So, it’s Obama versus Romney. And Romney will lose
To very many Americans, Santorum’s particular brand of gay-hating, contraception-prohibiting, abortion-banning Roman Catholicism was but a breath away from fascism. The caricature was ultimately inescapable. There was even speculation about his having links with the secret cult Opus Dei, and of desiring to fulfil the self-flagellating vision of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer to forge a Washington-Vatican alliance and sanctify his presidency through secular work. And so the cry today, even among many Republicans, is one of good riddance: this is not the time for the Pope to take the White House.
When the issue of the Catholicism of Senator John F Kennedy was emerging as an issue in his quest to become President of the United States of America, he made a speech which included the observation:
But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured - perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again - not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me - but what kind of America I believe in.He was struggling to persuade the sceptical American people that the White House would not become an embassy of the Vatican, and neither would the US President do the Pope’s bidding, but, for a nation born out of the struggle for liberation from religious tyranny, his words rang hollow. The prejudices were overcome principally by oratorical skill. At times, the communication of his dreams and visions were redolent of Martin Luther King Jnr, who declared:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.That speech was made in 1960, yet even in 2012 the Land of the Free does not permit all men to be equal. Of course, the inequalities are no longer based on race or gender, but they are manifest and legion when it comes to religion. While the US Constitution affirms that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust’ (Article VI), it must be observed that Republican candidates are invariably asked at some point if they believe the Bible to be the inviolable Word of God, and none has ever quoted Article VI in response. It appears that one only becomes President of the United States by the adoption of the American Creed and with the majority assent of the American Church.
Mitt Romney has experienced not dissimilar problems from those faced by Senator Kennedy and Rick Santorum. But the hurdles presented by the Church of Rome are as nothing compared to those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon Mitt’s problems are religious, political, and religio-political. Politically, there is the perception (indeed, the reality) of considerable inconsistency on some burning issues, like deciding to become ‘pro-life’ when it was politically expedient to be so. There is also his health-care plan in Massachusetts, which tarnishes him with the high-spend, big-government plan of ObamaCare. He is phenomenally wealthy (if not smarmy); he is too close to the banking crisis, and his appeal is narrow (if not somewhat aged). There is a sense that the GOP have chosen their least worst candidate for the presidency, and so one who will gift President Obama four more years.
Add all this to the religious problems and you get a toxic religio-political unelectable. Mormon Mitt’s Mormonism will struggle to gain the trust of either the Roman Catholic or Evangelical ‘religious right’ in the South. They want orthodoxy, conviction and clarity, not an ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ candidate devoid of any ideological conviction. No matter how many appeals he may make to being a ‘regular kind of guy’, he appears weirdly cultish. He poses both theological uncertainty and a political mutually-exclusive duality which makes the tensions inherent in the Trinity appear positively superficial. His god is not spirit, but a mortal, material being of flesh and blood who progressed to deity, as all men may. If believers are good and faithful, each will be given a planet of their own to rule. The Mormon god lives in heaven in a polygamous relationship with multiple wives, and sexually reproduces. In common with Eastern religions, there is a variation on reincarnation as Mormons believe in the pre-existence of all people in heaven before they were born on earth.
The Book of Mormon tells of several families leaving Jerusalem shortly before the Babylonian captivity, making it to the New World, and forming several civilisations there before collapsing. These are not the Lost Tribes of Israel (who are elsewhere), but Mitt does believe that Christ (who is Satan’s brother) visited these people following His resurrection, in fulfillment of John 10:16. While Christ is (thankfully) not held to be American, there are ten thousand more religio-political-historical concerns with this political religion than with the alleged quest of Rick Santorum to turn the White House into an embassy to the Vatican.
So, the GOP have their candidate at last. But Mitt Romney will lose for two reasons. Firstly, in the words of Rick Santorum:
"Would the potential attraction to Mormonism by simply having a Mormon in the White House threaten traditional Christianity by leading more Americans to a church that some Christians believe misleadingly calls itself Christian, is an active missionary church, and a dangerous cult?"However secular the State professes to be; however much the Constitution prohibits a faith test on public office, for the highest office it exists. Americans like their presidents to be Trinitarian at the very least: all non-Trinitarian religious sects and cults are basically fictional fantasies and so demonic, and Americans don’t want Satan in the White House.
And secondly, in the words of Kylie Minogue:
"Better the Devil you know."Barack Obama is not Satan and is not a member of any demonic cult. It is invariably safer to deal with the familiar and known, even if they are not ideal, than to take a risk with the unfamiliar and unknown.