There’s an interesting article on Mitt Romney’s campaign in today’s WaPo Outlook section. Titled, “For Romney, It’s Not His Father’s Campaign” it compares and contrasts the failed candidacy of George Romney in the late 1960s. Other than being father and son, the salient feature in common? The Mormon faith.
There’s some discussion of religion, qua religion, not being a large factor back then. It was all due to Saint Jack of Camelot, of course, who allegedly demonstrated that a Roman Catholic could separate his politics from his church. The “allegedly” is in there due to the fact that I claim it is impossible to truly separate one’s entire being from one’s faith, and build, let’s call them “faith-tight compartments.”
There was, at the time of the 1960 election, the fear, widespread among evangelicals, that Rome would, somehow, dictate to the newly elected Irish Catholic president. Right. Kennedy was about power, and his family was, and is, about power. Nothing more, nothing less. They weren’t about to let some priests, bishops, or cardinals dictate to them.
Fast forward to 2007, and we’ve got the polished Mitt Romney running. He’s an attractive candidate, pretty in fact. He’s our Johnny Breck Girl Edwards. But, unlike Edwards, Romney appears to be a serious candidate, with serious ideas. What’s not to like?
According the Post article, consider this grave misunderstanding of evangelicals:
So far, however, the opposition to Romney seems inspired not by fear about how his faith would influence his actions — unlike the Roman Catholic Church and most evangelical denominations, the Mormon church doesn’t expect Mormon elected officials to do its bidding — but by the mere fact that he’s a Mormon. A Gallup poll last winter showed that 46 percent of Americans have a generally unfavorable view of Mormonism.
Now, I can’t speak for any but my own church. And I am here to swear on that proverbial stack of Bibles that my evangelical church doesn’t expect any of its members to do “its bidding.” I can tell you what is expected, however.
What the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptists, the Methodists, and every other Christian denomination expect is that we each of us do the “bidding” of the One we proclaim as Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ. The basics? Mark 12:28-31, which is always worth repeating:
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
As for Mormons, we don’t consider them to be a Christian faith, because, among other reasons, of some unacceptable differences in their view of Jesus Christ. To which this Baptist must add, I don’t especially care if Mitt Romney isn’t a professing evangelical Christian.
Given the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, I would vote for Romney, if he’s the Republican nominee. With a clear conscience. Just as I would vote for Joe Lieberman, the Orthodox Jew, or any other candidate whose views I agreed with and who came across as a man (or woman) of honor.