CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Mormon Presidents

May 17, 2012

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:
billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/02/on-co-belligerency/
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/11/27/on-biblical-cooperation-and-separation/

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.

www.peterheck.com/libtree/liberty_tree/view/2262/romney_is_reliable_in_one_area__he_is_no_obama

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32 Responses to On Mormon Presidents

  • Good article.

    Although I think Romney would be a permutation of the Bush/Obama years (ie increasing the size of government, endless and unnecessary increases to Budget and debt), I would choose Romney over Obama simply to get away from Obama’s unwavering smugness of moral certainty. I thought Kevin Rudd had the most overinflated sense of self, manifesting itself in over-promising/under-delivering, until Obama came along.

    A Romney administration wouldn’t be much better but still a little better. America won’t really dig its way out of its hole until they start taking seriously the sorts of economic ideas Ron Paul is getting out there. Whatever you might think of the implications of libertarianism in social policy, I’m sure we can all agree that the US Federal government that is endlessly borrowing more and more money to fund the military and welfare payments, as well as growing its overall reach into the lives of individuals, is a Bad Idea.

    However, if it was a Gingrich/Obama match up, I would choose Obama every time – Gingrich is an absolute loon!

    Lee Herridge, WA

  • Thanks Lee

    I am not with you on your last line – not at all.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you for a very well-thought “dissertation” that should leave no doubt in the minds of any committed Christian who he or she should support in the event of a Romney-Obama contest for US presidency.

    A well-grounded Christians should easily detect Obama’s anti-Christian antics. Only shaky Christians would be deceived by his subtle and devious way!

    Richard Chieng

  • In the middle of the most dire financial situation one can face, Newt Ginrich wanted to put an American base on the Moon. He called the Paul Ryan’s very very very modest plan to reform Medicare (which wouldn’t even have stopped the program from bankrupting itself or the Federal government) “right-wing social engineering”.

    He supported CO2 Emissions Cap and Trade and a health care mandate (the worst feature of Obamacare) before he opposed them.

    He supports almost every form of handout to special interests, including lobbying for some interests, while saying he doesn’t.

    In relation to US foreign policy, he said “We need a calm, reasoned dialogue about the genuine possibility of a second Holocaust” and said the US should zap Noth Korean missile sites with lasers. He said the War on Terror requires the U.S. to “adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people.”

    In a note to himself in 1992, he wrote, “Gingrich—primary mission, Advocate of civilization, definer of civilization, Teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who fan civilization,…leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.”

    He is not a conservative, he is not really for freedom in any real sense and he has an immense regard for his own abilities, which is possibly the worst characteristic to have in a leader and why Obama is so terrible.

    Lee Herridge, WA

  • Thanks Lee

    Newt is not running so it is not worth belabouring this issue. In my books, Ron Paul is the real loon here who would cause me great grief if he were to run against Obama. But he won’t get the nod either, so it is not worth going on about him as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Gingrich would have been better than Romney and of course would’ve been orders-of-magnitude ahead of Obama. The worst thing about Newt is his thrice-married status, but in most other respects is a solid conservative. Newt is very solid regarding the threat of militant Islam, whereas Obama is about as pro-Islam as one can be short of actually calling himself one. Anyone who can suggest that Newt is worse than Obama should not be taken seriously.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • What do you think of Ron Paul’s prescription for the US’ economic woes?
    Lee Herridge, WA

  • Thanks Lee

    Ron Paul’s economic thinking and policies are the only real area I am basically happy with the guy. It is so many of his other areas which I find so appalling. But I have discussed him elsewhere, in part here; https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/27/conservatism-libertarianism-and-christianity/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sounds like this Lee has swallowed all the LeftMedia distortions about Newt, who was the most conservative candidate after Bachmann. He actually has many conservative achievements, such as balanced budget and welfare reform (despite the opposition of President Clinton and Ron Paul who joined leftard Dems in opposing any improvements if they were not perfect enough). Newt was also pro-life and saw the need for a strong defence and conservative judicial appointments. It’s just absurd to think he would be worse than the pro-infanticide Marxist-in-Chief.

    Jonathan Sarfati, US

  • Nice piece Bill. Very helpful.

    The ‘not voting for Romney’ thing is a symptom of fortress Christianity, an overly insular Christianity.

    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Damien. Yes this head-in-the-sand theological puritanism will help no one. It will just mean Obama is back in, and the heavy crackdown on Christianity really begins in ernest.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Four more years of Obama:

    Green light to Muslims; red light to Christians
    Green light to homosexual “rights”; red light to biblical Christians
    Green light to abortion; red light to biblical Christians
    Green light to takers in the form of illegitimate welfare support and a growing, out of control government sector; red light to the productive, self reliant class through heavy taxation and burdensome regulation

    These are some of the disasters awaiting America if Mr Smooth-talk gets re-elected.
    Romney has committed to the opposite in all the above.

    If any Christian votes for Obama, or doesn’t vote at all, he or she is saying yes to the social evils just listed and more.

    Angela Parham

  • You are 1000% right Angela

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Although that might all be true of Obama, I don’t see Romney changing much at all. He is as much a Big Government guy as Obama, and his flip flopping on individual mandate and the like doesn’t engender any sense that he is going to show much spine. Romney will fiddle around the edges of deregulation but I wouldn’t hold my hopes up much.

    Still, Romney -IS- better than Obama.

    Lee Herridge, WA

  • The way the American system is set up, we will have a choice of two candidates. In such a circumstance, it is pragmatic to choose the lesser of two evils. Anyone who doesn’t like that choice must either change the system (legally) which is a tall order, or run for president themselves, or get another candidate to run. It’s too late for any new candidates in this election.
    John Bennett

  • Bill,
    Thanks for the article. I don’t however agree with you on your assertion that a bad believer is better than a principled unbeliever. I don’t believe such a thought has a biblical rooting. If Obama is seen as a believer, then I would rather we stand with him but persuade him to review his unbiblical principles. Saul was a wicked king but David never approved of his so called killer’s action. Besides, the moral destruction of America must be blamed on the pastors and Christian leaders. If pastors will preach the truth and stand for the truth, building a strong christian society, national policies will be rendered weak. I must say that I have lost confidence in Obama for his lack of biblical integrity particularly the swing in favor homosexuality. But he is not the problem of America.
    Michael Ntanu

  • Thanks Michael

    But an easy way to make my point is to ask you this: If your toilet was blocked and overflowing, would you rather have a qualified, professional and capable non-believer fix it for you, or an unqualified, unprofessional, incapable Christian fix it? Who would you rather build your house: a capable and honest non-believer, or an incapable and dishonest Christian? If you were a professional cricket manager, fielding a cricket team, would you go only for Christians, even if they could not play well, or find the best players, regardless of their theological background? It seems we need to apply similar common sense and biblical sense here with the issue of leaders. Sure, Christian leaders are often the ideal, but that is not always an option.

    And I am not sure Saul has anything to do with this. In America we have a democracy where we can vote good leaders in or vote bad leaders out. America is not ancient Israel.

    As to Obama, he never had any biblical integrity, because he never was a biblical Christian to begin with. I am still amazed that any biblical believer ever thought he was worth voting for in the first place.

    And America’s problems are a result of both things of course – not just one or the other. Obama is doing his very best to destroy the nation, and plenty of pastors and gullible Christians are doing their bit as well to allow it to go down the gurgler. So both must be fixed. Get rid of the ungodly Obama and get some godly pastors and believers in the churches.

    But thanks for your thoughts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Worldviews are what really matters in politics. Theology is only important in politics insofar as it informs a person’s worldview. Even though Mormonism is a cult, the worldview it produces in its adherents is much closer to a biblical Christian worldview than are any of those worldviews demonstrated by Obama – i.e. secular humanism, Marxism, and Islamism.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Yes quite right Ewan.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • What Christian Americans need to understand, is that to not vote for the Republican candidate is to help Obama get re-elected. That means not just four more years of attacks on our country’s foundational principles, but a ramping up in those efforts in every way possible.

    When the man has no re-election to work for, we’ll see that what’s happened so far has been a restrained effort. A second and final term would mean further government intrusions (with disastrous consequences) in just about every area of the private sector, and an accelerated attack upon our religious and free speech liberties– not to mention the right to life for the unborn and elderly.

    To not vote for Romney in this situation because he isn’t the conservative candidate we would like, or because he isn’t an Evangelical, would be a vote for a man who pretends to be a Christian but betrays himself as a false one at every turn. How is that palatable for any believer?

    Ronin Akechi

  • It’s a telling indictment on the state of the nation and the state of American Christianity that a Mormon is the likely candidate to oppose Obama. He may do no better than Bush (which would be a great disappointment to conservatives) but it’s hard to conceive that he do as badly as Obama. At least he’ll have the MSM all over him to keep him honest, which Obama never had.

    Michael Hutton, Tamworth NSW

  • For those who wouldn’t want to vote for any of the 2 choices because neither is the optimal choice, maybe if you turn it around “not to vote is a default quote for the stronger candidate in this case Obama”. Surely, that would be a bad choice. Pontius Pilate was still partially responsible for Jesus’s death, because he handed Him over to those whom he knew were going to kill Him, no matter how many times he washed his hands. So, not voting and thinking one would be clear of associative guilt is a nonsense.
    Izaak Izaaks was Australia’s best Governor’s General. He was a Jew. I know that Jewish values are closer to ours than those of Mormons, though when you look at the life of Paul before he was converted, you may not think so either. But Izaak Izaaks understood his role in a nation with a constitution based on specifically Christian values. He respected that and as a Jew he submitted to the requirements made by that constitution in his public life. We can all respect him for that. We pray that Romney will do the same.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:
    “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
    For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me” Isaiah 45:1-5

    The Lord used a pagan Persian king, who did not know Him, to accomplish his purpose for his people in Isaiah’s time. Surely he can use a Mormon in these times to accomplish some good for the USA!

    You are spot on Bill. US Christians should vote for the lesser of 2 evils. Hopefully Obama’s open support for gay-marriage will convince them that they should get out and vote in the presidential election.

    Jereth Kok

  • Yes very good point Jereth. And there are many more such passages along those lines in the OT.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • You make some great points, Bill, however the problem I have with Romney has nothing to do with his religion, and everything to do with the fact that he has been “chosen”.

    By this I mean that he answers (as does Obama) to the real power players behind the scenes. (i.e. banking families (cartel))

    And for this reason I am still in a quandry as to whether I will vote at all. I’ve always voted, and will likely do so again, however I’m afraid I’ve adopted a bit of a fatalistic attitude about the whole affair.

    Also, as an American I am disgusted with our society, and quite honestly I believe that we voted Obama in because we (as a society) deserve him.

    When I read about the numerous times that Israel had to be disciplined by God for their disobedience I think of our current state of immorality and wonder…

    Many of our pulpits are filled with lewd and lascivious men and women whose god is their belly and their pocketbook. Don’t get me started on the pews…

    Then again, maybe I just need to get a double shot espresso to calm my nerves…

    Anita Cooper

  • Thanks Anita – yes a good strong cup can do wonders! But we need not be fatalistic here. Who our next president will be is very much in our hands. Obama by any assessment would be utter disaster. We have enough proof of that already. So we can work to get him out, or we can simply allow him to get back in by our apathy or indifference or whatever.

    At the end of the day God of course is sovereign, but he certainly expects us to do our bit. Jesus told us to pray that his will would be done on earth as well as heaven. We have a role to play here, to not just pray in his will but work to make it happen as well. But don’t get me started here!

    Bless you
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks guys. If you are not yet convinced about why Obama needs to go, here is the case against him:

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=106938

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Matt Barber puts it this way:

    “It’s simple: A Christian nonvote is a vote for Mr. Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. Furthermore, any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God. This leaves us with our third and final choice: Christians must vote for Mitt Romney. A second Obama term is simply unacceptable. We won’t survive it.”

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/7/christians-should-vote-for-romney/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks guys

    Rebecca Hagelin gets it right:

    “Romney, while far from perfect, has got to win this election if we are going to have any hope of preserving biblical morality or the American dream. I never look for the best Christian to be President – I look for the one who best reflects a strong moral character, and who is most likely to preserve my rights as a Christian and freedom-loving American.”

    http://townhall.com/columnists/rebeccahagelin/2012/09/13/can_a_christian_vote_for_a_nonchristian_candidate

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Very wise words from John MacArthur:

    “So what I would say is- look, whether or not a person who runs for president or vice president or congress or senate or governor, whether or not that person is a Christian, is not the issue- that’s not the role of government. You’re not choosing a pastor. Since when all of a sudden do we think that someone’s religion is the issue in picking a president anymore than it would be an issue in picking a pilot to fly you somewhere? I don’t really care what the religion is, I just want to know he can land the plane.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill Whittle gets it quite right here. This 5-minute video is well worth watching:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5v7QQ5vQWg&feature=youtu.be

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Wild Bill gets it quite right here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfWIxRrvFy8&feature=share

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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