A Mormon for President?

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With Mormon candidates such as former congressman John Huntsman and
former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney considering 2012 runs for
president, evangelicals are beginning to discuss the implications of a
Mormon president. In a controversial column at the Patheos website, author Warren Cole Smith argued that “a vote for Romney is a vote for the LDS Church.”

admitted that evangelicals will be attracted to a Mormon candidate’s
shared views on social and moral issues, but argued that they shouldn’t
overlook the fact that Mormons have a different religous worldview than
evangelicals, and that worldview shapes their behavior. He pointed to
Mormons’ various positions, from polygamy to racial discrimination, that
have been reversed in light of “continuing revelation” that comes
through the church’s prophets.

“Even if a Mormon social teaching happens to concur with orthodox
Christianity at this point in time, it is unreliable and subject to
alteration,” Smith notes. “It’s tempting to say that ‘continuing revelation’ has
defined Romney’s career, who has changed his positions on same-sex
marriage and abortion and just about every major ‘culture war’ issue.”

editor, Jeremy Lott, begs to differ with this position and points to
self-described Christian candidates who hold to political positions that
are at odds with evangelicalism. He suggests that those who would
oppose a Mormon candidate are allowing sectarianism to color their
political views.

“There may indeed be good grounds to oppose a Mormon candidate for
office. Yet they ought to be the same grounds that you would use to
oppose someone from your own religious tradition,” he noted. “Random traditional
Christian voter X should not vote for Mormon candidate Y for the same
reason that he would not for a Catholic, Protestant or Jewish
candidate—because you disagree with the candidate about political
matters of great import.”

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