In reality, the article had very little if anything to say about Romney’s policy positions, or his qualifications to be President, or the American presidency, or about statesmanship. Instead, the article focused primarily on Mormonism. And ultimately, the article seemed to conclude that a vote for Romney would essentially amount to a vote for a false church (the Mormon church), and this would in turn result in growth of the Mormon church, which would in turn result in more “lost souls” (or as one quoted professor called it, “sheep stealing”).
I’m not suggesting that this one article, or its author, or the individuals quoted in the article, speak for all of evangelicalism, or for the entirety of Biola University and all of its alumni. Additionally, I am not making statements here about theology, nor am I arguing about Romney’s merits as a candidate.
My point here is that there is some number of American evangelicals who, while they may “lean Republican” in their voting habits, still can’t bring themselves to vote for a candidate that doesn’t share all or most of their theological views. Essentially, there is not consensus among American evangelicalism as to whether or not one can share a common worldview with a person or group that does not first share one’s theological views. This poses a serious problem for the Republican Party, and is bad news for American politics generally. Yet the problem seems to have been mostly misunderstood, or, if it is understood, mostly ignored.
But what does any of this have to do with Governor Jindal and his future on the national stage? Well, let’s start with the fact that Jindal is a Catholic.
To be sure, Catholics and evangelicals have plenty of common ground, both theologically and in terms of worldview, whereas Mormonism entails a dramatic divergence from historic Christian theology. Yet despite this fact, and the fact that there are lots of Catholics involved in socially conservative activism, there are still plenty of evangelicals in the pews whose opinions of Catholicism are not much better than their views of Mormonism.
Indeed, my alma mater’s alumni magazine recently published an article that was highly critical of the on-again-off-again “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” movement, which featured a theology professor whose objections to this effort of uniting evangelicals and Catholics are based on theological concerns.
My hope is that, as Americans, we all remain free to believe as we choose, but that our cultural values, and therefore our public policy views, can begin to transcend our theological differences. I’m also hoping that Governor Jindal will play a vital role in our nation’s future.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.