Is it a Sin to Vote for a Mormon or Roman Catholic?
In this excerpt from a Questions & Answers session at our 2012 National Conference, Albert Mohler, Robert Godfrey, and Sinclair Ferguson discuss the question, “Is it a sin for a Christian to vote for a Mormon or a Roman Catholic for President of the United States?”
R.C. Sproul: Is it a sin for a Christian to vote for a Mormon or a Roman Catholic for President of the United States?
Albert Mohler: Absolutely not. It’s not a sin to vote for someone of whom… In other words, if the only person we can vote for is an evangelical Christian then we’re in big trouble. We’re electing a President as a Constitutional officer, not a pastor. At the same time we have to recognize, we’re the people that know that worldview matters. The reality is we know that we’re a composite; that our world view comes out of our most cherished and basic beliefs. And so everything is fair game for interrogation by voters.
But quite frankly, in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was running for the President of the United States, when there was a great deal of anti-Catholic prejudice in the United States, he went and spoke to the Houston Baptist Pastors Association and said that, “my faith should be a matter of interest only to me.” And he said it should have no public significance whatsoever. Well that’s nonsense. The reality is, I wish John F. Kennedy had been far more Catholic than he was. Because the worldview on the issues we’re talking about… these are issues in which we should be able to draw a line from someone’s worldview to their policy positions. And they are composite human beings. We shouldn’t say you can’t vote for an X or a Y because quite frankly we’ve been humiliated by some who had identified themselves as Evangelical Christians and then held public office and not make the connections between our worldview and the policy positions that should flow from that. We need to look at a person, look at them compositely, understand that we are electing a secular office, to hold a Constitutional function, and then we should do our very best to encourage the people who have the most comprehensively healthy worldviews to run for office and to do so with integrity. And at the end of the day, let’s be very thankful that we follow the Lord who said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” And there’s a difference between the church and the government. And, it’s at difficult moments like this we have some hard things to think through, but at the end of the day, this is where Christians better be thinking as Christians when we go into the voting booth.
Robert Godfrey: But I do think—I agree with what you said—but I do think just as it was right for people to raise the question with John Kennedy, “Will he be able to conduct the Constitutional office independent of the papacy?,” some reporter ought to ask Mitt Romney, “What is his relationship with the prophet in Salt Lake City?” And he ought to be on the record as to what his position is…
Mohler: That’s right, I agree. That’s why we need more talk about this and not less.
Godfrey: Right. And what becomes appalling is how little the press knows about religion, and therefore never knows the right question to ask about religion. …But, I certainly agree with what you’re saying.
Sproul: Good, thanks. Next question…