On Presidential Politics and the Evangelical Dilemma

There seems to be a great deal of confusion rising regarding the upcoming elections among Evangelical Christians.  On the one hand, there is a candidate who claims to be a Christian, yet whose policies fly in the face of that claim.  On the other is a candidate whose policies largely agree with traditional orthodox Christianity but whose theology flies in the face of that claim.  How does one resolve such a dilemma?

For me, I can only say that when it comes to presidential politics, policy trumps theology.  That might sound odd for a pastor to say.  However, I am not voting for a pastor, but a president.  Presidents establish policy, not theology.  I can disagree with one’s theology and support their policy, if policy is their primary job.  On the other hand, if I am looking for a pastor, it is theology for which I’m most concerned.  So, when it comes to a president, I want to know that their intentions regarding policy will fall most in line with my own biblical worldview convictions.  Note I said most in line.  I don’t require a candidate believe exactly as I do or I may never vote, which I’m responsible for doing.   

Recently, the Billy Graham Association has come out declaring that Mormonism is no longer considered a cult.  First of all, though they were speaking of their own, internal list of those considered cults, they are seen as speaking for all Evangelical Christians.  For the record, they don’t.  Though Billy Graham is the most famous among us, he is not our voice.  In their political support of Mitt Romney, they seem to have felt the need to pave the way for evangelicals to vote for the Republican candidate with a clear conscience by removing the “cult” label.  I believe they not only made a tremendous error, it was an unforced one.  Using the criteria above, I believe evangelicals can freely vote for a candidate who might not share their theology but does share their convictions regarding how the Country should function. I believe they can do that without watering down their convictions in the process.

In my view, based on a simple reading of Scripture, Mormonism fails to pass the test of what would qualifies as an orthodox expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I don’t need to be convinced otherwise if I choose to vote for the Mormon candidate.  The fact is, I’m not voting for a “Mormon” candidate and more than I’m voting for a black or a white one.  I’m voting for a qualified candidate who will lead according to the principles I believe are most important and who I believe can lead the Country out of the economic crisis it is currently in.  

Regardless of whether we vote for the same candidate, I encourage you to do the same.  It is a high and important right and responsibility that we share as citizens of the United States of America, and if we end up voting for different candidates, we can do so with the satisfaction that we voted our convictions and hope for a better tomorrow together.