“Is it possible to really be a Christian and vote for someone who does not believe in God?”,asked a friend of mine just the other day. I was at a loss as to how to immediately respond as she shared she did not believe she could cast a vote for anyone with beliefs so diametrically opposed to her own beliefs, specifically those of a Mormon.
It made me realize how often we allow people’s affiliations to form our first opinion but also made me realize how similar some beliefs can be to Christianity before going over the “edge”. Mormons believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost but do not recognize them as in the same Trinity that Christians believe. They also believe in the same organizational pattern as the beginning Christian church, acknowledging pastors, prophets, evangelists, apostles and teachers.
Part of the Mormon’s articles of belief are that individuals can be “called to prophecy” and in the “laying on of hands”. Mormons support values such as chastity, honesty and benevolence. In evaluating these values, there would seem to be a disconnect between what values Mormons support and people who belong to the Mormon faith such as self proclaimed prophet, Warren Jeffs who practiced wide spread polygamy and child abuse.
Most people who hear, “Mormon” think of 2 things: 1) Joseph Smith’s( the founder of the Church of Ladder Day Saints(LDS) claims that through a vision he was instructed by God not to take part in Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist or any other religion because they were all wrong, and 2) a cult with widespread acceptance of polygamy, which did exist within the LDS church for over 50 years but has been unacceptable by the Mormons since 1890.
Mormons believe in a three tiered heaven where everyone will be permitted to enter but only some will see God who exists in the “third level or tier.” Mormons do not believe in the idea of salvation by grace but believe each individual must “work” towards redemption. They also believe the Bible is the word of God but many translations of the Bible have led to misinterpretations and non factual information being passed down, similar to what happens if children play the “telephone game” and pass along a comment that becomes quite different once it reaches the final person from how it originally was intended. Mormons do not drink alcohol, coffee or tea and do not gamble. They believe salvation requires baptism by submersion and in tithing 10% to the church.
After really looking at the Mormon faith, I too, had a dilemma.I wondered how many Christians ruined relationships because of gambling and alcohol. I wondered how many Christians do life with Mormons everyday and simply are not aware of it but would easily be convinced polygamy and radical events were taking places behind closed doors once they discovered these individuals were, “Mormon”. It does seem the name connotes some wild beliefs that truly were part of Mormon history but have been eliminated long ago. There are radical self proclaimed “prophets” in many religions who use history to perpetuate ideology and practices that have long been abandoned.
There were some controversial practices in the early history of Christianity as well. Incest and adultery were evident in Christ’s lineage. The Crusades led by Christians often treated their enemies in ways that made water boarding look like an innocent prank. Christian leadership has had its share of controversial and unethical improprieties in their ranks. Without a doubt, religion no matter what its name has blemishes because humans err.
People have elected officials who represent their interests often without realizing they share or do not share the same belief system. While I do believe a person’s faith is core for his or her value system, I also know what you believe does not necessarily mean you will be right or wrong for any job.
How do I think Christians should respond to a candidate whose faith is not similar? I would ask you if your child needed the best specialist available, would you questions your physician’s faith or simply go to one who was exceptionally skilled for what your child needed? Do you know the faith of the teachers who teach your children, the chef in your favorite restaurant, the mechanic who is honest and responsible and who you have taken your cars to for years? Have you asked what your hairdresser believes or know the religion of the ambulance driver who might save your life?
This is not different. Christians must vote for the person who truly is the most qualified leader and who shares similar goals for our country’s direction. Not all Christians will see each candidate the same and although the Evangelicals, Right Wing or Left wing, Conservative or Liberal all will support specific candidates, we must remember man gives people titles such as abolitionist, radical, pacifist, pro abortion, anti-gay, Tea Party, Republican or Democrat…God gives only one title to His children: Sons of God.
Religion and Politics often use semantics to draw a line in the sand. The best person for the job will still just be a “person”. I suggest those who believe in prayer, pray mightily for the hand of God to direct the call and then education themselves about each candidate and vote when the time comes…and continue to believe God is in control for whether Mormon, Jew, Christian or Non-Christian, I want a leader who recognizes this:
“Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done Psalm 62 :11-12
What about you? Could you vote for someone who was not a Christian to be the leader of the country?