Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Rick Perry Has a Choice
Today, Governor Chris Christie endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for president. In their remarks, both Romney and Christie said that anyone who agrees with this week's statement by Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress about Mormonism being a cult is "not worthy of being president."
Let me say at the outset that I'm not a huge Rick Perry fan. His stance on illegal immigration is troublesome, plus some other concerns. Having said that, he claims to be a strong evangelical Christian. He will increase my respect for him if he responds appropriately to Romney and Christie throwing down this gauntlet. He can't stay above the fray any longer, even though he was not personally responsible for Pastor Jeffress' statement.
Perry's answer ought to be this: "In making this demand, Governors Christie and Romney are asking me to deny my faith. They are asking me to do what I cannot do: to deny the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I have to make a choice between being faithful to the biblical Gospel and the biblical Jesus Christ or being president, I will choose being faithful to the Gospel and to my Lord."
What this does is throw the ball back in their court and require them to define the Gospel and define the biblical Jesus Christ. That opens the door to examination of exactly what Mormonism believes, and how it departs from historic, biblical, evangelical Christianity. And that would be somewhat harmful to Gov. Romney's cause among conservative, Bible-believing Christians. And quite possibly to the wider body politic. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, nor do they believe that they will one day become gods and create their own planets.
Let me be clear on something. I do not believe we ought to have religious tests for office, nor did our Founders. This really should not have been brought up in the context of a political campaign. But the gauntlet has now been thrown down.
Now we will see who has biblical integrity.
P.S. I also hope that Chris Christie's statement disabuses some Christians from thinking he's such a godsend to conservatives.