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.
I have a youtube video of my cat playing Mozart.
Lol. AmeriTwerp can't even properly post a video – one that is from 2008? lol.
"In Greed We Trust"
In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.
For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.
Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."
A couple of examples (it's pretty easy to find more):
Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.
Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant (Southern Illinois) so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.
Also, this is disconcerting:
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LYING RUMMY PIRATE
BAIN'S INVESTOR "SUCCESSES" WERE PRIMARILY CONTINGENT ON MASS LAY-OFFS OF WORKERS
Obama a Christian? Biggest joke of the ELECTION year!!
Obama has referred to the Bible as RADICAL, taking text out of context, by comparing laws that were written for the Jews to common day life trying to make a mockery of Scripture.
The truth is, Obama doesn't know the first thing about the Bible and being a Christian or he would have known that the text he was quoting was NEVER meant to apply to Gentiles. He long ago outed himself as a non-Christian to those who know better. For those who don't know their Bible, they laughed along with him. Like I said: foolish bullies – anything for a laugh at the expense of the Christian. At least Romney never mocked Christians and their beliefs, especially while misquoting Scripture to make his point.!
Obama ordered that a monogram, which symbolizes Jesus, be covered up before speaking at a lecture hall? How bizarre is that?
Obama on numerous occasions omitted the words "the Creator" when quoting the Declaration of Independence.
When was the last time you heard a Christian tell another Christian they are not Christian? Oh – about two minutes ago? Yeah, that sounds about right.
Ameriturd, you must be desperate.
OK, yeah – something from 2008. I think everyone probably saw this – like in 2008. More importantly, Mittens has been lying to people all over the place within the past few weeks.
The leftist will continue in their attempts to vilify Mitt Romney for his choice to be a Mormon, but the last time I checked – America was proud to welcome all faiths in this country.
Obama and the leftist media are bullies and are persecuting people of different faiths.
Romney / Ryan 2012 – The Only Choice For Tomorrow's America
Oh, can it, Ronny Regonzoid.
I don't care what religion either candidate professes. Not even remotely interested in their religious beliefs. Or yours. Shove it.
OH, but you do care and so does CNN or they would not print such rubbish about a person's faith.
Lefties are the least tolerant people in our society.
You can yap that you know something, Ameriturd, but your own posts put the lie to that.
The candidate whose political views are closest to my own and whom I believe will do the best job of governing will get my vote, and I don't give a rat's azz what church he goes to or whether he even believes in a god.
Lie about my statement all you want, loser.
And really, ronnie-poop, if you endorse a candidate, I'd be extremely reluctant to vote for him OR his opponent, since you're an equal-opportunity troll who dreams he can influence the votes of others who are brighter than he is by a league.
It is Muslim practice based on their holy book to KILL anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion. Hmmmm given this fact do you think there is a Fatwa against Obama? No! Because he is lying about being Christian. Have a good retirement O.
No one has seen Obama's old registration card, but it could have been Muslim, Christian,Hindu or Buddhist, the 4 allowed Choices. His parents are unlikely to have cared much, but would have had to check one of these boxes. Everyone in Indonesia knows this is required (and if you are anything else you just pick), and it is not an Islamic state and didn't even have any region of Sharia whenhe was there. Many parents who don't care will pick Islam to get preferential treatment, though, since that is what most "native indonesians" (which then refered to a race) are. The new regime has changed "native indonesian" to refer to birth rather than race). So summary: we don't know what Obama's registration card said, and even if we did it wouldn't mean much. We do know he attended Catholic school while there,however.
CNN should change its name to DNN (get it). The author of the article fails to realize that Christians are not voting for a spiritual leader, nor a pastor. We are voting for a government authority, who according to the Bible should have some sense of morality so they can punish evil and reward good. Romney has a sense of morality, understanding that it is wrong to kill children, not to mention other moral issues.
Obama on the other hand has shown zero sense of morality, but in fact has made the killing of unborn children his platform. It's an easy vote for Christians.
Matt – Exactly spot on.
The leftist will continue to scream "bull" because they have no words to contradict the truth that you told.
No, dear. They say it because it's all you've produced: dreck. Manure. Bullsh!t. Crap. Lies. More lies.
Get off it, you little dweeb. Do you really think any sentient person would actually be persuaded by the complete nonsense you post?
It shouldn't be an easy vote. A Mormon is not a Christian and represents anti – Christ. As much as I disagree with Obama on some issues Obama is still a nominal Christian. Do not think you can separate Romney from his Mormon beliefs and background in governing ?
Lefties once again trying to bully by calling names. Children and hypocrites are easy to call out.
That's why it's so easy to find your sore spot, Ameriturd. You call everyone else a hypocrite because you're one yourself.
Really, Ronnie Regonzoid, get a job.
Wrong. As a human being, so is a Mormon being, so is a Christian being. I am a Christian and firmly believe we shall not vote for a person willingly part of a cult that changes the Bible, does not believe in the Trinity, and will become a "Prophet" if elected. President Obama has stated he is a Christian...he is the President, not our King, not Christ. And the fact that you are speaking ill toward a fellow Christian, well Luke 5:9. In fact, the whole book of Luke would be a good read for you. I am dumbfounded that so many Christians are voting for a man of heresy.
Another attack piece.
Christian political actions aren't here to usher CINOs (Christians In Name Only) like Obama into office.
Christian political action and activism are here to promote values important to the sacred rights and spiritual values held dear.
When Christian movements can't find that among the CINOs, we'll move on to those who aren't really theologically lined-up with Christianity. It's the moral values that are important in politics. As you may remember, religious advocacy is not supposed to be that big a factor in Presidential power.
These movements have advocated for non-Christians, for Jewish people, for the Jewish state, and for the best social security a person can possess: a good job..
Attacking Christian political movements as inconsistent because they're doing what they said they would do. Hm. I guess I can't see now why these attackers would support politicians who haven't done what they said.
Better a CINO than a Mormon. Mormons are not Christians and a vote for a Mormon is a vote for an anti- Christ
Extreme lefties showing their intolerance to the world. Love it.
CINOs aren't Christians either. They're hypocrites. Jesus' most negative attack was reserved for hypocrites, and you wanna vote for 'em?
That's interesting. But it's not Christian.
Given the choice between a nominal Christian and an anti – Christ which would a Christian endorse? Mormons are anti – Christ
Facts are tough for the Romney followers to accept;
Try theses on:
People who know Romney best don't want him;
Israel's most influential daily newspaper, Haaretz, endorsed President Obama.
In Massachusetts Romney is trailing by over 30 points.
Utah's "Salt Lake Tribune" endorses President Obama
How gullible you are. Where did you get that from – the Huffington Post? Big surprise that a lefty media source would report on another lefty media source that they support Obama. LOL
Here's something with some meat to it from real people and not a lefty news source:
As reported by CBS on November 1st:
If Mitt Romney was running for president against Barack Obama in Israel, the former Mass. governor would win in a landslide.
A new poll released by The Times of Israel on Thursday showed that 45 percent of Israelis would vote for Romney, compared to 29 percent for the president.
He's not running in Israel, Ameritard. Go learn how to tie your shoes and then you can get started on comprehending what you read.
Looks like ivan's claims are true whereas Ameriturd's just poses a lot of "IF's".
In 1873 three Kansas businessmen, Frederic Lockley, George F. Prescott and A.M. Hamilton, purchased the paper and turned the newspaper into an anti-Mormon organ which consistently backed the local Liberal Party.
Ameriturd! I love it. Perfect description.
Tom is the typical leftist who uses elementary bully names to shut people up. Hey Tom, did you happen to notice that it was your fellow leftist voter who raised the question of Israel, which he got from the extreme lefty Huffington Post OR were you too eager in your hypocrisy to bash me that you failed to notice that I was responding to a post?
You lefties are laughable.
Don't be such a crybaby, Ameriturd. If you can't come up with facts, then you deserve to be ridiculed.
Do you always lie to attempt to win converts, Ameriturd? Looks like it.
No wonder you have no defenders here.
Tom is a vicious and pathetic contributor to these blogs, but as a citizen has a God given right to its opinion. To be a Mormon is to be anti- American and anti – Christ while at the same time stealing an appearance of righteousness. To vote Mormon is to vote anti – Christ.
All you atheists or Christian haters: I guess you'll be voting for Romney now that CNN has stated that Obama is a born-again Christian?
Didn't think so: You know has well as every smart person that CNN is BSing just like Obama is.
So you'll be voting for Obama, then, will you?
LOL – Read much? Um – that would be a no since I know CNN and Obama are BSers.
Amazing how lefties call names when their hypocrisy is out there for people to see? They have nothing else but to resort to one-line elementary "insults".
Leftists are bullies.
Read much? You said that since CNN says Obama is a born-again Christian atheists and agnostics naturally won't vote for him. If you believe the only criterion for giving a candidate your vote is his religious beliefs, you stupid git, then you're dumb enough to believe whatever CNN says. Therefore, you must be voting for Obama.
Your assertion is correct, "Tom, Tom the Piper's Son". "Ameri2010" is, in fact, a moron.
And you're a troll. Shove it.
In case it wasn't clear, my last post wasn't directed at hal but at Ameristupid.
It fits both .
Here's the way I see it:
God doesn't care about the economy, if people are in the middle class, upper class, or in poverty. God only promises us clothes and food. He doesn't promise us a house, health care, etc.
Although I do not agree with many of the tenants of the Morman faith, Mitt Romney's positions on gay marriage, abortion, and self-responsibility strongly align with my Christian views on those issues.
When's the last time Pres. Obama regularly attended church? Does he appear to live how he professes to believe? I don't see it.
At least Romney is not a hypocrite to the religion he professes. He doesn't believe in gay marriage, and he doesn't believe that abortion should be a "right".
These are they types of values I believe God would want us, as Christians, to be concerned about, and would want to consider when we vote on Tuesday.
Don't speak of "us as Christians." maybe you are, but I am certainly not.
Mandi – there is a facet "we Christians" believe called free will. One must free willingly be a Christian and act accordingly to strengthen our relationship with Christ. It's not about us, it's all about Christ. No matter what is legal (gay marriage, abortion) Christians free willingly do not participate. Therefore, no matter if the state legalizes or not...we know the right way. Forcing views upon anyone is not in line with free will. Suppression is not Christlike, however, love and acceptance is. President Obama and VP Biden have both expressed their personal views on abortion (pro-life), but know that not all hold their same beliefs. It's sad, but we can kick and scream and holler...at the end of the day, alas, we are not God...we aren't running the show.
Athy- Sorry- Since the article was ranting about Christians putting politics over religion, that was the group I was addressing.
Tim- I can't in good conscious appear to endorse sin in any way, which is what I feel voting for a liberal agenda would appear to be. And, along the free will line, forcing me to pay taxes for the charity of others is not free will. We would all be better off if we chose to give money to the poor- and it would be distributed more efficiently too. Why do I need a middle man to give my money to someone else to buy food, when I can just slip some to the homeless guy on the corner, or to a soup kitchen, etc.?
You are never going to find a candidate who's values are going align exactly with yours.
Obviously, Romney displays more of the values that most Christians consider important. Obama feels that a woman has the right to chose all the way to the point of birth. I don't know a Christian that believes this. Obama is for gay marriage and I don't know a church that would allow such a service. Obamacare will provide abortions at tax payer expense. I don't want my tax dollars funding murder.
It's "whose", not "who's".
BAIN'S "SUCCESSES" FOR INVESTORS WAS PRIMARILY BASED ON RESTRUCTURING OF COMPANIES AND LAYING PEOPLE OFF!
Doesn't matter how many times you repeat text out of context. Your lies are still lies.
Out of context? LOL. Nice try.
Yes – but lefties are hypocrites and refuse to see it.
Hmm. I would encourage readers then to use what was written above as a starting point to do their own research and see what conclusion they wind up with. I think the outcome will be obvious.
"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?"
For me (and many I suspect) it comes down to a number of reasons, but just a couple... expenses are up, income is down, and Mitt is pro-life (President Obama is best described as pro-abortion, not pro-choice (http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/2008/11/a-matter-of-conscience/)).
“Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.” – Ronald Regan
A vote for a Mormon is better than a vote for a moron.
A vote for a MORmON is a vote for a moron, moron.
muslim moron !!! I agree Obama is a traitor too!!!
Poor Steve – you just don't get it; you have lots of religious knowledge but lack wisdom and understanding. I am an evangelical christian who will have no problem voting for Romney. Why you ask? Not politics to be sure. President Obama, believes in partial birth abortion. I, like all true evangelicals believe human life begins at conception and is sacred. End of story. Just because an individual has not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior, or that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, does not mean that they are automatically disqualified from being president: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GOD. I pray for your enlightenment.
So what you're saying is that you are literally voting only for the sake of ensuring that the rest of the country is held to your religious beliefs, with no regard to the beliefs of others, and no regard to the wishes of the founding fathers to keep religion out of politics? You know that this country was founded because those who came here were trying to escape the church, right? You people scare the crap out of me.
i don't care if romney came from the moon-i refuse to vote for a committed commie and his minions in the gov.–van jones,jarret,muslim brotherhhood meetings(even with pelosi),middle income ppl losing money(54,000 yr to 50,000)-jeremiah wright-yeah he was a real piece of work and anti american–the list goes on-they are the racists now-they are the haters-they deserve to get their butt whipped–and i pray to God that He hears and helps to get romney elected!!!
Hey CNN – Where is that superior leftist tolerance now? It sounds to me like lefties are the least tolerant of others and their beliefs.
Tolerance for beliefs is one thing. Tolerance for seeking to enforce your religious beliefs on others is another. For example, I have no problem with muslims, but they shouldn't tell me I must be covered from head to toe because of their beliefs. I have no problem with Christians, but they shouldn't tell me I can't get married. See how this works? Being intolerant of religious oppression is not religious oppression.
Romney never tried to force his religious beliefs on another.
However, Obama and the left has done just that. Trying to force people whose faith oppose abortion to pay for it, including Catholic churches. Another example would be Obama forcing military chaplains to perform gay marriages when it is against their religion.
Lefties fail to see the hypocrisy of their ways and on the least tolerant individuals in our society.
Lying won't work, Ameriboob.
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.