Have you ever had a spur of the moment idea that you figured was no big deal but when you sorta let it slip out, it turned out to be a barnburner? Well, that's precisely what happened to me yesterday morning when I posted Mitt Romney for President: And the Problem is? Being rushed to get to the office, I had only a few minutes to throw the thing together >>>
I did a bit of look-see on Romney and wrote the piece quickly. To my amazement, a twister soon touched down and lightning struck my barn. I was seen on the one hand as being both pro-Romney and pro-Mormon and on the other as being reasonable and level-headed. With such a wide response to the post I perceived as 'no big deal', it must surely have touched a nerve somewhere.
I think it did. It touched a political nerve. Indeed intrinsic to politics--whether denominational or societal--is emotional provocation. I knew first hand about the emotive and provocative nature of denominational politics from some of my previous posts on SBCTomorrow. Now I know first hand the identical provocation from mentioning anything about societal politics.
The one aspect of my last post that disturbs me most stems from the fact that some who commented not only failed to deal with the post per se, they appeared to intentionally misstate what the post actually said. I expressed as clearly I knew how, I had not made up my mind on a candidate for President. Read the following carefully that is in the body of the short post I wrote: "Back to Mitt Romney. Is he my candidate? He is not." I went on to speak of some of his positions with which I adhered--positions to which most all political conservatives adhere.
I even cited the candidate's voting record as key to supporting him/her, that it could not be overlooked and that I had not examined Romney's. For my part, it is difficult to understand how anyone could, with a clear, moral conscience, suggest that I was offering my support for Mitt Romney as President and that my site was a pro-Romney site in light of the explicit denial above.
Of course, I could have been inconsistent by denying he was my candidate in one place and then affirming he was my candidate in another. Granted. But neither on the post nor in the thread exists a scintilla remark that I supported Mitt Romney as President. The contradiction does not exist. Unfortunately, I am finding more and more the Internet is spiced with Christians without scruples.
For the record, here is the bottom line of yesterday's post: What is not, for me, a factor in my decision to push the button for Mitt Romney is his Mormonism. My simple, straight-forward idea which ended burning the barn down was that I do not think it a sober approach to a priori rule out a person for public office--in this case, the President of the United States--based on the sole fact that, in Romney's case, he happened to be a Mormon.
The United States Constitution says "...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Nor do we possess instructions from Scripture on either voting procedures within our society or specifically what qualifications public officials must possess.
Thus, since our Lord evidently gave us a large measure of freedom here, how it is that Christians can create moral absolutes where no absolutes exist becomes exceedingly frustrating.
Interestingly, some of the most vocal dissenters against 'moral legalism' I've encountered are the very ones who insist that Mitt Romney, because of his Mormonism, stands barred from public office because he's a Mormon. Or if he is in office, Christians by no stretch should be responsible for his being there.
Debbie Kaufman, who frequents SBC Tomorrow as a commenter, posted here and here evidently in response to my post. In addition, Les Puryear, who already posted on Mitt and Mormonism sometime back, put up a post yesterday--whether a response to SBC Tomorrow, I know not--which actually suggested that Christians who end up supporting Mitt Romney are supporting Anti-Christ. Talk about moral legalism on steroids!
If I or any other Christian happen to support a candidate for President who is not a Christian, that is assisting Anti-Christ? Does it not occur to our Brother and Sister that making such a stringent moral absolute pertaining to that about which Scripture does not so much as even mention or imply--that is, democratic voting or candidate qualifications--stands as the hallmark of moral legalism? Old Fundamentalism would be proud of her step-children.
For a more reflective view on Romney, though I am unconvinced he should have officially endorsed any candidate, read Dr. Wayne Grudem's public support for Mitt Romney.
One has to ask, why stop with Mormonism? Surely these evangelicals could not allow Rome to have a say so in our public affairs. Catholics out, Protestants in.
Consequently, we must start slicing and dicing until we're down to our own little world of people who may be a candidate, even if our candidate happens to be fringe. Aaron Weaver cornered Puryear on his post inquiring "Would any of you have voted for Jefferson, Washington, Adams, John Quincy Adams, Fillmore, Taft, Madison, Monroe?" While this group could surely be considered believers, they do not at all fit the evangelical test. Weaver received no answer.
My question is, given this hard-core, non-negotiable 'believe-like-me" approach to voting for public office, how can a Southern Baptist vote for anyone else for public office than a Southern Baptist, if he/she takes the principle seriously?
In addition, if one's religious affiliation is absolutely detrimental, I would like to know how evangelicals address, with a straight face, the overwhelming bulk of voters who are non-evangelical. If non-evangelicals were encouraged to follow this presupposed method of voting for their own kind, that would guarantee no evangelical would ever win office.
This 'my-kind-only' sort of voting approach of which Puryear and Kaufman insist, encourages, in the end, votes not for evangelicals but against them. Evey sub-group should vote only for candidates from their exclusive sub-group. My head cannot take much more of these dizzy ethics.
One final note: I could have written the same post I did yesterday with virtually the same message if I had substituted Mike Huckabee's name in it instead. The post wasn't about a personality, but about a principle...not a particular candidate, but a guiding thought by which to choose or not to choose any candidate.
On the comment thread, I penned a fitting ending to this post:
"I will not a priori commit myself personally to Huckabee because of his evangelicalism anymore than I will a priori commit myself to be against Romney because he's a Mormon."