Saturday, May 19, 2012

why voting for Romney isn't the same as voting for McCain: a Christian perspective

photo: Dave Lawrence

I had a hard time deciding whom to vote for in 2008.  As a minority, I wanted to support the first black president, but I hated his politics.  As a conservative, John McCain left me wanting . . . a lot.

I swallowed hard and took a deep breath in the voting booth and pushed the button for McCain, ultimately deciding that McCain, though undesirable, would have made more decisions I agreed with than Obama would have.  Granted, it was an electronic vote, so I have no guarantee it actually counted the way I voted.

McCain was not pro-life enough for me, but he was more pro-life than Obama, who opposed the Illinois Senate's version of the Infants Born Alive Act on the grounds that it would endanger abortion rights.  Senator McCain also advocated a larger federal government than I would prefer, but again, it was still drastically better than Senator Obama's position.

By contrast, Mitt Romney, while still not conservative enough for my tastes, seems to line up more with me on the issues.  Though, he is so slick, I would bet nearly everyone, even from divergent camps, feels that way.

So I should feel better about Romney, right?

Unfortunately, I don't.

With McCain, my differences were political and occasionally philosophical.  I have come to expect these in politics.  Short of electing a Christian minister such as Mike Huckabee, it is unlikely we will ever have a president who is as socially conservative as I am.

With Romney, my differences are on a worldview level.

As a Mormon, Romney believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who translated an additional testament to the Bible.  I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is not true.

I mean no offense to my Mormon friends, and on most days, this difference doesn't affect our relationships much.

But, I don't have to vote to give them the nuclear launch codes.

For the first time, I understand the vitriol that secularists spewed against George W. Bush.  If you believe someone is so powerfully deluded, the possibility of giving them first strike capability is positively nauseating.

Assuming that the evidence against Joseph Smith is accurate and that he was a fraud, I don't think I'm comfortable with the decision-making skills of one of his adherents when it comes to the the ability to start a world war of apocalyptic proportions.  Mormons are great friends and neighbors, but that's different from commanding a nuclear arsenal and the most advanced army in the history of the world.

The difference between George W. Bush and Mitt Romney is that 2 billion people believe the same as GWB, whereas only 13 million believe the same as Romney.  Even my non-Christian friends who have researched Mormonism see a distinction between the two faiths.

By the way, this is also why Reverend Jeremiah Wright matters too.

As Americans, we need to abandon the notion that faith is meant to be personal and is therefore unassailable.  Warped beliefs can do incredible amounts of damage, and one's personal faith should be open to scrutiny when running for public office.

At the risk of being guilty of reductio ad Hitlerum, the Nazi genocides were based off of a dangerous belief in eugenics mixed with equally dangerous fascism. The Crusades were based on a twisted understanding of Christianity, the idea that people should repent or let God sort out their bodies.  Terrorism happens because of deeply entrenched beliefs.

Jim Daly of Focus on the Family wrote that Christians should vote based on values rather than religion this year.  My problem is that in addition to my socially conservative values, I highly value the truth. I don't believe Romney has a firm handle on what is true.  Because of this, I have no way to accurately gauge the values underlie his decisions.

I know that this won't make me very popular with some of my friends or with those who blindly preach tolerance, but I honestly don't believe I can vote for Romney with a clear conscience. I can't vote for President Obama either.

P.S. If you think my position is extreme, read up on Brigham Young's prediction that America will fail without a Mormon saving the Constitution.
P.P.S. I reserve the right, as always, to moderate comments on this blog. Please be respectful of me and others, whether you agree or disagree with the position taken in this post.  Disrespectful comments will be deleted.


  1. I'm a late-comer to your blog, Raj, but I should have come earlier for the introspective posts like this.

    I respectfully disagree with the idea that Romney's religious beliefs would impair him from successfully executing successful policy. How is Romney's Mormonism grounds for disqualification more than the deism of Jefferson, the man who created the entire philosophical underpinnings of America?

    And I think that subscribing to a set of beliefs is less important than how they are carried out in the form of public policy. For example, there's a lot of agreement between Catholics and evangelicals in social conservative values, but Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden aren't doing a great job promoting Catholic values in the form of legislation.

    1. Scott, I'm glad you came at all.

      I agree that Romney's Mormonism doesn't mean that he cannot successfully execute successful policy. It's more that I don't trust him to.

      Jefferson's deism was more or less a pared down version of other mainline religions. If anything, one could claim it was more rational than most religious beliefs. This is vastly different from a candidate who believes falsified historical events actually happened or that his wife will only be able to enter heaven by him calling her into it with a secret name he gave her at their marriage in the temple. Such beliefs reflect an entirely different way of seeing the world, assuming Romney does actually believe what the Mormon church teaches.


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