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I Don’t Think 1960 (Kennedy & Catholicism) Is Analogous to 2012 (Romney & Mormonism)

by Carson T. Clark on November 5, 2012

Preface: This post might not make sense unless you first read “I’ve Been An Idiot: Five Politically-Related Thoughts I Should’ve Made Clear Months Ago (Miniblog #142).”

When I tell Christians I couldn’t vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, most offhandedly dismiss the perspective. Some say they’re electing a president and not a pastor. Most snidely draw a comparison between the 2012 election between Obama-Romney and the 1960 election between Nixon-Kennedy. Yet it seems to me that such a comparison only works on a superficial level. In my opinion, people need to look deeper.

Let me be clear that this isn’t about religious or theological qualifications for national office. People who presume that’s my perspective are simply wrong. I would happily vote for an atheist, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, etc. For me what this is about is intentionally placing my eternal, spiritual identity as a citizen of heaven above my temporal, political identity as a citizen of the U.S. Let me explain.

From a christian perspective, Mormonism isn’t just another false religion that’s a challenge from without but rather an insidious cult that’s seeking to conquer from within. Far less evident. Far more conniving. None of those other religions profess to be the genuine Church, let alone–really take notice of this–the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We need to stop lumping ’em together.

Again, from a christian perspective, those others are false whereas Mormonism is heretical. They talk like Christians, act like Christians, and portray themselves as Christians. What we’re dealing with here is a case of identity theft. Given the American Church’s manifest inability to exercise discernment, I truly think this makes the LDS the #1 threat to biblical, historically orthodox Christianity within our cultural context.

Regardless of whether you agree with that premise, let me pose a question. Within our society, what could possibly serve as a greater validation of its legitimacy than the election of a Mormon president? I truly cannot think of anything. There’s a reason the LDS are openly calling this “The Mormon Moment” and have spent hundreds of millions to capitalize on it. Mormons are vigorously utilizing it for their gain yet Christians aren’t even allowed to mention it because it’s considered in poor taste.

In returning to Kennedy, let’s be clear. He was Roman Catholic. Few dispute that’s a historically orthodox tradition of Christianity. The RCC doesn’t deny such doctrines as the Trinity nor claim that Jesus and Satan are spiritual brothers as do the LDS. Yes, both 1960 and 2012 beg important questions of allegiances. That’s where they superficially align. However, the former was about different sub-traditions of Christianity whereas this is about Christianity and its subversion. That’s a big difference.

Let’s recap:

  • No, I’m not suggesting there should be religious qualifications for elected office. I principally affirm that Mitt Romney should legally have an equal opportunity to be president.
  • No, I’m not suggesting that we’re hiring a national pastor. I’m not looking at the candidates’ pastoral ability. I’ve never said or hinted at that.
  • No, this isn’t about getting people to vote for Obama. This isn’t a sneakily partisan plea. I don’t have a dog in the fight.
  • No, I’m not suggesting Christians ought to actively vote against Romney from a defensive posture. There’s a reason I’ll be casting a blank ballot.

What I’m suggesting is that, as a Christian, I believe our primary concern ought to be the Church, not our country. Therefore, I couldn’t in good conscience play a role in the legitimization of Mormonism domestically and abroad. This election I’m, personally, committed to three things. First, promoting unity within the genuine Body of Christ. Second, the decoupling of cross and crown. Third, not legitimizing the American Church’s #1 domestic threat. The unifying theme is a commitment to the priority of my eternal citizenship.

  • Ian

    Hooray we still have points of disagreement!
    Seriously, though. My reason for disagreement is that I believe it to be a worse offense (and therefore more dangerous) to claim “orthodox” Christianity and not actually adhere to it (probably most of our politicians) in any real way. Those who do so make it that much harder for genuine Christ followers to be heard or taken seriously. They dilute the name and word of Christ far worse than any cult.
    That said, I would definitely agree that Mormon prez would legitimize the cult, but I think that there is enough distinction, in both name and belief, between Mormonism and Christianity so as to avoid irreparable harm. Perhaps only time will tell, but all I know is that I’m constantly having to distinguish myself from the far right “zealots” and the in name onlies and I think separating myself from a Mormon would be fairly simple.
    All of that said, Billy Graham made a colossal error recently,and we still must call a cult a cult. Condemn Mormonism for what it is and we won’t have to worry about about the confusion or legitimation.
    We should chat on this sometime. I’m sure I have more words that better describe my position than I can conjure via my phone.

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