Monday, December 17, 2007

The Irrelevance of Romney's Religion

For the best brief explanation that I have seen of why Mormonism is not a Christian religion and why that is irrelevant to the presidential race, see Rod Dreher here. Mr. Dreher promises to say something to offend everyone, but his take is mostly right on this set of issues.

Nuance is usually a casualty in the sound bites of contemporary politics, but I will give this a try.

Some of the evangelicals who have charged that Mormonism is not Christian have been tagged with the charge of religious bigotry. That is because most people reflexively consider the statement that someone is not a Christian to be a judgemental comment on their heartfelt convictions or eternal destination. However, Christianity for nearly two millenia has been broadly defined by the statements of the Nicene and Chalcedon creeds. Historically, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians -- groups that disagree widely on other things -- have all affirmed the beliefs affirmed in those statements of belief. Even those Baptists who have never read these creeds and who claim not to be creedal unknowingly affirm the beliefs declared in them.

Mormon beliefs about Jesus are not consistent with what was declared in these creeds.

While that fact may or may not create concerns about the state of Mr. Romney's soul, it has nothing to do with his fitness to be president. Mr. Romney, like all other candidates, should be judged by his competence, ideas, and fitness for office, relative to the other candidates. The particular flaws of his apparent theological convictions are no more relevant than were those of another American president whose views did not comport with Nicaea or Chalcedon -- Thomas Jefferson.

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