OHATCHEE, Al., October 20, 2012 — Whether it is due to Mormonism or Massachusetts, some undecided voters are apprehensive about voting for Mitt Romney despite their conviction that Barack Obama has the wrong vision for the country.
In seeking to diagnose and remedy these qualms, I found them to be rooted in two easily made, overlapping errors: A misunderstanding of the role of executive government and a misunderstanding of Romney’s record.
In exit polls following Alabama’s tight March 13th Republican primary race, those who favored Rick Santorum over all responded that sharing their “religious beliefs” was a significant factor in their choice of a presidential candidate.
But if pure theology were really the motive behind Alabama’s majority decision, then Ron Paul, the only Southern Baptist remaining in the race at that time, would have been the winner – and he came in at a distant fourth place.
The “shared religious beliefs” question just provided a polite way of saying, “I don’t want to vote for a Mormon.”
Yet our White House has been residence to Unitarians, at least one likely Deist, and multiple Freemasons. Is Romney’s Mormonism really any weirder?
To put it hypothetically, if apparently non-Christian Thomas Jefferson were running against self-professed Christian Obama, would Jefferson get your vote?
The U.S. president is not a spiritual leader or even a national representative. The president is the chief executive of the federal government hired by the people (through popular vote) and the states (through the Electoral College) who is in charge of hiring and firing several thousand people and managing other duties to keep the federal government running smoothly.
Our own Constitution says in Article VI, “no religious Test shall ever be required as Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Technically, therefore, it would be unconstitutional to deny Romney the presidency on the basis of his Mormonism.
But would it also be unchristian?
The Christian worldview posits that salvation is an individual matter, not a collective matter (conservatism adopts this view in rejecting collectivism). Being a member of a particular church or denomination does not save you, nor does it condemn you anymore than – as the saying goes – being in a garage makes you a car. Only Christ knows Romney’s heart.
In terms of being elected to a secular office, Mike Huckabee and Paul Ryan reminded us at the GOP convention that Romney’s godly example speaks volumes about his character. From Proverbs 11:25, 13:22 and 22:9 to Matthew 6:1-2 and Ephesians 5:25, Romney fits the Biblical profile of a wise, generous, and righteous man. You will know them by their fruits and love for one another…
Humiliatingly, a squeaky-clean Mormon Republican presidential candidate arguably serves us right. Protestants need to man-up. The fact that there are no Protestants on the Supreme Court and that Obama is the only Protestant in the presidential race is a commentary on our intellectual and political impotence in recent days.
I’ve been acquainted with Mormons, and at least two of my best college history textbooks have been authored by a Mormon. Alexandra Swann, author and partner at Frontier 2000 Mortgage & Loan Inc. who is an Evangelical but happens to be a Brigham Young University graduate writes that we could actually learn many positive things from a Mormon president. “While I disagree completely with the theology of the LDS church, I know that Mitt Romney’s culture has been badly mischaracterized by the media,” says Swann.
She explains how the values of work ethic, thriftiness, patriotism, respect for life and for family, sobriety, respect for the rules, and an attitude of service are desirable presidential qualities that Romney has developed because of his faith. “I am voting for a man who understands that he is not above the rules,” writes Swann.
In his nomination acceptance speech, Romney shared a personal business story saying, “I had thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn’t. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell too.” Beneath this humor is a serious message. Romney is a God-fearing man, and that affects his decision making. As agnostic philosopher David Berlinski indicated in his debate with Christopher Hitchens two years ago – and atheist political pundit S.E. Cupp has also noted – having a God-fearing leader in power benefits all citizens.
Voters might also find it interesting to know that in 2008, Mitt and Ann Romney were awarded The Becket Fund’s Canterbury Medal which “recognizes courage in the defense of religious liberty” and is given to those who “resolutely and publicly refused to render to Caesar that which is God’s.”
This concludes the first article of the pamphlet, “Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel: How reverse statism endangers the republic“.
The second will explore Romney’s record.
Amanda Read is a political columnist for the Communities at The Washington Times. A professional writer and researcher, Amanda is also a Christian homeschool graduate, unconventional college student, military daughter, and eldest of the nine Read children at Fair Hills Farm. Find more of her work at www.amandaread.com.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.