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.