Politico is reporting that an Evangelical group is holding their meeting in SLC and will be meeting with LDS Church leaders:
The National Association of Evangelicals is holding its semiannual board meeting in Salt Lake City on Thursday — the first time the group has met in Utah. The association chose to gather in Utah precisely to open the door to improved relations between the religious groups.
The board plans to meet with a Mormon leader, in what the evangelicals are framing as an opportunity for “dialogue” that will “deepen our understanding of the Mormon faith and contribute to the ongoing work of evangelicals in Utah.”
While Politico sees the meeting as something that might benefit Mitt Romney if he decides to run in 2012, the meeting between Evangelicals and Mormons have bigger implications than just the upcoming presidential elections:
“Evangelicals and Mormons have fundamental doctrinal differences in terms of their faith, but historically have been very compatible and even cooperative on various moral, social and political issues,” he said. “Politically, evangelicals have more in common with most Mormons than we do with liberal Southern Baptists” like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton."
The meeting isn't about politics. It is part of it but it is not the whole picture here. Both Mormons and Evangelicals are concerned about the rapid growth of secularism in society and how political, social, and legal changes have been having huge impact on the way religious organizations operate in America.
As a result, we are seeing religious groups starting to form alliances with one another even if they have strong doctrinal disagreements with one another. One of the best examples of religious groups coming together is with California’s Prop 8 in 2008 and how powerful multi-religious coalitions were in helping the law get passed in that state.
If the meeting goes well in Salt Lake City, we could be seeing a new era in collaboration among various religious groups who are politically and socially conservative that will have a significant impact at the ballot box and in the hallways of state and federal legislatures.