Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fourth Abrahamic Faith?

Apparently the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is going through some contortions when it comes to support for Mitt Romney who is a Republican Presidential candidate who also happens to be a Mormon. According to this article, SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land "regards Romney's church as neither a Christian religion nor a cult."

Based on what I read of the LDS view of whom and what Jesus is, I agree that they shouldn't be considered a Christian religion. I am not exactly sure what the definition of a cult is. Is it a religious group that believes different than you or does it also have to be formed after a certain date? I have always considered the LDS church to be a cult, but I am not sure why. Then there is this little nugget:

"I consider it the fourth Abrahamic religion--Judaism being the first, Christianity being the second, Islam being the third and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the fourth"

I suppose that assertion is based on the LDS claim that "ancient writings on golden plates that record God's dealings with indigenous Americans, who, according to the book, are actually former Jews from the Lost Tribes of Israel."

It seems that the SBC is doing a soft sell of Romney. For those who might be reading this, is it important for you to vote for a candidate who has the same religious affiliation that you do? The SBC/religious right has actively supported candidates that have "Christian Values," and if you look at the surface, the SBC and the Mormons share many of the same values. Are those shared values enough for you to overlook the fact that the Mormons are not Christians? Or do you vote for the person whose view on the issues most closely lines up with yours, regardless of religious affiliation? For right or wrong, I tend to do the latter.

6 comments:

Joel Brueseke said...

You know, Gary, I've been thinking about this for many years now and I have to say I haven't come to any solid conclusions. Sometimes I think I have a good enough answer to satisfy myself and sometimes I don't.

It's interesting that this post of yours comes at the same time as a post about "values" on another blog. On her back in
time
post, Lydia Joy talks about the chapter "The Vice of Values" in Steve McVey's Grace Walk book. While these two posts are seemingly unrelated, the "values" aspect ties them together for me.

I'll just admit that where I'm at right now, I'm tired of the whole "values voters" thing, even if I share similar "values" with any given candidate or on any given issue. The things Bino posts about also add to my thoughts here, such as his
Nothing will work other than Christ Himself
post.

I'm wholly open to New Covenant / grace-centered / abiding-focused thoughts on all this!

Another example, along with Romney, that I've heard people talking about when it comes to "values" is Giuliani. Many conservatives would seemingly be happy with his stand on security, his record of tax cuts, his 'clean up' of NYC, etc, but the history of his stance on abortion negates anything that they might otherwise see as positive in him, and they will refuse to vote for him based on that "value" alone.

Are we to vote based upon values? Are we to vote based upon character? WWJVF? Who Would Jesus Vote For? ;)

I'm seriously pondering these things from a grace-based perspective. Jesus told Pontius Pilate that he was in his position of power because God put him there. Did Jesus try to change the political system of His day? Was He trying to change peoples' values? These are all questions that I sometimes think I have answers for, and other times I'm not as sure.

I'm still putting all of this together in my mind, and I "value" all thoughts. :)

Gary Kirkham said...

Joel,

Thanks for dropping by. I have thought a lot about this as well. It is my view that most politicians are liars and cheats. How's that for grace? :)

The problem with voting "values" is that they usually seem to fall by the wayside in the give and take of Washington politics. If you remember, Joe Lieberman used to be called, and maybe still is called, the most principled man in the Senate. It was kind of fun for me to note how quickly he set aside some of those principles after he became Al Gore's running mate.

The 2004 election was the first time I had voted since I was saved. I voted George Bush in the primary, not because I liked him all that much, but because I thought he had the best chance of beating whoever the Democrats selected.

Will I be that pragmatic in this election? I don't know. Is this any different than any other decision? For example, if someone offered me a job at another company I would approach the decision by praying about it and then going where God leads.

Should I approach an election any different? I think that I have come to the conclusion that I shouldn't. What will I do if God leads me to vote for Hillary Clinton? I suspect that He will have to bring me to it like He brought Jonah to Nineveh. :)

In Christ,
Gary

Joel Brueseke said...

Gary,

The Gore/Lieberman ticket also crossed my mind while thinking about this. :)

And so many other things have come to mind that I can't possibly remember them all right now.

One of them... With the Giuliani thing, James Dobson and co. have been in the news promoting the idea of getting behind a third party candidate. I haven't heard much on this for at least a couple of weeks. But the question that comes up for the "values voter" is... In the most likely scenario, if there were to be this type of a third party candidate, he/she would most likely take away votes from the Republican candidate, and would get the Democratic candidate elected. The one they're really, really trying to keep out of office would win over the other one they're trying to keep out of office. By voting their "values," they end up putting the "worst of two evils" in office.

Anyway, yeah I have too many thoughts on this, but fortunately I'm at rest and I'm not fretting or worrying about any of this. I think you're right... It's a matter of Christ being in me, and I pray and seek for the way in which the Lord would lead me. I wonder how many He led to vote for Perot? ;)

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Politics! I personally an observer of the world wide political conversations. But I have to admit I have a very poor understanding of American politics. :)
But I still like to read about it because its interesting.

Joel Brueseke said...

It seems as if I was wrong about something that I said in my last comment, so I feel it's necessary to clear it up. "Dobson and co" (as I worded it) have not been promoting the idea of supporting a third party candidate, at least not directly.

According to a
blog post
that is linked to directly from the Focus on the Family website, "he has simply encouraged others to consider a principle-based candidate selection strategy come election time, even if that means voting for someone outside the mainstream."

I won't get into the full story of how the false rumor of him making great efforts to back a third party came out in the open, but I at least wanted to clear up my error.

Gary Kirkham said...

Bino,

I don't a very good understanding of American politics either. I think it's designed to be that way. :)



Joel,

Thanks for taking the time to clear that up.