(USA Today) Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan GOP ticket reflects religious shift

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By naming devout, conservative Catholic U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, former governor Mitt Romney, once a Mormon bishop, did more than ensure the USA will have a Catholic vice president in 2013.

He established the first Republican ticket without a Protestant since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln, who belonged to no church, chose Maine Sen. Hannibal Hamlin, a Unitarian as his running mate, says Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Yet today's GOP ticket — two Christians who are neither evangelical nor mainline Protestants — isn't a major marker of social change, University of California history professor David Hollinger says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President

11 Comments
Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I am not convinced this is as big a religious shift as it is made out to be. I have talked with a whole bunch of White, Evangelical or Protestant Southerners I know, and most of them, if you really pin them down, are not that thrilled with a Mormon/Catholic ticket. As with Southerners, we are very polite and you have to really press us in the right way to get us to admit it, but if you know how, we will. And what I have found is that most aren’t all that thrilled at all. I think they will probably still hold their nose and vote for the GOP ticket, but they won’t do it with religious enthusiasm.

August 21, 9:07 am | [comment link]
2. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I have talked with a whole bunch of White, Evangelical or Protestant Southerners I know, and most of them, if you really pin them down, are not that thrilled with a Mormon/Catholic ticket.”

Well I’ve talked with a bunch of white Protestant Southerners too, and none of them give a hoot.  They’re not so keen on the fact that Romney’s not a conservative—but they don’t particularly care that he’s a Mormon.

In fact, it’s been quite surprising that they don’t even consider Romney’s Mormonism.

I do agree that most will vote for Romney/Ryan, with varying degrees of enthusiasm for “getting rid of Obama.”

Maybe it’s just that we don’t talk to the same groups of people in the South! I’ve heard little to no angst whatsoever about the Mormon thing—much less the RC Ryan.

August 21, 11:10 am | [comment link]
3. D a v i d + wrote:

Isn’t it interesting that Mormonism has been so popularized that the media is now calling it Christian.

August 21, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
4. Mitchell wrote:

By large percentages Christians believe Mormonism is a branch of Christianity.  Many Romney supporters become very offended when you say Romney is not a Christian.  So, I think Sarah is right that most Christians don’t give a hoot about Romney’s Mormonism; but I think she is wrong about the reason.  Most Christians do not care that Mitt is a Mormon, because most Christians think Mitt is a Christian. 

The ignorance among Christians as to the teachings of the Mormon Religion is astounding.  Most Christians simply do not realize that Mormonism is a Polytheistic pagan religion; or that Romney has devoted his life to leading Christians from the worship of Jesus Christ to the worship of gods created in the mind of Joseph Smith and his disciples.

August 21, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
5. drummie wrote:

Has anyone heard of “Natural Law”?  If I remember what C. S. Lewis had to say it involved doing what is right instead of going by our instictinve impulses.  Mitt Romney has done more to uphold “Natural Law” than Barrack Obama ever thought of. At this point in history, Romney being Mormon has less to do with things that with Obama being anti=Christian by his actions and socialist by his actions.

August 21, 10:54 pm | [comment link]
6. Mitchell wrote:

While my post was not a defense of Obama, I am interested as to what actions by Obama equate to encouraging Christian to abandon their faith and turn to the worship of false gods.

August 22, 9:41 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “By large percentages Christians believe Mormonism is a branch of Christianity.”

I hadn’t realized that—I’d love to see some stats on that, with the word “Christians” carefully defined.  I mean, I could see the masses of America thinking that Mormonism might be some kind of Christiany sect.  But none of the Christians I know believe that—and that includes Episcopalians, Anglicans, independent/free church, Presby [PCA, PCUSA, EPC]. But granted, all of them are well-discipled and informed.

None of the Protestant Southerners I speak with have any such illusions.  All of us recognize that Mormonism is in no way a part of Christianity. 

RE: “Most Christians do not care that Mitt is a Mormon, because most Christians think Mitt is a Christian.”

You could be right—I simply don’t have a quantitative study that has well-defined “Christians” in it to know one way or another.  I’d be happy to look over any link you have with such a study.

A religious test has never been the type of test I’ve used for voting for people. I’d vote for a Scientologist or a Buddhist as long as I could know for a fact that he was a constitutionally-committed conservative who valued individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, and limited government. . . . So Tom Cruise would not fit that criteria and could not therefore be supported.  Heck it’d be hard to pull the lever for him even if he did meet the constitutional-committment requirement.

No, until I see something with hard-evidence about actual Christians believing that Mormonism is a Christian sect and that therefore they’ll vote for Romney, I’ll have to believe that the reason why most [but not all, like me] of my Christian friends are voting for him is that they believe he’s closer to their Constitutional commitments about the role of government and the place of individual liberty, private property, and free enterprise, than the man whose been in charge for the past 3.5 years.

August 22, 10:01 am | [comment link]
8. Mitchell wrote:

Sarah,
I think, but I am not sure, you are misstating my position.  I did not say that most Christians who were supporting Romney were supporting him because they believe he was a Christian.  I think you are probably correct to say that most Christians who are voting for Romeny are doing so for reasons other than religion, and there are many different reasons.  That said I think more would find him unacceptable despite their agreement with him on financial issues if they understood he was not a Christian and the tenants of his faith.

For example, your political views appear to be more Libertarian than Republican except when it comes to social issues like abortion and who can marry who.  I am not sure where you stand on government involvement in regulating vice, like drug use, gambling, and prostitution; but I would think you believe government should regulate those things.  If I am correct you, like many Americans, elevate property rights above all other rights until someone who mostly agrees with you hits you in the face with a major social issue. 
For example, I think you would find it difficult to support a person who agrees with you 100% on property rights and the regulation of industry; if they also believed in limited government involvement in the regulation of abortion, marriage, and vice.

If that is the case, and a person is a “values voter” and fully understands the issues he must ask himself where converting Christians to paganism falls within the panoply of moral matters he or she should consider in his or her vote. 

I think the Romney camp has done a fantastic job of keeping the tenants of his faith largely hidden, allowing Christians to be ignorant of or ignore the fact they are supporting a person who has and will continue to convert Christians to another religion.

August 22, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
9. Mitchell wrote:

Also, if there is any question as to the confusion surrounding Mormonism, simply look at how the USA Today article describes the Republican ticket as being headed by “two Christians.”  The vast majority of USA Today readers would self-identify as Christian.

August 22, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah wrote:

RE: “That said I think more would find him unacceptable despite their agreement with him on financial issues if they understood he was not a Christian and the tenants of his faith.”

I understand your position. I disagree with it.  I doubt—so far, unless presented with some sort of quantitative evidence for it—that it is true.

First, as I mentioned above, I think most conservative Christians well understand that he’s not a Christian.  Again—I’m open to that not being the case, if presented with some sort of quantitative study with a well-articulated definition of Christianity—and I note that you have not yet offered such a study—but none of the scads of well-discipled Protestant conservative Christians that I know are unaware of Mormonism’s bizarre tenets and that it’s in no way Christian.  They are well aware of that.

They simply wish to support someone whom they believe to have a much more similar value set to their own regarding the Constitution, individual liberty, private property, free enterprise, and limited government.

As to my political views, I’m simply a constitutional conservative, which falls right in line with the Republican platform, and which, regrettably, most elected Republicans don’t attempt to follow and don’t believe.

I recognize that you and I don’t share the same values, either political or otherwise, and so we can’t agree on much that is political or involving matters of faith.

But like I said—I’d vote for a Buddhist if he was committed to the Constitution and the values I’ve listed above. I have no religious test for the ability of someone to be committed to the Constitution and its limits.  A devout Christian may not be, and a devout Buddhist may be so committed.  Jimmy Carter as an example of the former springs readily to mind.

Fostering some sort of illusion that conservative discipled Christians in the South don’t somehow know the kookiness of much of the Mormon religion or that it’s not Christian simply leaves you in denial about why they’ll be voting for Romney—or in irritation that they don’t share your values and are perfectly comfortable voting for a non-Christian who [they seem to think] will come much much closer to valuing the Constitution and the above mentioned freedoms than the present occupant of the White House.

There is a radical, massive, broad and deep chasm between their values, and the values of those supporting Obama, and that chasm is becoming—thankfully—more and more recognizable and clear to everyone. We are a radically divided nation and it’s good that more and more people realize that and will have to face the chasm and [to be Griswoldian] “live into the tension” of a divided nation.

August 22, 1:10 pm | [comment link]
11. Sarah wrote:

RE: “if there is any question as to the confusion surrounding Mormonism, simply look at how the USA Today article describes the Republican ticket as being headed by “two Christians.”  The vast majority of USA Today readers would self-identify as Christian.”

Heh.

I thought so.

Goodness me, why if a writer for USA Today, notorious liberal rag that it is, deems Romney a “Christian” why then, clearly the proof for your assertion is right there in black and white: “Most Christians do not care that Mitt is a Mormon, because most Christians think Mitt is a Christian.”

You got me, Mitchell. With evidence like that “ah can see you’re more than a match for me, Guvnor.”

August 22, 1:52 pm | [comment link]
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