... We Catholics, I thought, are different. We’re not threatened. But now, a Catholic whose opinion I value greatly – Jimmy Akin – has stated that we do need to consider Gov. Romney’s religion during the primary. He said it twice in columns over the past few weeks. Akin appears to agree with Pastor Jeffress, who stated that when given a choice between candidates, perhaps we should pick the Christian over the Mormon. Akin goes even farther than Jeffress when he says that electing a Mormon president would “do an enormous disservice to the cause of Christ in America.” (emphasis Akin’s)I figure Romney's values are going to be very much like mine for family, faith, and so forth. Not that I care about Romney really, but to argue about his religion shows a certain small-mindedness, it seems to me. It brought forcibly to mind the Gospel reading from today's Mass.
Before I continue, I should preface the rest of what I’m about to say with the following information: I am a Catholic, and I’m married to an LDS woman. My kids are being raised in the LDS church. I live in southern Idaho, about 100 miles north of Salt Lake City. There are more Mormons per capita here than anywhere in the world. Can I pass myself off as a Mormon “expert?" Probably not, but I have lived in Mormon culture for 15 years so I’ve got some experience. Most of the people I interact with every day are Mormon. Today, I went to Mormon sacrament meeting (as I do occasionally) to see my youngest in a primary program.
Gospel Lk 13:10-17The leaders don't care that the woman was healed. They don't even argue that it wasn't a miracle. They are worried about what day it was done on. Talk about worrying about a splinter in someone's eye while ignoring the plank in their own.
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
"Woman, you are set free of your infirmity."
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
"There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day."
The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?"
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
More than someone's religion, I care about what I can see of their previous actions and the fruit harvested from it. If Barack Obama as president has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that much. As he did before, he has gone on doing.
The first century Christians didn't get a vote and lived under pagan rule. Yet they changed the world by how they lived their faith. So if we can vote and we're not changing the world then it seems to me that worrying about someone else's religion is straining at a gnat.
What we should be looking at is ourselves in the mirror, not at the religion of the person who is leading us. How are we living as Christ's followers ... and how are we changing the world?
So, first things first. Should Catholics vote for a Mormon for president? I don't know. Can he do the job?
Second, will he do the job the way I want?
I'll worry about his faith later.