Well, the shockers just keep on coming. Not only did I find out from the latest Presidential Debate that Republican nominee Mitt Romney was a pastor at some point, but it seems he now has the unofficial endorsement of America’s most legendary living evangelical, Rev. Billy Graham.
Hey, I’m not here to judge. The reverend (Graham, that is) has the right to support whomever he wants. No beef with that. But I do take issue with the next bit of news I received from the Graham camp.
According to news reports (another one), references to Mormonism as a cult has been removed from the site of Billy Graham’s Evangelical Association. This change reportedly comes shortly after the Reverend Mitt Romney met with Billy Graham and his son.
So, let me get this straight. Prior to meeting with the Romney’s (father and son), Mormonism was a cult, based on this definition of what a cult is:
A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith" and "cults usually deny that Jesus was the unique Son of God, sent from heaven to save us from our sins. They also may add other books to the Bible, or substitute their own teachings for the Bible's truth. They also deny that our greatest need is to be cleansed of our sins, and that the only way this can happen is through faith and trust in Christ. – Billy Graham Associationhttp://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=5419
… and now it isn’t?
Look, this article is not about whether Mormonism is a cult (though, according to the above definition, one would have to think it is). This is about the changing of values.
The days are truly dark when politics begin to inform our theological beliefs. If anything, it should be the other way around. And for Billy Graham or his association to remove references to Mormonism as a cult in light of their support for the Mormon Reverend Mitt Romney is rather disappointing. More than disappointing, it’s disheartening. The insistence on religion and politics swirling together by our nation’s religious leaders does increasingly more harm than good. We are further than ever from reaching our atheists, prostituting, aborting, and homosexual neighbors than ever before in American history. And all we can think about is how to somehow infuse our Christianity into the Constitution. If this is not proof that we are totally headed the wrong direction, I don’t know what is.
Listen up Rev. Billy Graham. I know I’m a struggling blogger down in Texas, but let’s be clear and stand our ground. If Mormonism is a cult, then call it that. You don’t have to change your theological stance on Rev. Mitt Romney’s religion in order to support him. You don’t have to tell us anything. Just vote for the guy. I know you’ve got tons of influence, and you [apparently] believe protecting the “biblical” definition of marriage is worth compromising your cult stance for, but if you really think about it… is it? I mean, to say Mormonism is not a cult is to indirectly contaminate the Godness of the very central figure of the Christian faith… Jesus! Given the two, I think standing our ground for who Jesus is trumps standing our ground for the moving definition of the “biblical” definition of marriage (more like the New Testament definition, but that’s another blog) I’d stick with Jesus!
The Billy Graham Association responded by saying “”We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.” Straw man. I don’t hear anyone talking about whether Mormonism is a cult. That’s a given. There may be talk about whether Romney is a Christian. And if there is, then the definition of Christian should absolutely be defined, no matter how “politicized” it becomes. If Mitt Romney is a Mormon, he’s not a Christian. Simple as that.
As an independent, I grow deeper and deeper concern for the tactics of the “values” party we call Republican. It’s a mess. And the church had better find another way to reach the nation, because the politics game is a hopeless disaster. At least it feels that way. And now, it’s effecting Billy Graham. So sad.