This election year, I find myself and my friends weighing our priorities. It's a tough election for conservative Christians. We're used to ignoring the Democratic ticket altogether, and since Obama is a flaming liberal, that part of the decision is easy. But then we turn to the Republican ticket, and now that the contenders are reduced to only one -- Romney -- we're sitting back on our heels, looking at him.
What are our priorities? Here are a few that I've heard from friends:
1. Defeating Obama. Holding this as your first priority makes life easy. It doesn't matter who the Republican pick is; if he can beat Obama, we love him, and he's our man. We don't care if he's Hitler -- we love him if he can oust Obama, whom we've demonized into being Satan himself. (Can you tell I'm weary of this position?)
2. The Economy, Stupid. These friends hold their noses and vote for Romney because they believe he can fix the economy. Which economy? The US economy? The world economy? Small businesses? Public worker pensions? Our personal fortunes? I'm not sure; it might be any or all of these. Quite a bit is wrapped up in the economy, for conservatives. It means getting rid of Obamacare, which is killing the economy. It means balancing the budget, stopping the bail-outs, reducing the deficit, cutting entitlements, and a host of other things impossible for one president to do. But Romney is sold as the economic genius, so people with this priority at the top, are voting for him.
3. Pro-Life! These voters have one item on their agenda, and it's a good one. I've often found myself in this camp, all other things being generally equal. They favor Romney because he's a Mormon, and we all know Mormons hate abortion. For some reason, their logic then leaps to the assumption that Romney will somehow cease abortions in the nation and (hopefully) overturn Roe. v. Wade. I hate to be a nay-sayer, but I just don't see this happening. Change in the abortion situation is happening on the state level, and even local level, and it's happening in a big way. But the president? He has a bully pulpit, but the bully pulpit is useful for lip-service.
4. The Supreme Court. To hear some conservatives talk, the only thing that the president is good for is appointing Supreme Court Justices. Sheesh! Those nine mysteries on the bench often turn out rather differently that people hope (or fear). That's the lamest possible reason, to me, to cast my vote for any particular presidential candidate.
5. Pick a Winner! I tell you, lots of people will only vote for someone they know has a chance to win. I also think that's a terrible reason to vote for a person. That means I must -- I MUST -- vote for the party man. I'm at their mercy. I don't even need to look at his personal positions, his history, his policies or his character. The only thing about the man that matters is that he can win. Ugh! At that point he's just a body in a suit, and the man himself is immaterial. And I tell you this: the party itself has only chosen him for his ability to win. That's all! They don't want a loser; they want a winner. They don't care anything at all about him, so long as he'll sell. Think about that. Is that the kind of mentality you want to use, in choosing the most important leader in the world? Oh, I wish people would use their brains. This priority is, of course, linked closely to #1. The two together can create all kinds of political mischief.
6. Get Me Outa This Two-Party System. This is for my conservative independent friends. They don't necessarily care how they vote, but they won't vote for any candidate from the two main parties. You occasionally hear this one. I'm sometimes tempted myself.
When I say that my priority is only Jesus's church, and His kingdom, do you think I sound pious and self-righteous? Do you think I'm crazy for even blending my religion with politics? I've heard many friends say that they think Romney's devout Mormonism doesn't matter at all; this is US politics we're talking about, after all, not choosing the next pastor at church! What does it matter what his religion is? In the US, everyone is free to believe what he wants, and to run for any office, right?
Right. Romney has every right to believe Mormonism, and to run for president, but that doesn't mean I have to vote for him. And yes, I can reject him based on his faith, if my priorities dictate that to me. This election has clarified this for me in a way no other election has. Before, I truly believed I was basically picking among a group of (or finally, between two) nominal Christians. Men who probably believed in Jesus, and sin, and at least parts of the Bible. They probably also believed they shouldn't let their faiths influence their governance much. I wasn't too happy about this -- I wanted a devout Christian who would take Jesus with him into the Oval Office. I did! Because I believe that Christianity is superior to other faiths, and it is better for our nation. Do you?
When we say that a man's faith should not influence his governance, we're saying there's a part of his life where Jesus doesn't reign. Do you believe that? I don't.
All evidence proves that Romney is an extremely devout Mormon. The Mormon Church is the heart and soul of the man. (And yes, I do think he'll take his heart and soul with him into the Oval Office.) Of course, he won't do anything to integrate Mormon theology into American thinking. He will not require holy underwear, nor will he ban coffee, tea, and alcohol. He will, however, do all in his power to bring Mormonism into acceptance as a normal, acceptable Christian denomination. That's been the open goal of the Mormon Church for several decades -- acceptance. Romney's election will be the crowning achievement of that church's goal, the inroad to its accompishment.
A cult wants to be called Christian.
And your vote will either help that effort, or prevent it.
(This is my blog, so yes, I can say that.)
I've made up my mind. Probably you already have too, based on your priority. But if you haven't, give it serious thought. In the end, I don't want to tell God that my first priority was my retirement fund, so I voted for a cult leader, and participated in the weakening of His church. I want to tell Him that I stood against the overwhelming tide, and chose His kingdom first, over other voices. I'll find myself another pro-life candidate who I'm sure won't stand a chance of winning, and I'll vote for him. My vote isn't wasted if it's cast with a clear conscience.