more:

PROVO — It began as a Washington Post politics story about Mitt Romney’s run for president and his faith’s former ban on giving black men the priesthood. The story included comments by a popular BYU religion professor that some considered racist.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded Wednesday afternoon with a statement condemning racism, “including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the church.”

“The church’s position is clear,” LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy said. “We believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.”

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