As RWW has noted, most Religious Right leaders have cast aside whatever reservations they once had about voting for Mitt Romney, whose Mormonism many do not consider a Christian faith. Sure, they’d rather have a conservative evangelical or right-wing Catholic as the GOP nominee, but they lost that chance in the primaries. And they are so eager to defeat Barack Obama, and avoid the divine wrath that his re-election would provoke, that they have circled the wagons around Romney.
In September, more than two dozen Religious Right leaders wrote a letter dismissing differences over doctrine, praising the Republican platform, and saying “it is time to remind ourselves that civil government is not about a particular theology but rather about public policy." Long past time, some might say.
Marc Nuttle, a board member of the dominionist Oak Initiative and regular speaker at the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conferences, goes one better. Rather than telling evangelicals they should vote for Romney in spite of his Mormonism, he essentially says in a recent Oak Initiative bulletin that people should vote for Romney because of the Mormon faith’s incorporation of the US Constitution into a particularly potent form of American exceptionalism:
Governor Romney has been criticized by some for being a Mormon. I find this curious given the fact that little criticism has been given to the President who belonged to a church headed by a pastor who condemned the United States of America.
The Mormon Church is the only religion that has canonized the Constitution of the United States as biblical truth. The scripture in point is Doctrine and Covenants, Section 101, Verses 77-80. In verse 80 the Lord is speaking, “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”
Mormons believe the principles within the Constitution are eternal principles given to us from God Himself for the benefit of all mankind. They support the Constitution, they revere it, and they will defend it with all their strength. It is fundamental to their belief.
If you are an evangelical and concerned about the federalization of moral values without consideration of the 9th or 10th Amendment, if you are a small business owner concerned about unfair taxes from a big business viewpoint, if you are a community banker concerned about onerous regulations based upon the concept of “big banks are too big to fail,” if you are worried about federal judges who legislate from the bench and do not respect the Constitution or state laws, then Governor Romney is the answer for your security.
It is no secret that, for all of the talk of deeply held principles and stalwart Christian convictions, most Religious Right leaders are Republican Party cheerleaders who will eventually back the GOP presidential nominee, regardless of every declaration to the contrary they may have made in the past.
This fact was perfectly demonstrated back in 2008, when James Dobson spent the entire Republican primary telling everyone who would listen that "I cannot, and I will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience" only to declare shortly before the election that "I am now supportive of Senator John McCain and his bid for the presidency."
Similarly, back during that 2008 primary, Robert Jeffress, who has never been shy about calling Mormonism a "cult," warned that Republicans could not nominate someone like Mitt Romney because "God always judges a nation that has a ruler who introduces false gods into that national life":
But yesterday, Jeffress was on with Bryan Fischer where he declared that America was engaged in "high-handed sins" and warned that failing to elect Romney would be "asking for God's judgment on our country":
Just to clarify: Jeffress once believed that electing a Mormon like Mitt Romney would cause God to judge this nation, but then Romney became the GOP nominee, at which point Jeffress decided that not electing Romney will cause God to judge this nation.
Jeffress told Janet Mefferd, who has also criticized Romney over his faith, that it is still better to vote for Romney, even though he is a member of a “cult” and “false religion” that believes in a “multiplicity of gods,” than Obama because of his stances on marriage equality and abortion rights. The pastor said defeating Obama is even worth potentially giving Mormon missionaries a tool to bolster “legitimacy of their faith” and make more converts.
I still think there are concerns out there among evangelicals about voting for a Mormon. I’ve made peace with it; the way I’ve made peace with it is to make it very clear on programs like yours that Mormonism is a cult, it is a false religion, Mormons worship a multiplicity of gods, they deny the Bible, in fact they think the Bible is so error-filled there had to be a second book of revelations. I want to make it very clear that I don’t believe Mormonism is Christianity but I do think that in this case it is better to vote for a non-Christian who supports biblical principles like life and marriage than voting for a professing Christian like Barack Obama who absolutely repudiates what Jesus Christ said about some key issues.
I don’t want to minimize the Mormonism issue. I had probably the most well-known pastor in America say to me last week; you know one concern is the mission implications of this, Mormons are so involved in missions overseas, they’ll be able to point to a Mormon president as legitimacy of their faith. So I think we need to be clear that Mormonism is a false religion that leads people away from rather than toward the true God, but having said that we are making this choice in spite of that.
He warned that America is “about to go over the moral and spiritual cliff from which there is no return” if Obama is re-elected, asserting that his administration is “openly involved in high-handed sins” and shaking its “fist in the face of God” on matters like same-sex marriage.
You know in the Old Testament the Bible had what it called high-handed sins, sins that were like a clenched fist in the face of God. We are now seeing an administration that is openly involved in high-handed sins: the embracing of gay marriage. A friend of mine said to me recently, ‘think about this just ten years ago if a pastor or a sandwich company were to say marriage is between a husband and a wife, a man and a woman, no one would have batted an eye at that, but today that is labeled as hate speech,’ now what has changed? It’s not the Bible or the message that has changed, it shows what has happened in our culture. I know this sounds alarmist but I believe we are at the precipice, we are at a tipping point in our country right now, we are about to go over not the fiscal cliff, we are about to go over the moral and spiritual cliff from which there is no return, and that is why it is imperative for Christians to get out and vote in this election.
Of course, Deace is not being accused of anti-Mormonism because he is criticizing Romney's inconsistent record or history of flip-flops but rather because he frequently offers air time to people who liken voting for Romney to voting for Satan. And, in fact, during the discussion with Mansfield, Deace openly wondered how voters can justify supporting candidates just because they might be good on some issues despite that fact they also "believe things that are so crazy" like Mormonism:
What I have found is, you know, I can vet every other Republican candidate running for president the last two cycles, I can vet their record. I can talk about I don't like Rick Santorum's endorsement of Arlen Specter and nobody calls me an anti-Catholic bigot. I can vet the record of every other Republican running for ... I can vet Rudy Giuliani's record and nobody calls me a bigot against agnostics. But if I vet Mitt Romney's record, I'm a religious bigot and this continues on to this day.
At some level, when people believe things that are so crazy, does that cancel out where they're at on anything else?
When Deace was "vetting" the other GOP candidates, he never explicitly attacked any of them for their faith, yet he does exactly that to Romney on a regular basis. So if Deace doesn't like being called an anti-Mormon bigot, perhaps he ought to stop offering air time to (and agreeing with) anti-Mormon activists.
Earlier this week we wrote a post about Jerry Johnson and his role in formulating a document calling on Christian leaders who decide to back Mitt Romney to also make clear that Mormonism is a cult. As Johnson explained, he personally will not be voting for either President Obama or Mitt Romney because that is like having to choose between "voting for the Beast or the False Prophet."
Of course, if there is some Christian activist out there urging Christian voters not to support Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith, it is only a matter of time before they are invited to make their case on Steve Deace's radio program ... just as Johnson was last night.
Johnson made the case that Christians are misinformed about the true nature of Mormonism, thanks to people like David Barton who is "hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck," and asked whether Christians would be willing to vote for a member of the First Church of Satan if the candidate supported the conservative agenda, warning that the "anybody but Obama" mindset was going to drive the nation and the church "into the arms of perdition" and prevent God from blessing America:
55% of evangelicals either don't know what Mormonism teaches or they don't know that Christianity teaches. And that is our failure, that is the great calamity that we're facing right now thanks to people like Joel Olsteen and Rick Warren and David Barton, who is hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck, calling him his brother in Christ.
Suppose you had a real conservative running again Barack Obama ... who was fiscally conservative, he believed in the right to keep and bear arms, all the things that conservatives hold to. But let's say he was a member of the First Church of Satan. Would his religion now make a difference? Would you be out endorsing and campaigning for him if he was a member of the Satanic Church?
Right now the attitude is in the country, or specifically within the Republican Party, anybody but Obama. And this idea, this mindset is going to drive, I believe, this country and even the church into the arms of perdition in many ways.
The issue is the blessings and curse of God. He is the one who is sovereign, dread sovereign, over all the universe. And we are reaping today the curses of God, I believe, in this country. So here's my question, I ask folks: do we really believe that God is going to bless America if we elect a professed polytheist to the highest office of the land?
Last month we noted that many Religious Right leaders have tried to rationalize their fundamentalist version of Christianity with voting for a Mormon candidate for president by arguing that it isn’t a problem since Romney supports “biblical values” and Obama, they allege, does not. Others, such as televangelist Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson, and activists like David Barton, have gone so far as to say that Mormons are indeed Christians.
If an evangelical Christian chooses to vote for Mr. Romney (President Obama or any candidate), that is a decision between themselves and God.
The purpose of this call to evangelical Christians and leaders is two-fold:
1. To protect the purity and integrity of the Biblical Gospel.
2. To seize the opportunity to educate the America Public and Christians to the fundamental differences between historic Christian faith and that of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
It is our contention that the general population should not be left with any uncertainty whether the theological cult1 of which Mitt Romney is a faithful member, namely The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and historic evangelical Christianity are one and the same faith. This we adamantly deny!
Jerry Johnson of the Nicene Council spoke to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the document and like others such as Warren Cole Smith of World Magazine, cautioned that electing a Mormon president would give the church a powerful tool in their mission work and warned against pastors describing Romney as a Christian. He told Mefferd that he would not vote for either Romney or Obama, lamenting that “the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet” and calling the two candidates “twin evils.”
Johnson: Why can’t the Christian Church understand that this election cycle goes beyond Mitt Romney, beyond Barack Obama, even beyond the United States of America, it has to be about the Gospel. Too many Christians are just willing to either rationalize like Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen, they’re willing to rationalize and become very pragmatic, and it appears, I don’t know if they realize they’re doing this, but my question to them would be: what’s more important, the United States of America and its Constitution or the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Mefferd: Well that’s a no-brainer right there, yet you have a lot of Christians who say ‘we have to endorse Romney, we have to get behind Romney, or we’ll get Obama for a second term,’ what do you say to those Christians?
Johnson: I say to them that in this election cycle the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet. I for one, I’m not going to vote for either. This is not an issue of the lesser of two evils; I actually see two twin evils here.
Johnson also posted a video outlining “why Mormonism is a cult”:
But on his radio program on Friday, Fischer took a moment to make clear that he doesn't hate Mormons ... he just hates Mormonism:
Now I want to say this again, I am not anti-Mormon. I am anti-Mormonism because I think it's error, but I am pro-Mormon. I am for Mormons, I want to see them come to a full understanding of the truth. I bear them no ill will, I bear them no malice, I love them, I want them to come into the full light of the truth.
We should probably point out that this is the exact same defense that Fischer uses to justify his attacks on gays and Muslims:
Obviously Mormons must be greatly relieved to learn that Fischer is not anti-Mormon but merely anti-Mormonism ... just like he is not anti-gay but merely anti-homosexuality and not anti-Muslim but rather anti-Islam.
Back in January, Rick Santorum kicked off his Florida campaign by speaking at Florida’s Worldwide Christian Center, whose pastor, Rev. O’Neal Dozier, is a fervently anti-gay and anti-Muslim activist with close ties to leading Republican officials across the state, and co-chaired Santorum’s Florida campaign. During the Florida campaign and even after Romney all but locked up the party’s nomination, Dozier has consistently warned that his nomination would jeopardize the future of the GOP with black voters because according to Dozier, who is African American, “blacks are not going to vote for anyone of the Mormon faith.” Dozier even went so far as to write a letter to Southern Baptist leader Richard Land urging him to press Romney to explicitly “renounce” past Mormon doctrines on race. While speaking yesterday with conservative talk show host Steve Deace, who has hosted anti-Mormon activists before, Dozier appeared to be using a Bryan Fischer-liketactic of stoking anti-Mormon animosity but under the guise of insinuating that Democrats are to blame for attacks on his religion, accusing the left of potentially making Romney’s faith an issue in the future.
I don’t know whether people understand this or not but the Mormon religion believes that the Negros were cursed, that they were cursed in the pre-existence because of something they did in the pre-existence and in this life they are cursed, they are cursed with black skin, a flat nose and big lips. They believe this, this is written all through their doctrine, it’s in there, it’s in the Mormon book and it’s also in the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young is one of the main ones who said these things and other prophets that they have had. I tell you, listen to me very, very carefully, when Mitt Romney is fully vetted by the Democratic Party, I don’t think a black person, a Jewish person, I don’t think any minorities will want to come nowhere next to him.
Here’s my fear, Mitt Romney being the face and the leader now of the Republican Party. What does that do to the Republican Party? Number one, it will taint the Republican Party. And a nomination of Mitt Romney will widen the racial divide in this country.
Last year, Bryan Fischer openly declared that Mitt Romney's Mormon faith "ought to be an issue in 2012" and that Romney should be forced to publicly declare whether he embraces Mormon teachings that conflict with the Bible so that voters can decide "whether they want somebody with those convictions sitting in the Oval Office."
Since then, Fischer has repeatedly attacked Romney over his faith, calling him a "spiritually-compromised candidate" and declaring that a Mormon president represents a threat to the "spiritual health" of the nation.
But Fischer has also realized that openly attacking Romney's faith in this manner might be problematic even at the American Family Association, so he has settled upon a trick whereby he continues to do so while pretending that is really the media which is attacking Romney's Mormon faith.
Fischer announced this trick a few months ago when wrote a piece claiming that if Romney became the Republican nominee, "the winger-left media" would not hesitate to highlight "the more unusual aspects of Mormon theology." And he has been using this framing ever since as he launches repeated attacks upon Mormonism while thinking he is avoiding responsibility simply because he is pretending that it is the media that is really attacking Romney's faith.
Yesterday, while discussing Hilary Rosen's comment about Ann Romney, Fischer demonstrated exactly how he does it, using the flap as cover to engage in a long attack on Mormon theology while saying that the media needs to ask Mitt and Ann Romney about it because the media once asked Michele Bachmann about her theology:
So, based on nothing more than a random comment made about Ann Romney, Fischer is now demanding that the Romney's publicly address the specific tenets of their faith ... while blaming it all on the media.
As we have said before, if Fischer actually thinks that he is fooling anyone with this pathetic charade, he is evenless self-aware than we ever could have imagined.
Now that Rick Santorum has dropped out and Newt Gingrich is merely going through the motions, it is all but inevitable that Mitt Romney is going to secure the Republican presidential nomination. As such, Religious Right leaders have seen the handwriting on the wall and begun lining up to support him.
But not everyone is willing to do so, partially because of Romney's long history of changing his political principles to win office, but also because of his Mormon faith. As Bryan Fischer made clear yesterday, there is a not insignificant percentage of the Religious Right base that simply will not vote for a "spiritually compromised candidate" like Romney
Similarly, Steve Deace is an influential right-wing radio host in Iowa who endorsed Newt Gingrich but is now struggling with the prospect of having to support Romney. And while Deace appears to be willing to at least entertain the idea of voting for Romney out of necessity simply because of the issue of Israel, he is equally willing to give air time to vehement anti-Mormon critics like Tricia Erickson to make the case on his program that being a Mormon in and of itself demonstrates that Romney's judgement cannot be trusted:
I think that the leader of the free world, especially in the times that we're in today, we cannot afford a Mormon experiment. We have to have someone at the head of our country with sound judgment. If this man does not have the judgment to be able to discern fact from fiction on the most basic things like the horrifically false religion that he's in. If he doesn't have the wherewithal to understand that he has lived a lie all of his life and continues the lie, then how do we trust the judgment of this man to put him at the head of our country with everything that's going on? I mean, if he cannot even figure out fact from fiction in the way that he's been raised, how can we trust his judgement at the head of our nation?
Last year evangelical writer and WORLD Magazine associate publisher Warren Cole Smith created quite a stir with his column pledging not to vote for Mitt Romney if he wins the Republican nomination because of the boost his presidency would provide to Mormonism. “You can't say that his religious beliefs don't matter, but his ‘values’ do,” Smith explained, “If the beliefs are false, then the behavior will eventually—but inevitably—be warped.” He pointed to the Mormon doctrine of “continuing revelation” to explain Romney’s history of flip-flops and warned that a Romney presidency “would serve to normalize the false teachings of Mormonism the world over,” drawing more people into the LDS church and away from orthodox Christianity.
But it seems that few other prominent faces of the Religious Right are agreeing with Smith’s stance.
Televangelist James Robison on Daystar told a listener that she should favor a non-Christian over a Christian just as people favored Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor, over Jimmy Carter, a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, because Reagan better understood biblical principles:
Even Robert Jeffress, the preacher who attacked Mormonism as a “cult” at the Values Voters Summit and said Christians should prefer evangelical Rick Perry over Romney, made a similar case on Janet Parshall’s radio show in January when he said a “non-Christian who embraces biblical principles” is preferable to “a professing Christian who espouses unbiblical principles”:
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said he will vote for Romney even though he believes a Mormon president would undermine the “spiritual health” of the U.S., and Rick Scarborough of Vision America, repeated his antipathy towards Mormonism in an interview but made clear that “if the choice comes down for me between a Mormon and Barack Obama, I’d vote for the Mormon every time.”
But the acceptance of Romney as the leader of the GOP by the Religious Right’s leadership may not come as a great surprise, as the same people have largely embraced another high profile Mormon, Glenn Beck.
Beck has become a favorite of Religious Right figures, leading his religiously-infusedRestoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial and introducing his clerical Black Robe Regiment, promulgating ‘Christian nation’ history with David Barton and keynoting last year’s Values Voters Summit.
The turnaround when it comes to working with Mormons, who many evangelicals see as “cobelligerents” in the culture wars along with conservative Roman Catholics and Jews, can be seen in Kirk Cameron’s own about-face.
Beck’s appearance and discussion of his talks with God in Cameron’s Religious Right “documentary” may raise eyebrows since Cameron in 2006 co-hosted an anti-Mormon film with evangelist Ray Comfort. In the show, Cameron said that it was likely Satan who appeared to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, as the Angel Moroni and led him to golden plates that became the Book of Mormon, and even said that Mormons are “following a false Jesus” and “will end up in Hell forever.” “If you’ve ever spoken to a Mormon, sometimes you know how frustrating it could when they use the same words you do but they mean something different and you’re not sure how to finish the conversation,” Cameron said.
Watch highlights of Cameron’s anti-Mormon film here:
Despite Cameron’s dogmatic warnings against Mormonism, he is now actively working with one of America’s leading Mormons. Similarly, just as many on the Religious Right once denounced the Mormon faith, they are now prepared to vote for Romney over President Obama.
Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is an anti-gay, anti-Islam Religious Right activist who dedicates an inordinate amount of effort to attacking the faith of leaders like Barack Obama.
So it should come as no surprise that Cass is also anti-Mormon, as he is now saying that Mitt Romney's faith should be an important issue in evaluating "his fitness for office" and calling on Romney to "renounce the historic Mormon hostility to Christianity":
Mormonism has always been at odds with Christianity and openly denies the Trinity and the gospel of grace.
As a Bishop in the Mormon Church, Romney is free to believe its strange doctrines, practice their Masonic rituals, even wear their sacred underwear, but Romney's Mormon beliefs are not Christian.
Historically Mormons have hated and insulted Christians beginning with its founder, the polygamous Joseph Smith who said he wanted to be the Mohammed of the Americas.
Romney hopes Christians fall for the lie they believe the same things we do.
Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate and Mormon Bishop, in his 2007 speech regarding his Mormon faith sounded conciliatory towards other faiths. But his position is not consistent with the Mormon beliefs he adamantly affirmed in whole and from which he refused to distance himself. The Mormon faith has, from its inception, attacked all other religions, especially orthodox Christianity.
Romney's Mormon beliefs are not Christian. Mormonism's antipathy toward Christianity should not be so quickly forgotten. This is an important aspect of any evaluation the American voters make regarding his fitness for office.
If Romney wants the Christian vote, more than the Mormon dollars supporting his campaign, he must demonstrate real respect, not rhetoric. If he does not renounce the historic Mormon hostility to Christianity, then we must conclude that he agrees with his church's defamation of the past.
Erickson has previously appeared on other conservative Christian radio programs including Focal Point with Bryan Fischer and The Steve Deace Show, and told Schneider that a Mormon president would be bound to the dictates of the Mormon prophet “even if those mandates go against our nation” and that Mormons are seeking the “millennial overthrow of the United States government.” Crosstalk is no stranger to promoting anti-Mormon beliefs, as host Vic Eliason once warned listeners against supporting Mitt Romney because “we might have a president who would suddenly evacuate the White House and go to another planet and become a God!”
Schneider: Are you suggesting Tricia that if Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States that there is an allegiance to the Mormon Church that would supersede his oath to the United States or the Constitution of the United States?
Erickson: Absolutely…. As president of the United States, Mitt would have less authority than that of the living prophet of the Mormon Church, he is therefore no matter his position as leader of our nation subject to the prophet and to his orders and to his mandates, even if those mandates go against our nation.
Erickson: The political machinery of the priesthood of the Mormon Church is named the Kingdom of God and/or the Government of God, and the goal of the Mormon Church, through the Mormon Kingdom of God, is to bring the United States government, this is true, under the rule of the priesthood, the Mormon priesthood. Mormons believe that they are the only true church, all other religions are false, and their main objective is to be ready when the time comes for the millennial reign by having their leaders ready to rule or already in key places of authority and power. Their ultimate goal is better serve their agenda by being able to rule and govern before the millennium actually takes place and the Mormon Church and its corporate empire, assets and resources will be the chief element in the millennial overthrow of the United States government.
Ever since Mitt Romney called out Bryan Fischer for his relentless bigotry at the Values Voter Summit, Fischer has been on a mission to ensure that Romney does not win the Republican nomination and has been increasingly willing to attackRomney'sMormonfaith as part of this effort.
[Mormonism] is not a Christian faith. It is, as Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas says, a false religion. So it's kind of a striking things and I know it concerns a number of spiritual leaders, and I count myself among them, is what this would mean for the spiritual health of the United States of America is a worshiper of a false god occupied the White House. You know, what that would mean for the spiritual future of America and what it might reveal about the spiritual weakness of America if the American people, particularly the so-called conservatives, the people of faith in America, would promote someone to the highest office in the land who is a follower of a counterfeit faith, a false religion.
Religious Right activists are positively giddy over the new momentum behind Rick Santorum’s candidacy for president, and Maggie Gallagher today praised the former Pennsylvania senator as “a latter-day Rudy suddenly lifted above his Notre Dame teammates in a fantastic photo finish.” Gallagher said that the left wants “to go after him with a hatred unlike anyone else has yet generated in this race,” writing that progressives “hate him with that special ire reserved for his virtues, not his vices.”
On Tuesday night in Iowa, he stood before the cheering throngs like a Republican Rocky, or better yet, a latter-day Rudy suddenly lifted above his Notre Dame teammates in a fantastic storybook finish. On Tuesday night, for the first time, Rick Santorum was a contender. And a contender like nobody has yet seen in this race.
I have not yet endorsed anyone in this presidential race. And unlike some values voters, I am not anti-Mitt Romney. Romney is a fundamentally decent, extremely capable man, who fought hard for marriage in Massachussetts [sic]. If he is the GOP nominee, I can vote for him with great good will and a clean conscience.
But when the guy who has taken more hits than any other for standing up for life and marriage fights his way with nobody's help from nowhere to, well, Tuesday night -- you have to cheer.
The left, which thought it had buried Santorum years ago, is going to go after him with a hatred unlike anyone else has yet generated in this race. They hate him with that special ire reserved for his virtues, not his vices.
They will go after him not just to defeat him, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud. They will not succeed.
I am not anti-Romney. But after Tuesday night's victory, count me as pro-Rick.
Meanwhile, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance penned a column lauding Santorum and couldn’t help herself from taking digs at Romney’s Mormon faith:
Santorum’s appeal to women and evangelicals centers on a desire for authenticity. Rick’s been consistent in behavior and record. His stance on the sanctity of life and traditional marriage gained the voters’ attention.
Many of my Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) members respect Mitt’s savvy business skills, but they are having a hard time wrapping their minds around him as a whole package.
They can’t ignore that it was the former Massachusetts governor who championed health care reform that cost the state $4.3 billion and 18,000 jobs. Nor can they ignore his past support for so-called “domestic partnerships” or the fact that after the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s paper tiger ruling on “gay marriage,” he ordered Justices of the Peace in the state to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples or be fired.
With evangelical Christians being one of the largest voting blocs in America, “the Mormon thing” may be an issue, but I am not convinced this is what has held him back. However, some of my CWALAC ladies would love to understand the whole “eternal pregnancy in heaven thing,” which, admittedly, to me sounds more like damnation than heaven.
On Monday’s edition of Crosstalk, Vic Eliason of Voice of Christian Youth America advised listeners against supporting a Mormon candidate for president because they are praying to “the wrong God.” Eliason in 2008 hosted a presidential candidate debate with other Religious Right leaders that you will not be surprised to learn Romney did not attend.
Channeling Mike Huckabee, Eliason said that “Mormons do believe that Jesus and Beelzebub, or the devil, are kid brothers.” He went on to say that Mormons “believe that someday God is going to put you on your own planet and you will be a God in charge of your own planet,” warning that “if those things happen, who knows, we might have a president who would suddenly evacuate the White House and go to another planet and become a God!”:
Eliason: There are those and those have raised the question about a Mormon president. Well I am sure that he is a very crafty individual and a man who is much experienced in doing various things. But when we come to the belief system again, the Bible says ‘if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God.’ So we’ve seen presidents bow in prayer asking God for wisdom, we’ve seen those things happen. But if you’re asking from the wrong God, what kind of wisdom are you going to have?
And the other thing of course, when we’re thinking of a person lacking wisdom, the Mormons do believe that Jesus and Beelzebub, or the devil, are kid brothers. So those in other religions have different, unique things that cause people with a Judeo-Christian background to say, ‘whoa, wait a minute.’ There are those, if you are a true Mormon, you believe that someday God is going to put you on your own planet and you will be a God in charge of your own planet. The question is—I mean, if those things happen, who knows, we might have a president who would suddenly evacuate the White House and go to another planet and become a God!
Like Jeffress, Scarborough said he would ultimately vote for a Mormon over Barack Obama but would certainly not support Romney “as long as there is another candidate” because Mormonism is “so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries.”
Friedeman: I’m asking you here, with Franklin Graham and Chuck Colson coming out and saying Mormonism isn’t that big of a deal in this presidential election, do you agree?
Scarborough: I do not agree. I respect profoundly both of those men for a myriad of reasons, but I do not agree with that statement. Right now, the most prominent spokesperson for our values in the radio field is Glenn Beck, who is an avowed Mormon, and now the leading presidential candidate is an avowed Mormon. Because of the state of the spiritual life of our country right now, I just think that’s a place I don’t want to go. And the other side of that is, what is not spoken are some of the details of Mormonism, which will be aired completely in a presidential race and I think it will make it difficult if this man secures the nomination for him to be elected just because there are some aspects of the doctrines of Mormonism that are so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries, that I think it will be a real issue if he got the nomination. Now if the choice comes down for me between a Mormon and Barack Obama, I’d vote for the Mormon every time, but I’m certainly not going to support him as long as there is another candidate.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has been busy spinning bizarre theories about how the media will have to try to make voters uncomfortable with Mitt Romney's faith in order to help President Obama because Evangelical Christian voters would have no qualms about voting for a Mormon.
The only problem with Land's conspiracy theory is that it is constantly being undermined by others, like the new president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Brad Atkins, who says that Christians would have a much easier time voting for a thrice-married serial adulterer like Newt Gingrich before ever voting for a Mormon like Romney:
The Rev. Brad Atkins, tabbed in November to lead the group for the coming year, told Patch on Friday that while Gingrich's infidelities may represent a major obstacle for some Christian voters, it isn't an issue that necessarily excludes the former speaker from consideration. Rather, it's an issue that calls for prayerful consideration of Gingrich's numerous public confessions to his wrongdoings.
The issue presented by Romney's faith may be more deeply rooted to South Carolinians.
"In South Carolina, Romney's Mormonism will be more of a cause of concern than Gingrich's infidelity," said Atkins, the pastor at Powdersville First Baptist Church in the Upstate.
"Conservatives can process and pray their way through the issue of forgiveness toward a Christian that has had infidelity in their life, but will struggle to understand how anyone could be a Mormon and call themselves 'Christian.'"
A new movie looking at Joseph Smith’s campaign for president and assassination in 1844 and connecting Smith’s legacy to contemporary Mormon politicians like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman is supposed to present a “balanced” look at the Mormon religion and history. Director Adam Christing, who was raised a Mormon but who is not a member of the LDS Church, said the film, A Mormon President, is neither a “puff piece” nor a “hit piece” on Mormonism:
In an interview with the AFA’s OneNewsNow, Christing noted concerns about the “conflict between [Romney’s] loyalty to the Constitution and his loyalty to the Mormon Church”:
Christing, who is a member of the Mormon History Association, says pastors are concerned that as a temple Mormon, Romney took a vow called the Oath of Consecration.
"He pledges all of his time, talent, and money to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So some people are very concerned that if push came to shove and there was a conflict between his loyalty to the Constitution and his loyalty to the Mormon Church, many fear that the loyalty would be to the church," the filmmaker explains.
But the filmmaker remarks that those fears might not matter when Christians go into the voting booth. "I did talk to many evangelicals who feel like they would vote against Obama and for Romney -- almost like they would choose their wallets over their worship, voting for the lesser of two evils," Christing accounts.
So he hopes the documentary will help people make up their own minds about whether Mormonism should even be a factor if a Mormon contender is on the ballot in 2012.