Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Might Not Vote for Mitt Romney

I'm considering—seriously considering—writing in "Mike Huckabee" when I vote for President of the United States on Election Day.

  1. Not because Mitt Romney is a Mormon. He is a Mormon, of course. The personal implications of that are real and frightening. There is only one way of salvation for human beings. He has rejected it and embraced a lie instead of the truth. He is lost.

    Nevertheless, I do not believe that we should have a religious test for public office in the United States of America. I would vote for a Mormon. I was planning, until a few minutes ago, to vote to have a magic underwear closet installed in the Lincoln Bedroom, and I was entirely comfortable with that.

  2. Not because I strongly suspect that Mitt Romney is still the liberal that he was when he was Governor of Massachusetts. I really do. I fully expect that, once he is safely ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania (if, indeed, that were to transpire), he will do absolutely nothing to carry forward a conservative vision for America. I really don't know why liberals are so worried about him.

    And yet, never in our history have we had a president as liberal as Barack Obama. I'm not sure that we've ever in our history had a serious CANDIDATE for the presidency who was as liberal as Barack Obama. I'll take an insincere liberal pretending to be a conservative over a liberal true-believer any day of the week. Facing the choices we face, I was prepared to vote for Mitt Romney in spite of my well-founded suspicions.

  3. Not because Mitt Romney is such a weak candidate. Imagine how differently the last debate would've gone if we could've had a candidate actually capable of taking the fight to Barack Obama over Obamacare? What if we had a candidate with the convictional nerve to challenge the President over his atrocious record on religious liberty when he starts to talk about Obama's religious-funding-for-chemical-abortion mandate?

    And yet, I've voted for these self-defeating kamikaze GOP candidates before: Bob Dole, John McCain. I was prepped to do so again.

    Really, what has lost my vote for Mitt Romney is nothing that Mitt Romney has done or has been, nothing that Barack Obama has done or has been—the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association probably cost Mitt Romney my November ballot when it stopped calling Mormonism a cult explicitly because of this election.

  4. Because walking away from the GOP in this election may be the only way to save the gospel from the pragmatic branch of Evangelicalism that never met a doctrine it wouldn't throw under the bus for the right price, I may not vote for Mitt Romney in November. I can imagine circumstances in which I would vote for Mitt Romney, but under no circumstances will I play make-believe about his heresy. That price is too high. That is a bridge too far.

    For the sake of my congregation, when Billy Graham is muddying the waters of the gospel, I have an obligation to provide clarity. For the sake of Mormons in my community who need to know of their need for the gospel of Jesus Christ and who are being reassured in their damnable heresy by none less than Billy Graham, I have an obligation to provide clarity.

If the election came down to a single vote, that vote were mine, and the circumstances of the election put me in a situation of having to choose between a vote that would doom the nation to four more years of the curse upon our land that is the Obama Administration or a vote that would leave doubt in anyone's mind whether the true followers of the gospel of Jesus Christ consider Mormonism to be a cult—if that were the choice that I faced and it were all within my hands, Rick Warren would be praying at another Obama inauguration in January.

Why? Do I want Obama to win? No. The defeat of Barack Obama is a priority of mine. But it is only one among many priorities. And in that list of priorities, that particular one isn't at the top…isn't in the top ten.

I've got my priorities straight. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association doesn't. I'm worried about some of the other institutions of Evangelicalism around me.

I'm worried about some of you.

Prove me wrong. Prove the BGEA wrong. Prove Mitt Romney wrong. Come out HARD against this terrible mistake, and do it BEFORE the election.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

good man.. I agree.
Steve G

David Rogers said...

But don't you think the BGEA decision is only symptomatic of a general attitude among a large sector of evangelicals that has been brewing for several months now (and a good deal longer, in the case of some)?

And wouldn't it be ironic, given what you say here, to write in the person who said, "I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country"?

In all frankness, the general concern you are addressing here is the main concern that may keep me from voting for Romney, as well.

The main thing that keeps me from ruling a vote for Romney out, though, is the possibility that a Romney win may be instrumental in reversing Roe vs. Wade, and, eventually, in actually saving the lives of some babies.

And, also, not being able to find another candidate who actually wants to be President that I could get even remotely excited about.

Bart Barber said...

David,

I think, if you read carefully, you'll see that I'm actually taking the same position that Huckabee is taking: Romney's Mormonism would not prevent me from voting for him.

I agree that this is symptomatic of a general attitude. If it weren't the BGEA's outlying action wouldn't merit such radical action on my part. Also, I'm not as confident in Romney's pro-life convictions as you seem to be.

Steve Martin said...

I hope you'll be content with another 4 years of Obama dismantling our American ideal and instilling a European/socialist one.

The least of the evils is always the right thing to do...not so much for our sakes, but for the sakes of our neighbors.

Thanks.

Bart Barber said...

Steve,

On the one hand, the BGEA is compromising the gospel to avoid embarrassing a Mormon GOP candidate.

On the other hand, I'm compromising the election to avoid being unclear about the gospel.

Which of these, again, is the lesser of two evils?

Anonymous said...

I believe Mitt Romney will stand strong for religious liberty. I know Barack Obama won't. I'll vote for Romney without hesitation.

Caleb

Bart Barber said...

Caleb,

I agree with you about that. I really DO think that Romney would stand up for religious liberty, and I know that Obama's record on that question is the worst in American history.

And yet, if we gain a nation in which we are free to proclaim the gospel, but have compromised it away in order to gain that freedom, is that a good trade? Wouldn't we be better off preaching the gospel with clarity and just enduring persecution for doing so?

The BGEA is selling out the gospel. This is nothing less than that.

Tim Rogers said...

Bart,

You think you are feeling this tension in Texas you should live in the back yard of the BGEA. I took a stand last night in my Bible Study concerning Mormonism. You should have seen the faces of the people as I described to them what Mormons believed. You should especially seen the faces of some when I took aim at the BGEA for moving hard to the left like they did. Also, in my congregation I have people that grew up next door to Billy Graham and remember the Mordecai Hamm revival where Graham got saved.

While I agree with your position I am not sure I would accept your title. I make it clear that voting for a President of the United States is not the same as voting for the Pastor of the United States. According to Scripture it is God that directs the heart of the King.

cb scott said...

"The main thing that keeps me from ruling a vote for Romney out, though, is the possibility that a Romney win may be instrumental in reversing Roe vs. Wade, and, eventually, in actually saving the lives of some babies."

I agree with David Rogers. I just keep praying and hoping. So, I just can't hold back from voting toward my prayers and hopes.

If I voted for president Obama, I would be voting in diametric opposition to the substance of my prayers and hopes and yes, dreams.

David Rogers said...

Though I may have misread him, I understood Huckabee to be saying more or less the same thing as Falwell, Jr. when he said, "What's more important: theology or saving America?"

And I am not super-confident about Romney's pro-life convictions. But in the VP debate, Biden led me to believe that the Democrats are nervous about the prospect of Roe vs. Wade being rescinded. If I end up voting for Romney, it will likely be Biden's comment that pushes me over the edge.

Anonymous said...

Bart,
I agree that the BGEA is wrong. On a side note. I will say we should be calling out all false religions for what they are rather than singling out one in particular because we have a presidential candidate of that religion. However, I do not feel that the actions of the BGEA justify a non-vote for Mitt Romney. They are separate issues, in my opinion. But, my vote is mine and yours is yours.

Caleb

Bart Barber said...

Tim,

I agree. My first point is my original post is much along the lines of your last point in your comment.

My larger point is that, considering the different roles of President and Pastor, the Romney campaign is starting to give us PASTORS who won't speak a clear word against the Mormon heresy. If you're talking about my electing a Mormon President, then I'm not hot and bothered. If you're talking about my being a part of a political movement that is leading pastors and churches astray on the question of Mormonism, then I DO INDEED have a MAJOR problem with that and am willing to take radical action to oppose it.

Bart Barber said...

I gotta say, CB, ain't NOBODY here talking about voting for Obama. I'd be just as likely to sprinkle babies in church.

Bart Barber said...

Thanks, Caleb. I trust that you'll vote your conscience before God.

I think we ARE calling out all cults. But sometimes external voices or ideas affect which of our positions capture people's attention, and which of our positions we must reiterate.

Bart Barber said...

David,

I didn't understand him that way. If I had, I wouldn't have had my picture taken with him in NOLA. ;-)

I understood him to be saying, in effect, what I'm saying when I state that there should be no religious test for political office in the USA.

David Rogers said...

Bart,

Perhaps so, but I still think he could have been a lot clearer on this point, knowing that all America was watching, and that a whole lot of folks are not very adept at catching nuances.

Bart Barber said...

Your point is well-taken, and if he and other key leaders were a bit more outspoken, perhaps I wouldn't feel the need to react so strongly to what BGEA has done tonight.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to worry about! Vote don't vote - doesn't matter. The election is in the bag for Romney since his family owns the voting machines in Ohio! :)


http://twitchy.com/2012/10/18/tinfoil-hat-crowd-bain-stealing-election-with-tainted-machines/

Anonymous said...

Like Caleb said above, my vote is mine and yours is definitely yours, but I believe that a non-vote for Romney based on *someone else's* actions is just as misplaced as making my daughter go to bed early because my son is tired and disrespectful and has tried to deceive me about something.

There has to be a way to stand up for the Gospel and denounce the BGEA's actions to the people we influence and still do what is possible as a citizen with the ability to influence who leads our country.

I'm reminded of a great statement I read around the 2004 election:

"The Lord Jesus does not give us this luxury of disengagement. He says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Caesar—even pagan Caesar—has his claim on our lives. Why? Because God Almighty, whom we serve above all men, made human governments his way of running the world. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). In a democratic republic like ours that means at least: VOTE.

God has commanded us (as aliens and exiles on the earth): “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). We are citizens of two kingdoms: the kingdom of God, our ultimate allegiance, and the kingdom of this world. The ambiguities are many. The complexities are great. The possibility of political miscalculation is real. But Christ came into the world to save sinners. Therefore we do not panic at the possibility of error. It is worse to run than to risk."

In reality in our system, regardless of the principle people stand on when casting their vote, to not vote Obama ends up as a vote for Romney, and to not vote Romney is support for Obama. Think Bush/Perot/Clinton.

If the Lord sees fit to allow Obama to stay in office, I will submit myself to His will, knowing that no ruler can stay His hand, but in the meantime I'm praying hard for Him to have mercy on our country, bring revival to our people while sparing us from the potential catastrophe, and I will choose to be a good steward of the opportunity I have to vote in a leader who is more likely to promote the wellbeing of our nation.

[disclaimer, I know full well that the Gospel will prevail and often thrives in times of suffering. I'm praying that what is wrong with the state of the "C"hurch in America can be addressed and repented of without that suffering being necessary, for the sake of the countries who depend on us for missionaries, for the sake of not diminishing our ability to give to such efforts, and more]

LM

Bart Barber said...

LM,

The BGEA took this action immediately after Mitt Romney visited Billy Graham. "Someone else's action"? I don't think so. The Romney campaign is actively involved in seeking this kind of compromise from Christian ministries.

Bart Barber said...

Just so everyone knows: Once the Cardinals game is over, I'm going to bed.

…well, actually, it's kinda OVER already. ;-)

volfan007 said...

I agree that Mormonism is a cult. BUT, I do not think that our country can take 4 more years of Obama. I will be voting for Romney....reluctantly...but I will vote for him.

David

Anonymous said...

You may be right about the campaign's influence, but can you point me to examples of that? (tomorrow if necessary since the Cardinals are done....)

LM

Steve Martin said...

Bart,

This election is a law issue. It has nothing to do with the gospel, or Christianity vs. Mormonism. It is how we can best run matters in this state called America.

I don't care if Romney runs around in his "holy underwear" at night...I want someone to run the country who actually has experience running things and someone who has some semblance of American ideals.

Colin McGahey said...

Bart, after this post, I think we, conversely, are worried about you. You give legitimacy to BGEA as if, now, changing their mind again (but this time to take a stance against Mormonism) that they somehow regain their moral and theological integrity for your church members. “Yes, we support BGEA, they only compromised the gospel once, but retracted under pressure. Kinda like Joel Osteen.” And that is the end-result of this strategy- forcing by popular demonstration a wayward, evangelical parachurch organization to toe the line and be an example to other evangelical organizations that, if the gospel itself doesn’t have the power to keep them in line, the evangelical voting block will? Sounds like you are invoking the precise ideology you are protesting.

Lastly, perhaps this isn’t a mistake by BGEA. Even if it was, Christians don’t “come out hard” against mistakes. Maybe it is just pulling back the curtain. A mistake would be scaring them into toeing the line again without addressing the problem that caused them to make this decision.

Hope all is well. The last word is yours.

Kevin Stilley said...

Bart, thank you for taking a stand for the gospel. Your position is well reasoned and well taken. I have been shocked how quickly some have turned their back on the gospel during this election. I am still befuddled that millions of Christians bowed their heads during the GOP convention and participated as a henotheist/polytheist/Mormon led them in prayer. Early christians died horrible deaths as martyrs rather than throw a little incense on Roman altars, but millions of conservative Christians watching the GOP convention bowed their heads and worshipped under the leadership of a polytheist as though it was no big deal.

And, when Christians put the social agenda of the Republican party ahead of the true gospel then that social agenda has become idolatry.

Thank you again for reminding us what is most important -- the gospel.

Bart Barber said...

LM,

Google "Mark DeMoss"

Bart Barber said...

Colin,

I had to read your comment a couple of times (not so much that you wrote it poorly, but that my cap was set to read it differently) before I saw what you were getting at. Here's what I would say:

The general population associates the BGEA with Evangelicalism. A whole lot of Evangelicals, who don't necessarily pay careful attention to all of this, associate the BGEA with Evangelicalism. I take them seriously because of the influence that they have.

Bart Barber said...

Thanks, Kevin.

Anonymous said...

Uhmm, I tried to post a link and inject a little levity that may not have come across.

Conpspiricy theorists are already making excuses for why Romney won since all the polls/momentum are going his way.

Jerry Corbaley said...

I am an Independent who will be voting for Governor Romney over President Obama. Governor Romney will protect religious freedom and I believe President Obama will continue to reduce religious freedom. Governor Romney might do something positive to challenge abortion, President Obama will not.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a fading shadow of the God-given grace to Dr. Billy Graham during his season of evangelistic leadership. Fading shadows compromise.

It is too late in the election cycle to emphasize the following points, but I hope and pray that Christians in national leadership roles will understand the times in which we live and lead Christian citizens to express their right to vote in faithful ways that remain.

1. About 60 million children have been aborted since 1973. There is nothing we can do about them, now, except duck in anticipation of the righteous judgment of Holy God. The rest of the world’s nations are no better off. There is no place to flee to. What can be done to save the next 60 million?

2. The Republican Party is an impotent solution to the blasphemy against God that is abortion. The blood guilt is not even a tiny part of their awareness. The lesser of evils remains evil. If the Republican Party does not rise to the desperate need, something else should.

Bart Barber said...

Jerry (and certainly many of those in the discussion are in the same position as you), if you want to talk political strategy, you might consider this:

Maybe the quickest way to overturn Roe v Wade would be for the GOP to learn for good that they lose every time they take Evangelicals for granted. Perhaps that would give us a candidate for the NEXT election (which will, mark my words, once again be "THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES!!!!!!!!") who has consistently and CONVICTIONALLY been pro-life.

Then we'd have someone in the White House who will do more than just make campaign promises about life.

David Rogers said...

I am more and more convinced the only way to save the lives of unborn children in America is to first change the hearts of those who are blinded by sin to think that it is okay. And in order to change hearts, there must be a clear proclamation of the gospel, not one that is watered down by theological compromise and political pragmatism. Any other way and we are fighting an uphill battle. We may win a skirmish or two along the way, but reality is going to catch up with us, and we will lose not only the abortion war, and our so-called "Christian heritage" as a country, but also the soul of the Evangelical movement in the meantime.

Jerry Corbaley said...


Good Heavens, everyone! I got Bart to reply in ALL CAPS! I might need to put that on my resume.

Bart and David, I agree with you both. As I said, it is too late to get the Republicans to take notice (this year). I feel like (almost ready to ‘conclude’) the Republicans are lying about pro-life issues. Forty years of unfulfilled intentions are quite unimpressive. I pray the Lord will give Christian politicians both mercy and wisdom; for they must answer to Him for the politically acceptable way they ‘oppose’ the killing of children in the womb. Let’s see what that might sound like on the day of accounting: “Lord, I tried to oppose evil year after year by working in every politically acceptable way as defined by the evil politically acceptable culture”.

And if it could come to pass that our Lord would send a national revival upon the United States, then that would save some children from abortion. But the Good News is that we are saved from the just un-ending wrath of Holy God through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Yes, He loves us anyways, but then, He loves His enemies. American Evangelicals (a near-worthless word) do not want God’s point of view on justice and wrath. American Evangelicals think Joshua should lead them into the Promised Land, when the signs of the times favor Jeremiah’s ministry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Caleb that Mitt Romney
will stand for relgous liberty and that Obama will not. I also believe that Romney will stand as a pro-life president but accomplish nothing in overturnig abortion laws unless God works a miracle. However, I remain completly conflicted as to vote for Romney or to write in another canidate as a protest vote. I understand when people say this is a vote for Obama, but then I feel as if voting for Romney is asking God for a King/Presidnet "of the people's choosing". I know "the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever he wishes."
I contemplate if Romney is elected will there be consequences for asking for a president that is a type of anti-christ? Should I vote for a Christ honoring man and then trust that God will control him and our country? Which is the obedient act of faith? (These are sincere questions - I am very confused)

Anonymous said...

That God would control whoever is elected.

David Rogers said...

Anonymous,

I would just say pray and try to the best of your ability to follow what your conscience tells you. But don't get overly bent out of shape about it.

What you and I do need to take special care about, though, is to correctly present the gospel.

I believe John Piper (if Bart doesn't mind me referencing him here) had some wise words about this:

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/i-am-going-to-vote

Anonymous said...

Bart: "... I know that Obama's record on that question [i.e., religious liberty] is the worst in American history.

bapticus hereticus: What can't you now do in terms of religious liberty that you have done since, say, 1980?

Colin McGahey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee said...

Well said.

And your choice of Mike Huckabee is an excellent one as well. He'll get at least two votes, then. It was almost unforgivable what Richard Land and the ERLC did to him in the last election for their own political expediency.

According to Galatians 1:8-9, Mormonism is a cursed religion. I don't know to what extent Christians who endorse it through political expediency will also share the curse, but I don't want to find out.

Anonymous said...

Bart, I admit my first choice was Huckabee. I was so disappointed when he chose not to enter the race. But if yo don't vote for Mitt Romney, then who will you vote for? A third party candidate only splits the vote allowing the most liberal, anti-God and ocuntry President in history to gain another 4 year term.--Will you vote for a man that has stood against God and everything in His word including the family,the sanctity of life, and religious freedoms. Romney will keep the door open for Christians to do ministry here and abroad. If God Himself closes that door and allows persecution so the church can grow, that's another issue. The Billy Graham website still talks about cults and they list what makes them a cult. They mention adding to the Word of God and that's what Mormons do. They study the Bible and believe in its wisdom, but they put the book of Mormon above it. According to the BGEA website, that would qualify them as a cult in and of itself.
We are not electing a pastor-in-chief, we are electing a president. My brother worked at Bain with Romney and can tell you what a brilliant and gifted man he is in business. He is also man of his word. Unfortunately, his Mormon faith shows much better than most of us Christians.

He will stand for religious freedom, Israel, traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, and is an excellent example of morality.

Just because Christians are endorsing him does not mean they agree with his faith. Most of us only see that because of his faith, he will stand on the issues where we as Christians do. No one is denying that Mormonism is a cult.

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous,

Since I was, until the moments before authoring this post, one of the people in that category, I know full well that a person can plan to vote for Romney without endorsing Mormonism. Thanks for the reminder, but you're missing my point (and that's probably my fault).

Let's try it this way: I'm not the only one troubled by what BGEA has done. Look at this article. Robert Jeffress's analysis of what BGEA has done is the same as my own.

He and I are REACTING in different ways, but we ANALYZE the problem in precisely the same way. It doesn't matter what BGEA is still willing to say about cults. The fact of the matter is that they have obscured what they say about the untruth of Mormonism in order to try to achieve an outcome in a political election.

That's unconscionable, and it reveals an absolute loss of perspective brought about by totally messed up priorities.

Anonymous said...

Bart;
Remember BG's selling out his country on his Russian tour, "... well, we have political prisoners in America, also"? (that is at least close to his quote.) I see him ending his ministry/life as a sadly compromised old man. (And we both have some exprience in that area.)
The BG chronicle is even sadder when you remember how greatly God used him. I fear that there is a warning there for all of us.
I cast an early and conflicted, vote for Romney,
Dale

Buddy C. said...

What the BGEA has done is extremely deplorable. Furthermore, I think it would have been better if the BGEA had not endorsed anyone. I believe it is outside the scope of BGEA's mission to endorse political candidates anyway.

However, to those evangelicals who are looking to Romney or this candidate or that candidate to project upon the country their moral positions is wrong-headed. For one thing, it has never worked. We have had many years of Republican presidents and we've had some years where Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. Did we see any changes regarding the moral positions? No. Not one iota. Looking to Romney for a more moral stance, I think they will be disappointed. Abortion - reversal of Roe v. Wade? Not likely. That's for the American people to decide as a whole. Not the president. Gay marriage? Nope. That's already being legalized state by state across the country and the president has no power over that which is correct. That issue is really between the individual and God.

So what is the Christian's role in all of this? Simple - to bring the Gospel to everyone. Share the Word. Share God's love. Humbly. While recognizing that even we Christians are still sinners - saved only by our faith in Christ. We have to exercise humility while presenting the Word.

In the political arena, I'm much more concerned by Americans' and the current slate of leaders and Congressional members who ignore the Constitution. In the last decade, we have seen the shredding of privacy rights via the PATRIOT Act, the passage of the NDAA with the indefinite detention provision for any US citizen accused of terrorism ties while denying them the right to a lawyer, trial or due process. We are seeing more and more control by the establishment in the political process - the denial of third parties to participate in the debate and political process. We are embroiled in perpetual wars and widespread foreign interventionism, we are sinking into heavy debt and monetary inflation. These are also serious moral issues which sunk the Roman Empire and Christians need to make a stand against these.

Anonymous said...

bapticus heretics: When asked to share how Obama is attenuating religious liberty, all I hear are crickets. Why the histrionics?

Dwight McKissic said...

Bart,

I appreciate this post more than you'll ever know.

Dwight

Derek G said...

The BGEA does not represent Christians nor the gospel. They merely share the gospel. I cannot help but feel that you are jeopardizing this election and influencing others to do so just because of a statement made by the BGEA. It's fine to disagree with the BGEA but don't jeopardize this election and influence others to do so.

Derek G said...

By the way, the gospel doesn't need you to "save" it. It stands strong and true on it's own.

Bart Barber said...

Derek,

The BGEA has 10,000 times more influence with regard to public perception of the gospel and Christianity than Bart Barber has regarding how people will vote in this election. And yet you're more worried about the peril I might cause to an election than you are about the peril they might cause with regard to the gospel.

This is supposed to convince me that my concerns are unfounded?

Bart Barber said...

Dale,

You are absolutely right about Billy Graham, and about the warning we all should take from his example.

Bart Barber said...

Jerry,

;-)

The ALL CAPS were in a quote, attempting to poke a little good-natured fun at those who make this statement in an all-caps manner, without fail, every four years.

Bart Barber said...

BH:"What can't you do now…?"

That's certainly a conveniently worded question. I'll work hard not to leap to the conclusion that it has been crafted carefully to avoid a genuine examination of this president's record. An analysis of President Obama's record must ask "What has he done in the past four years?" rather than "What can't you do now…?" Why?

1. Because what President Obama has attempted without success is relevant to his record but does not affect what I can do now. Consider, for example, the energetic, unanimous smackdown that the President received in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al.. His administration advocated the radically unconstitutional position that the federal government could instruct churches as to whom they do or do not hire as ministers. That's unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unfriendly toward religious liberty.

Also, the President's coziness toward and encouragement of the anti-blasphemy movements in the United Nations are frightening. His subtle shift from "freedom of religion" to "freedom of worship" reflects a truncation of our historic full-fledged rights of religious liberty to more of a "what you do in the privacy of your house of worship is your own business" doctrine that relegates faith to the personal and private spheres of existence. This is well illustrated by the President's actions in the next point.

2. Because President Obama has managed to get some things put into the law but has postponed the enforcement of those provisions until after this election, and those things are germane to his record on the question of religious liberty buy do not affect what I can or cannot do right now. The Obamacare mandate is chilling. Catholic religious institutions will be forced by the heavy hand of government to provide contraception to their employees. Baptist institutions will be forced to provide to their employees abortifacient drugs.

Anonymous said...

bapticus hereticus: If Hosanna-Tabor and Obamacare are what you have, you have little to concern yourself and certainly nothing that rises to the level of your rhetoric. If religious liberty is your concern, Obama is not your problem, thus his removal is not your solution.

Hosanna-Tabor is a troubling case, and although SCOTUS ruled in favor of the church, what does it say when the government is more concerned about one's welfare than the church? I would be very careful with this ruling in inferring a desire of the government to undermine religious liberty and be concerned that some might wish to stand behind religion to do things that their religion would ordinarily deny. In any event, this case is not central to religious belief; rather it is one that occupies a grey area concerning the church and employment law (and yes, even the laxness of who can be considered a professional minister. Even in a free church tradition, this case really is on the very edge and some would say over such, and if clergy wish to protect their tax status [which many outside and inside the church are questioning], they might wish to have a bit tighter standard on who is considered a professional minister). U.S. Christians are NOT of a single mind about this case, thus arguments about Obama being the worst offender of religious liberty will not play well in the US church, even if parts of it are convinced otherwise.

In terms of Obamacare, this is not so difficult. If the institution is going to accept government funds, said funds will come with some associated strings; yet what institutions do for their professional ministers is largely of no concern to the government, but for other employees not having said designation, employment law applies. Nothing new here and nothing new about the Catholic hierarchy being out of step with its US laity on birth control measures. And if one were to ask conservatives about, say, Mohler’s “quiver full” theology, I would bet most would roll their eyes, for they are already ignoring his opinion in their approach to contraception and family planning.

Rights, notwithstanding type, are not absolute, and arguments for attenuation of religious liberty under Obama as you suggest, Bart, are simply not credible, even if 'the sky is falling rhetoric' gains you a few likes. You will continue to go to church, worship as you have always worshipped, and you will continue to do so whether Obama is in office for four years or eight. The greatest threat to the effectiveness of the church is not the government; the church can pretty much count on itself for that. Years ago Harvey Cox wrote of the church and its mandate to show a better way for institutional behavior that other institutions might follow. The church, however, had other plans, unfortunately, and such may be seen to some degree in this case, too.

Bart Barber said...

Well, BH, if you thought I was trying to convince you—that I thought you were convincible—then I communicated something I did not intend to communicate. My apologies.

Anonymous said...

Bart: "... that I thought you were convincible - then I communicated something I did not intend to communicate."

bapticus hereticus: I will admit to being a bit stubborn like the next person, which could be, say, Bart Barber, but in the end, I am open to the better argument or the best data. Some arguments by conservatives concerning Obama include or border on paranoid thinking, and all would do well to resist embracing such, for it poisons democratic processes. One can make a case for Romney and do it without baseless assertions that Obama is out to destroy religious liberty. You are a very smart person, Bart, with a high degree of influence; your analytical skills are beyond such silliness and your followers deserve better.

Bart Barber said...

They aren't baseless assertions:

1. You suggest that there is nothing unsettling or extraordinary about the President's position on Hosanna-Tabor and include this in the category of my "baseless assertions." Well, I have the entire Supreme Court of the United States of America on my side—each and every justice. Perhaps that doesn't count as "data" for you, but you'll understand if your protestations don't move me much.

2. You toss aside so easily the rights of Catholic institutions not to fund that which goes contrary to their core beliefs. Along the way, you're the one who has made baseless assertions: the Obamacare dictatorial mandates are not tied to federal funding. Whether you receive federal funding or refuse federal funding, you are nonetheless required to provide abortion pills to your employees. You reject this not by denying it, but simply by saying that it is unimportant.

Well, I am not surprised at your callous disregard for the religious liberties of those who are to the right of you, but neither am I impressed by it.

Jonathan Melton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Melton said...

I wonder about Christians who can look past his treading on religious liberty, his support of gay adoption, non-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation, his support for gay Scout leaders, his support of Obamacare and the individual mandate, etc. etc. In the words of one young lady, they "would vote for the Antichrist to keep Obama from being reelected."

Anonymous said...

bapticus hereticus: What is baseless is that Obama is out to destroy religious liberty. If such were the case, do you suppose only a select group of conservatives would be aware of such? If that is thought to be the case, I would suggest a hubris audit or something like that. That the court was in agreement, on a case that even those in FAVOR of the verdict find to be a disturbing case (but not for reasons of a systematic assault on religious liberty), is not evidence of Obama out to restrict religious liberty. As I stated earlier, the case is not central to one's ability to worship as one desires as it is to a disputed area of employment law. But in terms of data, you have a point. The case is datum, but the datum does not support Obama as one out to limit religious liberty, especially, especially, and especially to the degree that you assert. If you really believe Obama is doing such, you are apparently reaching for something beyond the datum of this case.

On a somewhat related matter, if churches of the free church tradition wish for their ministers to be taken more seriously, notwithstanding this verdict, they might be a bit more deliberative with their discernment process and subsequent ministerial responsibilities. And when an individual, minister or otherwise, received higher regard from the legal system than from the church, the church needs to step back and ask, ‘where did we go off the rails?’

Again, when an organization accepts federal funding (and my concern here is educational institutions), it accepts the government’s ability to influence how the organization operates (and I do note that the law has positively impacted health coverage for students enrolled in educational institutions), yet for religious organizations receiving said funds, the Affordable Care Act has made reasonable accommodations. However, I acknowledge your criticism of my loose language concerning federal funding, but the choice to use "dictatorial mandate" is apparently a choice to use paranoidal rhetoric. Obamacare is law that was crafted by elected officials and was subsequently viewed favorably by SCOTUS, as was Hosanna-Tabor, and like H-T, U.S. Christians are not one mind on it, either.

But, for what it is worth, most Catholics WANT access to contraceptives. Most non-Catholic conservatives WANT access to contraceptives, too. I would guess that most conservative SBC ministers' wives have at some point used or are currently using some form of contraceptive. Nonetheless, by far, most Catholics and Protestants do not perceive this as a religious liberty issue. Such perceptions belong to the most conservative Catholic and Protestant Christians. The healthcare mandate is viewed by most, Christians and otherwise, as good healthcare, and most organizations, non-religious and religious, will come to view it as good HR policy, too. In any event, provisions are made for churches and other non-profits, in which their religious sentiments are respected. When we look back on this in 50 years, perhaps we will have an inventory of all the institutions that cite religious reasons for not providing contraceptives to employees, only to find such was already a part of their healthcare coverage? Leads one to question what is really going on?

For what it is worth, your concern for religious liberty is no greater than my own, despite your protestations to the contrary; that is, a belief that conservatives are more committed to such than liberals and are more sensitive to threats to such is wishful thinking and a misreading of history.

Bart Barber said...

1. How much we like or do not like what Hosanna-Tabor did is irrelevant. The question here is whether the Obama Administration's argued position before the court represents a radical attack upon religious liberty. Here's what the justices said: "The Court cannot accept the [Obama administration's] remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers." And so, I'm not going beyond the datum in the least. The court's opinion specifically calls the Obama Administration's argument "remarkable" and "hard to square with the text of the First Amendment."

As to your assertion that this has little to do with religious liberty and is simply and employment matter, again, the unanimous court explicitly disagrees with you and with President Obama: "Requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs."

2. The Obamacare contraceptive mandate was NOT a law passed by elected officials. Rather, it is an administrative decision made by appointed officials. The text of PPACA does not specify a contraceptive mandate. Also, the Obamacare contraceptive mandate has not (yet) been reviewed by the courts.

3. The question is not one of access to contraceptives. Every citizen of the US has access to contraceptives. The question, rather, is whether religious institutions with principled objections to contraceptives must be forced to be the provider of contraceptives to their employees.

Bart Barber said...

By the way, perhaps I should specify a liberal analogue to the contraceptive mandate. I imagine that you care about the religious liberty of people on the left.

Let's imagine that, rather than the United States Postal Service, the government had determined to use employers to implement the Selective Service program. Most Americans are not pacifists. Many Americans desire to serve in the armed forces. The preponderance of religious organizations in the USA do not have statements of faith that mandate pacifism.

In such a case, should a Brethren hospital or even an Amish carpentry firm be required to register their employees for a military draft? The question is not even whether a military draft fits within the legitimate aims of the government, but rather whether the government is within its rights to conscript religious organizations into the service of its objectionable aims.

I am not a pacifist. I do not belong among the Quakers or the Brethren or the Amish. But I believe that their religious liberty is as important as my own, and I would support their exemption as conscientious objectors to the military draft.

Bart Barber said...

By the way, in case anyone reading doesn't know this, pacifists have to register for Selective Service. In the case of a draft, they can claim conscientious objector status and be guaranteed service as a non-combatant. And so, that makes this a great analogy. The question isn't whether individuals are affected by the law (just as the question isn't whether individuals have access to contraceptives). Rather, the question is whether the government can and should force religious institutions to be its agents in the implementation of government aims that are objectionable to the religious institution's beliefs.

Anonymous said...

bapticus hereticus:

[1] A “radical attack” is “sky-is-falling” language. Judges from the 6th Circuit did not indicate such, even if SCOTUS did take a different tact in deciding the case. The safest and likely proper position is the SCOTUS decision, but it is important to keep in mind the decision of the 6th Circuit, as well. And for this reason those applauding the SCOTUS decision are also disturbed because the reasoning of the lower court is not something that is easily dismissed and it is something that gives reasonable people pause. Lest one thinks SCOTUS is not open to questions of employment law as it pertains to ministers, one needs to read deeper into the court’s rationale than what is offered in your comments. “The case before us is an employment discrimination suit brought on behalf of a minister, challenging her church's decision to fire her. Today we hold only that the ministerial exception bars such a suit. We express no view on whether the exception bars other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct by their religious employers. There will be time enough to address the applicability of the exception to other circumstances if and when they arise.”

[2] The contraceptive mandate is a provision in the Act that took effect on August 1 of this year. It is law, notwithstanding its writing, which in Washington these days is often crafted in an unattractive sausage factory, to which neither Dems nor Repubs, liberals nor conservatives have the moral ground to point fingers at the other. Nonetheless, as part of the Act, it has the subsequent backing of elected officials that may be held accountable. And, there has been a court case backing the constitutionality of the contraceptive mandate, but no doubt, other suits will be brought and decisions will vary for a time.

[3] Again, there are provisions in the law for religious institutions. If we go to a single-payer system, which we will eventually need to do and will do in order to manage health-care costs, most of these issues will go away, but a small minority, will, then, argue that, for additional reason, the tax system is even more immoral. But I digress. Insurance companies are more than happy to provide this type of care given it costs them less to provide it than not to provide it. Our health-care insurance system is mainly employment-based; however most people, religious and otherwise, would rather not have their employer, religious or otherwise, determine for them what is acceptable and what is not. And as it turns out, many religious organizations raising a stink about this are realizing that they have been doing this (i.e., providing contraceptive care) for years, and it is very, very doubtful that they were unaware of such. Which leads me to raise the issue again: what really is going on?

[4] Balancing rights is work for the wise. I don’t proclaim to belong to this group of people, but I think those responsible for Obamacare are moving us in the right direction and in time we will work toward even better policies, which will raise other issues that will cause us to work toward even better policies ….

Bart, I understand your concern ... to a small degree, but I don’t understand the extremity of your rhetoric nor the support offered to justify it.

Daniel - Greenhouse Glimpses said...

Thank you for standing with Jesus. Mormonism is a cult. I am so ashamed of Billy Graham. Thank you for carrying the banner of truth forward. God Bless you and your organization. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Barber,

I am a first year medical student in Texas, and longtime member of a Southern Baptist Church myself. The number one reason I started this long journey of "physician-hood" was because the Lord placed the pro-life message on my heart with great fervor. The Lord has given me a feverish desire to become an OB/GYN and essentially the counselor I fear not many women have access to during scary pregnancies. I want to be responsible for bringing life into this world. This is why I take such issue with your blog. Romney/Ryan have assured the American people that they plan to fight hard to repeal Roe vs. Wade. This should be enough to ensure a vote for Romney and his VP. The country that does not value life above all things, is a country that does not deserve to continue to exist. I would argue that the issue of life is really the only issue that should matter. I think you are forgetting the fundamental fact that God can use ANYONE, even lost people, in mighty ways so that His name is glorified and his plan reigns supreme. I believe that Romney is just that person.

Casting a vote for anyone who is not pro-life is just as bad as preforming an abortion. A pro-choice vote leaves that voter with the blood of over 50,000 unborn children on his/her hands. I sincerely hope that you will consider this.

I fully understand the problem you have with the BGEA, but that is an issue to take with them, not Romney. I agree with what you are saying, but I don't think approaching it in this way is the best. I do admire your boldness and courage in dealing with this manner. I am leaving this comment in the utmost of respect and love, while praying that you will consider voting to protect the rights of the unborn.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barber, you need not reply to me as I won't read your blog again.
If you choose to write in Mike Huckabee knowing he could never win you are committing sins of omission. Obama will destroy biblical teachings of right and wrong from Old through New Testiment teachings.
I welcome your ushering in of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You choose with your loathsome vote what time frame His return will come.
If there are no righteous choices being made, here in the promised land, there is no reason for the Lord to withhold his vengeance.

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous OB/GYN,

Thank you for what you are doing. I pray that God will use you greatly in your calling.

Mitt Romney campaigned for and served in the governor's office of the state of Massachusetts as a pro-choice governor. His "conversion" to the pro-life cause conveniently came at around the time that he started courting the vote of pro-life OB/GYNs in Texas and others likeminded.

If he wins, and if he subsequently does absolutely nothing to contribute to the overturn of Roe v Wade, I hope and pray that you won't become too disillusioned. God will cause justice for unborn children to prevail in the end, one way or another.

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous Who Isn't Reading This,

I'd like to know what sort of protests you've lodged against the BGEA. From the tone of your post, I gather that you are a lot angrier with me than you are with them.

You, sir or madam, are the reason why I wrote this post. You are the problem. Not that you're mad at me. Be mad at me all you like. The fact that you aren't ten times angrier with the BGEA than you are at me is what reveals the problem in your heart.

I'm delighted that you've been provoked. It is the prophetic design of this post to provoke you. May the Lord help you to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

Anonymous said...

I am confused by one point you made and am hoping you can provide a bit of clarification. You said, "There is only one way of salvation for human beings. He [Mr. Romney] has rejected it and embraced a lie instead of the truth. He is lost."

Now, I agree with you. There is "only one way of salvation". That, of course, is through Jesus Christ. We need to be cleansed by his blood to be saved. But what confuses me is that you seem to be trying to act as God by declaring that Mr. Romney is lost. To begin with, if in fact Mr. Romney were lost who gave you authority to limits God's power to save him in the future? I for one do not believe that God has given up on Mr. Romney. While I do not know him personally I do have a few friends that are of his faith. They are some of the best and kindest people I know. I cannot believe that God has simply looked at their beliefs and decided they are lost. I know my friends believe in Jesus Christ. They, like I, believe they can only be saved through Christ. I believe God smiles on the way they live and will work to bring about the salvation of all those who seek after his name.

I would ask that you refrain from such harsh and unchristlike judgements. You may not fully understand mormonism and your attitude is frankly uncalled for and a bit disgusting. Please, try to look past your obvious biases and support that candidate who will do the most good for our great country.

Eva Milligan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eva Milligan said...

I felt this was trying to degrade Rev. Graham. First of all Rev. Graham did not reject the Christian faith by choosing to remove the word cult from his website. He chose to show forth love by removing a term describing Mormons as something that when I hear it, I think of evil people who worship satan. He did not change his religion or hurt the Christian faith. Personally, I will be voting for the man who's morals are more like those in the Bible, in my opinion, that is Romney. We are all to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil 2:12) I applaude Rev. Graham for removing the term from his website. The term probably hurts them as much as it hurts a Christian to be called hypocrite, homophobe, etc. I don't agree with the Mormon faith, but calling them a cult is not an act of love. Rev. Graham knows
that he will come closer to being a witness of Christ to them by showing forth love than by name calling. (Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.) I think someone needs to remind you and these other pastors what the Fruit of the Spirit is. My Opinion on election: Romney is Mormon but has the morals and votes on things parallel to the Bible whereas Obama is? , whatever he is, and votes for gay marriage, abortion, etc. Romney may be blinded and may not know the truth in God's Word, but Obama just as blind. I pray they learn the truth in God's Word before it is too late.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Bart,

You are sowing good seed. I have watched you love those who oppose you with great skill and endurance. You use your real name and that causes your witness to be Biblical; for you publicly stand for what you say. You are a blessing to the body of Christ. Don’t be discouraged.

I voted by absentee ballot for Governor Romney in a little hope that he will take a strong pro-life stand. But I understand your perspective and respect it greatly. I think we are in agreement that this time in American history is a point of crisis. I do not expect that the Republican party to maintain influence with Bible-believing Christians unless they take to heart the magnitude of almost 60 million dead through abortion.

I appreciate the efforts of pro-life politicians in the past. They have (at least) been a ‘speed-bump’. But American political efforts have proven ineffective for 39 years. The proof of that statement is almost 60 million dead. I do not think Governor Romney takes that as seriously as he should. But then, only God does.

Thank you, Bart, for causing us to think.

Matt Johnson said...

Dr. Barber,

Billy Graham compromised the gospel a long time ago. This is just one instance I am aware of from Robert Schuller's Hour of Power on 5/31/1997:

Dr. Graham: "Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there's the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don't have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they're saved and they're going to be with us in heaven."
Dr. Schuller: "What I hear you saying is that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life even if they've been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you're saying?"
Dr. Graham: "Yes it is because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, have never heard of Jesus but they've believed in their hearts that there is a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived."
Dr. Schuller: "This is fantastic. I'm so thrilled to hear you say that. There's a wideness in God's mercy.
Dr. Graham: There is. There definitely is."

And the link for doubters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axxlXy6bLH0

Graham has been embarrassing himself and the name of Christ for a long time.

Anonymous said...

All of the people capable of being Chief Exexutive Officer are either dead, or no longer eligible to run> let's face it. Those in control today in every facet of the USA are actually controlled by the media. They know not how to think for themselves ,let alone have convictions. This is why I no longer watch a television, or listen to a radio. The only reason i own a computer is because the job requires it. But the system still will try and shove it down your throat with all of their might. How? Just go to about anywhere out in public, and you are bombarded with every kind of monitor of every sort. Chaos is coming. Just mark it down. Especially after the events of 11-06-12. Not sure when, but soon. The true believers will then need to cling to guns and religion in more ways than we could imagine. If you know what I mean. Allah is rejoicing.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to come across something early this morning which caught my attention. It is very ironic that it speaks more in depth of the comment I posted here. I would encourage you to read it, and perhaps share it with others. It is on the American Spectator website. The article is entitled, "We're Not In 1980 Anymore."

Anonymous said...

"Chaos is coming. Just mark it down. Especially after the events of 11-06-12. Not sure when, but soon. The true believers will then need to cling to guns and religion in more ways than we could imagine. If you know what I mean. Allah is rejoicing."

Should the GOP desire a larger portion of mainstream voters, it will need to distance itself from those that promote such nonsense as stated above. The likely scenario in Republican politics in the days ahead will include some current party leaders and some previous party leaders saying to the fringe right, as indicated above, "Please raise your hand when you wish to speak, and please cease speaking out of turn and interrupting others. Thanks."

Anonymous said...

Oh you think so? I am sure you are familiar with George Orwell's book 1984. People thought he was off his rocker when he wrote it back in the early 1900's. Well, he only missed it by about 20 years or so.

You see, something so many people of his time had, was the gift or ability to see the handwriting on the wall, whether you like the outcome or not. My dilemma is that I was simply born too late.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to help you out: http://www.idahorealestate.com/

Not sure who one contracts with for a bunker.

Anonymous said...

That's funny. As the old saying goes: This is not your grandfather's Baptist denomination.

Anonymous said...

"This is not your grandfather's Baptist denomination."

No, it is not. That denomination was far less given to hysteria.

Anonymous said...

You've got that right. Things such as Cancelling services to watch a football game, car shows, dances, karate classes, movie stars giving marriage seminars,magic shows, carnivals, spook houses, rock shows, football apparel sunday....... lets's see..... did I miss anything?

Anonymous said...

Things such as[:]

Cancelling services to watch a football game,

[No.]

car shows,

[No, but we had ministry fairs that was useful for leadership recruitment]

dances,

[No, but children, youth, and adults displayed a ton of energy at church fellowships, bible schools, mission/ministry trips, etc..]

karate classes,

[No, but senior adults had a weekly morning class that stressed physical flexibility, then Bible study and prayer.]

movie stars giving marriage seminars,

[No, but current and well-known persons in GBC and BSSB that once led a revival seemed to behave in terms of having star status.]

magic shows,

[No, but once had a chalk artist work his magic at a youth retreat.]

carnivals,

[No, but the adult and youth choir once sang at a fair.]

spook houses,

[Yep; a weekend youth party that generated much fun and intergenerational fellowship.]

rock shows,

[No; church actually used an organ on Sunday. Really. But youth choir did the leading youth musical of the day. Ocassionaly had a gospel singing group on a Sunday evening.]

football apparel sunday.......

[No, but I was wore seer-sucker on Easter. My mother thought it cute.]

lets's see..... did I miss anything?

[Yep. People, conservative and liberal, worshipping and studying together, sharing ministry, and having a good time in each other’s presence.]

Anonymous said...

I think we've had a good-natured time all and all. I can honestly say it turned out quite enjoyable. You know, diversity is more than color and ethnic background. Thought is included as well. Time to move onto other matters. Important issues such as trying to find out what things such as an androit and an ap really are. They are objects aren't they? Oh, the perils of being ignorant.