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Mitt Romney, Mormonism, and the big freeze out

September 8, 2012

[J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM and 96.1 FM in Reno. Listen to Broad View live Saturdays at 2:00 PM Pacific Time.]

The two political conventions are done. Republicans officially nominated Mitt Romney and Democrats officially nominated Barack Obama (again). This is a good time to sit back and contemplate what it means for our country to have a choice between a member of Jeremiah Wright’s church and a Mormon when we vote for president this fall.

Something is terribly wrong with our nation. Much as I like Romney and plan to vote for him, it worries me that the top level of leadership in all three branches of government does not reflect the religious preferences of the majority of Americans.

First of all, some facts: nearly 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. 25% are Roman Catholic, and somewhere between 50% and 55% are Protestants of one type or another. 1.7% are Mormon, 1.7% are Jewish, and other religions are each less than 1%.

So this is overwhelmingly a Christian nation, with a majority of us being Protestants. The numbers aren’t surprising given our history. Early immigrants were often people fleeing religious persecution by the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England. We are mostly Protestant because that’s who we were from the beginning.

It’s always a delicate matter to pass judgment on another person’s religion but some things are factual. The Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the church President Obama attended for twenty years and the only church to which he ever belonged, openly teaches Black Liberation Theology. This is theology based on communism, not the Bible, and we all know, or should know, that communism is overtly and adamantly atheist. Black Liberation Theology justifies itself by claiming mainstream Christianity has been corrupted, but by placing itself in opposition to Christianity it signals that it’s not Christian itself. You can’t oppose Christianity and be a member of it at the same time.

Mormonism does the same thing. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints seems to be totally different from Reverend Wright’s church, but Mormons aren’t Christian either. I don’t say this to be hurtful. There’s much to admire about Mormons, their church, the way they behave and act, and the sincerity of their beliefs, but they are not Christian as most Americans define that term. You don’t have to take my word for it. The founder of the religion, Joseph Smith, said it himself by declaring that all Christian creeds other than Mormonism are an abomination. According to him, our Christian denominations were all corrupted after the Apostles died.

Let me say it again: you can’t oppose Christianity and be a member of it at the same time.

There are many differences between Mormonism and Christianity but the fundamental difference is this: Mormons are not monotheistic. They don’t believe in one god. Christians, like Jews and Muslims, do. That there is only one God is probably the most important message in the Bible. Mormons believe there are many gods: the god they worship, the god who created him, and millions of other gods before and since. In fact, the goal of every good Mormon is to be a god himself. Like a Scientologist, a Mormon can work his way up to being a god.

We don’t have to pass judgment on whether that doctrine is right or wrong to admit it’s entirely different than what Christians believe.

So here’s the point—here’s why I’m saying something is terribly wrong: no matter who wins the presidential election in November, we will have no Protestant Christians in leadership positions in Washington, D.C.

Look at the Supreme Court: the last Protestant was John Paul Stevens, who retired in June of 2010. The court now comprises six Roman Catholics and three Jewish members.

In Congress, the Senate is led by Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, who is Mormon. He’s backed up by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, who is Roman Catholic. The President of the Senate (and official tie breaker) is Vice President Joe Biden, also Roman Catholic.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is John Boehner, another Roman Catholic, backed up by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is Jewish. The Minority Leader in the House, and Speaker of the House until this past January, is Nancy Pelosi, yet another Roman Catholic.

In the White House we have Barack Obama, as already mentioned a believer in Black Liberation Theology, and Joe Biden, as already mentioned a Roman Catholic. If Mitt Romney wins the election this fall, we replace them with a Mormon president and Roman Catholic Paul Ryan as vice president.

Most of us lowly peons out here in the hinterlands are Protestant Christians of one breed or another—about 165 million of us altogether—but apparently not one single Protestant is worthy of a leadership position in Washington. For some reason we’re frozen out of the power structure.

Something isn’t right about that.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." – Isaiah 45:22

"I and my Father are one." – John 10:30

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." – Titus 3:5-7

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." – Matthew 18:20


From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

February 8, 2014 - Perhaps it may be because Catholics are seen as more "progressive" than Protestants (which is the direction our country is going). – Albert, California
J.P. replies: Is that the direction the country is going? In California, where you live, it must seem that way. In the rest of the country it seems like powerful demonic forces representing a minority of the population are legislating the progressive agenda against our wishes.

January 31, 2014 - Why does one's religion matter? We should only care about one's character and their political views. – Albert, California
J.P. replies: I bounce that question back to you: If religion doesn't matter, why has the political establishment frozen Protestants out of the Washington power structure? Apparently they think religion matters.

September 12, 2012 - Protestants (especially evangelicals) eliminate themselves from power by being anti-education and anti-achievement. The only accomplished evangelicals I know are people who converted to evangelical Christianity after they were established in their professions... and there aren't many of those. On the other hand, education and advancement are greatly encouraged in Roman Catholicism. Admittedly, many prominent Catholics are not faithful Christians (or Catholics). – Katherine, Reno

September 9, 2012 - It's going to work out that way from time to time. "No religious test" means no religious test, so Catholics, Mormons, Jews, atheists, etc. can't be excluded from federal offices on the basis of their faiths.
25% of Americans profess Catholicism, yet Catholics were radically under-represented in federal office until about 1960. There has yet to be a Hindu or Buddhist in federal office. We have one open Muslim in Congress (and by my lights, that's one too many, but there's that "no religious test" business again).
I'd worry more about the characters and political convictions of our federal officeholders, and less about their religious allegiances. But then, I'm a Catholic myself, so you might dismiss my sentiments as an expression of self-interest.
(On a tangential matter: "Roman Catholic" is not a religion; it's a rite. The religion is Catholicism. There are about twenty rites within Catholicism, but those pertain strictly to things such as the specific forms of ceremonies, clerical garb, and similar peripheral matters.) – Francis P., New York
J.P. replies: I became a Catholic as an adult (when I wanted to marry a Catholic) and have the highest respect for Catholicism. But when I moved away from West Michigan I returned to protestant churches... not because of a change of opinion, but simply because church-hunting in new cities repeatedly brought me there. Contrary to your statement that "It's going to work out that way from time to time," the odds of all 15 top leadership positions (ignoring Nancy Pelosi's minority leadership position which isn't worth a bucket of warm spit) being held by non-protestants in a nation that is 55% protestant are less than 1 in 100,000 (.45^15 = .00000628).

I'm not suggesting that religious affiliation be a litmus test—I'm suggesting that religious affiliation is a litmus test. Protestants are being systematically excluded. If you're wondering how, look at the ridicule and scorn heaped on George W. Bush by the media when stories he told hinted that he was a born-again Christian. Here's a mental exercise: imagine the confirmation hearings for an evangelical Christian nominated to the Supreme Court. You know and I know and God knows the poor sap wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell, even though there are tens of millions of evangelical/pentacostal/non-denominational Christians who would welcome such a viewpoint on the high court. I'll say it again: something is terribly wrong and I think that "something" was symbolized by the Democrats' inability to pass a simple resolution mentioning God in their platform.

September 8, 2012 - Oh and incidentally, Hillary Clinton is a protestant and is second in line of succession to the presidency and is clearly an important and trusted member of the administration, so the claim that there are no protestants in leadership positions is just not correct. – Thomas Farrell, Google+
J.P. replies: I suppose if you start down through the president's cabinet you'll find some protestants, but no protestant is in charge of legislating the laws by which we live or ruling on the consitutionality of the laws by which we live or executing the laws by which we live. Hillary Clinton is dealing with foreign countries. For better or worse, we are ruled by people who do not belong to the majority.

September 8, 2012 - I suppose that's legitimate if you think that choosing people for a job based on their religion is legitimate and moral, even though doing so in regards to private employment (rather than elected officials) happens to be illegal in all 50 states. – Thomas Farrell, Google+



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