OK, I am being a bit presumptuous here. Not only has the November US presidential election not yet taken place (obviously), but it is still not 100 per cent certain that Romney will get the nod to run against Obama for the Republicans. But it is much more than likely that he will, so he is well worth talking about.
When I was writing my earlier article on Mitt Romney and the US elections, I knew I would get all sorts of angry responses from at least four different camps – and true to form all four have in one way or another let me know that they did not approve of what I had written. The four groups are:
-various lefties of course, who love Obama and hate conservatives;
-libertarians in general and Ron Paul supporters (sometimes known as Ronbots) in particular, who seem to think that Paul is as much a messiah as Obama was to the Democrats;
-Mormons obviously, who want to claim they are real Christians and are not a cult;
-and those who fiercely resist any notions of co-belligerency.
This site of course has dealt often with my problems with the lefties, including religious lefties. And I have elsewhere dealt with my concerns about libertarians and Ron Paul. And there are plenty of good books, organisations and websites which highlight the theological errors of Mormonism. (See for example the info found here: forthesakeofthegospel.com/document/ )
So let me here just deal with the last group of objectors: those who seem to think that any sort of cooperation with non-Christians is more or less of the devil and must be resisted at all costs. I have already written elsewhere about this matter:
Here I want to now take this even further in relation to how Christians should think about supporting (voting for) Romney. Because he is a Mormon, many Christians – especially evangelicals – are of two minds as to how to deal with him. Some want nothing to do with him at all, because he is a Mormon, and will refuse to vote for him.
But as I wrote at length in my previous article, all that attitude will get us is another four years of Obama, which will simply be disastrous in just so many ways – even disastrous for these very same evangelical Christians who will allow him to get back in! But see here for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/05/13/on-mitt-romney-and-americas-future/
In the interests of theological purity, many Christians want nothing to do with the guy. Well, can I say I certainly am also interested in theological purity, in the sense that we must guard against error in the churches and stand up for biblical truth and sound doctrine. But that is different from whether we vote for Romney or not. Indeed, we must be quite clear about what we are being asked to do here.
My argument is simply this: to refuse to vote for Romney (if he indeed becomes the Republican challenger), or to not vote at all, will simply ensure that Obama gets back in. That it seems to me is a clear dereliction of Christian duty. Again, what is going to happen if we vote for Romney? Let me tell you what we will not be doing. We will not be voting on the following:
-to have a Mormon preach in your church;
-to have a Mormon teach in your Sunday School;
-to have a Mormon lecture in theology in your seminary;
-to have a Mormon change laws to line up with Mormon teaching;
-to have the Book of Mormon become mandatory reading for all Americans;
-to have Utah made the nation’s capital;
-to have Joseph Smith become a national hero;
-to have Mormon practices become official US policy and practice;
-to have Mormon faith and practice become the law of the land, etc.
We are simply voting on who will be President, which is a fairly constrained position, at least when it comes to theological outcomes. The truth is, Romney did not institute and enforce Mormon doctrines in the state of Massachusetts while Governor there. He was not in a position to do so, and he will not be in a position to do so as President if he is elected.
Some Christians have raised passages such as Isaiah 42:8: “I will not share my glory with another”. Well yes, of course he will not. But what does that have to do with this situation!? Nothing at all, actually. We have already had US presidents who were not born-again Christians. Some of the early ones were deists and into other weird stuff as well, biblically speaking.
Other concerned Christians will talk about not being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). But how are we to understand this text in relation to voting for Obama? The truth is, unless you live as a hermit in a cave somewhere, every single Christian on the planet is rubbing shoulders with, interacting with, and having plenty to do with, non-Christians all the time – and that would include Mormons of course.
We constantly deal with non-Christians, be they Mormons, Hindus, Scientologists, Satan worshippers, Muslims, secular humanists, New Agers, child pornographers, or carnal Christians all the time. Every day we do our banking with them, or buy life insurance from them, or join with them in the workplace, or shop with them, etc.
We buy our cars from them, do our finances with them, or get our health care from them, etc. Probably even most of our favourite sports teams and athletes are non-Christians. Why is it OK to bank with these non-Christians, work for them, and have relationships with them every day, yet not have one as a President?
Indeed, there would be Mormon policemen protecting our homes, or Mormon soldiers fight wars for our freedom. Do we check out their theological pedigree first before we allow them to perform these duties? We are not voting for a theologian but a president. Romney will not be dealing with doctrines but public policy.
The first duty of all Christians (certainly in America) is to use their brains for the glory of God, and to use some biblical discernment to see such realities. We really need to get real here and look at the situation with some discernment and biblical clarity.
A second term of Obama will really be the end of everything, in so many ways. We must understand that if Obama gets in again he will destroy America, marriage and family will be ruined, and tens of thousands of Christians may well be jailed. This will simply not happen under Romney.
As I have said, I am not a fan of Romney by any means. I wish there were another option. But at the moment there are no other options, unless God so chooses to intervene. So for me it is a no-brainer: better Romney than Obama, any day of the week.
For that matter, I would much rather have a principled, competent, capable and honest atheist rule over me than an unprincipled, incompetent, incapable and dishonest Christian – also any day of the week. Because we live in a fallen world, where nothing is perfect, we have to live with the fact that we will often have to choose between the lesser of two evils.
That is reality in a world made up entirely of sinful men and women. Pretending that we can somehow be in some ideal world where only perfectly good and easy choices can be made is just not going to happen, and such wishful thinking helps no one.
Christians are right to be concerned about Romney. I am concerned as well. But as I also keep insisting, we must think clearly here. To simply refuse to vote for Romney will be disastrous. All it means is that we will have Obama for a second term, and even more harm will engulf us.
And as all this radicalism unleashes its full fury, we will have some Christians smugly standing by, wiping their hands, saying, “Well, at least I did not vote for that horrible Mormon”. And they somehow think their consciences will be clean as a result. Respectfully this is why we are losing one battle after another, with very confused and unhelpful thinking as this.
I like what another commentator has written about this: “I agree with Prager: that Romney is willing to acknowledge and accept the reality that Christians and Mormons have ‘different faiths’ is refreshing honesty. And beyond that, he reemphasizes the reality that we are not selecting a theologian in chief, but rather a man who will guide the country either towards or away from the Natural, Moral Order of God.
“I agree that Romney is not as conservative as I would like. It’s why I didn’t vote for him in the primary. And there will be some who say that Romney merely wrote this speech to pander to evangelical Christians. Perhaps. But remember, Romney knew this speech would be dissected and used against him. And he still spoke these truths. That’s something Barack Obama would never do, and that’s the point that needs to be grasped by conservatives.”
Quite so. Of course at the end of the day each Christian must prayerfully consider how they must act here, and how they must vote. I hope they will act and vote wisely.