My wife and I are fans of the TLC show “Sister Wives.” I like the show on a variety of levels, from entertainment to social commentary. The family depicted in the show, the Browns, is a part of a fundamentalist sect of Mormonism and practice polygamy. However, they are not affiliated with and vehemently reject Warren Jeffs and his ilk.
While watching the show, I got to thinking about how Mormonism is hitting the mainstream with the nomination of Mitt Romney as GOP candidate for President of the United States. Interestingly, November promises to pit the first black President against the first Mormon nominee for President.
With the former being the Democrat and the latter the Republican in the race, this proves to be quite a conundrum for Evangelicals who have any concern whatsoever about being consistent in their politics and their beliefs. Perhaps we should lay out the case first.
On the one hand, if I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times that Obama is a Muslim. He was actually a member of the (ultra-liberal) Christian denomination “United Churches of Christ.” (Whether he is still, I don’t know.) On the other hand, Romney, a Mormon, is part of a religious group that is not unlike Islam. Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention‘s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in February of this year that “perhaps the best way to describe Mormonism, perhaps the most charitable way to describe Mormonism, is that it’s a fourth Abrahamic religion, with Joseph Smith playing the role that Muhammad plays in Islam and the Book of Mormon playing the role that the Quran plays in Islam. It’s based upon the Christian faith and the Jewish faith but it goes beyond them and it contradicts them. Islam is not a Christian faith. Mormonism is not a Christian faith.”
With as much as I hear conservatives moan about how the US of A needs to get back to its “Christian roots” and be a “Christian nation,” I just don’t see what they are going to do in November if they want to hold true to making America a “Christian nation once again.”
Apparently, Land isn’t too concerned about this problem and is willing to tie his cart to Romney’s horse in this case. His concern is that the news media, which “by and large is in the tank for Mr. Obama,” will focus on Romney’s religion as a wedge issue to try to swing independent voters to Obama’s side. I’m sure this is somehow different that Land’s use of religion to try to sway voters to Rick Santorum during the GOP primaries.It will be interesting to see if Southern Baptists make any statements about religion or Mormonism or the like that could be construed as tacit endorsements at their annual convention this month.
(Full disclosure – I was Baptist for over 30 years, “was” being the operative word.)