Why the Christian Right Doesn’t Care That Mitt Romney is a Mormon

Also see that CBN’s Pat Robertson has jumped aboard the Evangelical “Hypocrisy Train”; Pat Robertson Flip-Flops, ‘Endorses’ Mitt Romney? Says Mormonism Not an Issue 

God forgive me but these people make me sick. They have spent the last four years telling us Obama (contrary to his own statements) is not a Christian and how we must replace him with a “real” Christian in 2012. Now we’re hearing “support Romney” because “Mormonism isn’t an issue”.  These so-called Christian-Right leaders exemplify the very definition of hypocrisy. Moving on...

Below is an interesting article:    

When Dallas First Baptist Church pastor Robert Jeffress endorsed Mitt Romney this week, it raised some eyebrows. Jeffress, after all, was the evangelical leader who roiled last year’s Value Voters Summit by casually telling reporters that Mitt Romney was “not a Christian,” but instead a member of the Mormon “cult.” His endorsement should serve as a warning to any Democrats who expect that evangelical distaste for Mormonism will cost Mitt Romney a significant number of votes. Most conservative evangelical political activists, like Jeffress, have long since subordinated any theological concerns about political leaders to a cultural agenda where all are welcome allies.

There’s nothing mysterious about this phenomenon, and it doesn’t reflect dishonesty, either. Jeffress himself explained his endorsement of Romney in pretty clear terms:

Given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces very unbiblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who supports biblical values like the sanctity of life and marriage, I think there’s a good biblical case for voting for Mitt Romney.

In other words, so long as a candidate is on the same page as the Christian Right on same-sex marriage and abortion— and, increasingly, contraception—his understanding of the metaphysical nature of the universe isn’t a deal-breaker. Mormons are as welcome in the fight against encroaching secularism as anyone else.

The same principle guided the remarkable rapprochement between conservative evangelicals and “traditionalist” Catholics in recent decades.

When the theocon Catholic theoretician Richard John Neuhaus and evangelical celebrity Charles Colson formed Catholics and Evangelicals Together (CET) in 1994, it was perceived as a quasi-revolutionary development. It was particularly controversial among Catholics who felt the group’s efforts to move from tactical political cooperation on issues like abortion to theological accommodation went too far. That controversy now seems quaint. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ recently released “Statement on Religious Liberty” went out of its way to endorse a recent manifesto by CET, published in the late Father Neuhaus’s magazine First Things. The Bishops’ statement echoes conservative evangelicals in demanding a high-profile campaign against the Obama administration’s so-called attacks on religious liberty—specifically, the contraception coverage mandate and recent judicial decisions that deny federal funds to religious organizations unwilling to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

To be sure, there are still cross-confessional tensions on the Right. While most conservative evangelical leaders are entirely comfortable with laissez-faire capitalism and have happily participated in the Tea Party Movement, many if not most traditionalist Catholics—along with the Church hierarchy—adhere to a social teaching tradition that inspires pointed criticism of the Ryan budget. But the same Bishops who have chastised Ryan have this week cracked down on American nuns for elevating social justice concerns over “the church’s biblical view on family life and human sexuality.” And seen from this perspective, Romney’s Mormon faith is as much a positive factor as a negative one. Indeed, another prominent evangelical critic, American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, has said repeatedly that his biggest problem with Romney is that “he’s not Mormon enough”—meaning, he has been insufficiently faithful to LDS teachings on abortion and homosexuality.

It’s still possible that the unfamiliar nature of Mormon doctrine may have a subtle effect on evangelical enthusiasm for Mitt. But any evangelical distrust of Mormon theology pales beside the evangelical distrust of mainstream Protestantism—which happens to be the strand of Christianity that Barack Obama belongs to. This attitude can be seen in Rick Santorum’s dismissal of mainline U.S. Protestants as “gone from the world of Christianity”—a comment from 2008 that came to light during the heat of this year’s primary season. While Santorum’s statement was widely criticized, it’s a broadly held, even axiomatic, view for many conservative evangelicals and Catholics. Indeed, conservative minorities in the mainline denominations (most notably Episcopalians) have become accustomed to accusing mainline leaders of heresy and apostasy.

Sure, conservative Christians would have preferred a candidate with a less complicated and controversial belief system than Mitt Romney’s. But as Bryan Fischer indicated, their doubts about Romney probably owe more to the conservative anxiety about his slipperiness than to any particular concerns about the LDS. And in the end, as Jeffress stated plainly, the only religious test that matters is whether you support the “Biblical values” of hostility to feminists, gays, and liberal Protestants like the president.

Ed Kilgore is a special correspondent for The New Republic (Why the Christian Right Doesn’t Care That Mitt Romney is a Mormon)



3 comments on “Why the Christian Right Doesn’t Care That Mitt Romney is a Mormon

  1. The problem with Mitt Romney is not his religion, but his policies in the light of biblical priorities. President Obama is, in my opinion, clearly out of scriptural bounds on issues like abortion and homosexuality. But as important as those issues are, Scripture places far greater emphasis on caring for, advocating for, and defending the poor, for whom Mitt Romney is self-professedly “not concerned.” So, why should Christians base their evaluation of a candidate on issues that are lesser biblical priorities while ignoring those that God Himself says He cares about the most?

    Any objective analysis of Gov. Romney’s policy prescriptions – his support of the Ryan budget, for example – cannot fail to conclude that his aim is to substantially reduce (in fact, gut) programs that help poor people, while transferring most of those tax dollars to people who are already wealthy because, he believes, they are the “job producers.”

    The president clearly has taken positions on social issues that are unbiblical. However his focus on providing needed help, including healthcare, for poor people is, I believe, far more biblical than Gov. Romney’s commitment to dismantling and eliminating such aid. And when you throw in the fact that it is impossible to know where Gov. Romney really stands on important issues… Well, I think nobody should think that voting for Gov. Romney is the only possible alternative for believers.

  2. Our President’s stance on social issues are issues that matter a lot with God … marriage between a man and a woman, sanctity of life (God calls it murder; our President does not who stated even if aborted and they live outside the womb, let them die because this would be going against the mother’s wish … barbaric and reminds me of Nazi Germany!). Re healthcare, Gov. Romney shuttled it into his own state of Massachusetts. We, the church, should be helping the poor … you and me, not the government.

    • Our President’s stance on social issues are issues that matter a lot with God

      Kay our personal stance on obvious ‘Biblical’ (not political) issues are important to God: That means yours, mine, and everyones. Because our Father’s desire is for all (who will) come unto the knowledge of truth (“I am the way and the truth and the life” John 14) and be saved:

      I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2)

      My reason for the post was to point out the Total Hypocrisy we are now witnessing coming from the political-Christian-right in their willingness to support a Mormon, after hearing them rant for years of the absolute “need” to replace Obama with a “Christian”. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad to watch them scrambling to change their position. But that’s what can happen when you mix Christianity with politics.

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