A Christian wedge?
One of the most remarkable aspects of the modern American religious right is that it has brought together conservatives of religions and denominations previously thought to be enemies - notably Protestants and Catholics (and to a lesser extent, Jews, hence the historically strange term Judeo-Christian tradition) - on the basis of shared policy goals (on abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc).
Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions have highlighted another potential crack in the religious right: evangelical Protestant distaste for Mormonism.
As Governor Mitt Romney mulls a race for president in 2008, his strategists expect their ''family values" candidate -- who opposes gay marriage, abortion, and some forms of embryonic stem cell research -- to find a natural base of support among religious conservatives. ...Consider:
But an examination of the views of powerful Christian right groups suggests that, even as some of these voters might appreciate Romney's lifelong commitment to his church, the governor's Mormon faith could become an obstacle for others among this same group, who make up a large and vocal segment of Republican primary voters.
The Southern Baptist Convention website categorizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a ''cult" that is ''radically" different from historic, biblical Christianity.Unfortunately, I don't see this conflict having any actual practical effect on the strength of the religious right. Romney probably won't be nominated (gay marriage ban or not), but conservative Mormons won't abandon the religious right because of that. This marriage of convenience is too strong for anything as trivial as, you know, religion, to break it up.
A faith guide issued by the influential Christian right group Focus on the Family declares that ''God cannot be identified ... with the Mormon religion's notion of god." And each year, evangelical organizers behind the National Day of Prayer bar Mormons from speaking at their proceedings.
...Scholars say Protestant evangelicals who form the base of the Republican Party have more profound theological conflicts with the Mormon Church [than those between Protestants and Catholics]. (Despite his efforts to improve the dialogue between Mormons and Protestant evangelicals, Johnson said he doesn't believe Mormon beliefs are a ''Christian doctrine.") [**] ...
Even Joseph Smith Jr., the self-proclaimed prophet who founded the church in 1830, made a bid for the Oval Office. His campaign in 1844, the year James K. Polk beat Henry Clay, ended with his murder in June at the hands of an anti-Mormon mob.
**For example, Google "mormons not christians".