Religion and Politics and the Change

From Christian Science Monitor, where you can read the full story:

For the first time since the founding of the Republic, none of the major party candidates for president or vice president is a WASP – a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant – a fact that was confirmed when Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate.

Mr. Romney is Mormon, Mr. Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden are Roman Catholic, and President Obama– a man of mixed race – most obviously is not a WASP.

With the candidacies of Mr. Obama and Sarah Palin in 2008, the trend toward greater diversity took a big step. But this year’s election and its lack of the kind of person the Founding Fathers were – ethnically, racially, and religiously, at least – is causing widespread comment.

The faith factor: Religion’s new prominence in campaign 2012

“For the first time in our country’s history the Republican party is set to nominate a presidential ticket that does not include a Protestant,” writes religion scholar Thomas Whitley on the Associated Baptist Press news blog. “And in a strange turn of events that is sure to have many WASPs scratching their heads, President Obama will be the only Protestant on either party’s ticket.”

Will it make any difference in the election results?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • BradK

    To the average non-Christian, the difference between Mitt Romney and your run-of-the-mill evangelical is probably not that large. Mormons fall within a broad definition of Protestant, as per the Webster definition…

    b : a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church

  • Mike H

    BradK,

    but the definition you just gave, Mormonism does not fall into that category.

  • Mike H

    *by the definition

  • Johnathan Knop

    Mike H. is right.
    1.)”affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone” => Mormons believe in works based attonment (E.G. Baptism of the Dead) wth also multiple heavens.
    2.) “primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth” => Mormons also believe in book of Mormon

    Mormons also believe in Polytheism.

  • BradK

    Mike, most evangelicals regard Mormons as non-Christians, but most Mormons regard themselves as Christians. Fwiw, I didn’t intend to inspire a discussion of what constitutes a Christian. But here is an article by a Mormon on that very subject.

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/2007/06/who-gets-to-define-christian.html/

    My point, which I did not clearly state, was merely that it just doesn’t seem likely that none of the candidates being Protestant will make much difference in the election results because, in most ways there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference between Romney and the bulk of evangelical Christianity, President Obama is a Protestant, and the religious beliefs of the veep candidates don’t really matter that much. Most people in this country know people of similar religious persuasion to all of the men on the tickets and aren’t likely to regard them so much as “other.”

    Anyway, the vast majority of the people who are likely to vote for the President are likely of a more flexible mindset that is more accepting of religious difference. And most of those who are likely to vote against President Obama (sadly) see him as no more of a Christian than Romney. (Will anybody interviewing either candidate ask the kind of questions that would allow voters to actually decide whether this is true? I don’t expect to be hearing christological discussion during the debates.) There is nothing particularly earth-shatteringly different about the religion of this slate of candidates than of those of the past regardless of this writer drawing a technical distinction about it.

  • BradK

    Johnathan, the broad definition to which I was referring was the part I bolded – “a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church” – rather than the other part of the definition.


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