Friday, August 17, 2012

A Question for My Evangelical Friends

I want to begin by saying that this is really addressed to my evangelical friends and it is not a trick question. It is not a trap or a question that cannot be answered as some of my recent questions have been. It may appear that way, but it is not. I am asking the question because there are many (including me) that are looking at evangelicals and mainstream Protestants that are going to support a Romney/Ryan ticket and wondering how you can do that.

Here's the problem:

For the past several election cycles, conservative evangelicals and mainstream protestants have been pushing candidates of like faith as the candidates of choice and emphasizing the importance of electing Christians to the highest offices in our country. They have spent a great deal of money and effort to get that message across to the members of their Christian denominations. They have implied (or claimed outright) that Democrats can't be Christians so don't vote for them. In spite of the fact that President Obama professes to be a follower of Jesus (a Christian), 34% of conservative Republicans believe that he is a Muslim.

But now that the Republicans have chosen Gov. Mitt Romney (a Mormon) as their candidate for president and Congressman Paul Ryan (a Catholic) as his running mate; Christian faith is no longer being talked all.

Having grown up in the Catholic church, I know that many evangelicals believe that Catholicism is as much of a cult as they believe Mormonism to be. Most hard line conservative evangelicals will tell you (in hushed conversations) that Catholics don't have a personal relationship with Jesus and are therefore destined for hell, and (boldly) that Mormons don't even believe in the same Jesus that the Bible teaches about.

Apparently, this year it's going to be okay to elect hell bound heathens to office; and politics--not faith, is what's important.

To be fair, I know of a few Christians that have told me that they'll be researching some of the third party candidates for the office of President of the United States. They won't vote for a Democrat based on the party platform of pro-choice and/or gay rights, and they can't vote for the Republican candidate based on his choice of religion.

For the rest of you...
I know that you don't owe me an explanation of who you're going to vote for and why, but I'm curious none the less. Has the past really been about needing Christian leaders? Has the Christian faith of previous candidates really been the determining factor for getting your vote or has it always been about the party and the Christianity of the candidates has just been a fortuitous coincidence and an opportunity to legislate Christianity into the laws of the land or brow beat fellow congregants into voting for them "because of their faith?"

This is an important question and one that must be answered well.
If the Republican Party has been the party of the evangelicals in the past, Governor Romney's nomination (and his running mate choice) means that it no longer is. If Christian faith has been the determining factor for support and leverage for votes, what do you do now? And what does it mean for the future? Will voting for a party Mormon instead of an opposing party Christian mean that the Christian leadership argument will no longer be valid?

I have no problem with voting for your party's candidate because he or she represents your party. But let's face it; that's not the reason we've been given in the past. Perhaps we all have to make some concessions in choosing candidates. It could be that those that support President Obama don't like everything about him, either.

It could be that you are willing to set aside your belief that Mormonism is a cult to vote for a pro-life party (or whatever reason you choose). It may also be that a fellow believer is willing to set aside the pro-choice issue to vote for President Obama because of other issues they support. We all get to choose. We all get to vote (if our state hasn't made it too difficult and we have the proper ID and can get to the polls on election day, etc., etc.).
And we don't even have to justify or explain who we voted for or why.

I'm just curious...

John <><


Duckbutt said...

A good question, John!

Bilbo said...

Very well and cogently stated, John. I'll be interested to see if anyone in your intended audience responds...and how.

Sicilian said...

Thank you for speaking outloud the things I've been thinking silently. I sometimes think Republicans want to put candidates up that will fail so they can blame the Democrats.
Great post John!