No, seriously. Good job.
Janie B. Cheaney (who, it must be said, has a perfect name for a well-intentioned but mischievous heroine of a children’s book) wrote an op-ed in World Magazine about how Evangelical Christians ought to feel about a Mormon presidential candidate.
Ms. Cheaney mentions a conversation with a fellow Evangelical wherein the friend expressed concern over voting for Mitt Romney because she felt a President Romney may lend legitimacy to Mormonism and may also be controlled by the leaders of the LDS Church. Ms. Cheaney wisely responds that she believes such concerns are unfounded, arguing that, “A religion that’s already the fourth-largest in the United States, and the fastest-growing, doesn’t lack legitimacy . . and the two identities (Mormon and American) don’t necessarily clash. Mormonism is as American as the Second Great Awakening.”
Ms. Cheaney is not surprisingly unconvinced by the truth claims and doctrines of Mormonism, labeling Joseph Smith’s account of the founding of the church as “fanciful.” However, unlike many others who are unable to separate the religious from the political, she is able to understand the positive impact Mormonism has on the life of its adherents and the contributions of those adherents to America, stating, “As a group, Mormons outwork and outplay-by-the-rules just about every other American demographic, and their church has amassed a fortune, as have many of its adherents. Mitt Romney is an exemplary Mormon, which does not interfere with being an exemplary American.”
After delving into her disagreement with the Mormon conception of Christ, Ms. Cheaney concludes that, “Mormonism is not at odds with America; only in America could such a faith spring up and prosper. A Mormon president is no political threat. The Mormon candidate is from all appearances a decent family man, relatively conservative, with a record that may raise some eyebrows but doesn’t strike fear in my heart. I will pray for God to grant him wisdom, and salvation, and be grateful: We could do worse.”
In other words, Ms. Cheaney has done what so few others have been able to: disagree with Mitt Romney’s Mormonism while recognizing that such religious differences don’t represent a threat to people who aren’t Mormon or the country Romney seeks to lead.