I read an article today about Mitt Romney and the supposed silence Evangelicals seem to have over his faith. What is supposed is that conservatives have changed the lingo from “cult” to “another religion” and embraced Romney as their candidate. The pragmatics of politics and the social views Romney supports surely points to the warm reception Romney has been given. However, I believe the media in general still does not get Evangelicals. And, the public is loathe to think critically about the information blasted at them.
One core identity of being Evangelical is to support a secular state that does not infringe on faith. It is detestable to think of people being forced by law or sword to follow Jesus. And the distance in the mid-20th century away from the sectarian Fundamentalists partly was due to instead of fighting culture to become more devoted while building bridges. The broad tent that is Evangelical includes people who may allow for gay marriage, while not agreeing with sanctioning it as a practice. Others are against the legality of it and at different degrees such as the post I wrote a few weeks ago.
It is true that the Southern Baptists held their convention in Utah in years past and that the word “cult” has been used. That word is just plain rhetoric that is no longer useful. Think about it, Christianity is a cult of Jesus. Calling something another religion is surely accurate. I do not agree with Mormonism’s doctrine. But, I’m not gonna choose to be evasive to the guys with ties on bikes who offer to sweep my yard. The same would be true of the local Muslims here in Temecula who offered flowers. I’m not gonna shun them either. But, it does not mean my faith is the same. I applaud that they can choose their faith. The fear Evangelicals should have is the state codifying religious bigotry and suppressing all people of faith. This fear is not a desire for a theocracy. It is quite the opposite.
Some forget that Obama and McCain had a forum at a rather large Evangelical church in Orange County, California four years ago. What is heard by most in our culture today are TV preachers, not to be named, rather than the rest of us. I personally know Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and independents all who are leaders. The point is that Evangelicals are surely not silent about Romney’s Mormonism, it is just that the red meat is being shunned. And, I think that is a good thing. What do you think?