This may seem like an odd question but strikes me as being a good corollary to one that I have been asked quite frequently in recent weeks. The questions on this issue can be summed up in a recent email I received:
So, in your opinion, which would be worse for President –1. Obama, with his liberal left faith and politics and increasingly oppressive policies on unacceptable stands for everyone (i.e.– gay marriage, contraceptives mandatory from employers).
2. Romney, with his probably better economic policies and outwardly traditional values, but his worked-his-way-up-the-ladder-in-the-Mormon-church faith, and the reported bail-outs from the Mormon church, and the power and money of the Mormon church behind him?
On political questions like this I and MCOI have to be a little careful not to endorse a candidate or party. However, I think some guidelines for making such decisions are appropriate and can be helpful. The first is to pose the question as to whether or not we should be involved in the election process to begin with? Some believe it is wrong and hold that there is biblical precedence or at least silence in Scripture as far as commanding us to be involved and since Jesus and the apostles were not involved in politics we should refrain as well. On the other hand we find Joseph, even though a slave, was involved in politics and under his guidance secured most all of the farmland and farmers to government ownership by trading for them with the grain that had been provided to the government by the farmers in previous years. God also used Joseph’s position to protect and provide for God’s people, Israel in desperate times.
Daniel was elevated to a high government job and God used that for the preservation of His people as well.
Nehemiah was a slave and yet God used the unbelieving ruler he served to provide Nehemiah with the resources to reestablish and protect Jerusalem. I could go on but touch on these to demonstrate that the Scriptures do not seem to be explicitly pro or con about political involvement per se. Therefore each of us will have to make our decision based on our best understanding of Scripture and be kindly and gracious toward those that take a different view. But what about the religious question?
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are members of groups which most orthodox Christians regard as cults. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are Roman Catholic. Even so, Biden and Ryan do not seem to actually practice the same faith. Paul Ryan, Joe Biden: A Tale Of Two Catholics does a fairly good job of outlining the differences between the two on social issues relative to their faith.
In all 4 cases their faith informs their worldview. All 4 would have a view of the gospel which is anathema to Evangelicals and those from the Reformed traditions. Both Roman Catholicism and Mormonism have a combination of grace and works to achieve a right standing and peace with God. Both groups hold that salvation stems from affiliation with or at least not an outright informed rejection of their group as the ark of salvation. Those who knowingly reject will be eternally condemned.
Barack Obama is in the cult of Black Liberation Theology which is essentially a religious Marxism. We commented on the essentials of this worldview in Barack and the Borg. Please note, I am not saying that Obama is or is not a Marxist or Communist but his ideas flow from his religious worldview.
Unlike Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, Obama’s worldview guides him away from eternal questions of where we will be after we die, how do we have peace with God or even answering whether there is a god of any kind. Instead it gives him a focus on this life. Financial prosperity is seen as evil since in this view one can only prosper by taking away from those who are already less fortunate. The financial pie is seen as finite with the greedy taking increasingly larger portions and leaving less for the majority. This view sees people as basically good but oppressed and corrupted by society and thus creates laws to protect the individual from society. Social equalization comes by legislative fiat. Individualism is strongly discouraged. Utilitarianism (usefulness) and uniformity (eliminating differences and making everyone the same) are guiding principles. The end game is Socialism as the economic engine to provide for and equalize everything. Wealth redistribution and “Social Justice” are the perceived mandates. For many elected officials (Progressives) like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, this is their worldview of choice. There are also very popular teachers like Jim Wallis, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and others within the camp of Evangelicals who hold to this view. Obviously, they will support and vote in concert with other Progressives to advance their worldview.
Romney’s Mormonism and Ryan’s Roman Catholicism on the other hand, has more of a separation between eternal and temporal questions. What happens after one dies is important and does guide how they make decisions of how to live this life. Mormonism like Christianity sees humans as basically not good and formulates laws to protect society from individuals that would do evil. Individualism is encouraged and a belief that we will each stand before God individually. Community good and prosperity are the result of individuals prospering through hard work and ingenuity. In turn, out of gratefulness the prosperous individuals will usually choose to help the less fortunate and also can personally decide which causes to rally around and support. The end result is Capitalism as the economic engine which maximizes individual potential but does not guarantee success for anyone. For many elected officials and citizens, the temporal aspect of Romney’s and Ryan’s worldview works with their worldview.
Will Roman Catholicism be exploited with Biden or Ryan as V.P.? Probably not. At the Huff Post points out:
Biden and Ryan both cite their faith as a formative influence, but neither is known as a standard-bearer for the Catholic hierarchy’s chief political causes: abortion and gay marriage. In fact, the two candidates are — politically at least — nearly polar opposites.
Will Mormonism exploit a Romney presidency as an evangelistic tool? Probably. Does Black Liberation Theology use Obama’s presidency as an evangelistic tool? Yes, it does. So the question to be answered here if you vote is which worldview most closely agrees with yours? Whatever you decide the old clichÃ© is true, “You pays your nickel and you takes your chances.”