Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

In Which I Preach

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:48 am, April 6th 2012     —    9 Comments »

Yeah, I know, with that head, this should be a JMR post, but it is little old me.

This is Good Friday, the day on which all of us that call upon the name of Jesus commemorate his crucifixion and anticipate his resurrection.  It’s a holy day.  It is the first day of a weekend on which the wheel of history spins.  I don’t want to talk politics today, there are better things to do, but I find they are related this Good Friday.

Your see this Good Friday, just two days after a hateful diatribe by a national television host, a diatribe which remains virtually uncovered by anybody but this blog, the reason that Jesus had to die and be resurrected seems most apparent to me.  Sure there is lots to read about the Orrin Hatch/Debbie Wasserman Schultz indirect exchange, but the real honest bigotry and hatred goes without mention.

I want to make the case for why this is in fact hate, with apologies to my Mormon friends for the manner in which I will advance this argument.  It’s pretty simple really.  The story of Mormonism’s birth is, to those of us that are non-believers, a bit odd.  I will grant you that.  But let’s think just a moment about the birth of our own faith.  We celebrate this weekend the death and resurrection – yes resurrection, not resuscitation (nobody was there yelling “clear” and shocking Jesus with paddles – he was dead and starting to rot.)  There’s that business about Paul and the road to Damascus and going blind and scales falling off and all that.  Oh, and then there is that dream that Peter had about what was OK to eat and what wasn’t.  I could go on here folks, but just for a minute put yourself in the shoes of someone who does not believe our stories – their pretty odd too.

Now, how often do we tell people that call our stories odd that they hate us?  Pretty often – “The war against religion” – sounds like an accusation to me.   My point is this, if it is hateful to oppose us because you find our stories odd then it is equally hateful for us or anyone else to do the same towards Mormons.  The disrespect in O’Donnell’s diatribe was hateful.

David Gregory made a tiny bit of news yesterday saying Mitt Romney is “afraid” to discuss his religion.  I don’t think Romney is afraid of anything, but I do think he is being smart by not given jerks like O’Donnell ammunition, particularly when no one seems to be rising to his defense.  Apparently, O’Donnell’s expression of hatred is one this nation is willing to accept – despite having fought wars over hatred of blacks and Jews.  Which brings me back to my traditional Christian brethren.

The big news they made yesterday was a meeting with Santorum.  There is coverage here and here.  The CSM heads their piece:

Santorum meets with conservatives to plan last-ditch effort
The meeting was a mix of fiscal and social conservatives who oppose Mitt Romney’s campaign.

I find it hard to believe this is about politics anymore.  Richard Land seems to be alone among social conservative leaders in “getting it.”  His response yesterday to this whole thing was:

“I have not spoken to Rick about this issue, but as his friend, I would advise him to consider getting out of the race at this point,” Land told The Christian Post. “Rick is a still a young man and has a bright future in 2016 and beyond.”

“He has run a solid campaign the last six months and resurrected himself once again as a major political figure in our nation,” continued Land. “This is the most important election in our nation since 1860 and we need time to vet and access the statements and beliefs of the two men who will be representing our country’s two major parties.”

That’s thinking politically, so what is everybody else thinking?  Instead of figuring out how to beat hatred like O’Donnell’s, they are busy trying to figure out how to pile on, even if a bit nicer about it.

Which brings me to the bottom line, and where I am going to get really preachy.  Mitt Romney has won.  Let’s assume for a minute that he is the worst nightmare this bunch seems to think he is – I deeply disagree, but I grant it simply to make a point.  The results of the primary make it plain that the Republican party agrees more with your monster than with you – in other words they do not see Mitt Romney as the problem you do.

How do you change that?

Opposition like that we are seeing here is rooted in more than just political opposition.  Philosophy, religion, whatever type of ideology it is, is what the fight at this point is really about for those that are still fighting it.  Electoral politics is not where such fights are won.  If the Mormons are winning it is because through missionary work and breeding (they do have a LOT of kids) they are winning more hearts and minds than we are.  The response to such is not hopeless political action, but to be as zealous about our faith as they are about theirs – to knock on more doors than their missionaries, to educate more kids in our schools, to be as bold in our values as they are in theirs.

Which takes me back to Lowell’s follow-up on O’Donnell in which he quoted O”Donnell on fearing Muslims, but not Mormons.   Even O’Donnell knows that the object of his hatred will respond to his hatred with love.

And you wonder why the Mormons appear to be winning!  The answer to the political problems Evangelicals appear to face is not last-ditch efforts or brokered conventions or trickier politics.  It is to be more Christian.

Here endeth the sermon.  Easter is coming.

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