Jay Clarke

In Presidential Politics, Religion Matters

In Politics and Religion on November 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

by Jay Clarke

On October 8th, 2011 at the Values Voter Summit, Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas, TX gave a rousing introduction for Texas Gov.  Rick Perry.  Perry performed well.  But, Jeffress stole the limelight in an interview granted to MSNBC later that day.  During the interview, Jeffress criticized Mormonism and by extension Republican presidential candidate, former Gov.  Mitt Romney“Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.” said Jeffress.

The reaction by the Republican Primary Candidates was swift and consistent.  Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum all rejected Jeffress’ statement or at the very least refused to comment on it.  Smart politics for the candidates.  Jeffress’ comments were politically radioactive.  But, the issue of a presidential candidate’s religious faith is certainly fair game and highly important.  Americans deserve to know exactly who they are electing to the highest office in the land and what makes that person tick.  The American elite media clearly ignored the signs and symptoms of the radical and dangerous belief system that afflicts Barack Obama.  And now, America is paying the price.

Barack Obama was a longtime follower of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Black Liberation Theology.  Obama called it “Christianity,” just as Romney refers to his Mormon faith.  But, Obama’s “Christian” faith turned out to be nothing more than Marxism creatively clothed in racial and theological terms.  Acting on his faith, Barack Obama’s religious views have been rapidly infused into the United States Federal Government.  The redistribution of wealth, socialist policies, government takeovers of business and student loans, social justice, unrestrained exercise of executive power and discrimination in the Justice Department can all be tied back to Obama’s faith.  It is all part of his world view.  And that is the problem.  It is vital to know the world view of our potential presidents because it will govern how they govern and how the immense power of the American Presidency is exercised.

So, religion does matter.  The problem for Mitt Romney and for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (also a Mormon believer) is that Mormonism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is indeed considered a cult by many in mainstream Christianity including 75% of Protestant Christian pastors.  Some reasons for that may include the following:

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was very clear in his belief that Mormons believe that “…human beings can grow and progress spiritually until, through the mercy and grace of Christ, they can inherit and possess all that the Father has they can become gods.”

The president of the LDS church is considered to be a modern day prophet and can, at any time, change key doctrines of the church by revelation from God and demand that all LDS believers obey the new doctrine(s).  “If those changes come, however, by revelation from God to his duly authorized servants, they are right and God’s people are duty bound to accept and obey them.”  Significant changes in Mormon doctrine by LDS president/prophets have occurred before.

Polygamy and the exclusion of black males from the Mormon priesthood were former doctrines altered by LDS Presidents because of a “revelation” from God.  In 1890, after receiving a revelatory vision from God, LDS President Wilford Woodruff issued “The Manifesto of 1890” officially outlawing polygamy in the church and paving the way for Utah statehood.  In 1978, LDS President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation and issued an official declaration: “Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.”

The point is not to denigrate Mitt Romney’s faith, engage in a theological debate or demand a religious test for presidential candidates.  Pastor Jeffress has been highly criticized by many media outlets because of his views on Gov. Romney’s Mormon faith.  Vice President Biden was equally critical on Friday calling it “preposterous” for Romney’s Mormon faith to be an issue in the 2012 election.  Yet, Jeffress’ views are mainstream to Protestant Christianity.  Mormonism does not hold to traditional Christian doctrine.  It is not Christianity.  That’s OK.  It doesn’t have to be.  But, the American people deserve to know what their presidents believe before they become president and begin to act upon those beliefs.

Gov. Romney would be wise to address concerns raised by the power vested in Mormonism’s president/prophet. “Gov. Romney, how would you respond as President of the United States if the president/prophet of the LDS church were to declare a new doctrine, with all the authority of Holy Scripture, that required actions that were unconstitutional or counter to the best interests of America?”

That doesn’t seem like such an outrageous question to ask.  One wonders how things may have been different if those kinds of questions were asked of candidate Barack Obama.

The religious faith and world view of a presidential candidate are vital indicators of the type of president that he/she might turn out to be.  Who we are as people, what we believe and what we value is expressed in our lives every day. Presidents are no different.  They live who they are.  Finding out who they are is a critical step in selecting someone to hold the most powerful elective office on earth.

In 2008 and with assistance from liberal media outlets, Barack Obama skated by with little critical examination of his background or beliefs.  The consequences of that error may take decades to repair. May we never make that mistake again.

Jay Clarke is a businessman and lifelong conservative from Southern California. Write him at americanheirs@gmail.com.

  1. I accept that we disagree. The simple fact is that whether a person claims to think for themselves or not it is simply their assertion, and even if made as a pledge, we can never know what is in people’s hearts and minds.

    But your last sentence raises the logical antithesis. What questions would you pose for a non-religious candidate?

    • I agree, anyone can say anything. Other than the pathological narcissist, liars are usually exposed. Unfortunately, Obama fits the bill as a pathological narcissist. Clinton was a close 2nd.

      Re: a “non-religious candidate” it depends on what you mean. An atheist, I believe, would be completely unfit to hold the office of President because his basic beliefs contradict the foundational beliefs of our nation as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The Founders believed that our rights come from God. If, according to atheists, there is no God, then where do our rights come from? If not from God, then from man and if our rights come from man/government, then our rights are not truly rights. They are simply temporary privileges that can be removed at the whim of a contrary ruler or Congress. For a “non-religious” person who simply had a general belief in God but was not affiliated with a specific religion, I’d want to know what his/her guiding principles were. Where does that person get his sense of morality and what does he believe the relationship is between the people and the government? How does he view the expression of religion in the public square? In school? At work?

      Finally, in my opinion, qualified presidential candidates would need to view the Constitution from an “Original Intent” point of view.

  2. Very well written, Mr. Clarke. I would agree that Obama’s faith is a Marxist mutation of Christianity, and I would agree that there is a glaring double standard at play in the legacy media concerning Obama’s background and the background of any Republican challenger; one is off limits, and the other is open to endless evisceration. Additionally, I do not support Mitt Romney as my candidate of choice.

    However, although 50 years ago it may have been appropriate to ask Jack Kennedy if he would follow the Pope or the Constitution, and accepting for the moment my assertion that today Romney would certainly answer in deference to the Constitution, would that really satisfy you?

    I have a monumental respect for America’s Judeo/Christian heritage, and though I am a non-religious Jew, I recognize the vitality and quality of the Christian faith. However, it does appear to me that there are many Christians who would prefer a Hindu over a Christian who does not follow there own brand of Christianity. What is the difference if a Mormon has a Prophet that makes a revelation, or a Jew sees an interpretation of the Torah, or a Catholic hears a decree from the Pope, or a Protestant has a vision while praying before bed?

    Are we to demand of Mitt Romney that he answer for every factoid about his religious sect? Should he be questioned about the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 and whether he would have participated had he lived at that time?

    If your point is that the voting public should know about a person’s religious beliefs as part of their assessment of a candidate’s character, then I agree; the history of the Mormon Church is available for all to see. But it appears that you are suggesting that Romney needs to defend his religion, which in America, is entirely inappropriate.

    • Good to hear from you Rob! Thanks for commenting.

      A couple of points in response to your questions. Yes, it would be satisfactory to me personally should Mitt Romney assert his commitment to the Constitution should there be a conflict between an LDS Church President/Prophet and the U.S. Constitution. No, I don’t believe that questioning any candidate about an historical event such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre or even the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trials…etc., is helpful or reasonable. Your point about Kennedy is well made and one that I considered when writing this article. Kennedy’s answer has, essentially, resolved the issue for any and all Catholics who may seek the Presidency. Yet, many Americans remain very skeptical about Mormonism which has certainly had a troubled history in the U.S. If 75% of Protestant Pastors view Mormonism as a cult, it’s clear that it’s not widely accepted as simply another “brand of Christianity” as you had said. That skepticism should be addressed if Romney wants to win the Republican nomination. I am not suggesting that Romney have to “defend his religion” because I, too, believe that would be inappropriate. If he was asked to defend his faith on such issues as salvation, sin nature or the Mormon belief that human beings can ascend to the position of gods, then his religious beliefs would be under attack and that would be off limits in my opinion. The President of the LDS Church wields great power and is considered a Prophet. When such a person can make wholesale changes to major doctrines of his faith and then demand that the faithful obey those changes, it does raise some questions.

      Regarding your point about the Pope, the Pope’s “infallibility”, as I understand it, (I am not a Catholic) is limited to issues of faith and morals. I claim no expertise in comparative religious studies but I know of no such limitations on the LDS President.

      The main point of my article is summed up in the last paragraph of your comment. The voting public should know about and have an opportunity to discuss the religious beliefs of presidential candidates. The comments of Rev. Jeffress put a particular issue of Mormonism in the spotlight and the knee jerk reaction of the politicos was to pronounce discussion of the religious faith of candidates as off limits. In my opinion, it’s not only well within the bounds of consideration, it’s a critical issue. If someone is a devoutly religious or non-religious, it only makes sense to review that belief system as a way of anticipating what kind of leader that person may turn out to be.

      Thanks again Rob for your comment!

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