Is It Romney?
Yesterday Mitt Romney routed Newt Gingrich in the
primary. It’s possible that Romney will soon have the Republican nomination effectively in hand. The dedication of Ron Paul supporters and the indignation of Newt Gingrich will probably keep the contest going till the convention, but Paul cannot win, and Gingrich would need lots of money quick to make a race of it. Florida
Mitt Romney is not a Christian. Mormonism is not a variety of Christianity. The baseline for any claim to be Christian is confessing the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Neither Romney nor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can confess the historic Catholic faith.
Moreover, Mormonism is just plain weird. Sacred undergarments. Celestial marriage. A physical, evolving God. Human attainment of divinity. Unbelievable historical claims. Joseph Smith’s revelations. Donnie and Marie.
But then there are not a few “good” fruits that are associated with Mormonism. A good work ethic. Strong family values. Genealogical research. Community. The Tabernacle Choir.
A few comments:
(1) Does religion really make that much difference? That is, if Romney were elected, how much impact would his Mormonism have on his governing? One could say that he cannot afford to show now how his beliefs would affect his policies, but, if the policies he would pursue as President are the policies he espouses now, his efforts at governance would follow conventional conservative patterns. His Mormonism does not seem determinative.
(2) What does this say about the “antithesis”? I know what we good Van Tilians are supposed to say: If you take the wrong first step (what you believe about God), all your future steps will be missteps – in principle. But then, since those, who do not believe in the true God, in reality get so much right, we have to explain. The explanation usually involves some combination of “common grace” and “borrowed capital.” If that explanation is correct, it looks there is enough common grace and/or politicians borrow enough Christian capital, that you cannot at this point in American make a distinction between the political views of orthodox Christians and cultists. A conservative is a conservative regardless of his religion or lack thereof. Whatever distinguishes Romney from Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul is not his Mormonism.
(3) As the nomination of Al Smith and the election of John Kennedy made way for Roman Catholics, the nomination and possible election of Romney will probably open a new place in public life for Mormons and other cultists. But how significant is that? We have had deists, Unitarians, and insincere Christians serve as President before.
(4) Would you rather have a Mormon whose beliefs do not distinguish him from other conservatives as President or a Christian whose beliefs do distinguish is conservatism? Do you want a dispensationalist consulting Hal Lindsay or John Hagee before making a decision about the
Middle East? Do you want a charismatic responding to pending natural disaster by getting Pat Robertson to pray it away or deciding about going to war by getting a word of prophecy? Would you want a thenomist consulting Deuteronomy 13:12ff to determine his policy toward ? I prefer the Mormon unless he moves the Twelve Apostles into the West Wing. Salt Lake City
Whoever is the Republican nominee and whoever is elected the governance of the universe is not going to change. Nor is he either going to bring in or prevent the triumph of the kingdom of our God and of his Christ.