Even though Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney lost the election on Tuesday, good things can come from his candidacy, says Jets nose tackle Sione Pouha.
Pouha, a Mormon who completed a mission after high school on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, did vote on Tuesday but he said the greatest impact for his faith isn’t made by presidential candidates. Rather, he said that his often misunderstood Mormon faith is best presented by individual acts of charity and kindness.
“It is way better for me to go help someone and them say because of that, ‘Oh, Sione, he’s a Mormon,’” Pouha told Metro. “I think that’s the most effective way for someone to know you’re part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — to help others.”
The faith is often ostracized and Romeny shared that uphill battle in his losing bid for the White House. A Gallup poll this past June showed that 18 percent of Americans would be unwilling to vote for a qualified presidential candidate who was Mormon, up one percentage point from the view held on that topic in 1967.
That view also includes the church frequently being associated with polygamy, a practice it outlawed in 1890 in order to achieve statehood for Utah. But popular culture continues to link the practice with the church, as popularized in the HBO series “Big Love” about a dramatized polygamist household in Utah.
For Pouha, the candidacy of Romney did serve to show a different side of the faith he holds dear, even as he maintained that the everyday practicality of the faith must shine through.
“I think doing something for your fellow man is just as important as the exposure brought by Gov. Romney. I know he holds the faith very strong and contributing and following the word and that is great for others to see,” Pouha said. “It does give an eye to the faith, but I also think it serves a better purpose to do something good for your fellow man and show it that way too.”
He did not say who he voted for, but Tuesday’s election was still a poignant one for Pouha.
“The thing I was proudest of the most was the process of how this country was able to select a president in such a peaceful, respectable way,” Pouha said. “I was more proud to be an American [and] that we could go out there and research and find your candidate and vote. That was really awesome to me.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.