Mitt Romney, the Mormon, Republican governor of Massachusetts, is being rumored as a possible presidential candidate. Many angles of this prospect are examined well by Terry Eastland in In 2008, Will It Be Mormon in America?
The tone of the article is generally positive, and Eastland cites supportive unnamed evangelicals, as well as named ones, the latter notably including Chuck Colson. He discusses whether or not evangelicals would support a Mormon candidate, and finds a cautiously positive response.
In that connection, he mentions alleged thawing of evangelical/Mormon relations. The premier evidence of this thawing is Richard Mouw's treacherous and dishonest cowtowing, and one could throw in Eerdmans' publication of a Mormon apologetic, all of which I discussed here and here
Here are my initial thoughts:
- Because character, values and thought-processes make a great deal of difference in a leader (cf. Proverbs 16:10, 12; 20:8, 26; 25:4-5; 28:16; 29:4, 12; 31:8-9), it matters whether a leader is a genuine Christian or not. (NOTE: by "it matters," I mean just that. I do not mean that I would never vote for a non-Christian; see, for instance, my Why This Far-Right, Pro-Life Christian Plans to Vote for Schwarzenegger. I simply mean it factors into my thinking, judgment, and preferences.)
- Specifically, in order still to be a Mormon today, a great deal of rationalization, avoidance of facts and reason, and self-isolation from reality has to have taken place. This is not a "plus" in one who'd seek such a vital office.
- Specifically, Mormons are not as a rule where Biblical Christians are on the abortion issue.
- Even more specifically, Romney was previously dead wrong on abortion, and has only recently drifted rightward, as his presidential options have become more of a discussed factor. A genuine conversion is a wonderful thing; one connected to the seeking of political office generates reasonable suspicion.
- Romney's run against Ted Kennedy for the Senate -- if memory serves me -- was marked by Romney's scamper to the left, so as not to be so starkly contrasted with Kennedy. He did not cover himself with glory. Opportunistic weathervane, much?
- For me to favor Romney in the primary would require a desolate field, indeed.
- If Romney is the GOP candidate in the General election... it will mean a very difficult choice. One I hope I don't have to make.
- The prospect of the discussions that naturally will result given a Romney candidacy suggest a mixed bag. On the one hand, it may afford opportunities for Christians to clarify the Gospel and the teaching of the Word. On the other, given the decimated and dessecated nature of the professing church, there is great reason to fear whether our public faces are up to the challenge. With "evangelical" Richard Mouw heading up a leading and respected "evangelical" seminary, and with him embracing Mormons as preachers of the real Jesus -- my fear is that evangelicals working for or acquiescing to his candidacy will be perceived as further "evangelical" embrace of Mormonism.
Neither is a happy scenario, to my mind.