A Christianity Today Essay: Yes, Evangelicals Can Vote for a Mormon

I just had the opportunity to write a Christianity Today piece on whether the American president is a pastor or not.  Judd Birdsall and I wrote point-counterpoint essays for the site.  As with our previous exchange, I enjoyed the experience and thought Judd made some good points in his article.  It’s interesting to think this through in light of the fact that the Republican ticket is led by a Mormon and a Catholic.

Here’s the core of my argument from “Our American President: The ‘Almost Pastor’ of an ‘Almost Chosen’ Land”:

What of the upcoming election, which features a Mormon candidate for the presidency? However charitable and even constructive in certain ways, recent Mormon-Christian dialogues have not necessarily assuaged the doctrinal concerns of many evangelicals. The President, however, is not a pastor. As recent books like Could I Vote for a Mormon as President? argue, it is conscionable to support and vote for a Mormon.

…America is a unique country, one that has accomplished tremendous good in its relatively short life. The “almost pastor,” the President of this nation, seemingly an “almost chosen” land, has the opportunity to extend this legacy or to quash it. Christians have a chance to play a role in this great matter, even as we remember that our disappointment in even the best of leaders is only temporary. Soon, a figure will rule the world who gives us far more than telegenic looks and searing oratory.

Here’s the whole piece.

  • http://whytheology.wordpress.com Trey Medley

    To refer to those as point-counterpoint articles is ridiculous. Both of them imply the same conclusion (somewhat shamelessly): vote Republican. When did this party get such a strangle hold on the Church that Evangelicals see it as the only genuine option. A real point-counterpoint would be whether Romney’s Mormonism (coupled with Ryan’s Catholicism) makes him more or less favorable than Obama who, though clearly having an active faith (which is Protestant), does not support the same policies most white conservative evangelicals support. Instead the two articles come across as “when I vote for Romney should I feel really good because he has already acted well in the role of “pastor in chief” or should I be unburdened by it because that isn’t his role (even though evangelicals clearly thought it was George W. Bush’s role).” That’s not a debate and is ridiculously partisan. Portraying it as anything else is dishonest.

  • owenstrachan

    Strong words, Trey. Appreciate your opinion. Did you see the earlier point-counterpoint between Judd and me on President Obama’s faith? It might be of interest (it’s linked at the bottom of the CT article).

    Not to single you out, but Judd and I actually do disagree on the fairly important subject of whether or not the president is a pastor. Just to be clear.

    • http://whytheology.wordpress.com Trey Medley

      Go ahead and single me out (trust me I can take it). While you may disagree theoretically, it is only by the smallest of degrees (full pastor or almost pastor), and the end result is the same: you should vote Republican and feel either just good about it, or like it is your Christian duty. That’s a bit problematic for many reasons.