We’ve had Episcopalian, Baptist, Quaker, Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, even Unitarian presidents. A Mormon couldn't do any worse. In either case, religion should have nothing to do with it.

On the one hand, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is enjoying some serious attention these days. A musical called “The Book of Mormon” was the big winner at this year’s Tony Awards, and there are not one but two church members — former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah — contending for the Republican presidential nomination.

On the other hand, the Church seems to be the Rodney Dangerfield of mainstream religions. That musical, written by the know-no-boundaries social tweaksters behind “South Park,” is in part a send-up of Mormonism. Plus, just last week, the religion itself was referred to — during the introduction of another Republican presidential candidate — as a cult.

To paraphrase Three 6 Mafia — and no, you won’t see that band referenced in many articles examining Mormonism — it’s hard out here for a Mormon.

The latest knock came from evangelical leader the Rev. Robert Jeffress during remarks made prior to a speech by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. (Perry is the tanned, well-coifed front-runner seeking the GOP nomination; Romney is the wan, well-coifed front-runner seeking the same slot.)

Jeffress, introducing Perry at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, said voters should support Perry because he is a genuine supporter of Jesus Christ, unlike another candidate he did not name, and didn’t have to. He likened the Mormon religion to a cult, and he said adherents are not true Christians.

I wrote a few years back that anyone not educated in the local and tribal differences between groups like Rwanda’s Hutus and Tutsis, or Iraq’s Muslim Shia and Sunni, would be hard-pressed, looking in from the outside, to understand the blood rivalries. Evangelicals and Mormons would be another such example. There seems to be so much more common ground than there are distinctions.

I get that there are distinctions, but that’s the point — why are we always harping on them?

Were I an evangelical, I’d be careful about slamming Mormonism as a cult. Yes, the religion was founded relatively recently (1830 — in the town I live in, Palmyra, N.Y.), but that puts it only about 100 years behind the evangelical movement, whose roots date back to the 1730s. Both are comparatively young, though not nearly so nascent as, say, the Unification Church or Scientology — each of which was established in the 1950s.

It’s surprising that religion can still be a wedge in American politics. It seems strange that adhering to a religion that observes the Sabbath and that proscribes the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and tea (this is the Latter-Day Saints, if the tenets are unfamiliar) should disqualify one from holding public office.

Indeed, we’ve had just about every other type of Christian in the White House — Episcopalian, Baptist, Quaker, Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, even a couple of Unitarians. And a lot of them drank, smoked and broke the Sabbath.

Mitt Romney may not be qualified to serve as president of the United States, or he may be the next president of the United States. In either case, his religion should have nothing to do with it.

Kevin Frisch’s column, Funny Thing ..., appears each Sunday in the Canandaigua, N.Y., Daily Messenger. Contact him at kfrisch@messengerpostmedia.com.