"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Friday, February 10, 2012

Evangelicals' Resistance to Mormon President Irrational, But Not Surprising - Just a Repeat of 1960 Criswell JFK Fear-Mongering

"....the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon doesn’t bother me. I think when we are voting for president we need to get the person who is absolutely the most qualified. ...You want somebody who understands Washington, who understands government, who understands how to bring people together so that we can move this country forward. Mitt Romney is a very capable fellow..." Franklin Graham 12/19/11

"Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person? Or do we want a candidate who is a born again follower of Jesus Christ?" Robert Jeffress 10/7/11
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I have no problem voting for a Mormon for president. None whatsoever. I'll take a Mormon Mitt Romney any day, over a Southern Baptist Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or Jimmy Carter.

I am shocked when evangelical Christians tell me they would never, ever, vote for a Mormon for president, no matter his qualifications, and that it would be un-Christian for me to vote for Mitt Romney.

But the good news is that the vast majority of evangelicals don't find Romney's faith to be a barrier in voting for him, as reported in the Christian Post last week. Romney will probably be the Republican nominee, and I predict there are enough fear-mongering Christians who will not vote for Romney that will ensure Barrack Obama's re-election this November.

No doubt there will be evangelical preachers who will raise the issue of Romney's Mormonism during this election just as FBC Dallas' Robert Jeffress did last fall during the primaries. When it happens, Baptists would do well to look at the past foolishness of Jeffress' predecessor at FBC Dallals, W.A. Criswell, who tried to lead the charge against JFK's 1960 candidacy using similar fear-mongering over JFK's Catholic faith.

As chronicled by Joe Early, Jr. in this article, Criswell preached a sermon on July 3, 1960 entitled "Religious Freedom, the Church, State, and Senator Kennedy". In this sermon, Criswell made three ridiculous assertions about Kennedy:

1. The Influence of the Roman Catholic Church on the U.S. Government: Criswell actually tried to get his peeps to believe that a JFK presidency would result in the RCC being favored by the federal government, while other faiths would merely be tolerated.

2. RCC Held Power Over Its Members in Political and Spiritual Matters: Criswell actually said that the RCC "has full power of true jurisdiction over all the faithful and hence has the duty and the right to guide, direct, and correct them on the plane of action and ideas..." This is particularly funny today, as in 2012 who tries to exert more influence on the thinking and behavior of their members - the RCC or the Southern Baptists?

3. Kennedy Would Allow the Pope to Intervene in State Affairs: Criswell made the argument that a JFK victory would open the door for another Catholic later to grant the RCC an ambassador, and possibly RCC schools to receive state support.

Kennedy did his best to overcome the Criswell fear-mongering in his speech to the Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960 with Criswell in attendance. Said Kennedy:

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote...and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him."

This did nothing to convince the hard-headed Criswell, who when asked about the speech said that Kennedy "was either lying or a bad Catholic", and the declared that all 40 million American Catholics should be barred from running for president. Criswell also stated that his church members at FBC Dallas supported him in this belief.

So Baptists, let's cast our vote for president based on the man's track record in governance, his integrity, and his policies - but certainly not on his faith.

And when you hear one of the pious evangelical preacher men later this year warning you about the threat of a Mormon presidency - think "W.A. Criswell"....and just laugh and shake your head.

31 comments:

Joshua said...

This should be a no-brainer. Although I don't think that Romney is qualified (or any major Republican nominee for that matter), religion should have nothing to do with it.

However, that article by Joe Early, Jr. is old, as he is no longer at the University of the Cumberlands. I was in his NT Survey class during his last semester at Cumberland when I was a freshman.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think that Romney is qualified (or any major Republican nominee for that matter)"

He's more qualified than the "community organizer" that we have in office now.

Anonymous said...

Consider it from this angle, if you where actively resisting the spread and effectiveness of Christianity (as I believe Satan and his fallen angels certainly are) Will it be helpful to have a president that is part of a religion that has historically struggled to be considered mainstream. If Romney is elected this will help each of the many 100's of doors that faithful Mormon missionaries knock on each day be more ready to listen and accept what is said, because it has now been welcomed on a whole new level as "mainstream".

You can say we have a president now who says he is a Christian but doesn't act like it....but that is not new ground for Satan and his goals...that is status quo. I believe this is new ground that will open more hearts and minds to a religion that does not offer salvation and as such is sending people to an eternity in hell.

Many Godly people I know do not believe this line of thinking and many others do. But if we are making a case to not vote for a Mormon I believe this is the angle you must consider.

Matthew 18:7. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

If elected I will pray for and obey him as my president, but to put him in office with the root desire being greater comfort for me and my family is under my present conviction a disobedient act based on Matthew 18:7

Karen said...

I'm not Southern Baptist, but am casting a vote that will not be for Romney.

That vote is indeed based on Romney's "track record in governance, his integrity, and his policies - but certainly not on his faith."

KarenM in NC

Anonymous said...

Dawg... I too knew Dean Early from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky. Let me just say, you should do a little more homework on your sources, and fully understand the person you are referencing to support your opinion. Dean Early was an unabashed liberal who took every opportunity to slam conservative pastors.

In regards to his assertion that the there is only one handle "and it is on the church side" is exactly correct. I know he used that as a slam on Criswell... but that is exactly the case. The constitution never mentions a "separation between church and state." Jefferson made it clear to that Baptist Association that the government would not interfere with matters of Religion and that is reiterated in the constitution.

As a Christian/Citizen I understand that I am not voting for a "Pastor In Chief" so the mormonism thing is not deal breaker for me. I want the best qualified candidate to lead our country and unite our citizens.

However, my fear is that your bias against SBC mega church pastors has led you to align yourself (loosely) with sketchy liberals like Early.

WishIhadknown said...

Sorry, I cannot vote for a man who thinks he's god.

Anonymous said...

Romney is Mormon to the core.Many Mormons think his rise is fulfillment of Mormon prophesy. No doubt he thinks that too.I could not vote for him for president.

Anonymous said...

Joe Early, Jr. was not dean at Cumberland College. He is the son of the former dean. Joe Early, Jr. now teaches at Georgetown College in KY.

Florence in KY

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, I cannot vote for a man who thinks he's god."

Are you referring to Romney or Obama?

1 Thessalonians 5:21 said...

Anonymous (February 10, 2012 12:24 PM) said: “Consider it from this angle, if you where actively resisting the spread and effectiveness of Christianity (as I believe Satan and his fallen angels certainly are) Will it be helpful to have a president that is part of a religion that has historically struggled to be considered mainstream. If Romney is elected this will help each of the many 100's of doors that faithful Mormon missionaries knock on each day be more ready to listen and accept what is said, because it has now been welcomed on a whole new level as ‘mainstream’ ...

Many Godly people I know do not believe this line of thinking and many others do. But if we are making a case to not vote for a Mormon I believe this is the angle you must consider.”

This line of thinking is outdated and ill-informed. Out of ignorance about Christianity, non-Christians commonly misunderstand and misrepresent everyone who claims to be a Christian as one giant religious collective already. And, because of this, they often ignore and laugh at the fact that Christians fight over who is a “true Christian.”

In light of this, from a religious point of view, preventing Mitt Romney from becoming President is a pointless endeavor. This type of damage has already been done to Christianity.

Anonymous said...

O give me a break people! Are we electing a pastor or a president? As a born again Christian I would not elect anyone as president just because he has like minded religious beliefs. Is that how you would decide on what doctor you would have operate on you? Or do you make that decision based on ones education, experience and qualifications? I think a lot of you have wealth envy towards Mitt Romney. Why else would you ignore the fact that this person has made his own money through hard work and intelligence? May be he knows how to run things unlike certain inexperienced community organizers.

WishIhadknown said...

That would be Mitt Romney. Mormons believe they are gods or as they put "As I am god once was as god is so I shall become."

Anonymous said...

You know as I keep coming back to this site I think you have swallowed a perverbial strawman to the legalistic Protestant fundamentalism and think that someone who believes in a quirky historical revisionistic religion such a Mormon should be voted for??Pragmatism should tell you something with this, watch. If one looks at decendents of Peleg there is some possibility that perhaps Jesus did come and preach to Native American but did it have to take some nut as Joseph Smith to establish it. You are not making any sense. If Romney is GOP candidate, I will be voting third party. Also Mormonism is shoddy on Trinitarianism. I am reluctant so do you considering me as a fear mongerer? No watch your a Pharisee of the left kind if you do.

Anonymous said...

So you are not aware that the Palpacy end game agenda is to have all denominations under its authority either. Are you aware that it is documented that the papalcy were on the side of the South in the civil war and wanted America's demise. I know for sure that Jesus is in control but that is not to say the people at times does not avoid getting trouble for being foolish voters.

Anonymous said...

"you don't have a god in you, you are one" Kenneth Copeland in public sermon over a decade ago. Yet Wallbuilders founder David Barton and last time nominated president Mike Huckabee hung around this so called minister???

Anonymous said...

Yea,Huck and Copeland are good friends. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog- I support what you do and think that it is important. However, it bothers me tremendously when you pop off about things you obviously haven't researched. I have encouraged you in the past to do real research on Catholicism. The Jesuits are for real and seek to undermine Protestantism and bring all back to the Roman Church (ecumenism). Really, please do some research because you look very ignorant on this topic. Chick (the cartoon tract publisher) has numerous resources. Also, Romans 13 has been abused beyond belief in evangelical churches. We are to support the institution of government, but are not required to uphold/obey ungodly government and laws. God is king, not Ceasar!

Junkster said...

Funniest comment award goes to Anon 11:48 AM for suggesting that Chick tracts constitute real research into Roman Catholicism. I got a good chuckle out of that.

Anna A said...

Anonymous, 11:48,

I hope that your post is meant as sarcasm, because the facts seem to be missing.

Yes, the Jesuits are still an active order, even though some of us orthodox Catholics would like them reformed in their theology. They are a bit out there.

While I have not considered JFK as a President, I am grateful that he was Catholic. That probably made it easier for Pope John XXIII to ease the Cuban Missile Crisis.

As far as history reading goes, I recommend "Absolute Monarchs" by John Julius Norwich. Excellent well balanced book.

For Romney, I'm more concerned about his politics, not his religion.

Anonymous said...

Please read what I said. I said Chick (that prints the tracts) has other resources. I don't expect a Roman Catholic to be honest in regards to the methods of the RCC. A few years ago, my children and I studied the history of the church up through the Reformation. They almost got tired of hearing, "burned at the stake." Who was doing the burning? The Catholic church. Who was being burned? Christians who wouldn't confess that the cookie was actually Jesus' body or those caught with a copy of the Scriptures. Ever heard to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre? Catholics slaughtered the Huguenots and that's why there are less than 1% evangelical Christians in France to this day. The point...their methods have changed but the goal has not. This is FACT. Look it up!

Anna A said...

Anonymous 5:15 pm,

Please check your history books about Henry VIII and Catholics, and Elizabeth I and how she and her government treated Catholics.

Please check to see how Protestants behaved when Britain took over Ireland,and Catholicism was outlawed.

I don't deny that there burnings of heretics, but it was by both sides during the Reformation. John Calvin in Switzerland was no live and let live either

Chris Nelson said...

Mitt Romney is a socialist, big government solution for everything candidate. His Mormonism also precludes me for voting for him. Mormonism believes the most disgusting things about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They teach that God the Father had physical sex with Mary. They defame my God and I will not vote for one.

Anonymous said...

I do not recall any president whether they were Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, or Catholic leading a sinner to calvary with their testimonials. We should remember when one becomes President he is the president of all the people. When they step into the oval office a strange things occurs...the actually get nervous over all their responsibilities especially when it comes to waging War.

Kennedy had the power of the U.S. Military on his side which the Russians did not desire to confront.If you will remember the 82nd, 101st, 3rd Army Div, 30th Armored Div, along with 160,000 National Guard and divisions all along the Georgia and Florida coast were emcamped and ready to strike Cuba. It would have been over in less than 24 hours.

Lets consider the alternative of whomever runs for the GOP against what has happened to America the last 3 years. And yes, Criswell made a mistake. Lets just pray and hope we can stop the Democrats in the Senate as well as the Presidency.

Anonymous said...

For all of us over 70 its hard to realize just how bad things have become. I can recall my pastor teaching on the fact that our country was just one generation from becoming a pagan nation years ago. That generation is presently alive.

The church pastors and deacon boards of our day have become wanting. They desire to have fellowship and gatherings which amount to nothing more than sounding brass and tickling symbols.

The old days when we have tent revivals and ourpouring of a preacher's heart for souls is no longer available to the current generation. No wonder teenagers and young adults no longer attend church. Its a total waste of their time especially with the economy and political distress they and their families are dealing with on a day by day basis.

We need a new Billy Sunday or Billy Graham to hit the sawdust floors and recapture the spirit of a Living God. These three point sermons are absent any deep spiritual truths. The pastors today want to deliver a 20-30 min. monologue and get the people out for lunch before the other churches let out. Its a total disgrace and the pastors are going to be accountable for their lack of Bible preaching and shepherding the flock that they are entrusted with. The deacons are just rubber stamps to whatever the pastor dictates. Have a nice day and vote your God given right on election day.

Anonymous said...

Hi All. I'm not American but your political process fascinates me

Here's what I don't understand - you have 4 candidates currently; 1 mormon, 2 catholic and one protestant. Why isn't there any talk of Ron Paul here? Here's the most conservative of the 4, anti-abortion, a creationist, a christian who actually seems to be one. He's the only anti-war candidate and the only one who has the courage to tell you things you may not want to hear.

Unlike the other 3 (especially Romney), his money comes not from big corporate interests but from people like you. He has more support from military personal then all other candidates combined.

He's the only one for smaller government and *really* cutting spending. The only one who's game to take on the military-industrial complex and all the trillions of dollars behind it.

Sure, the media and the republican establishment don't like him at all, but you can play the game of follow-the-money in your own time to find out why

Three of your candidates thing it's fine for the Government to be able to kill it's own citizens at will (fine when they're someone you don't like, but what if you one day end up on that list?). Three thinks it's perfectly acceptable for the Government to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens with no trial, no accusation, no ability to request a lawyer and no recourse. Personally (as someone outside the US) I think this is a treasonous act by Obama and I am absolutely stunned that there's almost no talk of it, but Romney, Gingrich and Santorum all support it and have states so publicly. Ron Paul, on the other hand, recently introduced a bill to repeal it.

In short, he's pretty much everything you could ask for, yet it looks like you'll end up with Romney who's pretty much an Obama clone

Anonymous said...

Anna A.- I think you have exposed yourself. I can't think of one good reason for a practicing Roman Catholic to read this blog unless it is to undermine anything against the RCC. I KNOW my history is straight. Anonymous at 10:31 pm...you are right. I voted for Ron Paul in the primary. He has been marginalized by our main stream media and many Americans can't come up with an original thought themselves. He's a threat to many and the "establishment" is perfectly scared of him. Sadly, many Christians have bought in to it too. I hope everyone is aware that the Founding Fathers fit in, somehow, to Mormon theology and end-times prophecy. That's why Glenn Beck is obsessed with them. Nothing is as it seems.

Slid912 said...

For all of his many positive traits, Dr. C had bought into the Scofield brand of classical dispensationalism hook, line, and sinker. Somewhere along the way he picked up the notion that the "harlot" in Revelation is the RCC. That had as much to do with his views of JFK as anything else.

The comparison isn't perfectly analogous though. Criswell's view was based on one interpretation (that while largely rejected now, was quite popular at the time) of of highly figurative language.

Conversely, the Mormon doctrines that concern many evangelicals are pretty cut-and-dried.

But having said that, we're not electing a pastor, we're electing a President. If my choice is between one who *may* institute policies that reflect a strange Mormon eschatological worldview, and one who *will* (because he has) institute policies that reflect a completely secular, liberal, humanistic worldview...I'll vote for the Mormon.

Anonymous said...

The Constitution will hang by a thread, to be saved by the Mormon Church.

Will the Constitution be destroyed? No, it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, “The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from destruction.” It will be so. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses [JOD] Vol. 7, page 150).

From the book: My Kingdom Come: The Mormon Quest for Godhood by Ed Decker

New BBC Open Forum said...

Romney will probably be the Republican nominee, and I predict there are enough fear-mongering Christians who will not vote for Romney that will ensure Barrack Obama's re-election this November.

As evidenced by many of the comments so far I'm afraid you're right. While we're clutching our pearls over the idea of a Mormon in the White House, Barack Obama will waltz his way into a second term.

The time for "protest" votes is during the primaries. Come November it's a two-person race and time to vote for the lesser of two evils because one of only two people is going to win. Waste your vote if you want, but in the end a vote for anyone but the Republican nominee is a vote for Barack Obama. Can we afford 4 more years of this? Will this nation survive 4 more years of this?

Face it, there is no "perfect Christian" candidate.

Anonymous said...

"That would be Mitt Romney. Mormons believe they are gods or as they put "As I am god once was as god is so I shall become."

That was supposed to be a joke - Wish.

And technically he doesn't believe he is god. He believes he will become god.

By the way, many Pentecostal Christians believe they are "gods" right now.

Come November you are going to have a choice between a Mormon and a Socialist.

Politics is almost always a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Since Socialism will have a direct effect not only on me personally but will fundamentally change the country I grew up in - in a very negative way. And Romney's Mormonism will not affect me at all. I will be voting for Romney.

Our country can't afford another 4 years of the current anti-capitalist and anti-Christian administration.

Unfortunately, New BBC's quote is probably true.

If you decide not to vote or vote for someone other than the republican nominee, don't complain when the country changes fundamentally during Obama's 2nd term.

Anonymous said...

1. Every election cycle in the U.S.: voters finally vote for the best of several poor choices for whatever the office.

2. Vote for Obama or for any one of the GOP candidates despite his religion? A GOP candidate--any one of them--hands down. Four more years on top of these four years with the current person as president?--Please, no.

3. Kennedy as a Catholic: had a God to pray to while in office as president, though He might not have answered. Romney if elected: will need to pray then but has no God to answer, as a Mormon.

4. Mormonism: it is what it is, a cult pretending to be true Christianity.

5. We've probably already voted for cultists before; Mormons and others currently serve in the federal government.