Romney and the Mormon Issue
Because He did not get it right the first time: The book of Mormon claims to be "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."
*************************************Well, the Rick Perry campaign has distanced itself from statements by a prominent supporter that Mitt Romney should not get the votes of Christians because he is member of a cult, specifically Mormonism.
My views on the issue have not changed much since Huckabee stepped more gingerly into the same buzz saw four years ago. I am no Perry fan, but I don't think candidates should have to make statements calling on specific supporters to retract something the supporter said that the media does not approve of. The media would love to get candidates pounding on their own supporters in a no-win situation.
Here are some things I want you to take away from the current dispute about this issue....
1. Asking whether or not Mormonism is a "cult" or if Mormons are "cultists" is asking the wrong question. "Cult" is a relative term. It's a religion that I think is false. The right question is "Are Mormons Christians?" The answer to that question is, no, they aren't- at least not orthodox Christians. They have a different answer to the central question of the faith "who is Jesus Christ?" A different answer to that question leads to many different answers about who man is and what his relationship to God is all about.
The technically correct and politically incorrect term for Mormons with respect to Christianity is "infidels." Like Muslims, they claim to worship the same God that is in the scriptures, but they do not represent who He is with fidelity, thus "infidels." Hindus don't claim Him as God, and therefore are not infidels but more correctly pagans; worshipers of a different God who they acknowledge as different.
I realize that accurately sorting all these terms will offend some. We live in times where precisely speaking the truth and correctly assigning labels is considered an outrageous offense. That's not my goal. My goal is to help people understand and you can't do that without accurately distinguishing one thing from another thing.
Now for those of you who are Mormons and wish to attack me for differentiating your faith from that of orthodox Christianity, I would advise you to stow it. The Mormon faith is predicated on the idea that all other Christian churches are basically apostate. I promise not to get offended at that claim if you agree to not get bent out of shape when I say there is a difference between your faith and my "apostasy."
2. Another question that has come up is whether or not Romney's Mormonism disqualifies him from getting the vote of an evangelical Christian. I'd rather have a real Mormon than a fake Christian. Although it is not the same faith as orthodox Christianity, there is enough commonality there where you might rely on them to maintain similar principles of civil government. It's not like voting for a Wahabbi Muslim.
Notice I assume that at some point of differentiation, it is proper to make a candidate's professed faith disqualifying. Those who object, I look for your endorsement of the next Aztec practitioner of human sacrifice so long as they claim to be right on other issues.
While in principle I could support a Mormon, in practice I would find it distressing to vote for one of the two most prominent Mormons in American politics (Mitt Romney) and impossible to vote for the other (Harry Reid). That's due to their polices, not their faith. I don't rule out a vote for Romney, and prefer him to Perry in some limited ways. Romney is more nationalist and Perry more globalist. Where Perry is more conservative than Romney, I suspect it is simply an artifact of his political career being in Texas rather than Massachusetts. Perry took the positions he had to take to be elected where he was running. I believe Romney to be sincere about a faith that is incorrect and suspect Perry of being insincere about a faith that is correct. In some ways I prefer the former to the latter. Of course, it is only the establishment that is trying to force the population into this false choice between Romney and Perry.