[A]ny evangelical distrust of Mormon theology pales beside the evangelical distrust of mainstream Protestantism—which happens to be the strand of Christianity that Barack Obama belongs to. This attitude can be seen in Rick Santorum’s dismissal of mainline U.S. Protestants as “gone from the world of Christianity”—a comment from 2008 that came to light during the heat of this year’s primary season. While Santorum’s statement was widely criticized, it’s a broadly held, even axiomatic, view for many conservative evangelicals and Catholics. Indeed, conservative minorities in the mainline denominations (most notably Episcopalians) have become accustomed to accusing mainline leaders of heresy and apostasy.Conservative Christians have frequently insisted that their primary worry is not the mainline church's policies toward women, gays, and lesbians but its undependable orthodoxy when it comes to such matters as the creeds, Biblical inerrancy, and the bodily resurrection of Christ. If you believe, as I do, that Jesus rose from dead without beaming down in north America (as the LDS teaches he did) and yet that the church needn't be confined by first-century social mores as expressed in the New Testament, the self-styled orthodox insist that I'm not one of them. But if you can support someone who thinks the Bible has been superseded by the Book of Mormon just because you think his views on women and gays coincide with yours, you are far more interested in public policy outcomes than Christian orthodoxy. For you, it really is all about sex.
Sure, conservative Christians would have preferred a candidate with a less complicated and controversial belief system than Mitt Romney’s. But...their doubts about Romney probably owe more to the conservative anxiety about his slipperiness than to any particular concerns about the LDS. And in the end...the only religious test that matters is whether you support the “Biblical values” of hostility to feminists, gays, and liberal Protestants like the president.
Three Thoughts on an Amnesty
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