It may surprise a few people, but the GOP frontrunner for 2012 isn’t one.
Jimmy Akin helps make the distinction:
I’m well known for holding the position that abortion is the black hole political issue of our time. Given the number of people it kills every year, it outmasses virtually every other issue in play.
But it’s possible that other, equally important issues can arise.
One of those, for me, is the core doctrine of the Christian faith: the nature of God.
Don’t want to take my word for that? How about the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s:
Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.
The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin” [CCC 233-234].
In various races, we might be asked to vote for candidates who are Mormon.
While they may be very nice people and may even share many values with Christians, Mormons are not Christians. They do not have valid baptism because they are polytheists. That is, they believe in multiple gods. This so affects their understanding of the baptismal formula that it renders their administration of baptism invalid and prevents them from becoming Christians when they attempt to administer the sacrament.
UPDATE: Deacon Scott Dodge — who hails from Utah — has written a thoughtful response to Akin’s piece and concludes:
It is certainly no great secret that Mormons do not believe that God is a Trinity of divine persons. However, given that many Catholics are practically-speaking modalists, I fail to see how orthodoxy in this regard informs how we vote. So, I am certainly not disputing that the LDS do not share our belief in God, something I very recently dealt with in a post responding to Glenn Beck’s speech to the Israeli Knesset (Beck being a Catholic who became a Mormon). Neither do Jews or Muslims, who can easily see Mormonism as kind of the logical conclusion of Christian theology. Besides, since when do we as Catholics living in a religiously pluralistic society look at political candidates to cement our theology? Ronald Reagan’s non-church-going biblical apocalypticism was downright odd, but it’s really beside the point. If you’re a Catholic, the criterion proposed by Akin can logically extend to any non-Catholic candidate…
..One of the lovely and frustrating things about living in the U.S. is that we are free to vote for whomever we wish using whatever criteria we choose. However, for Catholics to apply such a narrow-minded religious test is to fail in our duty to seek the common good. While Mormonism certainly fails the test of Christian orthodoxy, it is not like Gov. Romney is saying he is one thing while actually being another. Stated simply, he holds his LDS beliefs conscientiously and in good faith. So, whether you choose to support Mitt Romney for president or not, I would hope that religious bigotry is not the basis for your choice.