The Romney candidacy put Mormonism into the American spotlight and has given us all op-portunity to clarify our convictions on our political system and the Mormon faith. The lines be-tween politics and religion are being questioned, pressing Americans to think through the rela-tionship between a candidate's value system and policies with those of their own political and re-ligious convictions. This is both proper and good.
The issue, as I see it, is not about whether a Christian would or should vote for a Mormon. That's confusing categories. Every American should vote for whomever he or she chooses. That choice is usually for the candidate whose worldview and policy preferences most closely resemble one's own. Should Romney win the Republican nomination, I will vote for him because in our two-party political system-as it is currently aligned ideologically-my vote will almost certainly go to the Republican. The GOP aligns more closely with my conservative, evangelical policy prefer-ences than does the Democratic Party. The war against radical Islam, the protection of mar-riage, the right to life, limited government with smarter spending, and the make-up of the Su-preme Court are all matters of deep personal conviction. And, for these reasons, I'll vote for the Republican candidate, whoever that is.
As many have said, "We're not electing a pastor, we're electing a president."
Historically, our largely Christian country has chosen to elect Christian candidates (not that there have been many non-Christian candidates). In the last two presidential elections, church attendance was the most reliable indicator of voting preferences. It's no coincidence that the Democrats this time around are determined to appear more religious (i.e., more evangelical friendly) in order to win the White House. Yet, if appearing more religious in this majority-Christian nation is an electoral advantage, then being from a faith other than Christianity pre-sents a new set of challenges. And therein lies the problem for the Romney campaign.
Though I could vote for Romney, my ballot should not be seen as an endorsement of Mor-monism. Conservative Mormons are among the finest people I've ever met, and they are critical allies in the culture war. I appreciate their contribution to advancing our shared values. Yet as we make common cause, I should not be asked or feel pressured to compromise, weaken, or di-lute my theology. Allies need not obfuscate distinctives. We can unite politically and socially to advance our cause, but we must not blur the lines between our distinct religions.