Beliefs Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Mormon Mia Love makes history as America’s first black Republican Congresswoman

Mia Love, photo by Gage Skidmore
Mia Love, photo by Gage Skidmore

Mia Love, photo by Gage Skidmore

Last night Mia Love achieved her political dream — or more likely, the first of many stepping-stones to an even more august political dream — by getting elected to Congress.

In doing so the Mormon also made history, becoming the nation’s first black Republican woman to ever serve in the House, and also its first Haitian-American of either gender.

Last night Love’s election by a comfortable margin of more than four thousand votes erased the bad memories of 2012, when she was barely edged out by her Democratic opponent by just 768 votes. A couple of weeks ago on NPR, an interview with Love revealed her to be still haunted by the narrow margin of her loss, and determined to turn it around in 2014, when the path was a little easier because there was no entrenched incumbent to defeat.

My politics could not be more different than Mia Love’s. A darling of the Tea Party, she is pro-gun, anti-healthcare and has very questionable ideas about funding education.

I would not have voted for her, but I have a grudging admiration for her. As Newsweek put it in a profile last week,

White, white, white. In nearly every room Love enters as she stumps her way across Utah’s 4th District on a quest to become the first black female Republican in Congress, she is not just the only black person there. She’s the only person of any color, unless you count farmer tans.

Mia Love, Mormon pioneer.


About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.


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  • As the son of immigrants myself, it is easy to see past color and appreciate the greater story of hope and opportunity which resonates with freedom-seeking people the world over. Good on her!

  • I know that when it comes to demographics it’s about hard numbers rather than individual examples, but I can’t deny a grin at the thought of Utah sending a Black Conservative Mormon daughter of immigrants to Congress. I wish her the best of luck.

  • Not being a Republican, i probably wouldn’t have voted for her either, but I like her spunk. I know that liberal Democrats are often very vicious towards women, Blacks, Hispanics, gays, etc…who are conservative. If she were a lesbian, she’d have to sleep with one eye open. Being a conservative Black woman, she will be a huge target. I wonder if she’ll even be allowed to join the Congressional Black Caucus. she’s gonna give them fits!

  • That’s a great question, Kevin. There were two black Republican congresspeople elected last night. It will be interesting to see whether they are even interested in joining the CBC, and if so, if they will be accepted.

  • Saying she’s anti-healthcare is an insidious lie. I guarantee she’s pro healthcare. You think she’s against people taking care of their health? I’m against satan (I mean the state) doing most things but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to them being done at all. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. Statism or freedom, you can’t have both. The war in heavens still going on. This is the battlefield.

  • I was curious about her education stance (as I am studying to be an educator) but this is just ridiculous. Get rid of the board of education? End student aid? What?! While it’s great that she made history, I definitely don’t think it is worth it. Too bad.

  • In the context of the conversation she is anti-healthcare. She doesn’t believe it is the governments job to provide healthcare and wants it to be removed from government responsibility. It’s say that qualifies as anti. We aren’t talking about her views of personal healthiness.

  • Are you saying that a govt healthcare delivery system is statism, not freedom, and in opposition to the exercise of free-agency?

    Dallin H. Oaks gave an interesting talk “Free Agency and Freedom,’ where he said, in part:
    “First, because free agency is a God-given precondition to the purpose of mortal life, no person or organization can take away our free agency in mortality.

    Second, what can be taken away or reduced by the conditions of mortality is our freedom, the power to act upon our choices. Free agency is absolute, but in the circumstances of mortality freedom is always qualified.”

    Mia ought to start writing her GOP Convention speech right now. I’m sure the Republicans will want her to be very visible in 2016. It will be interesting to see how her tenure unfolds….

  • Chris, in the context of ANY discussion, it comes down to one’s opinion of the role of GOVERNMENT. Opposing the role of government in any given matter, including health care, is an entirely different thing from opposing the matter itself.

    If you were to oppose a private initiative to provide health care to those in need, would you be anti-health care, or just anti the particular proposal?

    It is intellectually unfair to proclaim that someone is against something merely because they disagree with the funding mechanism.

  • “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. … We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting people to eat because we do not want the state to raise the grain.”
    — Frédéric Bastiat, <The Law, 1849

  • She finally got elected.

    I don’t really like explaining things in terms of the spoiler effect. It’s a myth based on what would happen if hypothetically all people who voted third party voted for a specific major party of Democrats/Greens and Republicans/Libertarians. It does incentivize Democrats to take Green positions and Republicans to take Libertarian positions.

    Personally, I vote Libertarian all the time despite all those Republicans who may or may not have had their elections spoiled because of the way I vote. As a Libertarian, I am happy to see her finally elected since she is one of the Reason magazine endorsed Libertarian Republicans.

    Technically there are Libertarian Democrats (Democratic Freedom Caucus) and Libertarian Republicans (Republican Freedom Caucus), but one party is more favorable to their Libertarian wing than the other. Both parties have Libertarian, Moderate, and Conservative wings while the Democratic Party has a Progressive wing as well which the Republican Party lacks. The major parties are big tents. By contrast third parties are single wing organizations. Green Party is just Progressives, Constitution Party is all Conservatives, and Libertarian Party is all Libertarians.

    Long story short, even if I really really really like a Republican or a Democrat, if there is a Libertarian running in the race, I will vote Libertarian regardless of who gets spoiled because of it. If you don’t remember, she ran several times before, she lost to the Democrat who won a plurality but not a majoirty, because of being three way races with a Libertarian running each time getting more votes than the difference between them.

  • Well said. I was going to make some similar comment, but it looks like one was already been made long, long ago. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when liberals (and conservatives, at times) use such manipulative and irrational language in advocating their political positions.

  • “It is intellectually unfair to proclaim that someone is against something merely because they disagree with the funding mechanism.”

    It is intellectually dishonest to make such an objection unless they provide a viable alternative as to funding, as the TP does.

    Mia Love opposes funding to public education and healthcare. In essence the position is that the poor, those who have little choice but rely most on the government for funding basic needs, should be uneducated and die off from inadequate healthcare.

  • So who picks up the garbage in Galt’s Gulch?
    How does a libertarian government respond to an epidemic?

    Its all well and good to talk about “big government” and strip them of power and authority. But once someone needs them to meet some need, they all complain how it has no power to do anything effective.

    Even Ayn Rand took Social Security and Medicare benefits when she needed them. 🙂