Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Will Mitt's Mitre be a problem

Mitt Romney, a former Bishop and Stake President (think Diocese), is to give a speech today on Religion and American life. But it's not going to be your every day George Bush speech on how he prays earnestly and seeks pastoral advice on public policy. Far from it. Why?

Because Mitt is a Mormon.

And AEP is very suspicious of the Mormon Religion. Romney is having to distance himself from the Church Leadership in Salt Lake City (much like JFK had to say about the Pope in Rome). Tentatively Romney has received some endorsements from AEP personalities and institutions who are saying religion should not be an issue. The same institutions that in the past few election cycles had called for electing Bush and Bush supporters because they were good AEP. To quote Bob Jones III, Bob Jones University

"As a Christian I am completely opposed to the doctrines of
Mormonism," he said. "But I'm not voting for a preacher. I'm voting for a president. It boils down to who can best represent conservative American beliefs, not religious beliefs."

Interestingly enough BJU is where recently an epidemic of Whooping Cough broke out, the likes of which haven't been seens since the late 19th century. After unsuccessfully letting and leeching the ill humors from the blood of students they had to send all 5,000 of them home.

So is it Ironic that the AEP leadership is supporting Romney after the past eight years of Religio-supremacy, yes, hypocritical - most certainly. Mormonism and AEP make strange bedfellows indeed. But many members of AEP aren't buying the whole 'shared values' line or the 'he's the only one that can beat Hillary' bit from the flexible power brokering leadership. Many individuals are looking south for a more theologically agreeable candidates i.e. Huckabee, and Thompson, who have either made Provocative remarks (Huckabee's Christian Leader ad) or have let their operatives do the dirty work. But many Mormon's have been expecting this all to come, the same magazine that emphasized his through and through fidelity to and belief in Mormonism

Romney is no garden-variety Mormon; he’s a Latter-day Saint from Central Castinga former bishop and stake president with what author Hugh Hewitt calls a “Christmas card family.”
also relays its fears about what this means for their religion as a whole:

We wonder: As this outstanding LDS man and his family seek the presidency, what indignities will they suffer because of his faith? What will such a national campaign really mean for the Church? What will come of the resulting scrutiny on our beliefs and culture? Will our critics among Evangelical Christians attack the Church as non-Christian and Romney as a cultist? Will pundits on the secular political left attack LDS beliefs as simply weird and incredible, and dismiss Romney as a believer in fairy tales about angels and golden plates?
And will our most sacred beliefs and symbols — our temples and temple garments, for example — be held up to national ridicule?

Temple Garments are a type of Long John Underwear. They acknowledge and even now the answer is appearing to be yes. But it's not an illegitimate attack on Mormonism that they would believe.

Granted the Gauntlet has been tossed more flagrantly in South Carolina aka 'the foulest swamp of electoral dirty tricks,' with the interview by Palmetto Scoop of a Thompson operative. But the question is legitimate no matter how uneducated the mouth piece elucidating (or perhaps obfuscating would be more appropriate) it may be.
"...I think that the more people scrutinize, look at and become aware of that doctrine, they will have more questions rather than less... the doctrines of Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism are so vastly different from the Mormon doctrine; from the concept of polygamy being the order of Heaven, to human man’s progression to godhead of other worlds, to the idea that Jesus had
multiple wives, to the idea that, after the death of the last apostle, all of Christendom was in apostasy – with a capital “A” as the Church refers to it – until Joseph Smith discovered the golden plates in the 1830s. So it’s inconsistent with so many basic Christian doctrines and it’s very unusual to the point that it’s almost unbelievable. These concepts are things that are
theologically beyond orthodox imagination."
Cyndi Mosteller does have a point. Mormonism is not an easy religion to understand. I'm not sure that many religions are easy to understand. But AEP and other Traditional Christian Denominations have a shared experience and tradtion (yes, tradition don't like the word take it up with St. Paul) that is centuries old and though many members may not be able to elucidate the tenets of their belief there's a cultural cocoon around them that they can easily point to as part of an explanation for or against the intrusion of an outside sect.

But to many people, it seems that Mormonism is a part of the
Christian faith. You’re arguing that assertion is incorrect?

MOSTELLER: Yes. I would say that the Southern Baptist Convention considers Mormonism not a part of the Christian faith – they’ve
stated that on their Website – and most Evangelicals would not consider it part of the Christian faith. And the Mormon Church would consider us an apostasy, in all of Christian history, since the death of the last apostle. From their perspective, the Gospel that we preach on Sunday would be considered an apostasy to them.

As basic an explanation as this is for the most part it's true. But not only do Southern Baptists and most other AEP not consider mormons to be Christians, neither do Catholics, or Orthodox. It's just a theological reality because mormon theology, ecclesiology, etc doesn't stand up to the historical litmus test for inclusiveness as a Christian ecclesial community, much like gnosticism and other philosophies that adapted portions of Christian proto-orthodox theology are not Christian. Mr. Romney has an uphill battle to win over the AEP vote and this speech will test if a man can wear two hats - the Mitre of Religion or the Crown of Government.

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1 comment:

Sis said...

Can't put more in the blog, but the BJU story, as reported in the State, is wrong-o. Except for the one-week early closing....