Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mormonism in the news...

Mormonism and its beliefs are back in the news because two of the candidates for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are devout Mormons. Additionally, Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas (one of the largest congregations in both the SBC and the world), "helpfully" pointed out that Mormonism is a cult and that Christians shouldn't vote for a Mormon when they have a choice (such as Rick Perry, whom Jeffress evidently finds more to his personal taste).

This touched off a series of highly predictable events:
  1. Pastor Jeffress was denounced as a "bigot" by pundits both right and left.
  2. Rick Perry "backs away" from Jeffress, apologizing and damage controlling for comments he neither made nor solicited.
  3. Mitt Romney, the Republican frontrunner, gives yet another tiresome speech, of the same variety given by politicians at least since the Catholic Al Smith, in which he tries to walk the tightrope of a religious man whose faith isn't shared by the majority of Americans--that is, "my faith will guide me enjoy to give me political credit as a good and decent person, but won't influence me so much that I will say, follow the pope's guidance on foreign policy, or make wearing "temple garments" (aka "holy underwear") compulsory for all federal taxpayers."
  4. Debate ensues among the punditocracy about whether the constitution's prohibition of religious tests for office precludes voters from allowing their thoughts about a candidates particular faith or lack thereof to be a determining factor in their vote. The fact that the Constitution is meant to restrict the powers of government rather than individual voter behavior escapes notice.
But none of these reactions gets really down to the heart of the matter? Is Mormonism, in fact, a cult? And related to that, should Christian theology and a candidate's beliefs be the determining factor in a voter's choice?

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