When Christianism Bites Back

"Not to shun Mormons, but they teach that Jesus was a man exactly like you or me and that men can become gods. We have traditionally been a Christian nation, and God has blessed us because of that. And now we're going to hand the reins over to a Mormon?" – Ed Seyler, an undecided evangelical voter in Iowa. As the article notes, he is not alone:

Plenty of congregants at Grandview Park Baptist Church face the same predicament: Is it better to vote for a Mormon or to not vote at all? "It's a conundrum," says Smith, the senior pastor, who is personally keen on Romney. "It's tough for a lot of people."

Mainstream Christianity rejects the Mormon theology that God the Father is actually still a physical human being, that Jesus visited the Americas two millennia ago, that men can become gods, that black people are inherently cursed by God in their DNA, that dead people (especially Jews) can be baptized by proxy, and, most critically, that God is not three-in-one, but three separate entities. From Wiki:

In the Mormonism represented by most of Mormon communities (including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), "God" means Elohim (the Father), whereas "Godhead" means a council of three distinct gods; Elohim, Jehovah (the Son, or Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. The Father and Son have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Spirit is a spirit and does not have a body. This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered to be physically separate beings, or personages, but united in will and purpose. As such, the term "Godhead" differs from how it is used in traditional Christianity.

Being nontrinitarian, the teachings of the LDS Church differ from other Christian churches' theologies as established, for example, in the First Council of Constantinople. Mormon cosmology teaches the existence of other "gods" such as is exhibited in the concept of the Godhead being three, separate, distinct beings.

Many may object to my posting video footage of the kind of ceremony that Romney will be extremely familiar with, but which even many Mormons do not get to see. My view is that if you are running for president, transparency is essential. We have seen countless videos of Obama's church services; and we have not been barred from seeing any religious services that previous presidential nominees have attended. The video has already been viewed over a million times.

I don't believe there should be double standards on this, as fervently as I believe that a candidate's religion should be irrelevant in the decision to elect him or her to a secular office. But then, I'm a secularist Christian, and Romney and his party strongly disagree, seeing religion and politics as inseparable. And indeed, in one debate, Romney recently stated, his belief that

“We’re all children of the same God."

The trouble is, theologically speaking, and with all due respect for the sincerity of Romney's faith, we are not all children of Romney's version of God. The Christian Trinity is not the Mormon Godhead. Many evangelicals understand this. But despite their fervent belief that religion should be indistinguishable from politics, most will ignore it. And that is why they will vote for Romney not as Christians as such, but as Christianists, willing to overlook the bizarre theology of Mormonism (and, of course, all theology is in some respects bizare) in order to promote the policies most fundamentalists of all types favor: re-criminalizing abortion, stripping gay people of the rights heterosexuals have, and a new war to protect Israel. Perhaps the most striking evidence of this happened earlier this month:

The Rev. Billy Graham’s Web site has removed an article labeling Mormonism a cult, a move that follows Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s visit to the evangelical leader. An online journal The New Civil Rights Movement and the Asheville Citizen-Times reported the disappearance of the article. The article had said that “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists,  Scientologists, and others” were cults. Mr. Graham, 93 years old, met with Mr. Romney last week, on Oct. 11 at his home in Montreat, N.C.

(You can see screenshots of the pages now removed – illustrating the suppression of religious difference in favor of fundamentalist political unity – here.)