Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN)–Why are evangelicals like Billy Graham and Ralph Reed stumping for Mitt Romney? And why are roughly three-quarters of white evangelicals inclined to vote for him?
Because politics matters more to them than religion.
Last year, in a talk at a conference on Mormonism and Islam at Utah Valley University, I asked my Mormon listeners why they had not rushed to the defense of Muslims in controversies such as the one that raged over the Park51 project near ground zero. After all, they have been the victims of religious prejudice. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was killed by a mob of vigilantes.
Given this history, I expected that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as Mormons, would feel the sting of anti-Muslim prejudice and speak out against it. But neither Mitt Romney of the GOP nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of the Democratic Party did anything of the sort. In fact, Romney issued a statement opposing the construction of the Islamic center.
Why? Because they were thinking and acting as Republicans or Democrats first and Mormons second.
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I see a parallel story playing out this election season with the religious right.
Until quite recently, many evangelicals saw Mormonism as a dangerous cult spreading false theology and dooming its followers to hell. In fact, only after Romney showed up for a meet and greet with Billy Graham in North Carolina earlier this month did the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association erase a reference to Mormonism as a “cult."
Did Mormons all of a sudden change their theology? Did Graham change his definition of a “cult”? Of course not. It just became politically expedient for Graham to declassify Mormonism, given the fact that Romney, a Mormon, was the presidential nominee of his beloved GOP.
Ralph Reed, too, is forsaking his theology for his politics, mobilizing his Atlanta-based Faith and Freedom Coalition to place voter guides in Ohio churches in the run-up to election day.
I am old enough to remember when the main purpose of Reed’s Christian Coalition and other groups on the religious right was to put born-again Christians in the Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court. And for decades those who were running those groups saw Mormons as non-Christians.
And don't get me started on Mike Huckabee, who in a recent ad says that a vote for Obama is a vote for your own damnation.
Have LDS Church members repudiated the Book of Mormon as “another testament of Jesus Christ” or their view that the Bible is the word of God only “as far as it is correctly translated”? Have they accepted the Trinity? Rejected their teaching that there are many gods?
As Ben Witherington, Albert Mohler, and many other evangelical thinkers continue to insist: no, no, and no.
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I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. The purpose of the religious right is to use the Christian God for political purposes. Why any Christian, conservative or liberal, can say "Amen" to that is beyond me.
I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
How about if we keep the fairytales of religion out of secular government. If they want a say, then they can pay corporate taxes just like everyone else instead of hiding behind a 501c3.
Don't forget: according to one of the candidates for President, Corporations are People !!!! (I wonder if one finds that definition in the Book of Moron...)
According to the Supreme Court, money is free speech.
Well like it or not the religious vote has a lot of power.
The Nazis had a lot of power too.
All religions are nothing but political organizations to control man through fear and intimidation.
FF: Religion as a belief system reveals thought process and habit in life and leadership-
Mitt "Great White Hope" Romney has the blessings of many Christian leaders, but even these endorsements do not change the man or his mission. Aside from apparent gullibility, Mitt's grand deception is a reflection on these leaders and shall be a stink on their respective ministries long beyond the election win or lose.
Romney's playbook for business is an old one; Senator Frank J. Cannon compiled the modus operendi in his book: "Under The Prophet In Utah" and if you hate surprises, read and heed Cannon's business primer. Bill Shnoebelen's "Mormonism and The Temple of Doom" offers insights into the rituals, similar to Masonry, practiced as steppingstones to immortality. Walter R. Martin's "Religious Counterfeits" and "The Maze Of Mormonism" are also useful.
Of course, Mormons from the time they can read, are forbidden to examine any of these types of critical examinations, so poor Mitt is not likely to recant... On the off chance his many endorsements from the deceived elect will tip the election a bit further than simple prevarication, voter suppression and well heeled supporters and he wins- then one must assure he knows what he is getting into! Middle East tangles have become America's stock in trade, in part because of Israel, but more to the point, having to do with oil.
So Mitt, better learn the territory! See George Grant's deep background on Muhammadanism: "The Blood Of The Moon". See also, Avi Lipkin's "The Return To Mecca". Religion in the Middle East is Industrial Strength, boys and girls, and you better learn the script, if you want to run with Muslims on their home turf.
Let me guess – you are about to tell us that CNN is secretly censoring all your very important posts.
Do you need us to tell you why your posts aren't posting?
Jesus, Son of God, was on this earth for 33 years. 30 years of his life is a total mystery....no stories from his mother, father, siblings, neighbors nor Heavenly father. Jesus did not write the New Testament nor didate it so we have an accurate account of what he said or what we humans are to know. So if there is a God, he wants us to live in ignorance.
Close, but no cigar. He came and continued the oral tradition of revelation, which is the way the Word was made known from the beginning. It was written down after His passion. We became literate in western society much, much later. In many parts of the world, the majority are still illiterate and rely on oral catechesis.
What was written is the important material. God wants us to know Him. He left us with the the apostles, the sacraments and instructions to found the Church. After the invention of the printing press, everyone with any money bought himself a bible and fancied himself a theologian. Thus we have Christianity splintered into a bazillion different branches and the sort of confusion you are experiencing.
"God wants us to know Him. He left us with the the apostles, the sacraments and instructions to found the Church."
"Jesus" did a cr@ppy job of docu.menting his existence, let alone his godhood. Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe it.
Can it be said and also inferred that all of Life here upon these celestial shorelines of life-forms resonate from a single celled life-form all the ways to massive cellularized life formations? Is it 'not' written within the Gospels that mankind is but buildings that are husbanded by the Godly? Do we not labour together with God in our tasks? Who among us can deny our Being as being just and righteous God-Heads?
Nothing is a Foreverness and Matter, in its' infinitesimally established finiteness, is a materialized foreverness unobtainable by us, human-like megaliths called mankind. We are all giants too huge and too vast for us to ever re-enter in wholeness back into the Kingdoms of God which are inside or within our bodies. So many damningly dumb buildings of evolution's ascension into the spatial voids of outward motions sanctioned by the Godly! Too little are our intellectual abaters
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Ergo. does that mean dumbness is genetical or is it societal hierarchies being the dumbness from which socialisms are currently adorned and auspisciously bequeathed?
Do you think that spamming this multiple times is going to make it any more valid?
I'm sure it's really important that you feel smart and all, but that was all nonsense.
Gadflie writes, "Do you think that spamming this multiple times is going to make it any more valid?"
Free advertisement is still free,,,,, Gotta catch as many folks/fish as one can,,, :-)
Anonymous sourly wrote, "I'm sure it's really important that you feel smart and all, but that was all nonsense."
Even the small brained know how to scoff and spew on occasions. Any smaller and you might set a record!
Well ain't that special?
"Why are evangelicals like Billy Graham and Ralph Reed stumping for Mitt Romney?"
And why doesn't this violate that churches are supposed to stay out of politics ? Seems like they should lose their tax exempt status if this is what they're going to do.
Martin, the rule is that they cannot endorse a candidate from the pulpit. Not that they cannot personally endorse one outside of the church environs.
What is it that fundamentalist Christians think human government can do that God can't do?
God can't do anything. He doesn't exist.
If God could do anything, there would not be birth defects or genocides or cancer or natural disasters – you know, those results of free will.
That's not necessarily true.
If we suppose for a moment that God does exist and the bible is factual, then we must also presume that God maimed children in the womb, flooded the continents, shook apart the earth, and instigated wars against opposing religions with hundreds of thousands of casualties. We therefore presume that if God existed and were truly omnipotent, all those things would also exist. We therefore must ask ourselves, "Why doesn't he do anything about it?"
Of course if he doesn't exist, the question is a little different. But the answer is obvious.
Anonymous: Why doesn't Gawd do anything about these things? Simple: Gawd works in mysterious ways!!!
Jesus spoke quite a bit about hypocracy and I see that in a lot of the political expidency going on today. The savior that was big on social justice issues including concern for the sick, the poor, the dispossesed and spiritually. The savior that said to turn the other cheek, and give a stranger your clothes, and pray in private, seems to have gone missing from current political discussion of those that consider themselve 'evangelical'. They may be evangelizing their own political viewpoints, but it sure is not the Jesus of the NT.
You only want to include your NT and delude yourself to the existence of the OLD testament. Picky picky..
I agree with Vince, the Bible is a progressing and a history. The Jesus of the New Testament has no relationship to this conservative evangelical voting movement which we hear about so much. It is like the demon in Acts 19, who knows Jesus, knows Paul, but sure wouldn't have any idea who Billy Graham is, or Pat Robertson, or Mike Huckabee. Ralph Reed, I am sure the demon would slather and foam and the mouth and probably puke green when they met.
The god of the Old Testament was a blood-thirsty, slaughtering, jealous, tyrannical maniac.
Kind of funny that back when humanity was more primitive and tribal, God was primitive and tribal. Then when people became less primitive and primal, so did God. He should get his own schtick.
Yes, in the Sermon on the Mount, that was given us in the Book of Matthew, Jesus had a single word for those who too publicly proclaimed their piety and put their pride before their private religious beliefs.
All are hypocrites, including Billy Graham, who parades his piety whenever he can and accepts the adoration of other publicity seeking hypocrites like Willard Romney.
So far no one is right and no one is wrong, nothing can be proven either way and when the time comes when you do find the answer its not like you can send an email back but then with new technology maybe some day?
There are only 10 instances of Satan killing anyone in the bible.
It's difficult to put into numbers how many people God killed (how many people is "everyone but Noah and his family, anyway?), but it is definitely at least 11.
Anonymous there is no proof that actually happened though.
Religion is the root of all EVIL! Simple as that!
Anonymous wrote on November 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm, stating, "If you pray to the biblical God, you absolutely pray to a mass murderer, a killer of children. Feel free to deny it, but we both know that many examples from the bible itself can readily be cited showing God killing people, including children. Sure, they can all be justified in some roundabout way. But murder is murder, regardless of whether you feel the excuse was justified. Of course, if you DON'T pray to the biblical god, all this is irrelevant."
The problem with the unholy religious folks is they do not know how to "rightly divide the word of truth."
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Try quoting from your car manual.. it's certainly way better. Try it.
We're not talking about "the unholy religious folks". We're talking about the bible, and the many instances in it where God kills women and children.
Are you saying that the bible is lying? Or just that it's not really murder because they had it coming?
And, the problem with religious folks is that they delude themselves into not believing their own Bible.
The Bible says that at one point, God torturously killed EVERY pregnant woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth.
Been nipping at the sacrificial wine have you?
Don't be talking about Timothy. He refutes Paul. In Colossians 2:12-13, Saul says "When you were buried with him in baptism, through faith in the power of God". Timoty denies this : 1 Tim 2:18-19"Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that resurrection has already taken place. Oops.
We are a species with a lot of curiosity. Before we developed the scientific method, we weren't very good at answering the questions we had about the world. Religion provided some good place-holder answers (God did it) that sufficed for us until we were able to find the real answers. It's usefulness is waning though.
What kind of God that's suppose to love all people would be so egocentric allowing so much destruction and senseless death to occur if the life he created doesn't obey his every command your doomed? Does something here not make sense to you?
Don't forget Job. Sometimes God kills your entire family because you love him too much.
30 years ago, conservative evangilicas had no problem with abortion. gay marriage is a made up of issue for conservatives; they are in no way affected whether the State hands out a marriage certificate or not and gays are a this point not altering their behaivor based on conservative opposition except for a handful of closeted holdouts.
Conservatives might actually try and do the often hard tasks of God's work: caring for the sick, helping those in need, showing compassion over judgement, you know, the kinds of things that Jesus did.
Are you sure Jesus did those things? Are you really sure he even existed? If yes, what makes you so sure?
Yes, Jesus really exists. Remember Jesus did no miracles in Nazareth, because they thought, "is not this Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter, son of Mary. Do we not know his brothers and sisters." So, faith precedes the miracle. But, I know Jesus Christ lives. He has spoken to me, 60 or more times. He is kind, and heaven is a nice place. People in heaven joyfully raise others to a higher place then themselves. Better to lay up treasures in heaven, then to get to heaven and find there are no treasures to build your mansion.
Prayer changes things .
And we will see next Tuesday!
It's safe to say that there is FAR more prayer for the Republican candidates, so let's see if it works!
If Obama wins and/or the Democrats keep the Senate, then prayer FAILS!
See you Tuesday night, buddy! Gonna be a great time!
I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:
I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
by the Alzheimer's Disease Society
conservatives have blended the brand of GOP and Christian, which has driven a lot of progressives from the Church. I suppose conservatives might say, thank God! I have a hard time seeing God looking at his children driven from his houses because of politics having a happy smile.
So, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have!
Prayer changes nothing.
I challenge you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50).
"There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon
This is the United States where you free to believe in what ever you want I should you would think be able to sue any group that tries to have do something you don't believe in.
Human have no chance to have peace, Islam without eradication of hinduism, racism and hindu's, racist.
Expect nothing better but mayhem among humanity by following of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Allah, and following of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, neither commanded, nor allowed in Islam as a religion, but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute. Foundation of American consti tution.
hindu Mithra ism, savior ism invented little over 100 years after Sydana Mohammad pbh by tribes of Kujar of north Africa and imposition as Fatmid Khalaphit by force by denial of Hidth and Quran, justified by hindu Judaism, pagan secularism to impose hinduism, racism by hindu, fabricated relationship with Family of Syadana Mohammad pbh to justify existence of hindu criminal Kings, a violation of fundamental commandment, human equality under the LA. truth absolute Allah. Cause of conflict among Muslim's and cause of down fall of Muslim's and Islam in Spain.
Sunisim, invented by Turk's by corruption of Quran and hidth to justify existence of hindu King's as Khalipha, after death of Ruler Mohammad, but later renamed, Mehmmat, wisdom of spirit of truth by siblings from his Armenian wife, follower of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism in 13th century.
Christianity, invented by hinduism,. corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisees, pagan self centered, follower of hindu filthy pig ism by corrupted Torah, known as Greek Torah, translated and commented by Ben Asheer in 250 AD in Yiddish, secularist, self centered language, also known as Old Testament, part of book of Mithra ism labeled as Bible. A way to justify hindu criminal Kings and self proclaimed Prophets, fortune tellers as god's to rule over humanity.
JUDAISM, Self center ism, pig ism, or Atheism, invented by hindu's pagan's of Egypt by corruption of truth absolute in Torah to Justify hindu pagan Pharaoh's and their hindu pagan Santans, goons as god's to rule over humanity with impunity.
HAVE hINDUISM, CORRUPTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, RELIGIONS AND LIVE WITH MAYHEM, AS HAS BEEN THE CASE FROM hIND, DARK AGES TILL TODAY. FOLLOW THEEN ALLAH, CONSTI TUTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, ALLAH , GOD AND THE LORD, FOUNDATION OF CONSTI TUTION OF AMERICA TO HAVE PEACE AMONG HUMANITY. To learn more please visit truthisthelimit.com
word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force.
Then it looks like guess what we'll all be out of this place while your still here suffering :) You can't say we will be sent to hell because by the bible we are already in it. Did God not throw his brother down to Earth well guess what this is hell?
I have worked for Hindus, and have found them to be kind people. They believe they are descended from Moses and the people of the golden calf. They left Moses around the time, that Moses and God destroyed the Gold Calf. they tend to be humble, and certainly are non violent, at least they never seem to send warships, war airplanes, bombs, guns, tanks anywhere to kill anyone. They believe they are descended from Abraham, too.
"In fact, only after Romney showed up for a meet and greet with Billy Graham in North Carolina earlier this month did the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association erase a reference to Mormonism as a “cult." Why erase it? Isn't what was true before the mtg still true after?
I think that's the point the article is making.
What changed? Maybe a few shekels from a SuperPAC?
I am not so worred about mormonism, as I am worried about republicans. I voted straight republican for 30 years. Now after 30 years, I have helped create the most cruel, mean spirited, violent, ruthless, non christian, uncariing, selfish, financial predators that may have ever lived on this earth. Republicans! Jesus would never do or say, the things the republicans are saying. God and Barack please save us from Mitt Romney and the rest of the financial predators as the Republican party now stands. Hopefully this is the last year for the republican party.
So now some of Romney's own ads are saying he is not against certain types of abortion. And yet he's been quoted several times not that long ago saying he wanted to overturn Roe v Wade. I can understand people being frustrated with the president not being able to come through on many things in a timely manner as he had promised (of course having a congress say right up front they wouldn't work with him no matter what hasn't helped), but what does it say if you can't even get a clear idea of a candidate on his ideals? If there ever was any time to be clear about a platform, now would be the time, but Romney has just flip-flopped and evaded all over the place. It's an insult to the voting public.
I think the voting public is exactly that stupid. In fact, sitting around whining about dishonest politicians pretty much sums up the problem. If you still think it's possible to get elected telling the truth, you don't get it, and are frankly so far from getting it no one will waste their breath explaining it to you. No fault on the politicians...it just is what it is.
Austin wrote, "you pray to a mass murderer, a killer of children, and you pray to it still. you should be ashamed"
I pray to no such things Austin! Why must you make harrasing innuendoes of rather dumb cunningness to say the least?
I just want one of those cupcakes. Don't tell Carl though, he has high blood pressure.
If you pray to the biblical God, you absolutely pray to a mass murderer, a killer of children.
Feel free to deny it, but we both know that many examples from the bible itself can readily be cited showing God killing people, including children. Sure, they can all be justified in some roundabout way. But murder is murder, regardless of whether you feel the excuse was justified.
Of course, if you DON'T pray to the biblical god, all this is irrelevant.
With or without icing? :-)
God's Oldest Dreamer,
If you say God isn't a mass murderer and killer of children, you haven't read the Bible. Ever heard of the Great Flood?
@God's Oldest Dreamer
Icing is good, but I like sprinkles the best.
You do if you pray to Yahweh.
You know, that ancient pi.ss.ed off deity, who required the death of his son, before he would say, "I forgive you".
THAT god ?
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.