Comments made about the religious affiliation of presidential candidates – notably the Mormon faith of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – have no place in American political campaigns, say several dozen academics, diplomats and other prominent Catholics.

In a statement released Nov. 2 at a Washington news conference led by former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Thomas Melady, the statement says there is "significant danger to the goal of our forefathers; maintaining harmony and understanding among all faiths and rejecting bigoted questions and comments about personal religious beliefs."

Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of a megachurch, First Baptist Church of Dallas. Jeffress told reporters that Mormonism is a "cult," and that Romney is not a Christian.