More than a Mormon: Christians should look beyond Romney’s religion

Religion isn’t a good enough reason to not vote for Mitt Romney.

Shaefer Bagwell and Shaefer Bagwell

I hear Mitt Romney is Mormon. That news seems to be all over the place these days. Among Biola students, the focus is on the common Christian desire that there should be a Christian in the White House. The talking heads on the news say that atheists, cultural Christians and agnostics are not ready to have a Mormon in office. They say that Christians won’t vote for a non-Christian. They say that evangelicals won’t be able to muster the enthusiasm to propel him to victory in November.

Here’s my problem. Is that the best we can do? This is an election for the presidency of the United States. Why is his religion a major focus at all? He would not be worshipper-in-chief. He would not be the pope of the United States. He would be the president. If we are looking for reasons to vote for or against Mitt Romney, I’m sure there are substantive reasons for both sides.

Wealthy and removed

Mitt Romney is a successful man. Even now, when he isn’t working, the man makes tens of millions of dollars a year. He has worked hard his whole life in order to get where he is today. He is well-educated and knowledgeable in the ways of business. In our current economy, business acumen could very well be a valuable thing. He was the Republican governor of one of the most liberal states in the Union, which in and of itself means that he must be a practiced hand at cross-party conciliation and compromise. These virtues should appeal to both parties. Note: His religion did not make the list.

Mitt Romney is an out-of-touch man. He has lived his entire life with a silver spoon in his mouth, with a father who was an auto industry CEO and governor of Michigan. He is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This year alone, his taxes are more than what the vast majority of the country will make at all. He owns multiple houses. His tax policies appear to favor the very wealthy. His foreign policy against Russia is a relic of the Cold War. He believes that corporations are people, and has said on CNN that he does not care about the very poor. People view him as stiff and unable to connect to the average man on the street.

Stances constantly changing

He has a long-standing reputation as a flip-flopper. In terms of issues that are important to conservatives, he has changed his position on abortion, publicly, more than once. He ran as a self-proclaimed moderate in Massachusetts, and yet during this primary season sought to recast himself as the conservative’s conservative. The mindset of his campaign can be summed up in the words of his staffer, who said that the general election acts as an Etch-A-Sketch. What does this mean? Mitt Romney plans on changing his position … again. He’s a political chameleon, a professional presidential candidate whose sincerity and policies cannot be trusted. These are all reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney, reasons that concern both liberals and conservatives. Note: His religion did not make the list.

Here’s what I’m proposing: Let’s have a more nuanced outlook this November. Let’s push Mitt’s Mormonism aside, and focus instead on the implications of it in his policies. Let’s take a look at what he stands for, what he’ll institute as president, and the sort of political culture that we could expect from a Romney presidency. His Mormonism does not make him less qualified for the office. There’s plenty else that takes care of that. 

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