Yes, I just invented a word especially for the title of this column. Do you like it? Hey, if Jesse Jackson can do it and get away with it, then so can I!
What prompted this spontaneous coining of a brand new term (maybe I should copyright it, so as to prevent others from co-opting it?) was how people on the radio were wondering out loud why religion has proven to be such a big deal in the Republican primary season. Of course, the poster child for this issue is Romney, whose LDS membership is constantly brought up…I’ve addressed this often, myself (the day before yesterday, in fact). One of Huckabee’s signatures is the fact that he’s a former Baptist pastor. Guiliani’s a Catholic…at least, he claims to be.
The big question now is, why is religion such a big factor in the GOP? That’s actually a very simple question with a very simple answer.
Put simply, it’s the easiest way to differentiate among a field of front-running yet largely homogeneous candidates. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the three candidates I just named, so the easiest way to distill the difference between them is that they happen to hold to different faiths.
You’ll notice that this problem is not manifest when talking about Fred Thompson (the only true conservative in the top tier of candidates) or John McCain (who’s known well enough due to years of being in the national eye). Has anyone talked about their “religiocity”?
Like I said, a simple answer to a simple question.
While I’m on the topic (again), I’d like to clarify something. I am a Southern Baptist…I believe it is the most Biblical of the “flavors” of Christianity. I’ve railed against Mormonism, having classified it as a cult…and I don’t care how politically incorrect it is to say that, it is still the truth, regardless of how large it is and how accepted it’s become in today’s world. It’s about as Christian as Islam. I’m not a fan of Catholicism, either, due to how given it is to putting conditions on salvation and its various works requirements. In many ways, it’s not any more Biblical than Mormonism…or Islam.
Despite my vilifying, however, I believe that simple faith in Jesus Christ makes a person saved despite the system of faith they subscribe to…they just need to cancel their subscription and sign up for the real deal. But if you’re putting your faith in any church or organization to affirm your salvation or justifying yourself through your works, you’re as hell-bound as they get.
Saying all that leads to my saying this: I’m not stumping for Mike Huckabee. Sure, he’s a fellow Southern Baptist of highly moral motivations and an all-around good guy. Yet I disagree with him on too many core issues, and his record is a stunning indictment against him with regard to what I’m looking for in a United States President. And I can’t forget that both Jimmicahtah and Algore were also Southern Baptists, and they’re absolute train-wrecks…I’d move to have those two thrown out of my church’s membership if they had ever joined. Thankfully, I think they’ve both pulled out of membership since their days of meaningful influence.
This illustrates a fact about the SBC denomination that many have a difficulty understanding: the matter of individual autonomy of the member SBC churches. But that’s an elsetime topic.