While we don’t get many critiques here at EFM, most of those we do get begin with some variation of, “Did you know Mormons believe…”and then go on to describe (sometimes accurately, most times not) this or that aspect of Mormon theology. We have chosen not to engage those critiques, except in the most limited circumstances.
Why not? The answer is simple: the theological questions we typically receive are absolutely irrelevant to the presidency. Let me be clear: I am not saying that theology is never relevant. When theology dictates policy, it is fair and proper for a voter to take that theology into account. To take an extreme (and fictional) example, if a candidate were an elder in the “Church of Killing Canadians,” it would be fair to discuss at great length whether the candidate would, in fact, use the presidency to kill Canadians. Or, to take real-life examples, fundamentalist Muslims or white-supremacists Christians or renegade Mormon polygamists all have particular religious beliefs that have (and presumably would) translate directly into horrific policy positions.
But we do not receive those kinds of questions about Governor Romney. The questions we receive deal with the Mormon view of the Trinity, the Mormon doctrine of salvation, the Mormon view of the afterlife, etc. Not only are these questions not relevant to the presidency (though certainly relevant if the Governor were applying to be your pastor), by even attempting to inject them into the debate evangelicals play a dangerous game. Do we think we can reject a candidate for theological reasons and then cry foul if the media or political opponents attack our own theology? Our beliefs may be more orthodox but that does not mean they are not often supernatural. (“Do you really believe that God will actually individually ‘call’ you to do something?”) Christians would rightfully bristle at the notion that our view of the Trinity, of salvation, of heaven or hell, or of virtually anything else would dictate exactly how we respond to a political challenge.
When it comes to Governor Romney, we are looking at a person with a rather considerable track record regarding the role of his faith in his public life. Is he a faithful member of his church? Yes. What has that meant for his career? Well, he is a man of integrity with an unbelievable work ethic and strong convictions in favor of religious freedom, a culture of life, traditional values, and courage in the face of tyranny. He has applied those values to build companies, save the Olympics, and defend our culture at the same time that he has governed one of the most liberal states in the nation innovatively and effectively.
So, you will never see EFM address the fine points of LDS theology. We’ll leave that to others. Instead, you’ll see us stand up for an essential American (and we think, Christian) value: Let’s judge this man, this applicant for perhaps the world’s most important job, by his individual merits. Identity group politics and theological blacklisting is a leftist specialty–it should not be a Christian practice.