From Summit Ministries: Can Christians Vote for a Mormon?

Already causing a stir on a few Facebook pages, Summit Ministries released this thought-provoking piece just prior to Romney's acceptance speech at the RNC. What do you think? Can Christians vote for a Mormon?

On my personal Facebook page, I responded to a friend who said he was not sure he could:

"I feel that tension. But remember that as Americans we don't elect a king, we elect leaders to steward our laws, institutions and way of life. Thus, voting is as much more of an act of stewardship as it is 'getting the right man in.' I feel I have spent most of my votes as voting against as well, but that's part of the American system (which, as frustrating as it is, is better than being at the mercy of a king). When such important things are at stake (like religious freedom or a push to accommodate sexual brokenness and economic adolescence), I think the privilege to vote becomes something of a duty or responsibility (we might even quote Scripture here... when we can do good, and don't, it's sin)."


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Michelle Obama was exactly right. The stress of the job reveals who Obama is: a rigid, anticolonialist ideologue who hates this country, who claims to value women while supporting to the death Planned Parenthood, which victimizes women. He is clandestinely undermining our economy while claiming to help it - i.e. immensely duplicitous. He was againast gay marriage until he learned he would lose campaign contributions from the gay lobby, so he brazenly changed his position. So much for the "spine of steel" Biden touted! He is a politician who will say and do whatever he has to win. He is a panderer. He sank our country into enormous debt to pay his political union cronies & buy botes - essentially using taxpayer funds to feather his own nest. Isn't that embezzlement? He proved he was born in this country while now working against it. Isn't that treason? Yes, the stresses of the job have indeed revealed the character of the man.
Well, sure, Jason, but Mormon theology applauds those behaviors, while Christian theology condemns them. I'm not seeing how you can say the two cases are equivalent.
I apologize for showing my resentment to much, Gina. However much of my point is that a lot of the theological follies Lee ascribes, no doubt correctly, to Mormons, I have witnessed among Evangelicals.
A lot of us feel that way sometimes, Jason, and I know it's rough. I'm sorry you feel isolated.

But what we're talking about is theology, not cliques or other similar forms of misbehavior.
You know the sort of thing I am talking about; "You mean, you actually talk to people that play RPGs? You mean you are not shocked at the existence of other religions? You mean you're sci-fi tastes extend beyond Judgement Day Fantasies? Etc."

I guess I am a bit more bitter then I should be. There are enough good qualities about my Church. There isn't clerical corruption or factionalism for instance. I just often feel isolated.
I got to go to the beach with my family. Hopefully they have Internet Access their; if so I can get back to you.
The trouble with that, Lee is that my Church doesn't even seem to think such things a vice. They do in fact demonize others unthinkingly without knowing much about them. They don't consciously make singles, or intellectuals second-hand citizens, but sometimes they give that impression. And so on.
I'm relieved, Jason, since I don't want to irritate my friends.

You're correct that some - maybe many - churches mistreat their members. But we can validly call that mistreatment a "vice" because Jesus and the authors of Scripture say churches should not behave that way, but should nurture and serve their congregants.

In Mormonism, however, the mistreatment is written in their scriptures and their history. There is no standing for anyone to protest. All the reforms of Mormonism I can recall were the result of external pressure, not internal calls for change.

I understand that you may well have a justifiable complaint against your church, Jason. But you have friends here who don't abuse you. Imagine if we all shunned you, and even quoted the Bible to prove our case against you, and you'll have some sense of how most "jack" Mormons feel.

But it does appear that Romney can overcome any abusive tendencies he may have learned via his upbringing. Having seen "2016", I'm doubtful that Obama could ever do the same.
Luther's take
I've always liked Martin Luther's reported comment on the wisdom of choosing a leader based on religion: "Better a competent Turk [i.e., Muslim] than an incompetent Christian." And he was speaking at a time when the temporal leader had much more control over spiritual matters than is the case in modern America.
No Lee, I wasn't irritated at you. I was irritated at my own Church where I was brought up fearing God without particularly loving him. A lot of it wasn't my Churches fault or my fault or indeed anyone's fault, but just personality discord.

But the fact is that a considerable number of the vices you ascribe to Mormons are found among Evangelicals.
Though it's been said many times, many ways, it bears repeating: for Christians with qualms, this election is about getting Obama, not getting Romney in. It just so happens, though, the two are inseparable.
Jason, if I'm the source of your irritation (rather than the topic itself) I'd hope you'd let me know. If that's the case here, then I apologize for bringing offense.

Mormonism regards all other Christian denominations, and in fact all Christian congregations, as not merely false, but demonic. They really have it in for Catholics (which makes Paul Ryan as VP candidate quite interesting, actually), but likewise for Protestants and Greek Orthodox. It's one thing to say that some group is heterodox, and another thing entirely to say they're Satanic. This is far worse than anything alleged by, say, strict Calvinists; it's the difference between offering someone an exploding cigar, and offering them a stick of dynamite to smoke.

But, as we both agree, the beliefs of a religious group may or may not indicate anything about a member of that group. And, unlike Christianity (which is always striving to live up to the ideals of its founder, Jesus), Mormonism has largely abandoned some of its offensive original tenets (plural marriage, blood atonement, institutional racism) that were preached by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Still, Mormons can only claim to be Christians by obscuring the facts about their beliefs, including the fact that Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers before the Earth was formed, and that God the Father (who was originally Adam, but became exalted as a god) took on a human body and had physical sex with the "Virgin" Mary to cause Jesus to be conceived.

I won't bring up what they do to history, to make it conform to LDS doctrines, but based on your comments here over the years, I'd think you'd be upset if you knew their story of the settling of America. You'd be unsettled, as it were.

But, Jason, perhaps Mitt Romney doesn't take the theology of his religion all that seriously. (Doubtful, based on his biography, but still possible.) Even so, as Michelle Obama said this evening, "Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are." That, I think, sums up Christian concerns about Mitt Romney. On the other hand, Barack Obama has had four years to reveal who he is.
The platform the Democrats passed today seems intended to help us feel better about voting for Mitt Romney.
And yes, my tone did convey irritation and I apologize.
But Lee, if we assume that someone who rejects every religion besides his own as false will not treat others as equals, do we not logically have to reject every possible candidate?
Thank you, Milady M, for your "persistent encouragement" (it's far too polite for me to call it "nagging") to finish _Emma_. But in fact I did mean to imply that I find the company of most Mormons to be neither detestable nor desirable, but almost always tolerable.

Jason, a point-by-point refutation from you - I'm savoring it! I'm a little concerned, though, that your tone might convey some irritation, so just to play it safe I won't respond in like manner.

In principle, you're absolutely right that we should not have a religious test for those seeking office. At least, we shouldn't have an official one. That doesn't mean, though, that w should be so naive as to expect a pacifist Quaker to quickly declare war, or a Southern Baptist to support abortion. Similarly, we're right to wonder if a religion founded on the rejection of all other churches as false could produce a statesman who would treat us as equals. Kevin mentioned that those with dark skin were explicitly denied the Mormon priesthood until the 1970s. I mentioned singles, whose treatment by Mormons is built into their theology of eternal progression, rather than being against the teaching and example of Jesus. We could also document the LDS treatment of women. All this leads me to wonder how seriously a President Romney would treat a Condoleezza Rice, if one like her - African-American, female, and single - were to serve in his cabinet. Any discrimination might not even be deliberate, or conscious, but merely arising from decades of inculcation.

So do Christians vote for someone whose church has opposed Christianity and opposed the government of the United States, in the past? Or, by not voting, do we permit an individual to remain in office whose actions have opposed Christianity and the USA in the present?
That is true Emma, niceness is an insufficient quality in a statesman or a stateswoman. Which is why I would prefer not to elect a Mennonite as POTUS. However it is not clear why that objection applies to Mormons.

You really ought to read _Emma_ to realize the paucity of that word in the context in which you use it. :)
Lee, the question I asked was why Mormons looked on with such horror that we cannot in fact vote for one? Or why we are raised with conspiracy theories about Mormons. Or why, for that matter do we think sacred underwear is any more odd then some of the things we do would look like to outsiders.

As for basing salvation on works, I constantly hear that accusation made of other religions and I constantly also hear the same people either obsessing about petty scruples or trying to get inside your head and telling you what to think.

As for treating singles as second class citizens, it is not as if that vice is unknown among evangelicals.

And as for denying the tenants of other faiths, that is a necessary act of logic.

And while we "can't split the man and his faith", you would not demand that a mechanic or a computer programer not be a Mormon and it is peculiar to demand that of a statesman; we are asking him to be a technician tending a machine and thinking more of a POTUS is conceding more trancendentalism to the government then is dignified for a republic(By comparison, Swiss, don't even know who their President is)

Furthermore there have been effective statesmen of almost every major religion and many sects thereof so it is not clear how far that argument goes.

And while were basing votes on religion, would we rather have someone who adheres to a religion that is known for it's conservative values or statesmen who go to Churches that change doctrine for the sake of liberal fancies?
Jason, the Mormons I know are not awful, and most are nice. It's Mormonism that it's a problem. It bases salvation on our works, not on the blood of Jesus. It tends to blame the victim, saying that those who do not marry and have children (such as, say, you and Gina) are failures and will eternally be second-class people, irrespective of why you are single. And, like Muslims, the way Mormons avoid being obnoxious to those who do not share their faith is by denying the tenets of that faith. (Surely you know the history of Mormonism and can contrast it with what they profess today.) Most importantly, the reason Joseph Smith founded Mormonism is that he claimed to have been told by heavenly apparitions that all churches - not just denominations, but all individual gatherings of believers - were irreparably corrupt. He had to found a new church to preach authentic Christianity.

So the question is in part if Mitt Romney agrees with Joseph Smith that all non-Mormon preachers and priests are actually Satan's assistants. Or, will Romney lead impartially.

For me, it's an echo of whether or not a Catholic should be President, as with John Kennedy. We're not voting for a faith, but a man - yet, can we really split the man and his faith?

On the other hand, there's Jeremiah Wright.
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