The EFM Feature

Here’s Andrew Tallman, on

As I understand democracy, I am free to vote how I think best. Perhaps I’ll vote based on age. Perhaps I’ll vote based on gender. Perhaps I’ll vote based on policies, past record, education, party affiliation, or height. Some of these factors are better than others to consider, but just because I agree that we should not have a State religion, this doesn’t mean I should become religion-blind in my judgments about leadership capacity. Precisely because I believe religion (or even its lack) is central to who a person is, I not only will consider it, but I expect lots of other people to consider it as well. The ones who ignore it can only achieve consistency in their views by believing that religion can and should be walled off from every important area of a man’s life. I’m probably more troubled by such aberrant theology than I am by the non-believer. They would have us believe that God exists but shouldn’t matter. Even the atheist is not so foolish.
I’ve no doubt that this column will be misunderstood by many. They will think this is an attack on Mitt Romney and Mormons more generally. They’ll probably accuse me of opening the door for anti-Semitism. And I’m sure they’ll be saying that I want to make every religion other than mine illegal.
They will be wrong.
Let me repeat. I can easily see myself voting for Mitt Romney. In fact, I spend a fair amount of time convincing those who object to his Mormonism that they should not. Not because religion doesn’t matter, but because they’re wrong in thinking this particular religion is wrong enough to disqualify him. I know too many Mormons to be overly worried about a Mormon President, even though I also have many questions about this very secretive faith.
If I do vote for Mitt, I will do so in part because of his commitment to religion, even one other than my own. But that’s the point. I am considering his religion in my decision, and I am very frustrated by hearing so many conservatives tell me and others who disagree with me in my assessment of Mormonism that we are all a bunch of unpatriotic bigots because we happen to think that what a man believes and practices with regard to God is important stuff.

Tallman is right on two points. First, it isn’t “bigotry” to take a candidate’s religion into account. Second, even after doing that, conservative evangelicals should still be on board with Governor Romney.

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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