Almost everybody in the Mitt Romney camp blames Mike Huckabee for thwarting the former Massachusetts Governor’s opportunity to be president in 2008 and giving us John McCain.  They have suggested a secret whisper campaign in Iowa and elsewhere led Evangelical Christians to vote against “the Mormon”.

Even today these Romney supporters make no distinction between a political position and a religious one.  Governor Huckabee himself may have brought some of the criticism on himself by making an off-hand remark to a reporter in 2007 that he thought that Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers (which they do).   But even if Huckabee believes that Mormonism is a false religion (or a cult) that does not mean that he would not vote for a Mormon (in fact he has endorsed Mormons in the past and affirmed that he would vote for Romney).  These are two separate issues, but the Romney supporters and mainstream press refuse to make the distinction. And there lies the rub.  Many pundits and political hacks have implied that if a presidential candidate believes that another candidate’s religion is false, it is THAT belief that disqualifies the candidate from office.

There is a religious test.   Talk show host Glenn Beck applied it to Mike Huckabee.  Beck once called Huckabee “the devil” because he refused to say that Beck (who also is a Mormon) is a Christian.   But Christianity and Mormonism have been at odds over that question since the very latter religion began during the days of Joseph Smith.   Smith and the Latter Day Saints have always maintained that only Mormons are saved, and that Christendom is false.  It is not a one-way street.  It is simple.   Each has in the past considered the other a false religion.

Neither Huckabee nor texas Governor Rick Perry have suggested for a moment that Romney’s religion should keep him from office.  Enter author and Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who introduced Perry at the Value Voters Summit earlier this month.  Jeffress later said that Mormonism is a cult and that Christians should only vote for Christians. I do not know if he was asked about this by a reporter or not, but he reiterated the statement from his church pulpit the following week. Jeffress is swimming upstream it seems, for Christians are being tempted more and more to validate Mormonism lest they risk being excluded from the Republican establishment.  Recently, David Barton of Wallbuilders said that Glenn Beck is a fine Christian, and denied that Mormonism is a cult.

John Huntsman, who is a member of the Latter Day Saints church, said the pastor is a moron for making the statement and then required a religious test of Rick Perry.  Romney also insisted that Perry repudiate the man.   Why?  What if Perry believed that Mormonism is a cult? Does that disqualify him from being president?   Are people who believe like Jeffress to be excluded from campaign positions or public appearances?  Should candidates ask each person what they believe about Mormonism before they become a precinct chairman or introduce the candidates at a political rally?

Why make the demands that Perry even declare his religious position then? Romney is never asked the religious question, about his belief, he is only asked about its effect upon his campaign. Perhaps that is as it should be.  But Perry shouldn’t be required to comment on it either.  Sadly, Perry took the position that Mormonism is not a cult (which, of course, did not satisfy Huntsman):

This kind of talk, I think, has no home in American politics these days.  And, you know, anyone who is associated with somebody willing to make those comments ought to stand up and distance themselves in very bold language.  And that hasn’t been done.  And – and Rick ought to stand up and do that.

Apparently neither Beck, Romney, or Huntsman nor the mainstream will allow a candidate to punt on this issue. The implication Huntsman makes is that anybody who believes that Mormonism is a cult is disqualified to be president.  Now THAT is a religious test.

13 comments
  1. Mr. Shedlock, since they have closed the comments to your inflamatory and highly inaccurate article on Race 4 2012, I will say here on your personal blog that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

    It is bigots like you that give evangelicals a bad name.

    1. R. Robin, since both David and I are both former pastors I really would like to ask on what basis are you saying David is wrong (I’ve said as much in the past as well).  You may not like the word “cult,” but Mormons deny basic tenants of our faith which if we were to apply the term “Christian” to them it would be utterly meaningless.  Sure they may use similar lingo, but you have to get past that and ask them what they mean when they say, for instance, that Jesus is the Son of God.  I can guarantee you that phrase doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it would an evangelical.

      That said, I don’t want to speak for David, but I know I’m not applying a religious test to whom I will support.  I’ll freely admit that I am not a Romney fan, but it has more to do with his flip flopping than his faith.

      1. You and Pastor Jeffres are rowing the same misguided boat. I find it hilarious that you try so hard to create some sympathy for your awkward position. It’s clearly bigoted and you cant bear the backlash you’re experiencing from reasonable people – including “Christians” and your very own Evangelicals. You’re conistent efforts to pull ALL Christians into your backwater swamp is failing and it fails here. Good Christians know you really mean only Evangelical Christians when say “Christians”. What you mean here is that “Evangelicals” – not “Christians” – are at odds with Mormonism. Your wish has come true and the election is now about Religion. Stick a fork in it – your done.

      2.  

        Mormons
        are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences
        with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these
        other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

         

        It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in
        extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. 
        Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils
        formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles.  Most of the wording formulations in these
        creeds cannot be found in the Bible. 
        This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus
        Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian.    It is well known to historians that
        Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

         

        The
        bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain
        interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or
        ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church
        fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal
        areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as
        non-Christian by many Christians of today.

         

        In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members
        of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same
        as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very
        critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise
        there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and
        likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could
        make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other
        beliefs differ from their own.

         

        The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world
        as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to
        see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve
        Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the
        cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the
        means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can
        never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I
        don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like
        the creeds. Those came later.

         

        Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier
        Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and
        the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian
        doctrine becomes. More on this later. Mormons are often portrayed as
        non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal
        formulations.

         

        The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of
        later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the
        wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or
        the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There
        is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs.
        If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the
        earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

         

        One other interesting aspect of this topic: Some Christians claim
        that we must get our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible only. It is claimed
        that God finished his work and no longer has prophets or gives revelation. They
        say the Mormons are wrong to have prophets and extra scripture. Consider this:
        If the Bible is sufficient and no post-Biblical revelation is allowed, then the
        post-Biblical creeds are not necessary and are not authorized by God. If God
        authorized the creeds then why aren’t they in the Bible? How could they be from
        God if the Bible is complete, if God has finished his work, and if there is no
        more revelation? They are extra-Biblical and no one should be held to them as a
        requirement to be Christian. It is so ironic that Mormons are criticized for having
        extra-Biblical revelation by people who themselves believe in extra-Biblical
        creeds. Once one puts on the glasses of the creeds then everything in the Bible
        is filtered to match the creeds.

         

        Mormons believe in original Christianity restored to the earth
        through revelation to new prophets. 
        Nowhere does the Bible say that God has finished his work, that the
        cannon of scripture is closed.  It seems
        ironic to us that we Mormons are accused of adding to the Bible by people who
        have done just that – added creeds and metaphysical definitions to the Bible.  We advocate for believing original
        Christianity.

         

        Dwight

  2. Interesting logic. So you can be bigoted against a specific religion, and that should NEVER be used against you or questioned? Would you apply that same logic to a candidate who is bigoted against a specific ethnicity? The American public, for the most part, is so tired of hearing this or that pastor tell us who we should vote for, based purely on theological classification of a candidate’s religion. It’s simply not relevant. The liberal press love this–watching the right destroy GOP candidates in a puff of mutual bigotry. For every Evangelical who thinks a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan, there is a non-Evangelical so nauseated by that idea that they are loathe to support anyone that Evangelical endorses, even when the endorsement and the attitude are not the candidate’s fault. It has become a ridiculous situation where no GOP candidate will ever be far right-wing enough to be nominated and yet moderate enough to be elected. Welcome to four more years of Obama. I can’t help but blame the far right.

    1. ” It’s simply not relevant”

      Just  because it is not relevant to you, doesn’t mean it is not relevant to others.

      ” I can’t help but blame the far right.”

      Yes, moderates like Bob Dole and John McCain are the right way to go

      1. JJJ4 is entirely right. The unelectability of Republicans at the national level is almost entirely the fault of the far right. Democrats have won four of the five last presidential elections (let’s face it, they really won in 2000 too if we truly counted every Floridian vote that was attempted to be cast for both Gore and Bush, and I say that as a 2000 and 2004 Bush supporter).

        I destroyed your canard above about McCain– you think a conservative could’ve beat Obama? The Dems could’ve run a stuffed animal and won in 08. McCain has not gotten any of the huge credit he deserves for holding the margin of victory to 6 points which arguably made the House takeover in 2010 possible. What has the right wing done? Nominated crazy Senate candidates that prevented the takeback of that chamber too.

        The GOP “brand” was destroyed after the Bush administration. The word “Republican” itself became toxic. The Tea Party, meanwhile, is doing everything it can to make sure it maintains that toxicity. Romney represents the party’s best chance to redeem the brand and perhaps even pull the country out of the mire if anyone can do it (once he redeems the party’s image and makes the word Republican safe again (33% party approval rating now; 31% for the Tea Party)– THEN next cycle, you can try for a conservative of your liking). But, like I indicated above, you ideologues are too simplistic to think about politics and parties in the long-range. 

        So go ahead, cling to your ideological/ religious purism. After four more years of Obama, that’s all you’ll have left to hold on to. JJJ4 hit it on the head: thanks to you all, seemingly no GOP candidate can ever simultaneously be right-wing enough to win the nomination and mainstream enough to win the general election. Like the man said, welcome to four more years of Obama. A hearty thanks on behalf of the country to you and your right wing cohorts.   

      2. You’re a fraud, J. The evidence is toeing the Democrat line about the 2000 Florida vote. I recommend you read “Men in Black” by Mark Levin, a lawyer who thinks the Supreme Court ruled wrongly in Bush v Gore, but still recognizes that the voting was won by Bush.

        “you think a conservative could’ve beat Obama? ”

        Yes. Next question. Your moderate lost. How about another like Bob Dole? Why is it all of our GOP losers are moderate? Even George H W Bush lost after he turned to the left on taxes.

  3. The issue isn’t what Perry believes regarding Mormonism. It’s whether he is behind this smear campaign and, therefore, denigrating millions of American’s to satisfyhis lust for power. “cult” is fighting words. Those who know Mormons would consider them upstanding, family centered, citizens. Those wgho don’t hear the word “cult” and have very different visions. Jeffreys knows what he is doing and it does not reflect well on him or anyone who does not dissasociate himself from his comments. The constitution forbids a religious test for President. Should we tell Mormons to fight and die for a country that excludes them from full citizenship? Is it wise to split the conservative coalition? By the way, Perry called the representatives of the catholic church to disassociate himself from Jeffrey’s comments about Catholics. Why did he not call the Mormons? Does he think he can win Ut, Id, Az, Wy, Nv, Mt, Or, and WA without a strong Mormon vote?

    1. “”cult” is fighting words. Those who know Mormons would consider them upstanding, family centered, citizens. ”

      The two terms are not mutually exclusive.   You can be a fine upstanding citizen and member of a cult.   Cult, as used by the pastor is the traditional Christian term meaning that they have a false view of Christ, Salvation, and God.  It is not intended to associate its members with the likes of Jim Jones (though the spiritual damage of Jones was less severe, his false teachings died with him).

      My original article was also not intended to paint Mormon candidates as unqualified, each voter must decide that for themselves.  What I am suggesting is that demanding a candidates declare on the issue (like Beck has done in the past) is just as much personally a religious test as any Mormon might face.

  4. It is difficult to determine which far right wing of the Repulican Party has done more damage to it and done more to make Repulicans unelectable at the national level: the Tea Party or the Christian right? First, you all forced McCain to turn into a shell of himself to align himself with your rigid stances (and don’t dare suggest that McCain lost because he was a moderate– polls showed him as the only candidate within doule-digits of Obama in a head-to-head– Romney ran as a right wing droid in 2008).

    This should be a CAN’T LOSE ELECTION with a broadly acceptable Repulican running, but you’re gonna lose it because you won’t back the only GOP candidate who can win. Presidential elections are won by winning Independents and moderate members of the other party. Democrats have been stealing moderate Repulicans for years, particularly in states that would virtually deliver the White House to Repulicans like PA, but haven’t voted Republican for President since 1988 because of suburan Philly GOP defections. Turning out the base is important too, but elections are won by winning Independents. Besides, if it turns into a base election, Obama wins. No matter how many base voters you have, Obama can turn out more.

    Perry isn’t being discriminated against because of a religious test. He is being discriminated against because of a MENTAL ACUITY TEST. President Obama is many things, but stupid is not one of them. In Romney, you have someone who can stand on a stage and go toe-to-toe with him and not be intellectually outclassed. On the other hand, Obama will make Perry look like George W. Bush, who Perry already more than faintly echoes,

    On top of that, I can’t believe you would take up for a man who would be an utterly incompetent leader of the fee world just because he’s an “evangelical”. In the debate, he actually defended his lack of substantive policy programs by saying, he’d only been at this for eight weeks. Thanks for reminding us why you shouldn’t be the nominee, Rick.

    In conclusion, you and your “ilk” need to GROW UP when it comes to politics and policy. But, if you won’t, then I want you to do something for me. Plant the Obama/ Biden signs in your yard tomorrow. It will be the least significant endeavor your contingent will make toward Obama’s reelection, but he’ll still appreciate the symolic support after the jihad (there’s an apt word) that you folks are waging against the one opponent the White House fears.

         

    1. Being far right has never hurt a Republican candidate in the general election, at least as far back as 1968 (Goldwater may have been the last perceived conservative to lose, but even he is moderate by modern GOP standards.)

      I wasn’t defending Perry, he’s admittedly a poor debater, and lacks a consistent worldview capable of staying on task. I was only suggesting that requiring him to denounce a man’s religious opinions is itself a religious test, which may or may not be a good thing. I am only asking for fairness. AS pointed out in the article, Romney is often asked about the impact of his Mormonism, but he is never asked about its substance. Other candidates are often asked about theirs. For example, Mike Huckabee was asked about his view of the Bible, and evolution on several occasions.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Government Two Sizes Too Small: Ayn Rand Libertarians

Some people do not see the government as the God-ordained means for…

Caffeinated Thought of the Day: Religion the Bedrock of a Strong Nation

Brian Myers: For Witherspoon, the truth of the gospel was not only vital to the Christian faith, but it was necessary to the very foundation of a nation.

Today is the Anniversary of the Worst School Massacre in United States History.

“America’s bloodiest crime against students wasn’t committed by white teenagers in black…

Atheist Chris Redford: I Am Smarter Than God, and I Have Higher Moral Standards

Over the last several months I have been responding to a series…