The EFM Feature
Egg on face, from Flickr user messtiza, used under a Creative Commons license

We’ve been saying since the beginning of the Jeffress/Perry flap that the real issue is whether evangelicals must vote for candidates who share not just their values, but their theology. Meanwhile, much of the media has focused on other issues. Yesterday, William Saletan of Slate repented:

In retrospect, I’m sorry that I, along with rest of the press corps, got caught up in debating whether Mormons are Christians or whether Mormonism is a cult….

The question that matters is whether such theological concerns should drive voting decisions. That’s what Jeffress told Goldberg—“It is imperative to vote for a Christian rather than a non-Christian”—and repeated on CNN after his speech. “Born-again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian … to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney,” Jeffress asserted. “As Christians, we have the duty to prefer and select Christians as our leaders.”…

Perry wasn’t standing there when Jeffress delivered those words. Nor was he there when Jeffress called Mormonism a See You Last Tuesday. But Perry was standing offstage, basking in Jeffress’ praise, when the pastor, at the conference podium, urged the crowd to choose a “genuine follower of Jesus Christ” over a “good, moral person.” Even if Perry knew nothing about Jeffress’ past criticisms of Romney and Mormonism, he should have understood those words for what they were: a religious, not moral, test for public office. And he should have disowned them.

To this day, he hasn’t. He has said he doesn’t judge what’s in another person’s heart. He has said Mormonism isn’t a cult. But Perry—who said less than a month ago that “as a Christian” he has “a clear directive to support Israel”—hasn’t addressed the underlying question posed by Jeffress and restated by Romney: Should Christian voters prefer a Christian candidate to a moral non-Christian? Let’s hear his answer.

More such reflection, please!

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.

Comments and Discussion

Evangelicals for Mitt provides comments as a way to engage in a public and respectiful discussion about articles and issues. Any comment may be removed by the editors for violating common decency or tempting flames.

8 Responses to In Which A Reporter Repents

  1. Ha ha, you know, as a professed Christian leader Pastor Jeffress sure hasn’t figure this whole repentance doctrine out and how to do it properly. “In word, in faith and in charity” seemed to have slipped passed him in the example department. In fact, Jefress behavior (I’m sorry, but 90% of Evangelical Pastors I’ve met behave the same) isn’t emulative is Jesus in any way shape or form. Rather it is emulative of the Pharisees, who themselves couldn’t see Jesus as He really was. If he ants to talk about the RIGHT Jesus, I don’t want to follow the one ye claims to emulate….NEVER.

  2. Let Freedom Ring says:

    Great article, Charles!

    Pastor Jeffress and others of that same mentality embarrass themselves by spending so much time calling the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints non-Christian when these same unchristian-like acts could very simply be replaced by investing the time in making an honest study of the church’s teachings by going to mormon.org and/or the Book of Mormon which emphasizes Jesus Christ as the very key of what this religion is all about. In fact one of the verses in the Book of Mormon clearly states, “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:17)

    The Book of Mormon is replete with teachings stating the necessity of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in order to be saved. It also cross-references to literally thousands of verses in the Bible referring us back to the crucial teachings of Jesus Christ and is another witness of the Bible’s divinity so that there is no mistake that the Bible and its teachings are indeed the word of God and that it is all about the mission of Jesus Christ and ultimately His atonement. If that careful study was made, they would be amazed at how their Christian values align with those of the Church of Jesus Christ, and thus they would act more Christlike towards this doctrine. People should not merely repeat and follow a particular crowd of a mob-like nature. Just because someone is raised believing or told such a thing, such as one race not being equal to another race, does not make it true. Every person who criticizes another person or group has an obligation first to think for themselves and search out truths in order to discern and separate fact from fiction, rather than merely misjudging another. They need to go to the source rather than just repeat hearsay.

    Another crucial issue is that Pastor Jeffress is not realizing that if he judges another religion in such a harsh and inaccurate way, he is missing one of the foundational purposes of the Constitution. Many in this country do not want another’s religion attacked, because they don’t want their own beliefs attacked next. This would take away from what this country is about–a person’s full freedom, including worshiping how they please. Pastor Jeffress and those with this mentality are unwittingly yet surely sabotaging their own freedoms by inadvertently trying to erode the very freedoms they so much desire for themselves.

    Thanks again, Charles, for recognizing this great characteristic of this country and for not confusing the two. It’s people like David, Nancy, and you who make this country strong by standing up for others’ freedoms to believe as they will as long as they do not harm others!

  3. Jim Tills says:

    It is imperative for a person to vote for a moral person—Christian or not—who believes in the Constitution, will give all they have to preserve it and the freedoms flowing out from it, and have the skills, knowledge,and experience needed to preserve our sacred religious heritage. Mitt Romney has all the prerequisites for greatness as the POTUS. Belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shows at least an implied belief in Jesus Christ (which he indicates by his open acknowledgement time and time again that he accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior). Not only Perry but also Jeffress owe Mitt Romney a profound apology both personal and public for Pastor Jeffress’s slander of this great American. Not to do so shows the highest lack of moral integrity and shows that the stand they make is merely introduction of religious bias for political gain.

    Thank you for your common sense and unbiased presentation of what Americans need to hear, know and understand.

  4. JediMormon says:

    As a Mormon, I don’t care what other “Christians” choose to label me as. I know what I am, and so does God, and that’s good enough for me. I suspect that Romney feels much the same way. However, what a person’s religious preferences are should have no bearing on his or her qualifications in the political arena. Gov. Perry is trying to walk a fine line, doing everything except coming out and stating that Jefferess’ remarks were wrong. I know why he is doing it, however. There are probably many, many people who feel the same was as Jefferess does–that being a “good Christian” takes precedence how qualified a person might be to hold a particular office–and Perry is fearful of alienating them and losing their vote. Perry has already shown via his attack ads on Romney that he is dishonest, and now he won’t stand up and to what he has to know would be the right and honorable thing? Not the kind of person that I want as president of the United States.

  5. Liz says:

    No worries. I bought Mr. Romney a fish sticker for his car and sent it to him. That oughtta resolve things with these people.

  6. Carol Hess says:

    As to Jeffress’ charge that Mormonism is not” Historical Christianity,” couldn’t that also be said by the Catholics of the early Protestants?? And how “Unchristian” his comments & judgements were!

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