The American Baptist Press recently wrote on Hugh Hewitt's address to the Evangelical Theological Society. We linked to the piece in a 'Reading List' last week, but in this post I want to address some specific points Hugh made. The piece summarizes what Hugh thinks are the three Evangelical objections to a Mormon candidacy:
- that Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City will control the White House
- that a Mormon president will energize Mormon missionaries around the globe
- that it's "irrational" to be a Mormon.
We have looked at each of those on this blog already, and I will summarize that momentarily. However, I want to first comment that such objections are already, I think, fading into the woodwork as the liberal/Democratic clamor out-yells them. Poltics, like The Great War on Terror, is a war that must be fought on many fronts, often simultaneously. Some battles must be given up for lost in order to win the war. Some battles must be won to get to the next, more important, battle.
The left has come out swinging on the Mormon issue much earlier and much harder than I had anticipated. Frankly, I wonder if Romney is not purposefully baiting them to do so with his actions on same-sex marriage in Massachuesetts? The sheer force of the rhetoric coming from the likes of Andrew Sullivan (Consider here and here) make the oppositional, but not yet commital, noises from the likes of James Dobson and Al Mohler seem completely tame and unimportant. Nothing unites like a common enemy.
And that I think should, really, answer all the issues Hugh puts forth above. Regardless of how those issues ultimately resolve, in comparison to the alternatives they are pretty unimportant – like a hand grenade to a A-bomb. Any Evangelical really concerned about issues like same-sex marriage should ask themselves, "Do I side with someone that I worship with that cannot possibly win the general election?" Then what happens? Same-sex marriage, that's what. Better some unease on the small issues above than on a big issue like that.
Let's not even get started about the war….
That said, let's devote a paragrpaph or so to each of those objections:
It's "irrational" to be a Mormon.
Much as we Evangelicals like to pride ourselves on our rationality, think about it for a minute. We believe that God incarnated, died and was resurrected. Those essential facts are beyond rationality. We have developed rational constructs around those facts, but the irrationality of the facts themselves remain.
Mormons start with some different essential irrational facts, though many we share, and also build a pretty rational set of constructs around them. They have well developed scholarly traditions (see some of this blog's Resources) and do not seem to have a much higher percentage of loonies running around than we do.
They aren't irrational, they are just different.
A Mormon president will energize Mormon missionaries around the globe.
So what? Such a concern simply demonstrates a lack of faith. The world is full of missionaries for a whole bunch of religions – some very secular religions like socialism and communism. There are even 'missionaries' for some religions that seek conversion at gunpoint. And we're worried about some white-shirt-wearing, door-knocking courteous people getting more energy?
More importantly, if we believe the truth of our own faith, do we not believe that it will 'prevail' in the end? I don't know about you, but I certainly think the truth of my faith will outshine other faiths in the end. I do not need to put down those other faiths. I just need to rely on the essential truth of mine.
Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City will control the White House.
My way of thinking, this is conspiratorial nonsense. Does any truly rational person believe that someone "controlled" from somewhere else could run for President? Do you know what's involved? Does any truly rational person believe that a relgion which sports two so widely politically diverse individuals as Mitt Romney and Harry Reid could exercise that kind of control over a candidate? They must be screwing up with one or the other, which means they are not that good at it.
That mind controlling cults exist is undeniable, but there is a reason they exist in isolated settings and/or compounds in Waco or Ghana, and their numbers are limited to the hundreds, maybe thousands. That kind of control is simply impossible under any other circumstance. The CJCLDS is a church of millions spread out over most of the planet. "Control" just isn't happening.
It's important for Evangelicals to take the long view here. There is too much at stake to get lost in this stuff. We have a real war to win and a culture war to boot.
[tags]Mormon, Evangelical, arguments, concerns, issues, politics, Hugh Hewitt, James Dobson, Al Mohler, Andrew Sullivan[/tags]