USA Election: Shaking Up The Church

My wife is the only member of our household voting today in the USA election and she sent her absentee vote in a long time ago. And NO, she is not saying which way she voted. All our kids are too young to vote and I am only a resident alien and cannot therefore cast my lot. But this election has been quite an interesting one for me to watch, especially in relation to the American church. The question of having an African American in the white house has not been a big deal. At least it shouldn’t be in church circles. But there have been two other scenarios that brought some food for thought:

Firstly, would an evangelical vote for a Mormon?

[No longer relevant but interesting when it was an issue]

Secondly, would a non-charismatic evangelical vote for a charismatic?

And what does that say about them?

All good stuff. The church needs a shake up every once in a while.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

11 Comments

  • I’m glad you asked the first question. I’ve been surprised at the number of Christians who staunchly oppose Obama on the basis that he is supposedly a Muslim (obviously false), but voted for Romney without a second thought about his Mormon faith. I’m certain there are many factors, most of them being political advertising and accusations about Obama’s faith, and Romney certainly did not place his Mormonism at the center of his campaign. But for myself, I would certainly not vote for a Mormon for president – again for a variety of reasons. I’m curious what others would have to say about it –

  • Hey man, I’d like to interview you for a blog tour I’m doing. Just one question that I’m asking all kinds of influential bloggers and leaders – “What is church?” Pretty simple. I’m asking people’s answers to be no longer than 3-4 sentences and even shorter, if possible. I’ll link to your blog in my post, when it goes live. If you’re interested, just email me back. thanks.

  • Can I just say first that for those of us in California, this year’s election is like a college-level final exam? We have all the usual candidate-related races, and then 12 propositions with variations to vote on. The General Election “pamphlet” is 144 pages – that’s gross! The supplemental pamphlet is 16 pages. The County Voter Information Pamphlet and Sample Ballot is 16 pages. I’m exhausted before I even leave my door …
    Okay, but vote, I will. I shall steel myself and go.

  • Back to Question #1, I think I would have difficulty voting for a Mormon candidate. Correct this if it’s a misperception, but as I understand from a conversation with a former Mormon, if he/she (likely not a she, given their theological perspective on women) were a Mormon “in good standing,” that would mean he/she would have a “Temple recommend” which would mean being in alignment with the doctrines and covenants of the church, along with following the dictates and revelational updates of the LDS Apostles. And since those dictates and updates could potentially touch upon many subjects directly related to policy, that creates an ethical bind for the candidate. Could he/she remain in good standing if, in order to lead the nation, had to go against the leaders of his/her church? Or, to remain in good standing, wouldn’t he/she have to impose into his/her leadership views those of the church?
    As I recall hearing later (I didn’t get active in politics til 1964), in 1960 the issue for John F. Kennedy as a Catholic was whether or not he would follow the directives of the Pope, and he assured the nation he himself would lead and keep his religious views separate. That’s probably the closest parallel to the issues with a Latter Day Saints candidate, but the religious systems aren’t fully analogous.

  • To be honest, I’m a little weary of the issue of the candidates’ faith. A lot of ink is spilled over it, but, being from the Show-Me State, I side with James when he says, “I’ll show you my faith by my works.” I really don’t ultimately care what politicians say about their faith, unless it is backed by a proven record of political action in line with biblical principles. If those principles happen to be embodied by someone of another faith tradition, whereas self-professing ‘Christian’ candidates support unChristian principles (e.g. the murder of unborn or newborn children), I’ll go with the person who acts in accordance with the Word of God.

  • On Question #2, Wow. I don’t fit traditional theological divisions and so I don’t vote that way either. There are some theologically conservative Christian candidates that would be disastrous, and the same goes for some who are theologicall liberal.
    I’d qualify as a non-charismatic (post-)evangelical, and I would definitely vote for a charismatic candidate if I were convinced he/she were the best candidate available. I would also vote for a secularist over a Christian of any theological persuasion if I thought that the non-Christian candidate were the best choice.
    What does that say about me? Independent minded, I guess? After all, we are not a theocratic nation, period, over and out. Therefore, I’m not required by God’s Law to vote Christian or any particular branch thereof. (Actually, nor even to vote, but I generally do.)
    And what does one do when it’s a complete and utter mess – theologically speaking – as in 1980 when we had Republican Ronald Reagan (Presbyterian), Democrat Jimmy Carter (Baptist), and Independent John Anderson (Evangelical Free Church)? I served my conscience, worked on the campaign of John Anderson, and voted for him.

  • the number o folks who seem to be breaking thru the cynicism of the last 16 years of US politics is so hopeful to many of us, no matter what pew of churchianity you sit in or political party you cast your lot with
    a prayer for today:
    GOD, HELP US TO BE OPEN to new ideas, daring to err on the side of idealism rather than settling for entanglement in the practicalities of expedience. Forgive our idolatry in insisting on our particular way as the only way. Whatever our differences, help us to express them with charity, from a perspective always tilted toward the needy. Amen.
    – W. Paul Jones
    An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful

  • Andrew,
    These are great questions. Unfortunately, being in the cornfields of Indiana, I think race is still an issue for too many people (even in the church). Not that anyone will come out and say it, but I have sensed it between the lines in conversations. Maybe it’s just me. I hope so.

  • Well, I am happy to say that I apparently know nothing (see previous comment). Sorry to distract from your original questions. 🙂
    I do agree – the church needs a shake up every now and then.

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