Can Evangelicals Vote for a Mormon?

The New York Times has an article this morning declaring Glenn Beck to be a bridge between Romney and evangelicals. The article notes “the long-frayed relationship between evangelical Christians and Mormons” and speculates on whether or not evangelicals will put aside religious differences to vote for Romney on Tuesday.

The article includes quotes from me and Russell Moore criticizing Glenn Beck’s mix of politics and religion. I stand by those remarks, especially as it regards Beck’s 2010 Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C. It was a mash-up of civic religion and syncretism that had some evangelicals looking to Glenn Beck as some kind of a spiritual leader. It exposed the fact that far too many evangelicals still can’t tell the difference between heresy and the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is also quoted in the article. He suggests that many evangelicals will not vote for Romney for religious reasons. In his own words,

Romney has staked out issues that are aligned with evangelicals… [His mormonism] still an issue for some evangelicals and may influence their voting decision on Nov. 6. There are a number of evangelicals who will not vote for someone who doesn’t adhere to orthodox Christianity.

It’s true there are some evangelicals who won’t vote for Romney because of his Mormonism. I know some of them, and I have heard them make their case. But I think it is a mistake not to vote for a candidate simply because he “doesn’t adhere to orthodox Christianity.” In this year’s election, neither of the candidates adheres to orthodox Christianity. Governor Romney is a Mormon, and President Obama is a theological liberal. If orthodox Christian faith is a condition of your vote, then you can’t vote for either candidate.

I don’t think, however, that abstaining from the election is the responsible choice for Christians. The franchise is a stewardship, and we should cast our vote for the candidate that is most likely to advance the principles that we believe in. We do this because we love our neighbor and we want to promote the common good (Mark 12:31; Gal. 5:14). We do it because we want to live a peaceful and quiet life in godliness and all dignity (1 Tim. 2:2). Perhaps we will get a candidate someday who is an orthodox Christian who will advance those interests. In the meantime, we have what we have, and evangelicals shouldn’t shirk their responsibility to the unborn and to marriage simply because the candidate carrying the torch for those views is Mormon.

42 Responses to Can Evangelicals Vote for a Mormon?

  1. Christiane November 4, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Glenn Beck ?

    it figures

  2. Tom Parker November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Denny,

    I’ll give you the short answer, at least in the Southern Baptist world, and I readily admit it is just my opinion.

    In the effort to defeat President Obama the answer has to be YES!

    • J O E B L A C K M O N November 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      President Obama is pro-abortion and pro gay rights. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Christian voters to help defeat him. There is no reason, biblically, that a Christian can’t vote for a non-Christian. As a result, the only biblical way to vote this election is Romney.

  3. Brian MacArevey November 4, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    “I don’t think, however, that abstaining from the election is the responsible choice for Christians.” + “evangelicals shouldn’t shirk their responsibility to the unborn and to marriage” = “Real Christians have to vote for Obama”?

    Am I following your logic?

    This seems a rather simplistic formula to me.

    What if (and it is probably likely) voting for Romney will contribute nothing towards the elimination of abortions in the U.S.? What if dealing with poverty and education will help the pro-life cause in more significant ways that voting for Romney ever could? What if you believe that the current two party system is so flawed that voting in and of itself actually promotes violence against the unborn?

    • Brian MacArevey November 4, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Wow! total screw up…lol?

      Obviously I meant to say “Real Christians have to vote for Romney?” in my first sentence. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Steve Martin November 4, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    YES!

    And we’d better or this country is sunk.

  5. Hannah Williams November 4, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I agree. My grandmother and I were just talking about this. This will be her first election in which she will not be voting. She argues that she cannot vote for someone who worships a false god. The problem with that view though, is that anyone who does not worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and does not value the Scriptures as the Word of God, is already guilty of worshiping a false god. They worship the god of self. We know from Romans that to not serve God is to serve flesh. We cannot rely on someone who serves a worldly and darkened view to defend a godly view. We cannot expect Christ-centered leadership from a self-centered false gospel. However, we can strive to choose wisely even if our options are not what we desire. God gave us these politians. He is giving us the opportunity to look to Him for hope and reminding us that man cannot save. One question we have to ask, who will be less of ‘a terror to good conduct’?

    • Akash Charles November 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

      Okay when I was in India we voted for the party that ensured protection for Christians, they worshiped numerous false God’s but that’s besides the point.

      A lot of actions are being taken to limit Christianity in this country and if someone from another religion is willing to defend our values against those who wish to constrict us, it is our duty to vote for him

      • Akash Charles November 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

        Gods

  6. Donny Monk November 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I think this election will be decided more by those who don’t vote than those who do. The race is so close and there are so many who won’t be voting, for whatever reason, that their votes, if cast, would certainly swing the election. However, by not voting they are leaving the decision in the hands of everyone else.

    If voters only voted when there was a candidate that believed exactly like them, the turnout would be slim indeed. With that line of thinking, what options do Jewish people or those of other faiths have in this election?

    We need to face the facts that it’s going to be one or the other. No write in is going to make it and the decision will be made on Tuesday both by those who vote and those who don’t.

    • Denny Burk November 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Right on, Donny! Great to hear from you!

  7. Steven Lynch November 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Let’s not forget how we got here…

    Pastors across the land have thrown every viable “Christian” candidate under the bus for whatever violation they could find.

    Heck… the only reason Obama was first elected to the U.S. House… was because the Repub got mixed up in a sex scandal… with his OWN WIFE!

    Only Christians can punish a politician for wanting to have wild freaky sex with his own wife…. (have you SEEN Hollywood actress Jeri Ryan? If I had been her husband… I probably would have wanted wild freaky sex with her too!!!)

    And now we have Pastors all over this land… including BillyG. ready to sell out God for political expediency.

    I don’t know who I’m going to vote for…

    But if I vote for Romney… I will NOT be voting for him based on the tired pathetic argument that Denny and our fellow Evanga-dos are selling.

  8. Alan Davis November 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    It would be putting our head in the sand to believe that Romney being the avid mormon he is will not be making decsions based on his misguided cultic belief pattern. Is he the “lesser of two evils”? Yes he appears to be so, sorta like “which way you want to die? Hanging or gunshot? Well the question isn’t how do I want to die….I want to live so yes one of those is the lesser of two evils but neither can give me what I want so I lose either way.

    It seems many Christians are now looking for the most expediant means to influence their culture even if it mean riding on the coat tails of a cultist. The ends now justifies the means to many Christians. Seems Saul tried that and that ended badly, David had Saul dead to rights several times but David wasn’t going to let the “ends justify the means”. It is as if we now have to use evil to get what WE think God wants. Daniel and his friends were dedicated to the Lord and had to serve under a wicked and ungodly man.

    For me to write in a vote and abstain from choosing either the cultural Christian Obama or the Cultist Romney is not aq wasted vote if I am “doing everything as unto the Lord” On judgement day I will not have to give account for supporting either one of these heaterns for I will have stood (albeit with just a few) for truth and rightousness.

    Some may say oh well your just letting Obama win, no I am standing for truth, not half truths, not partial truth but truth. I can hear it now on that day for Christians when they are asked “why did you vote for my enemy”? “Well God I fiqured the lesser of evils was what you wanted…REALLY??? Is that REALLY what Scripture says? Do we really believe in God’s Soverignty?

    Alan Davis

    • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) November 5, 2012 at 12:44 am #

      Alan said, “On judgement day I will not have to give account for supporting either one of these heaterns for I will have stood (albeit with just a few) for truth and rightousness.”

      I sure hope you’re not voting for ANYONE in ANY election this year because there is no one who stands up for truth and righteousness all the time. “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). I’d be interested to know if there were any candidates you supported in the primary. Are there any current members of the House or Senate you could vote for in good conscience? What exactly is your standard? Or perhaps you just write yourself in for every office? That might solve the problem.

    • Akash Charles November 5, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      What about all the christians in India/Pakistan and other countries who vote for a non christian party that is more christian friendly than the others,Is God going to be angry with them?

      By your definition you should have never voted for anyone

    • Matt Lewellyn November 5, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Mr. Davis, a house divided against itself cannot stand. If the conservative vote is split, the liberal wins. The two-party system is not ideal, but it is what exists now. You may wish to not be counted with the conservative house, but that just means you are contributing to its fall and aiding the cause of the liberal.

      Some questions for you: 1) Is not any human candidate, in some way, a lesser or greater evil? Is there such a person (besides Jesus, who isn’t running in this election) as a non-evil candidate? 2) What does scripture say about presidential elections? Last I checked all the kingdoms referenced in the Bible were monarchies or empires. 3) What specific decisions are you afraid Romney would make on his “misguided cultic belief pattern?” Sounds like a straw man to me, but I’ll let you list some out for discussion.

      Don’t act like we live in a theocracy. We do not. We will not, until Jesus comes back.

    • steve hays November 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      So if Christians vote for Romney, we negate God’s sovereignty? You must not think God is very sovereign to begin with if you think voting for Romney would have that effect on God.

  9. Ryan Abernathy November 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Denny,

    Here is my position. I would consider voting for Romney IF the Radical Christian Right had not moved to redefine Mormonism as a valid expression of Christianity in order to make Romney more palatable to Christians. Unfortunately, that has happened. Richard Land did this when he stood with Beck’s Black Robe Regiment. BGEA did this when they removed Mormonism from their list of cults prior to Romney’s photo op with Dr. Graham. Christian pastors are doing this all over the country in the name of reclaiming the White House for “our values.” “Our values” are to be Kingdom values- not social or moral values- and there is no way that Romney can express them because he is not a part of the Kingdom. He worships a false god.

    As a result, I cannot vote for Romney. Voting for him legitimizes Mormonism in a way that is detrimental to the Kingdom- and I care more about the Kingdom than I care about this country.

    I cannot vote for President Obama because I do not believe his positions of abortion, homosexual marriage, and foreign policy are in line with Scripture. So he will not have my vote either.

    Unfortunately, I live in a state where no third party candidates are allowed on the ballot, so I will not cast a vote for President this year. I am the real and true disenfranchised. I am disgusted with both parties and their offerings and in good conscience cannot lend my support either candidate.

    I think you and others are guilty of only thinking of the Mormon issue in terms of morality and policy and not thinking through the implications of what Romney’s campaign has done to the Church in America. We have embrace a demonic lie as a possible political “savior.” May God have mercy on us.

    “There’s never been a Savior on Capitol Hill.”- Derek Webb

    • svmuschany November 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      God willing Ryan, in time, your views will be that of Norman Vincent Peale’s, at least as it relates to his fear mongering that Kennedy would be taking orders from the Vatican or what not. That is to say, ridiculed, laughed at, and ignored by the vast majority of Americans right, left, conservative, liberal, Christian, and everything and everyone else.

      As for the “Church in America”, let it be stated that the LDS church has been one of the fastest growing religions in the world (and America) for several decades now. Romney’s election will have NOTHING to do with that.

      As for your condemnation, what I find troubling are Christians like you, who believe that it is impossible for two or more groups to work together to accomplish a mutual goal, while still disagreeing on other issues. That is to say, you would refuse to work with the RCC, LDS, Conservative Jews, Atheists, or whoever, on say a issue like ending abortion. You would refuse to do it because they do not share your theology. But because of your attitude, what could be a united front of many different faiths, is a scattered, un-unified group, that is constantly defeated when it comes to elections and other policy making at local, state, and national levels. Voting for Romney is not validating his theological beliefs, it is speaking out on his policies, saying you agree with certain core Conservative fiscal and social issues, and that you know that this current President MUST BE STOPPED!

      • James Stanton November 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

        Romney’s nomination would have everything to do with the fact that the LDS church is increasingly seen as part of mainstream Christianity, as just another sect. His election will only cement that view.

        In terms of electoral politics it makes perfect sense for social conservatives of all stripes to vote for an ostensibly socially conservative candidate like Romney. I’m being very generous with respect to his actual record.

        Obama’s defeat in the election will not stop anything and I suspect you know that. Obama did not run for President in 2008 on the platform of abortion on demand or gay marriage for all. He, in fact, very much tried to downplay and obfuscate his positions in forums like the one with Rick Warren. Rather, he responded to culture and society’s changing views on gay marriage and saw that it would not be politically costly to come out in favor of gay marriage. As a consequence, many black Americans have switching to supporting gay marriage in states like Maryland.

        This election cycle will likely see the passing of at least two or three statewide voting referendums on gay marriage. This will happen regardless of who wins the Presidency. Any hope of reversing this trend is likely futile.

        • svmuschany November 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

          People use to say the same thing about abortion. In the years after Roe v Wade, polls showed the majority of American people supported abortion on demand at levels nearly breaking 60%. Yet today, a majority (low 50’s) oppose abortion on demand. The reason for this change, was largely, due to the “Conservative Coalition”, that is social conservatives of all types finally gathering together over the years to push for conservative social issues. The same can be said will happen with homosexual marriages.

          Further, I would contend, that one problem we have with more and more states slipping to support for homosexual rights, is that people like you, and Ryan here, are more likely to pull out of political activism because your “perfect” candidate is not around. Of course we are loosing ground when people like you say “I give up” and remove yourselves from working with other social conservatives to fight for what we know to be right.

          • James Stanton November 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

            Well here’s our dilemma. I’m perfectly for working with social conservatives to achieve socially conservative ends. For example, given a voting referendum I would vote against abortion or gay marriage.

            Unfortunately, were I to vote for the Republican party ticket I would be definitely voting for a party and candidate that worship the perpetual war machine and social engineering of foreign cultures. I would be voting for a party that supports the plutocracy against the interests of the working family. I would be voting for a party that seeks to restrict voting rights in state after state in order to achieve political power.

            The other party is not an acceptable choice but, for me, the Republicans aren’t either. My kind of political party died with William Jennings Bryan. I hope to see it come back one day.

            • Akash Charles November 5, 2012 at 1:10 am #

              yes, spot on,

              I still will give a vote that matters though to the party I align most with

    • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) November 5, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      On the other hand…I’ve had more conversations with non-Christians about the differences between Christianity and Mormonism (both in person and online) this year than I have in all my previous years combined. Don’t doubt that God, in His sovereignty, can use this for His purposes.

      Just something to consider.

    • J O E B L A C K M O N November 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      No one is suggesting that Mormonism is a valid expression of the gospel that Jesus and Paul preached. Further, no one is suggesting that Romney is a Savior.

      Barack Obama is the most anti-Christian, anti-liberty, anti-America President ever. He is a completely unacceptable choice for real Christians to vote for. it is the responsibility of every Christian to do whatever they can to get him out of office. If there was a viable third party candidate, that would be GREAT. However, as it stands, the only one who can beat him is Romney.

      BTW, why don’t you make a case from the Bible that a Christian can only vote for a Christian? Yeah, I knew you couldn’t.

      • Mark Nenadov November 6, 2012 at 12:27 am #

        “it is the responsibility of every Christian to do whatever they can to get him out of office”

        Chapter? Verse?

        I’m not a supporter of Obama and I couldn’t support him in good conscience. But that doesn’t mean I have the opposite duty of removing him.

  10. Lee Saunders November 5, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, and his previous political record as governor of Massachusetts, are both reasons why he is not going to advance the principles we believe in as Christians. It did not seem to bother the Mormon church very much that one of their own, who has been through several Temple rituals and attained the status of being a member of one of their Priesthoods, was pro-abortion as Governor of Massachusetts, and co-incidentally became the governor of a state to order its magistrates to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Mormon theology doesn’t hold to values that really embrace the Christian perspective on either of those positions, and it didn’t seem to bother them much when he was governor. I don’t see anything making either issue much of a political priority for him.

    The Bible calls those who preach “another gospel” cursed, in Galatians 1:8-9. In fact, it is such an important point, and includes the possibility that the other gospel could be preached by “an angel from heaven,” as Mormonism claims to be, that it is pretty clear what that means. Having grown up in a predominantly Mormon community out west, I know what they do with things like this, and if my voting for a Mormon candidate for President is something they are going to use to continue to deceive people by advancing their faith, then I can’t vote for Mr. Romney out of conviction.

    • Akash Charles November 5, 2012 at 5:29 am #

      cool man, if you have a strong conviction that’s good!!

      God is still sovereign no matter who wins!!!
      Even if we get another Nero in the future.That is the cool part of being a christian

  11. JM LaRue November 5, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    I think teleology is critical to one’s voting agenda.

    The purpose of voting is first and foremost to elect an official to represent you. Under this purpose, I would argue that one must vote for a viable candidate in order to participate in the election process.

    Some posit a proper end in voting is to make a statement. These people use their vote as a way of protest. They fully understand that they will not be voting to elect an official to represent them. They have foregone that process. They do not consider either viable candidate as electable.

    In voting for a non-viable candidate, they effectively opt out of the voting process that’s purpose is in electing a representing official.

    I conclude saying, it is definitely within your right to use your vote as a protest, but fully recognize that you are opting out of the purpose of the process on Tuesday when you do.

  12. Suzanne McCarthy November 5, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Most countries have a lower abortion rate than the US without having stricter laws. So it appears that strengthening laws against abortion will not bring about the desired effect.

    Switzerland has one of the lowest abortion rates in Europe. When the laws were relaxed on abortions a few years ago, the abortion dropped even lower.

    If people were serious about reducing the number of abortions, they would seek solutions that had a track record of achieving success.

    • Akash Charles November 5, 2012 at 3:53 am #

      People say that about prostitution as well.

      In New Zealand abortion and prostitution are at their highest rates,they were legalized them long time ago

    • JM LaRue November 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Somehow, I’m not surprised at all at your inverted logic.

      You believe that relaxing abortion laws will reduce the number of abortions in America.

      Really?!

      • Suzanne McCarthy November 6, 2012 at 12:31 am #

        Probably what actually happened is that other factors have positive effect and the laws have almost no effect on the abortion rate. How else can you explain the international statistics?

  13. Dan Bruce November 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    By voting for Romney as president, you will be voting to put Thomas S. Monson in the Oval Office along with him. Monson is the the Living Prophet of the Mormon Church, to whom Romney has sworn allegiance. Romney believes that Monson is THE prophet of God for this day and age who speaks for God with the same authority as Moses and Jesus. That is what the LDS church teaches. As Christians, we know that the claim of Monson to be a Living Prophet of God, speaking with authority equal to Scripture, is false. If you, as a Christian, are comfortable with a False Prophet sharing the Oval Office with the President, then vote for Romney. That is the choice Christians must make tomorrow.

    • Matt Lewellyn November 5, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      Anyone we put in office will have false gods and idols of the heart. That is the human condition. If you are arguing that a true Christian should not vote for anyone who isn’t a true Christian, that’s a different matter, and we should talk about how God’s sovereignty is demonstrated in Scripture in his use of non-Christian (or non-Godfearing) leaders.

      If not, then demonstrate how statements from the LDS church, from the “living prophet,” translated into detrimental gubernatorial actions on Romney’s part in Massachusetts. If you can’t do that, then why do you assume that will be the case in the White House?

      • Dan Bruce November 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        Romney isn’t running on what he did as governor of Massachusetts. Less than six years ago, as governor he was pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-mandated healthcare (what is now called Obamacare), and so on. Who told him to take those positions? Who is telling him to take the opposite positions now? Someone seems to be calling the shots behind the scenes, either that or Romney has no real long-term convictions. I have to believe that Romney is being influenced by others. If that is the case, he can be influenced by the False Prophet just as easily. I don’t want to take that chance.

  14. Don Johnson November 5, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I am very comfortable with Romney winning, as I know God reigns and I know the purpose of government, according to the Bible.

    Isa 44:24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
    Isa 44:25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish,
    Isa 44:26 who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’;
    Isa 44:27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry; I will dry up your rivers’;
    Isa 44:28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.'”

    Cyrus was thoroughly pagan but was mightily used by God. The reason was because Cyrus restored religious freedom to the Jews, to allow them to better follow the commandments of Torah. He did not need to believe ANY of it to do this.

    So we need to ask which candidate by their actions will result in the most religious freedom for myself and other believers to worship God as we choose. I think there is no question on this matter, but I can agree others can see things differently, but this I see is the key question to ask.

  15. Brent Walker November 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Denny do you think this discussion would be different if Romney were a pro-life Muslim? I agree with you btw and will be voting for Romney, abortion is the biggest issue in any election. I am just curious if Christians would be as quick to vote for a Muslim just because he was pro-life/pro-marriage.

  16. Dan Bruce November 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Since you say that abortion is your biggest issue, and I assume that your vote for Romney is a desire for all governments to prevent abortions, I am curious about how you feel about the 220 million spontaneous abortions (either allowed or caused by Omnipotent God) that happen in the world each year during the first 14-21 days after conception? Do you favor distributing free contraceptives worldwide to cut down on that number of annual worldwide abortions, or do you feel it is God’s will that we do nothing to interfere with his will in this regard?

  17. J O E B L A C K M O N November 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Of course Christians can vote for a Mormon. There is nothing in scripture that prevents a Christian from voting for a non-Christian. In fact, there is not a Christian running for President this year.

  18. Greg Anderson November 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    I find it astonishing that some here would probably have no qualms about altering the religious test clause in the Constitution and then work doggedly by any means possible to bring about a theocratic regime.

  19. Mark Nenadov November 6, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Denny said: “I don’t think, however, that abstaining from the election is the responsible choice for Christians. The franchise is a stewardship, and we should cast our vote for the candidate that is most likely to advance the principles that we believe in.”

    I would suggest that this statement is reflective of a deep seated commitment to relativism and unchecked pragmatism in voting.

    A much better approach would be to vote for a candidate who meets a minimal standard of competency in regard to their experience, platform, capabilities, and character.

    If there are two such candidates, then by all means use Denny’s pragmatic criteria.

    if there are none, the don’t vote!

    I sure hope Biblical Christians have more behind their voting than flighty chasing after what is “most likely to advance…”!!!

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