Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mitt Romney’s Mormonism – Part II

All of the considerations mentioned in Part I disqualify Mormonism from being considered “Christian” in the traditional sense of the term, according to most orthodox (with a small “O”) Christians. Because of the rather unorthodox theology of Mormonism, some are bothered by the prospect of having a Mormon as president. Of course when we elect a president, we should remember that we are choosing a secular leader, not the theologian-in-charge. So in my opinion, we should be less concerned about a candidate’s theology than his or her character, values, ethics, and policies (some of which, of course, are defined by his or her theology).

When it comes to values, the Mormons generally practice what Evangelical Christians tend to call “traditional values” or “family values.” Therefore, it is quite possible that a Mormon might do a better job in the values department than many Roman Catholic or Protestant candidates. For example, some Catholic politicians advocate policies that are clearly against the unequivocal teachings of their Church. Therefore, the voter can’t make a judgment regarding a Catholic candidate’s positions on abortion, gay rights, capital punishment, and a host of other issues based solely on his or her religious affiliation.

So I feel we should not only look at a candidate’s formal religion or denominational affiliation, but specifically at his or her character, values, ethics, and clearly stated stands on various issues. While a person’s religion, if they take it seriously, will inform their views, the whole person must be understood to get a complete picture of what kind of a president he or she would make.

By the way, this is by no means an endorsement of Mitt Romney, only an attempt to put the “religious question” into proper perspective when considering any candidate. I believe the same consideration should be given to Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, should he choose to run for president. I care much more about a candidate’s character, values, ethics, and policies than I do their formal religion, be it Mormon, Jewish, Catholic, Episcopalian, or Methodist.

However, I have to admit that I do prefer a candidate who practices his or her religion – whatever it might be – and takes its teachings seriously. The reason for that is that such a person usually believes he or she is accountable to a Higher Power, and therefore may stand a better chance of being moral, ethical and in favor of traditional values (even though, as we all know, “the church is full of hypocrites”). Better someone who is trying and falls short, than someone who isn’t trying at all, in my opinion.

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