Anti-Romney Pastor Appears With Ryan

Here’s a situation that is highly symbolic of the tension within the religious right base of the Republican party over Mitt Romney’s religion. A Michigan pastor that appeared with Paul Ryan at a campaign event on Monday said earlier this year that Romney is not a Christian.

The pastor who delivered a passionate invocation at Paul Ryan’s rally in Rochester, Michigan on Monday evening told CNN earlier this year that the man at the top of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney, is not a Christian…

Clark spoke to CNN about Romney’s Mormon faith after a February rally for Santorum in Lansing.

Asked if he believes Romney is a Christian, Clark answered: “No.”

“Those if us who are Christians believe very strongly that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and we base all our values around that,” Clark said. “And we believe that real change is a spiritual change from the inside out.”

You’d think they’d be a bit more careful about such appearances.

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  • jba55

    “Those if us who are Christians believe very strongly that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and we base all our values around that,”

    And Mormons believe that, too. So what, precisely is his point?

  • grumpyoldfart

    Christian pastors can such little scamps sometimes, can’t they?

  • raven

    And Mormons believe that, too. So what, precisely is his point?

    Not even close.

    The Mormon jesus is separate from god, not part of a trinity. He is god and Mary’s literal child.

    The Mormon jesus is satan’s brother. Which is no big deal. Jesus and satan are also our brothers. Both are just people like us who have gotten a promotion.

    That is true of the Mormon god as well. He’s just a person who has become perfect and gotten a promotion. There are a near infinite number of gods.

  • Michael Heath

    This is just one of countless more examples regarding why we need a different set of premises when it comes to identifying one person’s religiosity from a theological perspective relative to what we should use to define Christianity in the public square [1].

    From a public square perspective one can make a compelling case that Mr. Romney is a Christian.

    From a theological perspective it’s pretty easy to disqualify nearly everyone from their claim they’re a Christian. That makes this perspective useless in the public square since it favors one theological group over another for no good reason I can perceive. Of course such discernment is imperative within a theological perspective.

    A Christian holding orthodox beliefs can look at many liberal Christians and find they fail to hold beliefs consistent with most of the surviving dogma from early Christianity and therefore arguably claim that disqualifies them as Christians. These same liberals can point to how conservative Christians are one of only two [2] influential groups who oppose the very precepts the Bible has Jesus commanding us to obey when it comes to how to treat others; therefore conservative Christians are no true Christians. Though religious liberals, unlike conservatives, are less prone to throw their conservative brethren under the bus, just like political liberals are less inclined to point to political conservatives and claim they aren’t true Americans.

    The lack of authority within Christianity, including the lack of authority to impose the Nicene Creed or other competing frameworks, is precisely why the theological perspective is utterly useless when applied in the public square. It’s fine and I think productive to debate who is or who isn’t a Christian in inter-denominational squabbles, but doesn’t serve the general public much when it comes to political discourse. Except of course when we observe conservative Christian hypocrisy regarding their abdication of their dogmatic edicts, like how to treat the ‘least among us’, the poor, or the relationship between wealth and fealty to God. Where no one is a more effective enemy in the U.S. in regards to what the Bible’s commands them to do.

    Ironically, I find the most compelling argument Mr. Romney is not a Christian is his demonstrated contempt for the poor, elderly, and ‘least among us’; not his Mormonism. I don’t recall any presidential ticket that has demonstrated as much antipathy for the biblical passages where the Jesus character demands certain behaviors from us when it comes to how to treat each other and also the relationship between one’s assets and God. Given that’s coming from both Mormon Romney and Catholic Paul Ryan, who target this approach primarily to politically conservative protestants, I don’t see how our noting Romney’s Mormonism brings us close to understanding this phenomena. I instead can easily conclude this hypocrisy comes from favoring Messers Romney, Ryan, and conservative Christians all favoring their political ideology based on their psychology, even at the expense of their holy dogma.

    1] The model I use to determine who is or isn’t a believing Christian within a public square perspective:

    a) Self-identify as a Christian

    b) Membership or attendee of a church which defines itself as a Christian denomination

    c) Theist (to separate out those who are cultural Christians from those who are believing Christians

    d) Where the biblical character named Jesus / Jesus Christ plays a central role in their beliefs

    [“Character” since it’s possible for some believing Christians to acknowledge there is no evidence of even a human Jesus existing, let alone a resurrected human who was also God. That biblical Jesus character still provides the channel to a relationship with God for these Christians.]

    2] The other group being the tiny number of non-conservative Christian plutocrats who finance the GOP.)

  • jba55

    @raven: Close, but not quite what I was taught as a child in the LDS church. I was taught that Jesus=Yahweh and is the being other religions call “god” (I always gathered that that’s how they reconciled the trinity/god came to earth concept). The god they call god is a separate being, true, but it’s also a being unique to mormonism.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    “And we believe that real change is a spiritual change from the inside out.”

    Krustianity: u’re doing it wrong.

  • raven

    There is no way to decide who is a Real Xian and who is a Fake Xian.

    Except murder and wars, which the xians in the past resorted to often. Two of the crusades were directed against other xians. The Fake xians are the ones that end up dead.

    These days we won’t let them do that. So it all becomes a matter of unprovable/unfalsifiable opinion.

    One half of all xians and 3/4 of all xian ministers and priests think the Mormons are nonXians.

    The Catholic church recognizes Protestant baptisms if someone converts. They do not recognize Mormon baptisms and vice versa.

  • raven

    What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ?

    mormon.org/faq/belief-in-jesus-christ

    Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. His birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the many prophecies contained in the scriptures concerning the coming of a …

    @5 jba.

    What you say doesn’t look like what the Mormon church says. According to their own website, jesus was born after god had sex with Mary, and is a literal human child separate from god.

    This is what a Mormon missionary told me as well.

    I’m going to check further with Google, but this is from the official LDS church website.

  • jba55

    @raven Well it would hardly be the first time I had been taught non-doctrine in sunday school.

  • raven

    wikipedia LDS beliefs:

    The church follows what it understands to be the teachings of Jesus, both in the Bible and in other scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon.

    According to that book, Jesus Christ is considered “the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning;

    and his mother shall be called Mary.”[36]

    As the Creator, he is at times referred to as the father of heaven and earth. This is one sense in which he shares the title “Father” with God the Father. The church also teaches that Jesus is the LORD Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Holy One of Israel. Because he has the “Divine Investiture of Authority” from the Father, the church teaches that Jesus Christ often speaks in the scriptures as though he were God the Father, because in so doing he is representing the Father.[37][38]

    Oh Cthulhu.

    According to wikipedia, jesus is both.

    1. He is the son of Mary after her brief affair with god. He was born, lived, died, and resurrected like it says in the NT.

    2. He is also the creator god of the OT and refers to himself often as Yaweh, El, and Elohim and often refers to himself in the NT as his own Father.

    Mormon theology is as confusing and contradictory as xian theology here.

    wikipedia again:

    God the Father is understood to be the literal Father of the spirits of all mankind.[32][33]

    He is also understood to be the father of Jesus’ spirit body and his physical body. On the morning that Jesus was resurrected, Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”[34]

    AFAICT, god the Father is the literal father of jesus, satan, humans, and the demons. Then, they claim that the jesus of the bible is also Yahweh. But not his own father even though the bible says Yahweh is jesus’s father.

    This just looks like an incoherent, contradictory mess to me. There are advantages to being an ex-xian Pagan. I don’t have to even pretend this makes any sense.

  • raven

    @raven Well it would hardly be the first time I had been taught non-doctrine in sunday school.

    Jba, it looks like the Mormon church teaches both. And this is somewhat contradictory.

    The more I read, the more confused it all seems.

    I’m still trying to figure out if Jesus is married to a fleet of goddess wives like all the gods are, and where they all live.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Michael Heath @ # 4: … religious liberals, unlike conservatives, are less prone to throw their conservative brethren under the bus…

    My when-all-else-fails method of discerning a Twoo Chwistian: the proclivity to declare that others are not Twoo Chwistians.

    This tendency goes all the way back to the earliest texts (can anyone name a book of the Christian [“New”] Testament which does not denounce “false” teachers & teachings?). Each faction is practically obligated to use it on the others, but no non-Christian feels any obligation to say this at all. What better measure can we find?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    raven @ # 10: There are advantages to being an ex-xian Pagan. I don’t have to even pretend this makes any sense.

    Do you have to pretend that (some flavor of) paganism makes sense?

  • raven

    wikipedia Mormon Cosmology:

    According to a plan of salvation as described by God the Father, Jehovah (the antemortal Jesus Christ according to Mormonism) created the earth, under the direction of God the Father, as a place where humanity would be tested.

    It is starting to make a little sense.

    1. Jesus is Yahweh, the OT god. He is a creator god. But he only created the earth according to the Mormons. His father, god, isn’t mentioned very much in the bible then, more or less not at all.

    2. At some point, God the Father, comes down to earth and has sex with Mary. This gives spirit jesus a meat body to run around in for a while.

    One wonders why jesus can make an entire planet, get ticked at humans and kill all but 8 in a big magic Flood, perform any number of miracles in the bible, but can’t even make his own meat suit.

    Well it’s all opinion but, Mormon theology makes as much sense as xian theology which is to say none at all. While they don’t make any sense, they are still radically different enough to make them separate religions. IMO.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Mormonism is a lot like an etch-a-sketch…

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    There is no way to decide who is a Real Xian and who is a Fake Xian.

    That’s why I have the simplifying idea of using Christian for anyone who merely self-identifies as a Christian and Christian+ for those who have additional, admirable characteristics. Yes, it is unclear who gets to define “additional, admirable characteristics,” but what could go wrong?

  • Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    Yes, it is unclear who gets to define “additional, admirable characteristics,” but what could go wrong? – heddle

    Well, if you don’t specify what those characteristics are, plenty. But admittedly, even if you do so specify, idiots and the dishonest could pretend that you haven’t.

  • Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    That’s why I have the simplifying idea of using Christian for anyone who merely self-identifies as a Christian and Christian+ for those who have additional, admirable characteristics. Yes, it is unclear who gets to define “additional, admirable characteristics,” but what could go wrong?

    In some venues that would both penetrate and cause a reaction not much different from those who are so often ridiculed in this and other freethinking venues.

  • http://reasondecrystallized.blogspot.com andrew

    the tension within the religious right base of the Republican party over Mitt Romney’s religion

    I think that the tension has mostly been suppressed. As early as 1998 (I think!) the Southern Baptists had their convention in Salt Lake city and this was seen as a direct confrontation with a cult–a false teaching designed by Satan to lead your souls down the path to Hell.

    But clearly the black communazi is a much bigger threat. And when it comes to dark-skinned, baby-killing, socialist-fascists, we can work with the hell-bound cultists against a greater common enemy.

  • Ichthyic

    This is just one of countless more examples regarding why we need a different set of premises when it comes to identifying one person’s religiosity from a theological perspective relative to what we should use to define Christianity in the public square [1].

    nope, it’s just an instance indicating how easy it is to manipulate authoritarian personalities, so long as you can successfully portray yourself as a trusted authority.

    this is why the pastor can say entirely different things about Romney’s religion on different days.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    That’s why I have the simplifying idea of using Christian for anyone who merely self-identifies as a Christian and Christian+ for those who have additional, admirable characteristics. Yes, it is unclear who gets to define “additional, admirable characteristics,”

    Yeah! Like that guy nowadays who says he’s jesus’ resurrection. That’s definitely christianity+ christianity+extra batshit insanity, that is.

    I get a big kick out of trying to get christians to own Hong Xiuquan. After all, he was one of theirs. He just had a slightly weird interpretation of it, but so did Augustine.

  • Ichthyic

    but what could go wrong?

    considering you’re the master of the true Scotsman fallacy?

    absolutely nothing, I’m sure.

  • jba55

    “Jba, it looks like the Mormon church teaches both. And this is somewhat contradictory. ”

    Heh, lots of Mormon theology is contradictory, it’s one of the things that made me lose faith. I found it very difficult to reconcile the concept of god that they preach when it seems that which doctrines are most important (or even “correct”) depends on where you grew up. Sunday school teachers from Boston taught one version, from Salt Lake another, from California yet another, etc. I know humans are fallible and all, but still it didn’t make me confident in the teachings to have so much confusion in the message.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Kent Clark, the CEO of Grace Centers of Hope, a faith-based homeless outreach” (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/27/pastor-backing-santorum-claims-romney-is-not-a-christian/)

    I’m guessing by his lights that Paul Ryan, a cross carrying member of the First Church of the Whore of Babylon is not a christian either.

    And what is it with this guy, a fellow CEO, dumping on Mittmoroni, anyway? Was that part of oneathem corporate hostile takeover things I’m always hearing about?