In his October 30th Townhall.com column Michael Youssef declares:
“In America, we have the great privilege of choosing candidates based on our core values, rather than how they identify with our theological point of view.”
I’m glad to hear it. I only wish Dr. Youssef could retain this principle himself for more than a paragraph. In the very next sentence he wanders coyly into the real purpose of his article: "...one cannot help but notice the controversies that have arisen regarding the Mormon religion." Wait, it gets better.
Michael goes onto to cite six "peculiar similarities" between Islam and Mormonism.
OK. My turn to do the same parlor trick:
Last weekend I attended an exclusive meeting which, like Islam and like many Christian sacraments, depicted 1) oaths, 2) handshakes, 3) ritual chants, 4) hierarchical teachings, 5) proscribed clothing and 6) special advancement ceremonies.
You may have witnessed one of these meetings yourself – it’s called Cub Scouts. We could do this all day.
The sad part is the inherit disingenuous nature of Dr. Youssef's slight of hand. To paraphrase his article in my own words: You may have heard about this Mormon fellow running for President... no big deal of course but did you know this guy is practically a practicing Imam?
I’m exaggerating but at least I’ll admit it in print. Nowhere in the piece does Dr. Youssef identify Mitt Romney or explain why the six “parallels” (which are silly and in some points flat wrong) negate Mr. Romney’s candidacy. He concludes with an allusion to Romney’s supposed inconsistency in political thought (again without naming the candidate) with no detail to connect the six items again.
Man up, Mr. Youssef. What are you really trying to say? You imply: A) differences in theology shouldn’t matter in an election; B) but the Mormon church is basically Islam is disguise; and C) don’t vote for Mitt Romney.
In December 1787, Oliver Ellsworth, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Connecticut, explained the purpose of Article VI:
My countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it [i.e., Article VI] is to exclude persecution,... and to secure to you the important right of religious liberty. . . . In our country every man has a right to worship God in that way which is most agreeable to his conscience. If he be a good and peaceable person[,] he is liable to no penalties or incapacities on account of his religious sentiments; or in other words, he is not subject to persecution. (quoted in Francis Beckwith’s The Court of Disbelief)
Of course, like your personal religious preferences, you are free to use religion as a factor in your personal voting decisions... but note: our founding fathers believed otherwise and felt so strongly about it they included it in our Constitution. If you personally respect the inalienable rights referred to in the Constitution (e.g. the right to bear arms) shouldn’t you at least consider respecting Article VI? Religion, in my opinion, should play no part in that decision.
Some conservatives, like Mike Gallagher, point to the qualms that most Americans had with Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright. They ask: “Why then is Mormonism out of bounds?”
Notice, however, that the issues raised around Wright’s brand of religion had nothing to do with doctrinal differences and everything to do with Wright’s meshing of the political and theological.
I welcome anyone to delve into the plentiful teachings of Mormonism’s current leaders and find anything resembling that dissemblance. Until them... I await a more forthright and truthful article from Dr. Youssef.