In Which Schroeder Rants

It has been an interesting week to say the least.  That there is religious opposition to a Mormon candidate is no surprise.  That they are organized is something we have long suspected and now confirmed.  That they fail to realize the disaster a second Obama term would represent for the nation and religion is distressing.

The political ill-wisdom of such a stance is astonishing, but there are many that can discuss and document that fact better than I.  But I find myself distressed by this confirmation of long standing suspicion on much deeper levels.  This represents a very skewed vision of what religion, and particularly Christianity, is all about.

Christianity has roots in Judaism, so it has an ethical/moral element – but it is more.  All theistic religions are a place where natural man encounters supernature – let’s call this, for lack of a better term, a spiritual element.  Somewhere in this mix there is an emotional/psychological element.  This is the least distinct of the elements that compose religion, and is readily and easily confused with the spiritual element – but that is a discussion for another time.  Finally, there is a doctrinal element – a statement of beliefs.  It is this final element that divides Mormons and other expressions of faith in Christ as well as many of us inside the more traditional folds of Christianity such as Catholics and Protestants – and it is only that element.

The people that are so opposed to a Mormon candidate on religious grounds are placing the doctrinal element of faith above the other three – at the expense of meaningful religion.  In the original comments that sparked this firestorm, it was made plain they place doctrine ahead of ethics:

“Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person, or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?”

The placement of the doctrinal element ahead of the spiritual element is evidenced by the fact that they are sowing disunity amongst believers.  Surely any person that has touched the supernature, regardless of how they understand it, must know that their understanding is insufficient simply because it is supernature.  Can we ever sufficiently understand something that is, definitionally, beyond our reality?  The humility born of this acknowledgement of insufficient understanding is the unifying factor between Presbyterian and Episcopalian, Protestant and Catholic,…Mormon and creedal Christian.

That they place the doctrinal element above the emotional/psychological element is evident in their willingness to suffer a second Obama term rather than have a Mormon candidate.  The emotional unrest in this nation is palpable.  You can feel it in conversations at the workplace if you have one – at the grocery store if you don’t.  The Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street craziness are both signs that the nation is deeply upset about what is happening.   People feel as if they are on unstable ground and they want something to change.  They all make it clear that Obama is a the root of the unease.  At the very least they look to the office for the stability they desire, and right now they clearly are not getting it.

And so this group opposed to Romney, and Huntsman if he mattered, on religious grounds have reduced their own faith to a specific set of doctrinal specifications, and little or nothing else.  That’s a skewed religion indeed.  Such a faith is not winsome, nor terribly meaningful.  And worse yet, such a faith does not help the individual become a better person, rather it seeks only for an individual to identify with the religion.  Religion, reduced purely to a matter of identity is little more than label.  Thus, somehow, weirdly, a teddy bear becomes an object of some sacred import.  What was once a power that changed the world and around which our calendar revolves is now nothing more than a brand for selling gee-gaws.

Page 1 of 3 | Next page