Friday, October 12, 2012

Romney's Mormonism

If there is one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree upon, it's that a candidate's religion doesn't really matter. While Republicans commentators like to scare people by associating Obama with Islam and Democrat commentators like to mock Romney by pointing out Mormon oddities, these commentators do not do this for the noble purpose of seeking the Truth, but rather the ignoble purpose of smearing the opponent. The main reason Republicans hate Obama because he's a Democrat, and the main reason Democrats hate Romney because he's a Republican. In reality, the majority of citizens don't care about what religion anyone chooses to espouse. But Natural Law and Divine Revelation both teach us that religion is at the very heart of our humanity, and thus is a chief concern for every man. This is because what one believes will always impact how one lives their life, both in public and in private. For this reason, Romeny's Mormonism should be one of the decisive issues of this debate.
Since man is a Rational creature, this means he can analyze the world around himself and draw conclusions on how creation functions and the purpose of life. This does not require faith in any specific religion, since Reason is an integral part of human nature itself (and thus precedes religion). Using Reason we can recognize and affirm that there must be an all-powerful God that created this intelligible world. Logic (which is one use of Reason) shows us that believing that one religion is as good as another is equivalent to saying God doesn't exist, since atheism is one religion among others. But since Reason shows there is a God, this entails that religious indifference is false, and even to be shunned, while the true religion must be sought out and promoted. This realization alone should cause all citizens to stay home this Saturday and spend the entire day pondering what religion is true, and even cause them to kneel and ask God to guide them in finding the true religion. And so religious indifferentism is precisely the erroneous and dangerous mindset that one has embraced when they say Romney's Mormonism isn't a key issue they will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to vote for him.

The Church teaches that one of the gravest errors of our day and age is “practical atheism,” which is addressing those “Christians” who take time on Sunday to worship God but spend the rest of the week living and acting as if God didn't exist. While this attitude rules society today, it is plain that this lifestyle is the furthest thing from proper use of Reason that one can envision. As noted earlier, the religion one espouses will govern how one acts. Despite the fact this claim is just plain common sense (and again the use of Reason), most people have not put two-and-two together, so to speak, on this matter. But for those who consciously live according to what their religion teaches, which is what many Mormons do concerning the Mormon faith, then their Mormonism will dictate how they will live their life. From all appearances, Romney is a faithful Mormon and in good standing with his religious denomination. This means that how Romney will govern (if elected) will be in accord with Mormon teaching. For example, Mormons officially teach that while abortion should not be done for “convenience,” there are still “exceptions” for when an abortion is morally permissible, such as rape, incest, health of the mother, and birth defects. On top of this, Mormons officially teach that the Mormon Faith is neither for nor against legislation touching upon abortion. So if we want to know how Romney is going to stand on the abortion issue, we need look no further than the official teachings of Mormonism. And in fact Romney has remained true to the official Mormon teaching on abortion, which is why Romney has been for abortion at times and against abortion at other times. He can freely play both sides of the political arena depending on the situation, emphasizing the “exceptions” on abortion when he needs to.

But let's say a candidate didn't want to follow the official teachings of the religion they professed to follow. Let's say that Romney vowed to totally outlaw abortion. While he would objectively be doing the right thing, he none the less is now living a lie by remaining Mormon (since Mormonism officially permits abortion under certain circumstances and is against legislation on the matter). If someone we know is living a double life, professing one thing but practicing another, that man is either deluded or a liar, and Reason shows us is of an unfit mindset to be a civil leader.

Now that I've laid the groundwork for evaluating Romney from the perspective of Natural Law, the next thing to consider is viewing Romney from the perspective of Catholicism. Since Catholicism is the one true religion, this entails that all other religions fall short of the Truth to one degree or another. Mormonism is an interesting religion because while it espouses faith in Jesus and the Bible, it none the less is not Christian. Mormons are not Christians because they officially deny the Trinity, and thus don't have a valid Baptism. Many will have their feelings hurt by this statement, but it is objective truth, and there has to be an official manner in which we can discern who is and who is not a Christian. The fact most people would lump Mormonism in with Christianity shows either they are ignorant of the facts or are religiously indifferent. Some of the most blatantly anti-Christian teachings of Mormonism are (a) that there are many gods, (b) that the god of this planet once was a man, and that all faithful Mormons can progress into godhood, (c) that the Bible is corrupted, and (d) that the Church Jesus established fell away when the Apostles died off and was replaced by a false church, which is the Catholic Church. All of this has a direct impact on the Incarnation as well, effectively overturning it, and St John warns us that this is the mark of an Anti-Christ movement (1 John 4:1-3). Obviously, no Christian should ever be promoting or voting for an antichrist sect. Teachings such as these are such an affront to Catholicism that it doesn't matter how kind and polite Mormons act, these errors will inevitably lead one away from God. This is not to say most Protestant denominations are much better, since most of them have abandoned fundamental Christian teaching as well, but there are still a few Protestant denominations that are (fortunately) closer to the Truth than almost anyone else. Given this, it would be an absurdity to promote or give credence to Mormonism by voting for Romney, which it undoubtedly would do. While there is enough religious indifference that most people would not be affected, there would still be many Catholics and Protestants drawn to Mormonism by such a victory.

In this brief post I have demonstrated why Romney's Mormonism is so crucial a factor to consider when it comes time to vote. That Romney's Mormonism is not on anyone's political radar says a lot, especially when so much time is invested on lesser issues (which are not as much in the President's hands as we think), such as the economy. In fact, it is absurd how the economy is almost the only issue many Republicans even harp about, which to me reveals that they're more concerned about living as they please in this life than seeking out Truth and promoting the Gospel. And while the same principles apply to Obama's religion, the reason why I see no need to write much about it is because the case is so much clearer than Romney's (e.g. Obama is part of the pro-abortion United Church of Christ, a quasi-Christian denomination, and has done other things directly contrary to Catholicism). The lesson here is not that one candidate is better than the other, but rather that neither candidate is worth voting for.


Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Nick, I agree with you that both candidates are problematic. Unfortunatly, that's all we got to vote for. I'll be voting for the Romney-Ryan ticket because of Ryan, not Romney. I'm hoping Ryan, who seems to be a fairly decent Catholic, might be a good inflence on Romney. Right now, all you can do is hope. And pray there will be no more Democratic change.

Arimathean said...

We're not voting for Pope, we're voting for President of the United States. Being a heretic or a pagan does not disqualify one from the latter office.

For any religious voter, whether Mormon, Catholic, or Other, the number one issue today has to be religious freedom. Example: Every advance for same-sex marriage is a setback for religious freedom. Christians are on the way to becoming a persecuted minority in this country.

Obama and his cronies have made the limitation of religious freedom a central element of their agenda. Four more years of Obamacare and another Obama appointment to the Supreme Court could spell the end of religious freedom and the beginning of the persecution of all traditional religion. On this score, Romney could not possibly be any worse than Obama has been, and his vocal Republican base will probably require him to be a lot better.

Then there is the matter of competence. We have suffered 12 years of incompetence in the White House, and I'm not sure this country would survive another 4. Unless you are indifferent to the continued long-term existence of the United States, Romney is the only choice.

Anonymous said...

God can bring about a miracle. Their history, both BHO and Mitt have legislated for abortion and sodomy. How can God bless this Nation? In the last almost fifty years, we have put into law, the gravest sins! And who can ignore...

We have a Muslim and a non-Christian running for President. Maybe, the "election miracle" is Romney, even Obama will convert to the faith.

Pray, pray, pray,


Nick said...

All of these comments make very good points. I talked to a friend about this and he showed me that while religion is crucial, we often have to work with whatever political system is already in place and cannot expect or hold out for Mr Perfect.

My friend pointed out that Voting should not be taken as a divine right but simply a prudential judgement, and this prudential judgment should be based on promoting the Common Good. There does not appear to be any 'net' benefit for voting for Obama, and given that he's actively persecuting the Church and actively promoting evils, it would thus be a sin to vote for him. Romney is not necessarily any better on the inside, but outwardly he has shown no signs of actively persecuting the Church or pushing other societal evils and instead would just be a 'do nothing' President in that regard.

I think Obama will win pretty easily, so for that reason alone I choose to not get too wrapped up in the present and instead trust in God's Providence to punish/correct.