The thing I like least about Evangelicals of a certain mindset is the way they go around throwing everybody out of the boat – the way Warren Cole Smith does in his recent post “A vote for Romney is a vote for the LDS Church.”
Smith says that Mitt Romney’s religious worldview will be vital to his governing philosophy, and thus shouldn’t be overlooked when discerning whether evangelicals ought to vote for him or not.
Specifically, Smith takes to task conservatives who were dismissive of Romney’s religious beliefs in the last election: “If we were endorsing Mr. Romney for head of the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Paul Weyrich, “the objections of Evangelical Christians would be wholly appropriate. Be we are not.” Smith notes that Weyrich eventually retracted his endorsement of Mitt Romney, and begged forgiveness from social conservatives.
Personally, I might have told them to kiss my shiny white-hiney, but then again, I can be belligerent that way.
To be clear the only people who consider me a conservative are West-Coast lefties who can’t understand how a person can love Jesus and think at the same time. The minute they discover I’m a Christian, they assume that I’m a fan of She-who-will-not-be-named-who-had-lunch-with-Donald-Trump.
I am not. And in fact, I’ve forbidden myself from ever using her real name in public again. I’ve learned it’s like dropping the F-bomb. Whenever you say it, you offend somebody. And in the sake of Paul’s admonition to not offend, I simply don’t say her name, but you know who I’m talking about.
The arrogance inherent in such an assumption is as bad as the self-righteousness inherent in Smith’s argument, which he sums up this way: The Christian world-view teaches that there is a short tether binding beliefs to the values and behaviors that flow from them. If the beliefs are false, then the behavior will eventually—but inevitably—be warped. Mormonism is particularly troubling on this point because Mormons believe in the idea of “continuing revelation.” They may believe one thing today, and something else tomorrow. This is why Mormons have changed their views, for example, on marriage and race. Polygamy was once a key distinctive of the religion. Now, of course, it is not. Mormons once forbade blacks from leadership roles. Now they do not. What else will change?
Oh. Yeah. Right, buddy, because Evangelicals never, ever change their minds on things, do they? Wonder where Smith has been while the battle around women in church leadership rages on? Or the one about gay marriage? Or how about the conversation about hell that’s been dominating evangelical circles lately?
I’m not saying the Mormon position on blacks in leadership roles was right, but Evangelicals have absolutely no bragging rights when it comes to this issue. The bulk of evangelical churches around the country continue to struggle with segregation.
Harold Camping would be considered an evangelical in most circles, but imagine someone like him in office. He would have figured it success to blow us all to smithereens on May 21st. The last thing we need in the White House is an arrogant evangelical who thinks that God has anointed them for such a time as The Ending.
Smith says: “If Mitt Romney believes what the Mormon Church teaches about the world and how it operates, then he is unfit to serve. We make him our President at great peril to the intellectual and spiritual health of our nation.”
Is it just me or does Smith’s proclamation carry the same dire tone of Camping’s erroneous Doomsday prediction?
Despite the suggestion embedded in Smith’s remarks, Mitt Romney’s faith is not the problem. You can be an Evangelical and vote for a Mormon — if you so choose — without compromising one’s theology in the process. (Not that conservatives are opposed to compromising their theology when it serves their pocketbooks, mind you. Anyone ever heard of Blackwater? ).
Smith seems to have forgotten that Jesus didn’t go about tossing people overboard – he was too busy caring about them. The primary thing we need to know about anyone we elect to office is whether or not they truly care about people. Any leader who puts the welfare of the people first is going to be following the very example that Christ modeled, and fulfilling the vision of a Democracy.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Will Jesus Buy Me a DoubleWide? ’cause I need more room for my plasma TV. She can be reached on Twitter @karenzach