Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yet Another Reason Politics and Faith Don't Mix

The political world is abuzz with news that a staffer for Newt Gingrich referred to mormonism as a cult during a focus group, a statement that led to his firing from the campaign of Newt Gingrich, moral paragon. This is reported in the Iowa Republican but it is national news. From their webpage...
A participant in a focus group organized by and McClatchy newspapers lost his job because of comments he made during the event last week. Shortly after participating in the focus group, Craig Bergman was hired as the Iowa political director for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.

The controversial comment came in regards to Mitt Romney’s prospects, if he captured the GOP nomination. “There is a national pastor who is very much on the anti-Mitt Romney bandwagon,” Bergman said. “A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon…There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”
There is an awful lot going on with that statement and none of it good.

First and foremost. Mormonism is a cult. In terms of its theology as well as its overtly cultic practices mormonism is a textbook example of a pseudo-Christian pagan cult. That is obvious to any student of that religious group but it certainly is not something that is going to be acceptable in the secular world of politics. In order to navigate the world of national politics with any success, you need to be very careful about what you say and calling the faith of a candidate a "cult", even if it is true, is simply unacceptable. Ironically the man Mr. Bergman signed on to work for prior to being fired is a Roman Catholic convert, a religious organization that long was considered "the whore of Babylon" by most Protestants (see the sort of non-PC language used to describe Rome in the older Protestant confessions and creeds, they make calling mormonism a cult sound like a Hallmark card)

The other biggie is the notion that God is more concerned with American politics than He is almost any other issue. I am not sure that the Presidential election season in America is more important to God than the ruler of Saudi Arabia or the mayor of a town in Japan. Far too many "pastors" seem more interested in who wins the White House in 2012 than they are in the lost, the hungry, the orphan and the widow right in their own neighborhood.

Being entangled with the world is more than cable TV and video games. Some of our deepest entanglements with the world happen in the world of politics but it is far easier to rail against Harry Potter from the pulpit than to risk insulting influential church members by adopting political neutrality. That doesn't mean that government and politics are without value but we need to always keep in mind that the Kingdom of God doesn't rise or fall based on the GOP nominee for President.

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