Mohler: It’s OK to Vote for a Mormon

We continue to be fascinated by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler is a flat-out young-earth creationist, but as we’ve often said before, we’re impressed by his honest approach to the matter, which is entirely theological. Although he insists that the literal truth of Genesis is the essential foundation for his concept of Christianity, he never disgraces himself with the nonsense of creation science — he simply rejects science.

We used to respect him (“appreciate” may be a better word) because although he’s ridiculously wrong to reject science, he doesn’t bother anyone because he keeps his views within his faith, and — unlike a certain Seattle think tank — his life’s mission isn’t to crush science and establish a theocracy. But then we had to change our mind.

Earlier this year, during the Republican presidential primary season, he revealed a dark side. In Mohler Sides with Santorum Against Kennedy, we wrote about a column of his in which he said he opposed the separation of church and state. That showed him to be far worse than a harmless creationist — he’s a theocrat, the kind of personality that finds joy in creating hell on earth for those who lack the true faith.

Even so, why should we care? Well, we wouldn’t care if Mohler were nothing but a solitary street preacher wandering around wearing a sandwich board declaring that the end is nigh, while dreaming of torturing unbelievers on the rack. But Mohler is more than that. Much more.

Today’s news about Mohler appears in the Florida Baptist Witness. Their website says: “Since 1884, Florida Baptist Witness has been the newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention.” It’s part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which Wikipedia says “is the world’s largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members as of 2010. This also makes it the second largest Christian body in the United States, after the Catholic Church.”

We’re not entirely clear on the relationship between Mohler’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Florida Baptist State Convention for which the Witness is the official organ, but we assume that the relationship is a close one. The point is that when Mohler talks, people listen, which is why it’s worth knowing that the Witness has this new article: Mormonism’s ‘false gospel’ does not bar evangelical votes for Mormon candidates, Mohler says. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Evangelical Christians face an imperfect yet “clear option” in the 2012 presidential election, Southern Baptist theologian R. Albert Mohler Jr. told Florida pastors during an Oct. 16 conference call.

[…]

Mohler, a Florida native and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., spoke to the pastors about election-related issues during an hour-long discussion organized by three Florida-based Christian radio stations affiliated with Salem Radio Network.

This is how block votes get mobilized. The article continues:

Asserting every voter has a “hierarchy of issues” when evaluating political candidates, Mohler said, “I can’t get past the issue of the sanctity of human life, and the integrity of marriage and the urgency of religious liberty.” In light of those issues, “The choice is very clear to me. And I will have no ethical or theological reluctance to vote the way that I will vote when it comes to November,”said Mohler, a member of the national editorial board of Salem [the radio network]

Mohler apparently has little interest in economic issues or foreign policy. For him, the presidential election is all about his religion and its views on abortion and gay marriage. He seems not to care that Romney isn’t a creationist — well, neither is Obama, so it’s not an issue. Let’s read on, because now it gets interesting:

Mohler said the 2012 presidential contest is forcing evangelicals to “grow up very fast to realize we really do believe that the government does not have a priestly role. That is Christ’s alone and it belongs to His church.” When evangelicals have asserted such a role for government “it was our theological error,” he said.

Whoa! Does that mean Mohler is backing away from his earlier theocratic position on church and state? The article continues:

In the conference call with pastors, Mohler strongly rejected Mormon theology. “I consider Mormonism in itself to be one of the most insidious, false gospels imaginable, to be almost – indeed calculated to be – one of the most subversive and I think manipulative false gospels,” he said. Calling the 2012 election a “real test” for evangelicals, he said the problem with Mormonism “is not that it might produce a political result. It’s that it leads people to Hell and to eternal destruction.”

Nevertheless, he’s willing to vote for Romney, despite his “subversive” and hell-bound creed, because Obama is worse on abortion and gay issues. Mohler certainly has his priorities straight. Here’s more:

Mohler cautioned pastors to be balanced in their role in educating church members about political issues. “The last thing we need is for pastors to forfeit all responsibility in terms of this kind of context,” he said. “We simply look back at the history of the Christian church and where the church has failed to speak to these issues in a moment of crisis it’s to our shame.”

He mentions the failure of preachers to speak out in Nazi Germany, but he acknowledges that example isn’t “entirely comparable” to the issues he’s worried about today. Mohler recognized that this isn’t the occasion for playing the Hitler card — but he managed to play it anyway. Then he says:

Still, pastors should not support churches becoming “political action committees. That’s the equal and opposite danger,” he said.

This whole thing is very tortured. Although he has utter contempt for Mormons, Mohler is urging Baptist preachers to support Romney because he’s the lesser of two evils — at least the way Mohler defines evil. But he still says that churches shouldn’t become “political action committees.” It’s difficult for Mohler to know where to draw the line — but he draws it. One more excerpt:

While pastors should not involve their churches in most political issues, “it’s shear cowardice not to deal with” key moral concerns “when they’re most at stake,” he said. The sanctity of human life, “integrity of marriage,” and the “defense of religious liberty … for everyone” are issues “where the love of God and love of neighbor I think compels us not to be silent,” he said.

In other words, Mohler tells his preachers not to get involved in political issues — unless he really cares about those issues. Then it’s necessary to get involved. All clear now?

Where does that leave us? We still think Mohler is a theocrat — although he probably thinks he’s not. And it’s safe to predict that Southern Baptists will be voting for Romney.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Mohler: It’s OK to Vote for a Mormon

  1. Charley Horse

    Mohler knows very well how the Southern Baptists and other
    white southerners will vote. No intelligence or reason needed other
    than their quest to put a white guy in their White House. Don’t be
    fooled by their token black president. They just took a cue from the
    desperate Retaliban Party when they chose a black guy.

    It is no mystery what Romney and Ryan means when they say “we
    are going to take our country back”. No different when the Teabaggers
    made that same statement over and over again in 2009…and still do.

  2. Charley Horse

    Both Romney and Ryan could make blatant racist statements and not
    lose one vote in the South. Not one. They would likely gain a few.
    Besides, Romney’s religion has always been noted for openly banning blacks from their church. Especially leadership roles.

  3. Curmudgeon: “Mohler is a flat-out young-earth creationist, but as we’ve often said before, we’re impressed by his honest approach to the matter, which is entirely theological.”

    That makes him an Omphalist rather than a “scientific” YEC. I would call him a “soft” Omphalist, though, and would use the term “hard Omphalist” for the very tiny minority who makes it clear that they believe X in spite of the fact that the evidence contradicts it. In contrast, “soft” Omphalists’ political sympathy to “scientific” creationists forces them to be vague. They have an inkling that “scientific” creationism, including the ID scam, bears false witness about the evidence and evolution, but don’t want to think about it, let alone publicly admit it.

    Mohler’s support of Romney is simply being pragmatic. He hopes that Romney – not just a Mormon, but a “Darwinist” to boot – will appoint theocratic justices, and that his theocratic utopia will follow. That could happen of course, but he also needs to consider the “generalized LeChatelier’s principle,” that has operated for over 2 centuries.

  4. Spiritual shepherd Albert Mohler asserts:

    While pastors should not involve their churches in most political issues, “it’s shear cowardice not to deal with” key moral concerns “when they’re most at stake,” he said.

    I can only presume that ‘shear cowardice’ is an extreme form of aichmophobia, and a severe liability in ministering pastoral care — or at least, in fleecing the flock….

  5. And, in the same passage from Mohler cited above, am I alone in reading his reference to key moral concerns “when they’re most at stake” as clear and unambiguous advocacy for the re-introduction of the celebrated practise of the auto-da-fé for the suppression of heresy?

  6. How can Mohler be sure what Romney really believes? Almost no one else can.

  7. Curmy – I am glad you changed your mind and join us who believe that Mohler and his ilk are far more dangerous than the IDiots. What truly baffles me is what I wrote elsewhere earlier today: Naturally the election of Obama, who many fundamentalists believe is a foreign-born Muslim, signals another step toward the rapture, the end of the world battles, the Reign of Jesus, etc. Paradoxically, they long for the return of Jesus but seem intent on crushing the very person who they believe is a sign of the coming tribulation. Similarly, they are Zionists not because of their fondness of the Jews but because the re-gathering of the Jews in Israel fulfills the prophecies for the end times, in which of course they will all be slaughtered along with all other non-believers.

    It’s akin to the old saying – everyone wants to go to heaven but ain’t nobody wants to die.

  8. Douglas E says: “Curmy – I am glad you changed your mind and join us who believe that Mohler and his ilk are far more dangerous than the IDiots.”

    He really had me fooled for a while. I thought he was harmless.

  9. Putting aside the Baptist disdain for Mormonism, Franklin Graham is one of those who suggests that Obama is a non-white foreign born Muslim, and along with his father, has endorsed Romney. Just shows that ideology trumps theology.

  10. Charley Horse

    ED asks…How can Mohler be sure what Romney really believes? Almost no one else can.

    Romney has done a complete 360 and then a 180 to convince the
    Xian radicals to support him. He will be their puppet and go along with
    all of the antiprogressive and pro theocracy Retalibans if elected.
    At the same time he would be protecting the ultra wealthy and
    destroying the environment like no other president ever has. The
    ignorant Retalibans would go along with that, too.

  11. Come on, Charley Horse, you can’t straddle that fence forever.

  12. Charley Horse

    Gee, SC, am I being too obvious? 🙂

    One prejudice I will admit to is being very prejudice
    against elective ignorance to support one’s own prejudice.
    An affliction that white Southern voters suffer from.

    Beautiful, crisp fall day here and the games today are the
    cherry on top.

  13. Well, there is no doubt in Mohler’s own words that he’s a shameless hypocrite, money grubbing, liar. All you have to do is pull up his own words to see that.

    Mohler dumped Dembski because Dembski wrote “heresy” about Noah’s Flood, that it might have been a local event and how to reconcile that with Christian mythology. Well, Mohler had a hissy fit and even after Dembski recanted, publicaly and pitifully, he was dumped.

    Then Mohler went on NPR and lied his ass off on radio about how he was all moderate and such. What a jackass!

    So, basically, Mohler has no credibility except amongst the sheeple Baptist who evolved no brains whatsoever and believe anything they’re told. Bigfoot is real, aliens abduct people, the End Times are Near.

    Can we figure a way to ship these people to Turkey?

  14. docbill – agreed, but the really sad part is the shear [meant to be spelled that way] number of the sheeple! I believe the Southern Baptists rank second to Catholics re religious affiliation in the US.

  15. Curmudgeon: “[Mohler] really had me fooled for a while. I thought he was harmless.”

    I never thought that any of these snake oil peddlers were harmless, but Mohler’s audience is a minority, albeit a sizable one, that’s almost all pre-committed to evolution-denial and radical authoritarian ideology. Whereas the DI’s catchy, but misleading, sound bites have trickled down to a majority, most of which has not even heard of the DI. Science-denial and postmodernism in general have become fashionable in recent decades. What better way to keep the “masses” suspicious of science than by misrepresenting it in every way, while avoiding mentioning even the basic “whats and whens” of what you propose in its place. Mohler may not be harmless, but the “big tent” scam is even less so.

  16. Aleister Crowley says its OK to vote for Cthulhu.

    Seriously, why vote foe a lesser evil?

  17. Frank J observes:

    Science-denial and postmodernism in general have become fashionable in recent decades.

    At the risk of sounding pedantic — or at least, the risk of stating what you already know — the recent ‘fashionability’ of science-denial is a significant problem almost exclusively in the United States.

    Granted, there are some slabs of the world in which science has never been fashionable, but I am hard-pressed to think of a place in which science has been subjected to the same sort of sustained and mindless attack as it has in the US in recent years. Which, given the preeminence the US once enjoyed in science throughout the 20th century, makes one seriously concerned for its standing there in the 21st

  18. Jim Thomerson

    Martin Luther made some comment about that he would rather be ruled by an honest Turk than by a dishonest Pope.

  19. On science denial, “The Republican War on Science” by Chris Mooney can’t be recommended too highly. Anti-Enlightenment? Here’s a quote:
    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    See also the referenced article in one of today’s posts at Why Evolution is True: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/anti-science-in-american-politics-two-must-read-articles/

    As for Baptist theocracy, ignore it at your own peril (I *know*; I was one of them for 23 years). As the not-so-old joke goes, If the Baptists take power, will they kill the Catholic or the Jews first? The Catholics; “business before pleasure”. Although I cackle inside at the thought of hundreds of my ex-co-religionists having to vote for a Mormon and a Catholic who worships an atheist, I also shudder more than a little, as I know that as an apostate I will be one of their first targets. That’s why I don’t understand the anti-Obama sentiment expressed so often on this blog. Sure, there is a *lot* wrong with him and his policies, but the threat of theocracy is not there.

  20. @Jim Thomerson:

    Luther also called reason the harlot of satan. I have serious concerns about his ability to see the forest from the trees, even though I understand his frustration of the church establishment of his day.

  21. @Mark Joseph:

    That’s why I’m actually reassured by the latest PEW numbers as well as the latest numbers from the National Council of Churches showing a major rise in the “unaffiliated” segment of the population. The Catholics remain stable, largely due to immigration. The Evangelicals are on the rise, but not nearly as much as the “unaffiliateds”.

  22. Calling the Internal Revenue Service. Please investigate these ministers for delivering political speech from the pulpit. Cannot stop them but we CAN take away their religious tax exemption. Hit them where it hurts.