Below is an open letter penned by two Evangelicals to the LDS Community:
Nancy and I started Evangelicals for Mitt in 2006 with one simple idea: To enlist the mighty machinery of evangelical activism behind the single best candidate for President of the United States, Mitt Romney. Even then we could see the need for a man of Mitt’s unique talents and now – with labor participation the lowest in 30 years and with the most sluggish recovery since the Great Depression – the need is even greater.
We were more idealistic back in those days. Convinced of Mitt’s merits, we saw our task as relatively easy. Introduce Mitt to evangelicals, deal with the relatively easy questions about theology and politics, and then watch him win social conservatives on his way to the White House. Of course politics is never easy, and there are always competitors for the same set of voters. First Mike Huckabee won enough evangelicals to hand John McCain the nomination in 2008, then Rick Santorum swept southern conservatives and challenged Mitt for the evangelical vote in 2012.
But now, all that is past. Evangelicals are finally united behind Mitt (even 2008 Huckabee supporter – and coolest action star in the universe – Chuck Norris is pleading with evangelicals to vote Barack Obama out of office), and Mitt’s rivaling George Bush’s astounding share of the evangelical vote in 2008. Pro-Obama evangelicals are coming back home to the Republican Party after Obama’s almost four-year assault on religious liberty and his zealous support for abortion. In short, evangelicals – as theologically and culturally divided as we are – will be there for Mitt on election day.
Curiously, however, we’ve heard disturbing reports that LDS Mitt supporters are hanging back just a bit. Some are afraid of stereotyping (“just because I’m Mormon doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically support Mitt. After all, I can’t stand Harry Reid!”), but many more seem just a bit confused about the role of the church in politics. If the LDS church is politically neutral, how can you use your church relationships to mobilize voters and donors?
But let’s back up a moment. Is the LDS church really “neutral?” Is my Presbyterian Church really “neutral?” Yes, I’ve read the portions of the LDS Handbook that emphasize that the church is politically neutral and doesn’t endorse candidates. But the fact that the church is nonpartisan doesn’t mean that it’s neutral on the key moral issues of the day or that the church’s members must maintain their neutrality. In fact, the LDS Handbook specifically urges member involvement:
"Members are encouraged to support measures that strengthen the moral fabric of society, particularly those designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
Let’s be perfectly clear, after the God-booing abortion celebration masquerading as the Democratic National Convention, the moral choices in this election are beyond stark. Let’s just examine the issue of abortion. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God lays out His will for His people:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live . . .”
And now here’s the Democratic party platform:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
By contrast, here’s the Republican party platform:
Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.
Is there anything that threatens the “moral fabric of society” or the “family as the fundamental unit of society” as much as granting mothers the “right” to order doctors to kill their innocent children in the womb?
In addition, the Obama administration’s assault on religious liberty through the HHS contraception and abortifacient mandates represents a clear and present danger to the autonomy of the church. The administration is telling Americans of every faith that if they leave the walls of their church and attempt to reach out to their communities – either as business owners or through ministries – that they can only do so on the state’s terms while advancing the state’s values. This is antithetical to the First Amendment and antithetical to fundamental American traditions.
In other words, while your church and my church will not endorse any candidate for president, that does not mean that individual congregants cannot or should not use our web of church friendships and relationships to invest fully in the outcome of this election.
In the six years that Nancy and I have run Evangelicals for Mitt, we’ve made a huge number of Mormon friends and learned a great deal from the LDS church. In fact, we’ve taken flack for urging evangelicals to emulate Mormons in your approach to missions, service, and church growth. We have long stood on the barricades against anti-Mormon bigots. But now we’re asking you to take a page from the evangelical book: Engage fully, proudly, and without hesitation.
Call your friends from your ward. Make sure they’re registered to vote. Ask them if they’ve given to Mitt’s campaign. If they need more education on the issues, equip them with materials. Don’t use church resources; use your own. Between worship and Sunday School, I can’t tell you how many conversations Nancy and I have had about Mitt, about abortion, about religious liberty, and – yes – about the economy. Politics isn’t a “dirty business;” it’s part of our life and obligations as citizens of a nation and government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Now is not the time for concerns about stereotyping, for false worries about “neutrality.” The church will remain nonpartisan, but you don’t have to. There are more than six million Mormons in America, and the causes of life and religious liberty need every one.
It’s time to go “all-in” for Mitt.
By David and Nancy French (EVANGELICALS for MITT)