Sunday, August 24, 2008

CrossTalk Attacks

[The following post was written back in December 2007. I decided not to publish it at that time since I didn't want to mix too much religion and politics. Now that Romney is out of the running, I thought this would be a good time to put it out there since the main point transcends any political race.]

Using Mitt Romney as a launching point, the radio show CrossTalk (a religious program) decided to "explain" the teachings of the Mormon church to their listeners. The thing that astonished me about the program wasn't the anti-Mormonism. That is pretty standard stuff for a lot of "christian" ministries. The amusing thing was how self-destructive their arguments against Mormonism are.

By self-destructive, I mean that most of the arguments they employee against the Church to make it look silly or evil apply just as well to Christianity as a whole. An atheist could talk the transcript of the program, replace "Mormon" with "Christian" and be ready to publish their own anti-Christian rant.

Ironically, I found that their attack on Mormonism served to illustrate how well the Mormon faith fits into the larger Christian tradition. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean. All quotes are from Rocky Hulse, the guest being interviewed on the show.

"Mormonism is so all inclusive that a lot of people, once they are -- they are so indoctrinated. They are so embedded in the Mormon doctrine and its teachings--that it is the only true church on the earth. Period."

For Christianity to be meaningful, it must permeate every aspect of our lives and inform all our decisions. Any loving parent is going to attempt to inculcate values into their children that they believe will lead to happiness. Evangelical Christians and Mormon Christians both do this. Anything else would be neglect. All Christians I know believe that Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life." This is, by definition, exclusive of any other path. Naturally, then, Mormons join all other Christians in echoing the ancient apostles that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism.

"...found out the foundations, origins, teachings, doctrines of Mormonism have been altered, deleted, falsified, all those things"

Hulse thinks Mormons will be horrified to learn that every detail of Mormon history isn't presented in Sunday School. Do you think that any other church presents every known detail of Christian history to the parishioners? Would that even be possible, let alone beneficial?

If you are a non-Mormon Christian and you don't have Sunday School lessons about the frailties of early leaders of your denomination, perhaps you should confront your preacher and angrily ask why the church is hiding things from you. For example, I'm certain that there were never any Baptist leaders involved in lychings in the South, right? Right? For the Mormon-haters, the expectation seems to be that Mormons are supposed to have been perfect all along while everyone else is given plenty of latitude.

Hulse goes on to drive at his primary thesis: Mormons can't be trusted in public office because they have sworn an allegiance to the church. The argument boils down to this: Mormons can't be public servants because they will always do what they think God wants.

Isn't this a kind of obvious point for a religious person, Mormon or otherwise? What is the point of faith if it doesn't inform your actions? Should non-Mormon Christian politicians renounce their allegiance to God before they are permitted to swear allegiance to the Constitution?


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