Presidents and their Religious Beliefs

In the long line of presidents who have been chosen to lead the nation known as the United States of America, it can be said with certainty that some were religious and some were not.  By religious, I mean an acknowledgement of a creating and providential God.

For sure, in my lifetime, I have witnessed many presidents deem their relationship with God important enough to acknowledge God in public prayer and to attend church.  History has written, too, that many of our presidents acknowledged a faith in God.

The 2012 election seems to have highlighted this same principle – or, maybe it’s just that I’m more aware of it now – of an incumbent president who is Christian and a challenger who is Mormon.  While Evangelical Christians certainly have issues with Barack Obama – both his actions and his party planks, many Christians have struggled with the decision to support a Mormon.

In his article, The Real Difference Between Mormons and Orthodox Christians, Gerald R. McDermott unpacks much of what is similar – and dissimilar – between the two faiths.  It’s important to make a distinction between the two because, while there is similar language, let’s make no mistake that there are deep dissimilarities. He says,

So Mormon doctrine is quite different from historic Christian orthodoxy on the Incarnation, the origins of Jesus’ divinity, his relationship to the Father, the Trinity, monotheism, human nature, and the creation of this cosmos.

These differences must not be ignored or minimized. The Mormon views of Jesus and God are different from those of the classic Christianity. Therefore it can be said with accuracy that the Mormon Jesus and the Mormon godhead are not the ones which the mainstream Christian churches have been pointing to for 2000 years.

Yet, McDermott goes on to say that,

But if we should not ignore the differences, we must also not ignore the overlap between Mormon views and mainstream Christian views. For one thing, Mormons insist they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

To believe the Bible is to question the theology that exists in the Mormon Church.  There are serious errors and teachings in Mormon theology.  But, we’re not hiring seminary faculty, we’re electing a president.

Many people have asked if we – those who are Christians – can vote for a Mormon.  My response has always been that, to make that decision, you must look at the candidate who most closely represents your morality.  To do that, you can look not only at what a candidate does, but what he says.  In other words, do his actions back up his words?  Does the candidate react to an issue with the same reaction that you, a Christian who holds to a biblical worldview, would react with?

So, take a look at each candidate and see who holds to the same morality that you hold to.  And, then vote, because not voting is not an option.

1 Comment

Filed under Commentary, Politics

One response to “Presidents and their Religious Beliefs

  1. pjm

    Liked your insight. The morals are very clear in this election.

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