I recently read an article with the tantalizing title of “Should Christians Vote for A Mormon for President?” (I do not intend to include the link for this article because it is in many ways a very offensive piece; if you are dying of curiosity, you can find it yourself.) Now, I had several reactions to this piece.
My first reaction is that I long for our country to have the mindset that we encountered in France: while there, we were informed in point blank language that NO candidate for president would dream of airing/discussing his/her religion. It just isn’t done.
My second reaction was—whatever happened to our understanding of Constitutional history in the U.S.? Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states:
The Senators and Representatives …, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Now, to my reading that could NOT be more clear. THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENT TO HOLD ANY ELECTED OFFICE IN THIS COUNTRY.
My third reaction was to read the article and see what the writer concluded. Surprise, surprise, surprise (as Gomer Pyle would have said). The writer concludes that three moral issues are paramount: pro-life (specifically anti-abortion); pro-Biblical marriage (specifically anti-gay marriage); and pro freedom of the church. I added the parenthetic statements, because the pro-life stance being articulated is focused solely on being against abortion, and the pro-Biblical marriage stance is really aimed only at gays. As for “freedom of the church,” I don’t know what is meant by that—obviously, we have religious freedom in the U.S., but churches are not free to break the laws of the country. So, I won’t address this issue.
So, herewith my fourth reaction. The first two moral reasons the author articulates are (for me) examples of skewed morality. Let’s start with the first moral reason—being pro-life. I object to the term “pro-life”--it is not focused on what happens to a woman who finds herself pregnant under difficult circumstance. So if you don't care about the woman, you can't be "pro-life." The current debate that is raging about “legitimate” rape (which has now been amended to “forcible” rape…as if any rape is NOT forcible) has now devolved into statements such as “rape is simply the means of conception, and you shouldn’t punish the resulting child.” Really? Rape is just a means of conception? And that is just the discussion surrounding rape. What about a woman who learns that the fetus she is carrying has an incurable fatal disease? A disease such as Tay-Sachs can be detected in utero, and is untreatable, and the eventual child always die prematurely. Is abortion of such a fetus always wrong? Usually, the discussion of abortion does not focus on the woman who is already alive and the impact on her of carrying a child conceived through rape to term, or carrying a fatally flawed child.
On the second moral reason, the reason I say that pro-Biblical marriage is only anti-gay marriage is because so-called Biblical marriage means many things. First, what is Biblical marriage? Of course, the answer that you get is one-man-one-woman as the automatic response. But marriage in the Bible presents a vastly more complicated set of options. The chart below (which comes from http://robertcargill.com/2011/10/11/what-exactly-is-biblical-marriage/) shows a more complicated view of marriage. So, clearly, marriage has been and is an evolving definition. Marriage has changed over time, and with cultural influences it will CONTINUE to change.
Another Biblical value is the need to tell the truth. Hey, that requirement even made it into the Ten Commandments. I grant you—applying that standard becomes far more difficult because we all have varying opinions as to what constitutes the truth. But one didn't have to listen very long to the convention speech made by Romney's choice as running mate to know that truth was in short supply.
Perhaps I need not continue this analysis. My primary point is this—while acknowledging that we have the right to choose for whom we vote and for what reasons we make that choice—don’t announce your reasons as being Christian or even moral, when it is apparent that the morality measure you use is highly selective and definitely skewed.