”What kind of pot pie” you might ask, is Mitt giving up a recipe to? Well, none actually, and that is the point.
Imagine being served a beautifully baked pot pie, but not being told what is in it. It could be beef, or chicken, or veggies, or kidneys (no offense to kidney lovers). But, this is exactly what happened during Gov. Romney’s “religion” speech about 1-1/2 weeks ago. Some might call his speech just a cleverly veiled façade, intended to garner support from the religious right, but not give enough detail to actually turn them away. Others might say that Mitt is no different than many Americans who call themselves religious, who see no difference between the god they worship and the god everyone else worships. So, before I continue, let me explain that this is still a food blog, as witnessed by the title. Nevertheless, I do feel compelled to comment on other things every now and then (politics, religion, etc.). In keeping with the theme, then, I will still attempt to work in the food angle.
In his speech, Mitt answered what he believes is the most fundamental question he is asked: What he believes about Jesus Christ. His answer: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.” He goes on to say the following: “My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.” And in commenting on the different faiths he has encountered he adds: “As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life’s blessings.” In other words, Mitt implicitly states that all faiths worship the same god, but maybe in slightly different ways. His main point, however, is unity, as he states in his closing: “Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.”
My beef (pun intended) is not with the fact that he is openly telling the American people that his faith is important to his life. I’m not even that concerned about how this will affect any policy decisions. My problem, really, is with the American public, most of whom will simply roll over and blindly accept what he is saying: that it is not important what religion you are, but that we tolerate each other and unite as Americans. That sounds fantastic and I wholeheartedly agree that unity is important to create a great and strong nation. However, mediocre Christians have been lulled into believing that we all worship the same god, and that is where I have a problem. So, in effect, American Christians are being served a beautiful, traditional pot pie, comfort food if you will. We have been brainwashed into believing that all pot pies are the same. They may look the same on the outside, but the inside is what makes all the difference.
I won’t go into details about the differences between Mormonism (Romney’s faith) and traditional Christianity, but they are worlds apart. Likewise, Muslims and Christians DO NOT worship the same god. So, Romney’s answer to who Jesus Christ is sounds right-on to Christians. But ask more detailed and pointed questions about Jesus and God and you will realize that we are not on the same page. Anyone who believes (as Mormons do) that “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” is diametrically opposed to the traditional and Biblical teachings of Christianity. Though this phrase was coined by Lorenzo Snow, it came about from the teachings of previous church leaders (History of the Church, 6:302-317, Joseph Smith; Journal of Discourses, v.7, p. 333, Brigham Young; et al).
Why should this be a problem to American Christians? Because Romney’s theology will guide his actions, as he notes: “I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from the God who gave us liberty.” I clearly understand that the focus of Romney’s speech is on the “common creed of moral convictions” evidenced by all Americans, faithful or faithless, which would guide his presidency. However, the Bible also clearly shows that there is a higher power than any government or king, and that is God. Romney’s ultimate authority and guide for his life and actions, and ultimately his presidency, will be his faith.
Mormonism clearly teaches that any individual that does not belong to the Latter Day Saints organization is not truly saved (if you have a little time you can do some research on the “Priesthood” in the “Gospel Principles” which can be found on the LDS website). Should Christians feel comfortable electing a man to the highest position of our country and to be an ambassador for the world when in his heart of hearts his faith is telling him that all religions other than his own are untrue and lost? To restate, Romney says that “Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.” Based on this quote we are forced to surmise that Romney is either lying about being tolerant towards other faiths, or he is fooling the public and himself about the depth of his own faith.
Let me close with a final quote from Romney’s speech:
“My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience.”
This pot pie may look delicious, but I don’t like the smell of what’s inside.