There are some evangelicals out there who believe, to put it simply, that Mormons like Mitt Romney are just too kooky to be president. For proof positive that this is not a discussion to which we want to contribute, look no further than this week’s Washington Post Style section piece on Dr. Marcus Bachmann, husband of Rep. Michele Bachman.
Needless to say, the Post doesn’t think Dr. B. has much style. The article begins:
In an interview last year with a Christian-radio talk show, Marcus Bachmann, a therapist who runs a faith-infused counseling center here, compared homosexuals to “barbarians” who “need to be educated, need to be disciplined.”
Dr. Bachmann’s strong anti-gay views would hardly be noteworthy outside of the suburban towns marked with water towers in the St. Croix Valley, except that his wife, Rep. Michele Bachmann, is suddenly the hottest commodity in the Republican presidential field. She has staffed up with professional consultants, but her husband of 32 years plays a central role. Dr. Bachmann, who recently called himself his wife’s “strategist,” has acted as her media planner, traveling assistant and even personal shopper. They share a bond born of a mutual religious awakening in high school and college, a deep faith in an especially conservative form of Lutheranism, and a common abhorrence of homosexuality.
The article goes on to delve into the Bachmanns’ “especially conservative form of Lutheranism.” Like so:
Dr. Bachmann’s influence on his wife is an article of faith within the family.
“He is her godly husband,” said Peter Bachmann, Dr. Bachmann’s oldest brother, who lives on the family dairy farm across the eastern border in Wisconsin. “The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God.” It is a philosophy that Michele Bachmann echoed to congregants of the the Living Word Christian Center in 2006, when she stated that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to. “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she said.
And it is clear that when it comes to their social conservatism, the Bachmanns are in full agreement.
“Philosophically, they are 100 percent aligned,” said Ron Carey, Bachmann’s former chief of staff, and now a Pawlenty supporter, who admired Dr. Bachmann as a “soft-mannered, gentle, great guy.”
In Dr. Bachmann’s interview with Point of View talk radio in 2010, he said that parents and authority figures have a responsibility not to allow homosexual feelings “to move into action steps” and warned that the rate of homosexuality in public schools would increase if it became tolerated with “full, wide-open doors.” Both Bachmanns have been supportive of Janet Boynes, the author of “Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom.” “Janet’s life,” Michele Bachmann once wrote, “is a powerful testimony of the changes that Christ can bring through His healing power from the bondage of sin.” (Boynes declined to comment about the couple or Bachmann & Associates, and she referred all questions to Bachmann’s congressional office.)
The Bachmanns’ strong belief that homosexuality is a correctable sin within the realm of possible redemption is consistent with the teachings of the Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, the birthplace of Minnesota on the banks of the St. Croix River. A modest brick building with a wide isosceles roof and stained-glass windows in the chapel, Salem served as the place of worship for the Bachmanns until their recent move. The church belongs to the highly conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which, in explaining its views on homosexuality, points to the passage in Corinthians where the apostle Paul says to former sinners, “That is what some of you were.”
“The past tense is significant,” the Synod’s official Web site observes.
There’s more, but that’s more than enough to make my point. And my point is this: As you can tell from the Post‘s sneering tone, the mainstream media and the left–whoops, I repeat myself–see no difference between what many evangelicals regard as the Bible’s truth and the teachings of Mormonism. If we support the idea that you can paint some “conservative” faith communities as simply beyond the pale, they’ll do the same to us before we even get out the first five words of our explanation of submission or sin offerings. That’s what they’re trying to do right now to Rep. Bachmann, and when we attack Mormons as too kooky to be president, we aid and abet them–not because there really is no difference between our beliefs and theirs, but because the soundbite war in the midst of a presidential campaign isn’t the right place to have that conversation.