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Let The Recriminations Begin

Posted By John Schroeder On November 9, 2012 @ 7:26 am In Candidate Qualifications | 9 Comments

From CBN this morning [1]:

Most voters said that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith didn’t matter to them. But did it prevent him from really connecting with voters?

CBN News spoke with Author Stephen Mansfield, who’s latest book is called The Mormonizing of America [2]. He explains how Romney’s theology may have impacted his ability to appeal to voters.

“Mormonism stresses almost hyper-performance; almost being an over-achiever; almost being perfect,” Mansfield said. “Look at Mitt Romney. He’s straight from central casting. As far as we know, he’s never had a bad hair day. He’s got the perfect family. He’s got the degrees from the top schools.”

“He is a man almost without flaw. He is a man who what flaws he does have are an extension of his striving for perfection and striving for excellence,” he continued. “Americans like the story of redemption. They like the guy who’s flawed; who’s had the failures and has ascended again.”

WOW!  There is a point there, but the problem is not Mormonism, it’s Evangelicalism.  I got in a serious theological discussion with a friend a few weeks ago in which he contended that it was not the fact that God gave us a choice in the Garden of Eden that made us human (as opposed to the animals in the rest of creation who were without the capacity for such choice), but the fact that we made the wrong choice.  In other words God did not create us perfect, He created us to fail and be redeemed.  That notion pretty well turns the entire history of Christian thought on its head, for virtually all understandings of Christian theology are built on a base of our fall from our perfect created nature.  And that’s enough theology for this blog.

Note how this view defines down what it means to be a Christian – either the theological one or the stance of the guy discussing Romney.   Now the sincerity, depth, and in some sense “reality” of our faith is not defined by our good achievements, but by the depth of the depravity to which we sank to at some point.  In other words, the drunken fornicator that manages to sober up  and keep his zipper closed but is otherwise undistinguished is somehow a more “genuine” Christian individual than a person of achievement without so many obvious flaws.  That’s not Christianity in any form, that’s just class warfare with a religious tint.

If this is the case, we should let abortion stay legal and hope those that have them see the errors of their ways.  If this is the case, bring on the same sex marriages, then we can preach to the couples in hope of their redemption.

There was a failure of Romney to connect – to young, non-whites – that’s what the exit polls tell us.  If that is because of his apparent “perfection,” then it is because those young non-whites hold the very cock-eyed view of “genuineness” that I just described.   Which means that we have failed to form and teach them.  Maybe it means we hold that cock-eyed view ourselves?  If there are any recriminatory fingers to be pointed, I suggest we start by pointing at ourselves.

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URLs in this post:

[1] From CBN this morning: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2012/November/Did-Romneys-Mormonism-Keep-Him-from-Connecting/

[2] The Mormonizing of America: http://www.amazon.com/The-Mormonizing-America-Religion-Entertainment/dp/1617950785

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