Vote your values.
|Photo courtesy of USA Today|
I have a confession to make. I have already voted for Mitt Romney, three times. Not only am I going to vote for Romney on November 6th (my early ballot is already filled out), but I have already voted for him twice in the last two Republican primaries. Yes, I picked him over John McCain and Mike Huckabee .
But Mitt is ….. a Mormon!!
Am I not concerned that electing a Mormon as president will bring greater respect to a cult that is opposed to traditional Christianity? Yes I am. I am fully committed to exposing the false teachings of Joseph Smith's followers.
But on election day other things concern me more.
By way of explanation, I could repeat the common refrain, we are electing a commander in chief, not a priest in chief. While true, it does not get at the heart of my decision.
In fact, I am voting for Romney precisely because of his religion. More accurately, I am voting for Romney because of his worldview.
More than to which creed the candidate signs his name, I care about the basic principles by which he interprets the world and makes his judgments. Now, I don’t claim any special knowledge of Mr. Romney or of Mr. Obama or their most basic principles. However it seems clear that Romney is a sincere adherent of his religion demonstrated by his tax records2, his time as a missionary in France3, his years as the bishop of his local ward (roughly a church pastor equivalent). Mormons believe, as do I, that God created the world, that it is fallen into sin and that it needs an intervention by God to restore it. They have the same core beliefs as I do. Though their soteriology and bibliology differ significantly from evangelical Christianity, they are actually quite similar in their values:
Can the same be said of liberals? These values are more fundamental than policy positions because they determine the possible solutions a candidate will even consider.
- They hold the same basic views about an all powerful and loving creator of mankind who, for His own purposes, created them male and female in his own image.
- They believe the family is best equipped to raise children and instill morality.
- They believe that a good society is made up of good individuals.
- They believe that good is established by God and that it is universally, objectively valid.
- They believe in sacred writings that inform our choices and define our limits.4
- They believe that it takes more than good intentions to do the right thing.
- They believe in integrity, that what we say, we should do, that what we profess, we should believe.
- They believe that the means and the ends are both important and that neither justifies the other.
- They believe their lives, their community, and their country have a purpose larger than the sum of its parts because it was purposed by their creator.
- They believe the local church can make a huge difference around the world.
Just like adherents of any faith, there are those Mormons who fall laughably short of the faith they profess. Just like any faith, there are sincere adherents who attempt to live out their religious principles in a complicated and unfriendly world.
For my part, I would choose any day a sincere adherent of a flawed faith that has the same basic values as my own over an insincere adherent of my own religion who has radically different values.
Yes, I do doubt that Obama is sincere in his beliefs, not because I think he is a closet Muslim or a closet atheist, but because I suspect he is just like many other Christians who confess Christ not as a matter of truth, but of convention. There are many who profess a belief in God, but live like they are the God they profess. There are many who never bring their values in line with their creed.
Who’s with me? I hope to see you on Nov 6th voting for the candidate who most closely reflects your values.
1 I am using cult to mean “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious also : its body of adherents” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed.). The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints (i.e. the Mormon Church) definitely fits this definition when compared to orthodox Christianity.
2 He gives a significant portion of his income to charity and to his church. As is often said in churches I have attended, to figure out where a person’s heart is really at, look at his check book.
3 This is actually a tougher missionary field that it would seem. The French are not generally very religious or keen on Americans.
4 This makes for a good basis of interpreting the constitution as the founding fathers intended it.