Monday, July 31, 2006

Mitt Romney's Evangelical Problem

Well, in the last post Sir Jason opened a can of worms we've kicked around before. Comments always seem to indicate that West-Coast Christians are a little more comfortable with Mormons than the rest of us evangelical fanatics.

This article puts a real-world frame of reference and relevance around that topic. Should we look forward to Romney's campaign as an opportunity for the True Word to be revealed even more as the issue is brought to light...or as another event destined to further compromise the word of evangelical leaders?

Sir Chuck, watching the camel advance toward the needle

21 comments:

  1. As a nonserious by the by:

    A Morman once asked Mark Twain, "Where does the Bible forbid polygamy?"

    Mark Twain said, "No man can serve two masters"

    10:46 PM

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  2. Part of the reason I am more sanguine is to be honest, I have something of an admiration for Mormans-a secular admiration(bold pioneers, straitlaced mildly rednecky in an urban sort of way-that sort of thing) rather then a doctrinal one. And I dislike secularism(not necessarily all secularists) rather then merely disaggreeing with it.

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  3. If we are just focused on "moral" leaders, let's elect all Muslims into office.

    Mormonism is deadly at its core.

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  4. If we are just focused on "moral" leaders, let's elect all Muslims into office.

    Mormonism is deadly at its core.

    9:39 PM
    ________________________
    Sir Paul's point is taken.
    But not all Muslims are particularly moral. And the most noticeable vice's of Moslims are phariseeism and cruelty which affects all whereas the most noticeable vice of Mormans is heresy which affects mainly Mormons. And lots of things are deadly at their core. And we are not just focused on morality but on how well they do their job.

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  5. Count Sir Jason in with Falwell,
    Colson, and the other Christians who would vote for a Mormon or Muslim for president if they appear to be a pretty good guy, who believe they would have no problem with living under the executive direction of one who has no respect for our Lord and God.

    Think Israelis would vote for a smooth-talking conservative Mormon or Muslim for prime minister, Sir Jason? Why not? Why should we be any different?

    Sir C, not quite that gullible...

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  6. Count Sir Jason in with Falwell,
    Colson, and the other Christians who would vote for a Mormon or Muslim for president if they appear to be a pretty good guy, who believe they would have no problem with living under the executive direction of one who has no respect for our Lord and God.

    Think Israelis would vote for a smooth-talking conservative Mormon or Muslim for prime minister, Sir Jason? Why not? Why should we be any different?

    Sir C, not quite that gullible...

    2:04 PM
    _____________________________
    Sir Chucks brings up some delicate points. Theoretically Israel could elect a Muslim Prime Minister however it is unlikly to do so because Israel is supposed to be a Jewish state. The tension between how to be both a Jewish state and a democracy is a sore point in Israel. However as long as Jews are the majority the Prime Minister of Israel will be Jewish, and Israel goes to unusual efforts to make sure that Jews are a majority. To give an extreme example, wondering whether Israel might have a Moslem Prime Minister is like wondering whether Vatican City should have a Moslem Pope. However America is in a different situation from both states.
    Also electing a member of a sect who claims a large number of avowed enemies of one's own state is a problematic thing. This is a sore point as the "conflict of interest" has often been used to justify discrimination(for instance against catholics). Nontheless it is not totally illogical.
    Mormanism is a home-grown sect. There is no particular danger of conflicting loyalties-unless the State of Utah suddenly decides to secede.
    The chances of getting an evangelical who is both capable and pious are very little as there are few evangelicals in the running. One way or another we are probably going to get someone who disaggrees with us on doctrine. We could do far worse then to have a Mormon.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

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  7. However America is in a different situation from both states.

    How so, Sir J? Even with the problematic theology of some of our founding fathers, could you reasonably defend a belief that any of them imagined our country anything other than a Christian country, with Christian leadership? And even with the secular condition of our current population, aren't we still 70-80% (or more) of Christian heritage?

    Sir C, refusing to yield the land...

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  8. Sir Chuck makes a valid point the founding fathers would not have thought of America as a specifically Christ-rejecting country. On the other hand they did not think of it as a Christian country as such. In point of fact they thought of it primarily as a democratic(more accurately, non-monarchical) country.
    Remember if the Church tries to make the State it's tool, it may find it has become the State's tool. That is what happened in Europe where the result was a cancerous metamorphisis from religious fanaticism(fifteen hundreds, sixteen hundreds) to Laodocian complacency(seventeen hundreds)to anti-religious fanaticism(French, Nazi, Communist Revolutions). A large part of that comes from looking at government as a field of human affairs that the church should try to control directly-and the angry reaction to that.
    Government is primarily a job-an earthly one. When you hire a plumber you do not primarily consider his piety. You consider how good a plumber he will be.
    His honesty is also a consideration. But his piety isn't except insofar as it affects his honesty. Now we may prefer he be a good Christian-but how strongly are we going to worry about it.
    One of the reasons for the success of the Church in America is that it did not insist on more power then it was given-did not claim Sauron's Ring. The Church took part in politics certainly, but it never attempted to confuse politics and religion.
    That sounds like "Separation of Church and State" but that in fact is a perfectly good principal(the ACLU's version is better described as antigonism of Church and State)and has in fact contributed a lot toward the success of Western Civilization when it has been applied.*
    It might be recalled that the sword was given to Caesar. If we can accept that of a heathen like Caesar, why worry so much about a heretic like Rommey?
    And are not most politicians
    nominal Anglicans
    -you know the Church founded by a King who was mad that the Pope wouldn't let him have another wife?
    With gay preachers? Isn't that kind of straining at a gnat?
    It is not our duty as Christians to vote in such a way as would be beneficial to Christians as Christians. That would be a misuse of a public charge and therefore a dereliction of duty-it would be like a cop passing out tracts when he is supposed to be on duty. It is our duty as Christian voters to think about American's in general which means to chose the best possible candidate.
    It is common in American politics to cringe at one candidate-until his opposition is seen. Could that be what is happening? It is a thought.
    This has been a slightly heated discussion, and I hope I have not given offense to anyone.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded


    *It existed in a different sense in Medieval Christiandom in many places and was very helpful to society.

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  9. Ultimatly we are arguing two sides of a subtle debate. I tend to take the position that the Church should neither leave the world to itself nor attempt to dominate the world. Somewhere between these extremes we must thread are way through a lot of tangles and parodoxes.

    Sir Jason the Less Longwinded then Usual

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  10. No offense taken at all, Sir J, you carry a strong sword as usual, and as expected. Much to appreciate in sound thinking.

    Rejoinder...

    When you hire a plumber you do not primarily consider his piety. You consider how good a plumber he will be.

    But the Word doesn't put me under the authority of the plumber I hire. It does, however, put me under an obligation to follow the dictates of the leader of my country. It was a problem for Jesus, could be a problem for us, as well.

    I agree with all of your points on separation of church and state. I might add that the official adoption of the faith by Rome necessitated a "Just War" doctrine, which then ultimately justified the Crusades. By that point, it had become hard to identify Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount in church doctrine.

    All of which does not provide justification for intentionally electing (the first) non-Christian to be the leader of our country.

    Your point of options is valid. Would I vote for a (nominally) Christian Hillary Clinton over a non-Christian? If I were forced to, I guess I would. After all, there would still be hope that Our Lord could move on her spirit (don’t laugh, that would be judging. :-)

    But in reality, we are not forced to make a selection between a blind man and a beggar. There are always the invisible third party candidates (the Constitution Party has put up some decent candidates recently.) And I know one strong knight who wrote in Jesus Christ in 2004. A pragmatist might argue that those are wasted votes, but even so, that is our right. Better to feed the spirit than to feed the devil, I say.

    -Sir Chuck, feeling my oats today...

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  11. An incomplete thought.....

    It’s the slippery slope we’re on. Republicans are declaring they’d vote for a Democrat before they’re vote for Senator McCain. Or Democrats won’t elect Senator Lieberman because he supports the President and the War on Iraq.

    In this world, this nation, you can set your personal standards, principles and canons. But try finding someone for every political position from dog catcher to President to match your vision. You make compromises. You vote or don’t vote.

    We’re learning the difficulty of being human without God as our King, the ultimate benevolent dictator. The children of Israel had it easy before Saul, and just didn’t know it or believe it.

    Would I vote for a Mormon? What are my other options? A tree hugging pagan? An Islamic fascist? A Methodist? I don’t even know if I pick Jefferson – he’s a Wahoo.

    Where do you draw a line and say no more? And in our political system, what does "no more" mean? New party? Not voting? Move to the Oregon hills and wait for ATF to show up?

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe
    (and loyal Hokie)

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  12. I agree with Sir Don. Typically there are only two choices as to who will be president. You often have to chose the lesser of two evils.

    Years ago Oregon had three candidates for a gubernatorial election, one was a born again Christian, a good man but with little chance of winning. Another was a fairly upstanding republican who did not like abortion but would not try to ban it. The third was a super liberal woman. You guessed it, the liberal woman got it because the rest of the voters were divided.

    America is the best country on earth, but it is still on earth. Most of its citizens are not really serving God. We do the best we can with what we have.

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  13. Sirs D, J, and J...

    Usually I am the one accused of pragmatism, but on this topic ye are clearly more so. Sir John, the illustration you made was similar to the 1992 election, was it not? And the winner was the clear liberal, again.

    Since I was one of those who chose to vote for the guaranteed loser, I might ask myself, was my idealism worth the 8 years of Mr. clinton?

    But that really isn't a relevant question to ask. If I had voted against my conscience for Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton would have won anyway, right?

    Even more so, anyone who voted for Mr. Nader in 2000 might reassess their decision in hindsight. Nevertheless, any one of them voting for Mr. Gore against their conscience would not have changed the outcome either.

    You would have to have had a concerted mass decision not to vote for that third candidate to change any outcome. Realistically, that could not happen...the third candidate is filling a need in the electorate. I would also argue that the third candidate is fulfilling a purpose of God.

    So, when God gives us an opportunity to choose, even if we know the cause to be hopeless, we can vote for the right choice loser, or the wrong choice lesser of two evils.

    Level 1 or Level 2 of Hell, what's the difference?

    Sir Chuck, still seeking Right against all odds...

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  14. “Nevertheless, any one of them voting for Mr. Gore against their conscience would not have changed the outcome either.”

    Sir Chuck,

    I agree entirely.

    Daniel 2:21. "It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
    He removes kings and establishes kings;
    He gives wisdom to wise men
    And knowledge to men of understanding.

    I just don’t see it as a matter of conscience, since, to me at least, unless there is a clear scripture or other commandment from God conscience is not involved. It is a simple choice based on my own limited reason.

    Having said that, I would never want to encourage a brother to violate his own conscience whether it be for an election or some diet issue. Consciences are highly individualistic. What may be fine for me may be a serious wrongdoing to you. So be it. Go with you conscience.

    Fairly conscientious John

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  15. Yea, verily...we've reached agreement that a man's conscience should guide him. Then let us address the crux of the issue...

    Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a threat in a way that Catholicism and even Judaism are not. The LDS Church, they charge, has perverted Christian teachings to create a false religion. As John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission—an organization that tries to convert Mormons—told Christianity Today: "Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it's true, every other religion in America is false." To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk. And to put a Mormon in the White House would be to place a stamp of approval on that faith.

    Does that not make it a matter of conscience?

    Sir C of the jagged thrust

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  16. 1Ki 3:9-11 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
    And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
    And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;


    Jam 1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
    But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.


    Pragmatism and conscience, as concepts for Christians, are to be avoided in my mind. Discernment and faith are much better methods.

    But to Sir Chuck's question, it is still a question of free will (my favorite topic). It's a fallen world, and we only have hope through God's grace and righteousness. In our democratic republic, we select our representatives, and we much choose wisely.

    Micah 6: 8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    There is no pragmatic answer.

    And while I agree with the issue. I don't think a Mormon president would put a stamp of approval on that religon. It's already a state, and that's a pretty powerful political entity.

    On the surface, I agree with Chuck. There is a right and wrong based on God's Word. But you keep going deep enough, and any man, save one, will have a flaw or hidden sin.

    Then do you not choose? I didn't vote for the pagan Clinton. I wouldn't vote for Romney either. But who do you chose? H.R. Clinton? Newt Gringrich? Ruddy Guliani? ????? Had problems with the Bush's too.

    too long by half.....

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

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  17. I have been thinking about this issue. I voted for Gordon Smith, our local Mormon senator. He stood strong on some family values issues that were important to me. I feel no twinges of conscience whatever.

    I would vastly rather have a Mormon who walks in God's laws in his daily life than a Baptist or even a Pentecostal who may have excellent doctrine but is not a doer of the word.

    Pro 28:9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

    While morality will not save us, it is very important.

    Also, I don’t think you can conclude that every Mormon is evil just because their church has some serious flaws in its doctrine, and it does.

    Sir John, in the suburbs of Salt Lake

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  18. I would vastly rather have a Mormon who walks in God's laws in his daily life than a Baptist or even a Pentecostal who may have excellent doctrine but is not a doer of the word.

    We're all sinners, aren't we, Sir John? Why assume that any particular Mormon would be more righteous in his daily walk than any particular Baptist or Pentecostal? Seems like you're beating up a biased straw man, to me.

    Also, I don’t think you can conclude that every Mormon is evil just because their church has some serious flaws in its doctrine, and it does.

    What is it, then, that prevents these good people from seeing the "serious flaws" in their belief? Is it just that they haven't had some good Christian show them the Truth? Or is it that they've rejected that Truth to follow false gods?

    I agree with your right to vote for your local representative to be a Mormon, Muslim, Wiccan, or anything else, if you think that person is best qualifified to represent you at the respective level of government. You may not have another choice. (If not, I would suggest you run for office yourself. You're obviously needed!) :-)

    But when we're talking about our national leader, the single (human) individual with the most influence on the direction of the land we love, I think your obligation as a American Christian, endowed with the rights of all Americans, is to dedicate yourself to the cause of Christian leadership. If you're given the right to Christian leadership, and you willingly give it away to a non-Christian...where's the Biblical support for that?

    Sir Chuck, rising to the sound of trumpets

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  19. But who do you chose? H.R. Clinton? Newt Gringrich? Ruddy Guliani? ?????

    Check out this party's platform, Sir Don.

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php#Terrorism%20and%20Personal%20Liberty

    Sir C, wishing one of the main parties would come this clearly on the Side of Good

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  20. Sir Chuck,

    It is another one of God's mysteries, but He very often makes rulers of scoundrels.

    Daniel 4 :17. "This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers
    And the decision is a command of the holy ones,
    In order that the living may know
    That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind,
    And bestows it on whom He wishes
    And sets over it the lowliest of men."

    All we can do it pray about our choice and do the best we can.

    Sir John, trusting election rather than ours

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  21. Interesting side note on compromising on leaders, this come from the comments on the the blog Rock of Galilee .



    "The prime minister . . . was a reporter in the army and has no fighting experience. The defense minister worked in the supply chain and has spent the past number of years holding Israel hostage as the head of the labor union."

    Who elected these guys anyway?

    How can you blame democratically elected leaders? Did they lie during the election campaign?

    The Lebanese had Syrian interference to blame for their failure to stop Hezballah from taking over. What is Israel's excuse?

    Please blame the voters.

    At 5:08 AM, Eli said...

    The voters can only vote for those who are running in the election. And these guys were the best there was. They can at least be called crappy leaders. Everyone else weren't even crappy leaders. They were just a bunch of pathetic goons who had a narrow agenda to get money out of the government for their miserly needs.

    So who should we have voted for? We just picked the least of all the evils.

    What we really need is some normal people to run in the election, but no one wants to volunteer for the job. How about Jameel? I'll vote for him.


    As leaders go, so go the country...

    Sir C

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