For five years I've heard not a few Southern Baptists declare that they would never vote for Mitt Romney or any other Mormon, lest they promote and make Mormonism more acceptable to the public.
Aside from the usual politico/religious non sequiturs that we have adopted (think 2008 when we preferred "I am not a born again Christian" McCain to "I am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ" Barack Obama or perhaps thrice married, former Southern Baptist now Catholic Newt Gingrich in 2012,) the aversion to a candidate who is a serious member of what most SBCers would call a religious cult, I'm wondering if we think that God is completely powerless in the matter and a Mormon president would be more than He and the true Gospel could possibly endure.
Ridiculous, of course.
We are already seeing an alternative to the concept of Mormons gaining the ultimate respectability and mainstreamism in America. That alternative is a far broader presentation of the oddities of Mormon teaching and practice.
Most Americans connect Mormonism with polygamy a practice officially ended by the main LDS body in 1890; however, few are familiar with the Mormon practices of baptism for the dead, the sacred undergarments, and a fuller history of the violent practices of Mormons. Toss in the golden plates, reformed Egyptian, Jesus appearing to native Americans, and all the rest and you've got some pretty serious oddball stuff.
The closer Mitt Romney comes to the Republican nomination the more reporting will be seen on some of these ancillary Mormon practices. To wit:
Mitt Romney's family baptized Ann Romney's atheist father into Mormon church a year AFTER his death Seminarians and many SBC pastor are familiar with proxy baptism, as is any serious genealogist who greatly appreciates the LDS' seriousness of proxy baptisms. You mean Mormons think if they are baptized for someone already dead that has some efficacy? Yep. Odd.
David Brooks, NY Times columnist highlights the Romney clan's Mormon history in his column The Wealth Issue. The piece is replete with polygamy, hyper-authorianism, and the mindless obedience of adherents the early Mormon movement which include Mitt's ancestors. Do we really admire Mitt's ancestors for jumping through Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's hoops? Not me.
In A Brief Guide To “Mormon Underwear” we are introduced to the first presidential candidate underwear discussion since Bill "boxers not jockey" Clinton. What's that? Good Mormons have to wear certain underwear? Uh huh.
No doubt serious reporting will include the core differences between Mormon doctrine and that of orthodox Christianity - the Trinity, Scripture, person of Jesus. I'd speculate that the idea of having your own planet to populate, as good Mormons have, will come up.
Or, consider this: Many of those theologically uneducated Southern Baptists who populate our pews will come to church and ask the resident expert about these things. Those pastors and teachers who have eschewed educating their congregations about Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses et al will be forced to do it. Such cannot hurt and will undoubtedly help. Good.
I think God can handle Mitt Romney as president of the United States.
I plan to vote for him in the Georgia primary on Super Tuesday and again in the election this fall, Mormonism or not.