Thursday, October 13, 2011

A competent Turk?

Can an orthodox Christian vote for a Mormon [or a Buddhist, or an atheist, or anyone who isn't a Christian — the issue is much the same]? The question most recently arises because of comments regrading Romney's candidacy. The answer, it seems to me, is obviously yes, depending almost entirely on non-theological considerations. That is an entirely different question than whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Christian denomination. Kevin DeYoung helps out on that one with "Mormonism 101":
Mormonism is back in the news. And with two Mormon presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney (the front runner for the Republican nomination), there’s a good chance we will be hearing much more about Mormonism for the next twelve months. Denny Burk has a very helpful piece on whether Mormonism is a cult, and Albert Mohler has written a thoughtful article on “Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking.” I won’t repeat their arguments, except to reiterate Mohler’s reminder that voting for a president should include examining the candidate’s religious beliefs, but should include other considerations as well.

Presidential elections are important. But believing the truth is even more important. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief overview of Mormon history and theology. I won’t try to debunk Mormonism or prove Christianity. But I hope this quick survey will show that the two are not the same. .... [follow the link to DeYoung's short summary of LDS history and theology]
In the Mohler column to which DeYoung refers he makes this political point:
.... Christians, along with the general public, are not well served by political leaders who, though identifying as Christians, are incompetent. The Reformer Martin Luther is often quoted as saying that he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk (Muslim) than an incompetent Christian. We cannot prove that Luther actually made the statement, but it well summarizes an important Christian wisdom.

Furthermore, Christians in other lands and in other political contexts have had to think through these questions, sometimes under urgent and difficult circumstances. Christian citizens of Turkey, for example, must choose among Muslim candidates and parties when voting. Voters in many western states in the United States often have to choose among Mormon candidates. They vote for a Mormon or they do not vote at all.

Furthermore, we must be honest and acknowledge that there are non-Christians or non-evangelicals who share far more of our worldview and policy concerns than some others who identify as Christians. The stewardship of our vote demands that we support those candidates who most clearly and consistently share our worldview and combine these commitments with the competence to serve both faithfully and well. ....
Mormonism 101 – Kevin DeYoung, – Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking


  1. Seems like I read somewhere that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

  2. But that, of course, restricts government - not individuals. We can apply whatever criteria we wish in deciding who to vote for. Nevertheless, it's a good standard.


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