The EFM Feature

Interesting e-mail:

I’m sure this it one of many e-mails thanking you for resisting the enormous pressure you’re obviously getting at EFM, from people like the e-mailer quoted in Charles’s May 6 post (“lost in a deadly cult”). As a Mormon, I appreciate your respectful way of stating your objections to our doctrinal deviation from “mainstream Christianity,” and your appreciation for our values and our cooperation in the culture wars. More importantly, as an American citizen, I greatly appreciate your efforts to ensure that we do not disqualify the person I believe (with you) to be the most qualified to serve us as our President, because of what I consider a self-destructive bigotry. As Hugh Hewitt and you have pointed out, including in David’s recent post, exclusion of Mormons can quickly turn against Evangelicals. But it also raises another problem for Evangelicals. In the course of friendly political debate, I and other Mormons I know have frequently defended Evangelicals, especially Southern Evangelicals, from liberal accusations of intolerance, racism and political arrogance. Despite being fully aware of the “cult” label assigned to me by Evangelicals, I felt strongly that this was only a doctrinal disagreement (although obviously an important one), and it never affected my view of Evangelicals’ political positions, motivations or actions. However, I must say that when I began to see the reaction from certain Evangelical quarters to Romney’s candidacy (including from James Dobson), I began to wonder if there is some truth to my liberal friends’ more broad-based accusations – among other questions, if some of these folks will not vote for a Mormon under any circumstances, might they really have a problem with voting for an African-American after all? I understand the differences between the two forms of bigotry, and will admit that the objections to a Mormon President (at least as summarized by Hugh Hewitt) are slightly more logical. But we’d all agree that that’s a very low bar to clear. Putting my own discomfort aside, it has become more difficult for me to defend Evangelicals’ motives when liberals can simply point to anti-Romney bias as evidence of prejudice. I’m sure my friends won’t be the last ones to make that argument. So, while the Evangelical objectors to EFM won’t give you kudos for doing Mormons any favors, I believe you’re actually doing your objectors a great service by (hopefully) providing them with leadership by the person who is most likely to protect their own political interests, and by assuring the rest of us that you are not all “agents of intolerance,” as someone famously said.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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