I have not kept up with the debate on whether Mitt Romney is a good candidate for President of the United States. I know little about him other than the most basic biofacts. Born in Michigan only a few years before me, he is the son of Michigan Governor, George Romney >>>
The Governor (R) was presidential candidate for the 1968 national election but was easily defeated despite his earlier front-runner status. It appears his reversal on the moral necessity of the Vietnam conflict buried his chances into oblivion.
Before passing on and discovering his lifelong Mormonic understanding of salvation was sub-Christian, the former Governor stepped back into politics in 1994 to assist his son, Mitt Romney, to do the impossible: unseat Senator Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts. Interestingly, father and son, unlike other challengers, almost pulled it off.
Father Romney's Mormonism now seems to be the chief complaint coming from conservative Christians against son, Mitt, since he fully embraced the religion of his parents. Once again, I must say, I have not kept up with the debate per se. But I have noted the headlines--evangelicals have a problem with Romney's Mormonism. Richard Land may be the exception, but then the conservatives against Romney are now the conservatives against Land.
I presently risk the ire myself from those who think evangelicals are morally obligated to vote for evangelicals. For me, that's an odd obligation. Ronald Reagan was not an evangelical but he embodies, as close as any one man could, the quintessential symbol of conservative evangelical politics. Of surpassing interest, is that the two Presidents in my lifetime that were birthed from decidedly evangelical roots would stand virtually on the opposite end of the political continuum as does conservative evangelical politics--Presidents Carter and Clinton.
Back to Mitt Romney. Is he my candidate? He is not. Do I agree with him on many of the issues? I do. He holds virtually the position I do on abortion rights--allowed only to exceptional circumstances like rape, incest and when the birth threatens the mother's physical life.
He appears to hold a balanced view of the Iraqi Conflict and advocates tax laws favorable for Middle-class, which foundation includes eliminating taxes. He is tough on crime, pleading for Capital Punishment and 'three strikes rules'; also, he's tough on Illegal Immigration but forward in Legal Immigration. He seems to favor some type of Marriage Amendment to insure family protection. As far as I can tell thus far, Romney seems to be a fair and balanced guy.
Indeed, as a committed conservative myself, I cannot see one hindrance in accepting him at least as a viable possibility. I have not fully examined his record but before committing to any candidate, the record cannot be overlooked. All the rhetoric in the world will not ease the tension one's voting record brings to the debate. Where one votes, speaks volumes--what the candidate is committed to, who the candidate is committed to--and trumps, for me, the sophisticated stump speeches, highly polished to persuade me to accept him/her as the nominee.
What is not, for me, a factor in my decision to push the button for Mitt Romney is his Mormonism. I know, I know. "Mormonism is a cult!"..."Mormonism denies justification by faith alone!"..."Mormonism teaches polytheism!" The list could go on. Frankly, most evangelical pastors who've lived to be my age have been thoroughly initiated into most of your friendly, neighborhood 'cults' and need no reminders about what these sectarian groups embrace.
Fifteen years ago, I became the center of a local eruption over Mormonism. Being Pastor of a county seat, First Baptist Church carries its privileges. It also carries its liabilities. Ultimately, I found myself standing in the middle of over a hundred Mormons in their local Stake, intensely engaged with the Nashville's regional brass for over an hour. Interesting conversation we had.
I've also had Mormon 'elders' in my home leading a Bible study--sort of a reverse 'door-to-door' evangelistic strategy. Rather than you visit them, they visit you. Sweet! For some reason, we never seemed to get quite to the end of the series.
But for Pete's sake (pun intended), were I to embrace Mitt Romney, I would not embrace his Mormonism any more than I embraced Ronald Reagan's Church of Christ views. I would not vote for Romney to be my spiritual mentor but to protect me from foreign invaders.
If someone can demonstrate how Mormonism is intrinsically anti-American, anti-democratic, anti-constitutional, anti-evangelical, I'll be more than glad to reconsider my position. But if it cannot be established how being Mormon is intrinsically destructive to Western Democracy, I think I'll just continue, if you don't mind, embracing Luther's famous principle: "I would rather be governed by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian."
With that, I am...