Jump to content

Baptist Standard Editorial: 'Mormon Issue' Echoes Previous Era


CQUIRK

Recommended Posts

Thought this was a good article that, of course, comes from a religious newspaper that hasn't always been so friendly to the LDS faith-

Election years present a challenge to Christian conscience: How should you express your faith with your ballot?

This winter and spring, Republican evangelicals and Catholics will confront an age-old version of that question. Will they entrust the country to a candidate whose religious beliefs they might describe as unorthodox, at best, and perhaps—if they concur with an infamous pronouncement by a Dallas pastor—cultish? Can they pull the lever for a Mormon, Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman? Depending on how the primaries unfold, the broader electorate may ask themselves those questions.

The "Mormon issue" echoes the furious religious-political debate prompted by John Kennedy's presidential candidacy in 1960. Back then, widespread concern that the young war hero and Massachusetts senator might become the United States' first Roman Catholic president flooded the Baptist Standard. Many Baptists joined multitudes of non-Catholics in opposing Kennedy. They feared a Catholic president would take his marching orders from the papal hierarchy and obliterate church-state separation and religious liberty in America. They based their logic on the Catholic idea that salvation is dispensed through the church. So, a Catholic layman—even the president—would be required to obey the pope for fear of eternal damnation.

Standard Editor E.S. James wrote extensively about the election. Following his own convictions regarding church-state separation, James refused to endorse either candidate. But he exegeted the issue, insisting presidential loyalty to the U.S. Constitution should supercede loyalty to the papacy.

"There must be renunciation of allegiance to the foreign religio-political state at the Vatican, and there must be declaration of freedom of the clergy by American Catholic citizens," he stressed. "If that were done, we know of no reason why a Roman Catholic should not have the support of voters of all faiths." Just before the election, James reported: Catholic Kennedy "affirms again and again that he is definitely committed to the principle of separation of church and state, and that he is opposed to federal aid to parochial education or the appointment of an envoy to the Vatican."

Kennedy's Quaker opponent, Richard Nixon, "is vague, evasive and ambiguous about aid to parochial schools" and "favors federal aid to both public and private schools of higher learning." Ultimately, enough non-Catholics took Kennedy at his word to hand him the presidency.

In 2012, the issue isn't so much about candidates' fealty to the Mormon hierarchy as assent to ideas most Americans find unusual. Non-Mormons are asking (popularized, over-simplified and at times inaccurate) questions: Should a person whose beliefs involve special revelation written on tablets of gold and questionable anthropology lead the nation? Could a candidate whose thinking includes sacred underwear and the possibility of divinity provide sound leadership?

To be fair, secular commentators have noted orthodox Christian doctrine seems similarly wacky and illogical to millions of unbelievers. But since Mormonism stands outside the mainstream of American religion, the questions for Mormon candidates persist.

Fortunately, James' template for evaluating candidates is as valid today as it was more than a half-century ago. He recognized politicians' decisions are shaped by faith, but he acknowledged the Constitution guarantees they must not be limited by a religious test for office. Since governing essentially is a secular task, loyalty to the Constitution and commitment to church-state separation provide sufficient protection to ward off alarmists' fears.

Ironically, ultra-conservative evangelical Christians, who often confuse their personal convictions with public policy, pose the greater threat to religious liberty today. That's all the more reason voters in this election cycle should evaluate candidates on three vital characteristics—character, competence and the clarity of their positions. That is fodder for another editorial, which we'll have time to explore later.

This election year is young. Very young.

Link to comment
but he acknowledged the Constitution guarantees they must not be limited by a religious test for office

The constitution, thankfully, provides no guarantee that individuals won't apply such tests in the voting booth.

Ironically, ultra-conservative evangelical Christians, who often confuse their personal convictions with public policy, pose the greater threat to religious liberty today

How so? And define "ultra-conservative".

That's all the more reason voters in this election cycle should evaluate candidates on three vital characteristics—character, competence and the clarity of their positions

Which are shaped by one's religion (or lack thereof) as the article admits earlier. This article solves nothing. It addresses nothing. What I think the article wants to do is say that a Christian can vote for a Mormon without feeling like they're supporting the Devil, but in order to do that, one would have to compare values and even doctrines which indeed show this is the case.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Similar Content

    • By Anijen
      In reading some of the posts involving crimes [sexual assault], allegations, [Kavanaugh, President Russel Topic], or even controversial subjects such as Climate Change, Book of Mormon Geography, etc.. I have thought to myself there are a lot of faith based concepts juxtaposed up to scientific method and actual evidence. I'd like to discuss both and how it might affect our concept of that topic and what we take away.
      Personal belief systems can take root at a very early age, sometimes as a part of our cultural or ethnic identity. As a result, they are almost impossible to remove without eroding the soil of substance that gives one both a sense of identity and purpose. However, also true, as a consequence, most will not surrender a deeply held personal belief for fear it could lead to their spiritual loss or death. There is nothing wrong with personal beliefs. I, for one, am deeply faithful and active in church. Each person finds meaning and purpose in their own way and that is how it should be. There is a difference between faith and scientific method and reason. Personal faith is not a problem unless it gets in the way of objective forensic investigation and examination.
      For example; using faith based reasoning (let's say using the Bible to prove a point), the premise of an argument and the conclusion are a matter of personal belief and subsequently often considered above criticism. Those who question the premises of such beliefs, religious and otherwise dogmatic, are labeled heretics or worse. I have been called an apostate for not subscribing to a heartland theory, a racist for objecting to a safe-place policy, a climate denier for even questioning global warming (which I know there is climate change, my interests is, is it really all just man made?), a racist and a bigot for disagreeing about kneeling as a protest, a chauvinist pig for thinking men and woman are different and we should use the appropriate public bathrooms.  
      In faith and personal belief, there is little room for critical thinking and no place for doubt. As a consequence, the nature of faith runs contrary to knowledge building. My faith tells me men and women are both children of God and are different from each other, science also tells me there is a biological difference too. We still have debates to how we should act and even appropriate ways to speak. For example is refusing to bake a cake with a message one does not believe in compelling speech?
      Questions, questions, questions... When is testify via faith and testify via science appropriate and acceptable and when is it not?
    • By bcuzbcuz
      This evening, the returns are in. The "Sweden Democrats", Sweden's neo-nazi party, have won 13% of the federal election vote. Roughly 85% of the population have voted. The nine major parties have collected only enough votes to, almost exactly down the middle, split power between the right coalition and the left coalition.. And guess who gets to sit in the middle of the balance, the neo-nazis.
      All of you who said that socialism would lead to ruin, were right.
      Both left and right coalitions have said they'll have nothing to do with the SD's but time will tell. Me, I'm a pessimist. It can only get worse. The end of times is upon us.
    • By lane
      Hello everyone my name is Marcus and it is an absolute please to be here!
       
      Might I add what a blessing it is for technology so that we can communicate and learn from one another without presently being in a specific location.
       
      As the title suggests I really do need opinion and your advise. First I do not regularly create an account on a forum and my first post is a request, I do plan to make contributions throughout the forum in time, but I am actually doing this for brother and he needs your opinion.
       
      Also I do ask from you in a very serious and reverent manner and I hope my writing will convey it you in that way.
       
      My brother and his wife have various laundromats all thorough Texas and they have thought about turning these into facilities that would specifically clean Temple clothing instead of keeping them for the public. 
       
      The process would be similar to this:
       
      1) A member creates an account, with membership number required or some form of verification
      2) They can then order online and the first order my brothers company will send them a special shipping package that they use with their customer number on it or something like that and they would ship their Temple clothing directly to the nearest facility. 
      3) Within a weeks time or so the clothing will then be shipped back. 
       
      He still has to speak with someone in church about this and see if he can do this, but I wanted to ask you what you thought about this.
       
      I apologize if this sounds like soliciting, but it is just an idea and something he has thought about a lot that could help many members out. I know it is sacred to speak of this and I do speak of it with the highest respect.
       
      If you can please let me know in all honesty if this sounds like something you might be interested in. 
       
      Have an absolutely wonderful day everyone and I appreciate all feedback!
       
      All The best,
      Marcus
    • By volgadon
      http://mormonliberals.org/marriner-eccles/
      A very good friend of mine wrote a fascinating piece on Mariner Eccles, one of the more influential Mormons in the 20th century, and sadly much-neglected now.
      The bit about Mariner and Reed Smoot during the depression is particularly revealing of the political and economic dynamics at play in the church.
×
×
  • Create New...