The Optimistic Christian
Yes, Christians Can Vote for Mormons
I can't say how typical my experience is, but I have known a number of Mormons and each acquaintance has been the result of the most common of social activities: work and school. Now and then, a pair of very young Mormon "elders" rings my doorbell, hoping to interest me in a discussion and provide me with literature. But for the most part, my encounters with Mormons occur in the course of everyday life. Mormons are simply part of the community.
I go through this recital to demonstrate the success of Mormons in living among us, without creating social disruptions or demanding special accommodation. Mormons who live in mainstream society are law-abiding, responsible, and positive about the tenets of American political philosophy. There is no distinctively Mormon political movement that questions the principles of natural rights and limited government that underlie the First Amendment—or, indeed, that enunciates any political idea in that regard that would be outside the mainstream of American thought.
Mormons in politics run on party platforms, but while their voters tend to espouse socially conservative positions, the best-known LDS politicians don't always do so. Mitt Romney came late to favoring limits on abortion, for example, and Jon Huntsman is passionate about legalizing narcotics. Senators Bob Bennett, Orrin Hatch, Jake Garn, and Mike Crapo have been largely indistinguishable from centrist Republicans in terms of their voting records and stances on issues. The political "product" of Mormons, while variable, has been the opposite of radical and scary.
LDS politicians work within the limits of constitutional government. They have no history of failing to respect First Amendment protections, nor do they advocate applying religious principles inappropriately to the activities of the state. This, it seems to me, is what we need to know about Mormons when we are contemplating voting for one.
I don't agree with the Latter-day Saints about the nature of Jesus Christ or the history of divine revelations to mankind—but then, I don't mistake any election held in the United States for a referendum on those matters. If my church is selecting a new pastor, I certainly care about his Christian doctrinal beliefs. But when it comes to voting for public officials, I want to hear from candidates that they favor government that is limited, constitutional, and federal. Mormons have been at least as likely as people from any other religious background to affirm these principles. Mormons and traditional Christians don't have to agree on religious doctrine to vote for each other in public elections.
J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval intelligence officer and evangelical Christian. She retired in 2004 and blogs from the Inland Empire of southern California. She writes for Commentary's CONTENTIONS blog, Hot Air's Green Room, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.