Will the "stark contrast" between Romney and Obama energize evangelicals?

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jim,

My question would be will they vote for Romney over Obama or simply stay home because Romney is Mormon?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Lee's picture

Why would evangelicals balk more at voting for a devout Mormon than for a devout Roman Catholic? Both name the name of Christ in error. I may be super naive, but I don't understand why there would be a question.

Lee

JobK's picture

Luther said better to be ruled by a wise Muslim than a foolish Christian. With the exception of the Old Testament Israel theocracy, government is a common grace institution used by God to restrain evil and to carry out God's purposes in human history. (Keep in mind: Israel only went from being a pure theocracy to a monarchy because of the sinful rebellion of the people.) In the Bible, some of the best kings and rulers were pagan, and some of the worst were Jews.

We started mixing special and common grace using government when Christianity - which was already becoming hellenized and veering into apostasy ... it was "Catholic" before it was Roman - became the Roman state religion. The mixing of the two diminished first because of the breakup of the Roman empire, and second because kings began to act independently of and even outright defy the pope. If anything, the Reformation gave the state church notion a shot in the arm by separating it from a Roman Church that was becoming a caricature of itself, and creating a group of religious states filled with economic, social, political and religious vitality (which they used to crush the Anabaptists, along with the Catholics). Sadly, the godless Enlightenment philosophers had to come along and promote the very "separation of the common state and holy church" idea that was always present in the Bible, and even then it was a corrupt, fallen version of it that was more concerned with the state permitting the people to sin than it was separating the holy church from the unregenerate state.

But the idea that voting for a person was an endorsement of his religious views didn't come along until the religious right movement when no small number of Christian preachers and theologians told us so despite knowing better. Consider that John Kennedy's election did not cause an increase in Roman Catholicism, and Richard Nixon's election certainly didn't do a thing for Quakers. But now, thanks to over 30 years of the failed religious right movement, when Mitt Romney gets elected using the votes of the same tens of millions of evangelicals who made voting for three mainline Protestant theological liberals who had ceased regular observance and publicly promoted heretical views - Presbyterian Reagan (whose father was an unobservant Catholic incidentally), Episcopalian Bush, Episcopalian/Methodist Bush II - an exercise of public worship and personal piety, it will be an incredible moment for Mormonism in this country and throughout the world.

Had George Romney gotten elected, it would have been no big deal, because Jerry Falwell - who reportedly turned to politics because he couldn't effect the change that he wanted through preaching - wasn't on the scene yet, and neither was Frank Schaeffer, Pat Robertson, James Dobson etc. Also, Obama's liberation theology did not gain any traction because the Democrats are the secular party. This is also why Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter weren't even influential in their Southern Baptist Convention or wider Baptist circles (their attempts to create a liberal Baptist political movement fizzled). But thanks to the misguided actions of people who have gone around trying to sanctify human government (and democracy, a thoroughly pagan idea that totally rejects the Bible's treatment of the monarchy institution no less!) and even advocated the idea that America is some sort of neo-OT Israel with some divine calling or special relationship with God (which incidentally has always been part of Mormon theology!), where in the past voting for a particular candidate would have had as much religious or spiritual significance as deciding what color to paint your bedroom or choosing which team to root for in the World Series, now evangelicals are poised to hand the Mormon church a much bigger victory than they could have ever gained on their own!

And the liberal institutions (the media, Hollywood etc.) are fine with it. Their main enemy has always been the traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant leadership of this country. Though they would prefer Obama, if Obama - whom they view as a disappointment and really don't like as much as they pretend to - if Obama is going to lose, why not make it to an outsider? Seeing all the Southern Baptist, PCA, Assemblies of God etc. types rush to the polls to elect a bishop in the Mormon church will induce so many giggles in the media that it will almost make up for Obama losing. They will also know that "the Christian party" (the Republicans) in a "Christian nation" (America) nominating and electing a Mormon will leave a great many folks no choice but to concede the idea that Mormonism is another Christian denomination. It will be no different than the theological concessions that the evangelicals have had to make to accommodate their political activism with Catholics and Jews. Regarding the latter, you really can't be involved in the religious right without espousing some sort of dual covenant theology. So with Catholics, Jews, Mormons and mainline Protestants that are theologically liberal but politically conservative (this basically describes the bunch that dominates the conservative media, from Fox News to talk radio to the blogosphere) the religious right will morph into works-religion theology combined with aggressive, muscular "patriotism." And as our country continues on its social decline (caused by trends that the religious right can't reverse, and truthfully hasn't even tried to) and its economic decline (brought on by the combination of internal social problems and more third world nations developing their economies to the point of becoming competitors, and not just India and China mind you, but I have read several articles about technology-driven economic vitality in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East ... you no longer need heavy manufacturing or massive infrastructure to become economically relevant) who knows how they will react ... possibly a combination of compromising still more theologically while being ever more fervent as part of some vain quest to "save America" through neo-classical economics and neo-liberal defense and foreign policy. Good luck with that!

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Lee's picture

Hey, Liberty University has made him the featured speaker for this year's commencement. Is that tantamount to the official evangelical OK so that the base will get out and vote Obama out and save America?

Lee