Monday, October 22, 2012

Prey with Billy

According to the US constitution there cannot be any religious test for office

“no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” -- Article VI, paragraph 3, US Constitution

Apparently the converse is not true as we have been seeing this presidential election being used as a forum for adopting the LDS church as a true branch of Christianity. We have seen the administration of a political test for religion. Because Mitt Romney is seen as electable the Mormon Church is now a mainstream, and fully Christian, religion.

For decades any “True Believing” Christian would chafe at the affront on mainstream Christian theology they saw in the additions made by Mormons. There are multiple gods, there are multiple heavens, there are even multiple worlds with a distribution of gods many of which were former members of the LDS high command. Perhaps worst of all is that the Mormon scripture describes an account of Jesus Christ himself coming back to earth for a quick tour of the Americas after his ascension into heaven, this sequel tour tarnishes the whole finality-till-the-second-coming aspect of traditional Christianity.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” -- John 14:6

In order to believe Mormonism is true on its own merits one has to acknowledge that Jesus came back and kept the whole second coming a secret till 1835. That’s a long time to keep something big like that a secret. To add insult to injury the ghost of Saint John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Hyrum Smith one day and baptized them personally. Ghostly John also told them that they were the only ones who had gotten things right for several centuries. In order to embrace Mormonism one has to throw generations of True Believing Christians under the church bus.

On October 7th many conservative churches celebrated what they called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”. On this Sunday, in direct knowing violation of federal law, pastors openly endorsed candidates from the pulpit. In this election cycle the “pulpit freedom” from many churches has spilled over into campaign signs and an ongoing berating of churchgoers to vote the right way. Every day is "Pulpit Freedom Day".  One Texas church received notoriety for posting “Voter for the Mormon not the Muslim” as its Sunday message marquee.

"participate in, or intervene in, ( including the publishing or distributing of any statements) any political campaign on behalf of- or in opposition to -any candidate for public office." – 1954 amendment to the US tax code limiting political activities of tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations.

Some larger church organizations avoid directly confronting the IRS. Though the IRS blinked when Mac Hammond endorsed Michelle Bachmann from the pulpit the initial legal “win” by Hammond appears to be more of a technicality. The more money a church controls the more they would have to lose if the winds of change blow some IRS investigations from an on hold status to some flavor of unfavorable decision.

The typical endorsement of a US politician is for a major evangelical leader to pray with the politician. The Reverend Billy Graham recently prayed with Mitt Romney.

"It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms." -- Rev Billy Graham October 2012

Billy Graham sits at the head of an enormous evangelical organization: the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. They print books, and magazines, and do the TV thing, and all sorts of other stuff. Their flagship magazine is called “Decision”, and the October edition had a street sign on the cover; one road was labeled “Following God” and the other street was labeled “Rejecting God”. One of the cover’s listed highlights was “America on the road to Destruction”. One of the articles in the magazine was titled “Can an Evangelical Christian vote for a Mormon?”; the answer in the article was “yes”.

The day after Billy and Mitt prayed together all mention of the Mormon church as a “cult” or "insane" were removed from the websites of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The reasons Billy gives for his support of Mitt are Mitt’s opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Apparently the need to eliminate abortions and prevent legalization of same-sex marriages is more important than maintaining a negative opinion about a region that maintains as some of its core principles the idea that Billy and all of his followers will never get into the best heaven where all the really cool people go.

Apparently spending a few years with same-sex married people is a worse hell than spending eternity in the regular hell. Billy will be 94 soon so he would not have to endure the damning vibes pouring off the marital bliss of same sex couples for very long; so it must be a very bad thing for him to be so willing to cash in on his Pascal’s wager.

"What a strange people these Mormons are. They are like a flock of sheep; if I should jump into hell, I believe they would follow me!" -Joseph Smith as quoted in Macomb Journal, January 25, 1877, p. 2

Of course there is the possibility that none of these men really believe the stuff they say. I prefer to think that the softening of rhetoric between the various camps of invisible dude followers is due to some sort of enlightenment. The words of intolerance are just the product sold to followers who need more than they discern.

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