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Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Vote For Mitt Romney Is Not A Sin

Here is a question for my fellow Christians to ponder: what guidelines does our faith place on the appointment of political authority? None, really.

So that ends the discussion? Not quite. Let us proceed to the next question: what does the Bible say about the role of human governments? I can find one passage, a command of Jesus cited in the Synoptic Gospels:

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Matt 22:21, Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25)

Translation: give to the State what is due to the State. What is due to the state? What its laws demand. But how do we know that the laws are right? For those of you who brought your Bibles, turn to Exodus 20:15:

You shall not steal.

The Biblical qualification for a political officeholder is that the individual must refrain from the following:

  1. Directly employing the State to engage in theft, whether on behalf of the State, the private sector, or a foreign State;
  2. Failing to administer the State's duly authorized protections against theft.

Among the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, I believe that the one who will allow the least amount of theft is Mitt Romney. None of them can beat Ron Paul on fiscal policy, but his isolationist foreign policy violates the second provision. McCain opposes government overspending, but not government overtaxing, as evidenced by his opposition to Bush's tax cuts; he also steals people's First Amendment rights, and (with Huckabee) is lax on immigration law enforcement. The Club for Growth lists unsavory details of Huckabee's fiscal policy here, and expressed these semtiments on Romney's fiscal policy:

The Club's President, Pat Toomey, highlighted Governor Romney's call for permanent tax cuts, tax reform, spending discipline, regulatory relief starting with the reform of Sarbanes-Oxley, and tort reform as "solidly pro-growth."

"Governor Romney outlined today an economic platform that is, generally speaking, very pro-growth despite the surprising limit he suggests for tax-free savings," Toomey said. "As the governor develops the specifics of his economic policies, we hope he will boldly build upon the limited government, free-market policies he discussed today."

"The other presidential candidates should follow Governor Romney's lead and propose similar, if not more extensive, measures to protect American taxpayers and promote continued economic expansion."

But isn't subscribing to a false religion a sort of theft? Yes it is. One cannot give all that is due relationship-wise to another if one believes falsely about that other, thus false belief steals a portion of that due relationship. Mormons reject, among other Christian doctrines, its most crucial - that of the Trinity - and even teaches that God was once mortal, "once a man like us [who] dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46, cited by this official LDS source).

But since the government has no jurisdiction over this sort of theft - the failure to conform the thought life to the demands of God - this issue is relevant to politics only if one is likely to (unconstitutionally) use his or her political office to expand false belief regarding God. Unless there's something we don't know about his gubernatorial record in Massachusetts, I think America is safe on this front if he's elected Prez.

Update: Additional comments included in last paragraph - see italicized and parenthetical statements.

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