He was having a rally, right in my little suburb, on the college quad. I didn’t go to the rally, but I was in the right place at the right time to see him driving up to the campus. His jaw and hairline in the passenger window were unmistakable.
I’ve been putting off this blog post for a while, but seeing the possible future President reminded me of this.
More and more, a President’s faith comes under scrutiny and doubt from the public. I’m pretty sure half the country despised the fact that W. was a Christian. Now, half the country believes Obama is a Muslim, so he has to try to combat that with periodic public displays of Christianity. Despite our “post-religious” culture, we still take religion really seriously.
And the next election will possibly break new ground when it comes to religion in the White House, and I for one am torn on what the right choice is.
Super Happy Mormon-Land
It’s no secret that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. I don’t know what kind of Mormon he is. I don’t know if we have any Mormons in this audience. Every Mormon I’ve met are completely wonderful people…but, I believe Mormonism is an American religion, separate from orthodox Christianity.
Outside of Utah, my own city is kind of like a Mormon capitol. They own huge tracts of land here. They just built a towering, white building by the highway where celestial weddings will happen. It’s huge, imposing, and kind of creepy. Jesus himself is supposed to make his return, right here in my home town.
Maybe you’ve put it out of your mind, but I’m a bit more sensitive to the Mormon thing.
A generation ago, Christians faced a dilemma. JFK was the first Roman Catholic who was going to become President. And all the WASPS were kind of creeped out by Catholics and were afraid that the Pope was going to be pulling the President’s strings. Of course, we know now that the Pope had little to no influence on JFK, as he promised. He preferred blondes.
Mormonism is one of the fastest growing faiths in our country, and we face a similar dilemma. No, not the dilemma of the Mormon Pope controlling the President. Outside of South Park, and The Book of Mormon on Broadway, Mitt Romney is the face of Mormonism. Will electing a Mormon President somehow lend even more legitimacy to Mormonism, especially as mainstream Christianity is on the decline?
I don’t know. Maybe Mormonism will suffer if Romney turns out to be a very unpopular President. But probably not. And Christianity hasn’t seemed to benefit from great Christian presidents, nor has it been hurt by terrible Christian presidents. Still, it is uncharted territory.
Christian or Conservative
I guess my biggest question is this: do Christians have an obligation to try to elect Christian presidents? It’s not in the Bible. It’s unfathomable that Jesus himself would ever consider that his followers would ever be in such a situation. But since the eighties, Christians have been a voting bloc, convinced they are obligated to elect “God’s” pick for President.
Like I said, maybe you’ve put this out of your mind. It’s a non-issue to you. But that’s my point, really. A year or two ago, Liberty University (Jerry Falwell’s school) invited Glenn Beck to speak at their commencement exercises. Beck is, of course, a Mormon (and a raving conservative). The obvious implication is that Liberty is not emphasizing a Christian education, but a conservative education.
And that’s where I think a lot of conservative Christians are. We’re not voting Christian, but conservative. We’ve voting with our wallets. We’re voting with our faith in economic policy instead of our faith in God.
One Heck of a Guy
To complicate the dilemma, Romney seems to be a hell of a guy. He fits the Mormon mold to a T. He’s an incredibly moral, upstanding man. We could have a Roman Catholic, but Newt doesn’t have a fraction of the personal character that Romney has. Is it better to elect a morally imperfect, more orthodox president, or a morally perfect, but unorthdox president?
So my question is: if a guy is so great, does it matter where his ethics come from? Those of you who love Obama: would it matter if he really were a Muslim? Are Christians obligated to elect Christians? Or are we free to vote for lower taxes, and God will deal with the Mormons?