Adapting or changing political perspectives on a whim or over the course of informed discussions is one thing, but to change one’s beliefs on a whim about politics is an unfortunate tragedy.
Shortly after the famous Rev. Billy Graham endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney earlier this month, his website, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, removed Mormonism from its list of “cults.”
Cults are broadly defined by most Christians to be belief systems that are strange, sinister, or totally opposing the fundamental precepts of the faith. Cults generally lower the position of God or raise the position of humanity to that of God.
Faiths claim groups to be cults so their followers can avoid heretical teachings and don’t get enticed by the message they believe to be completely off or even wrong.
It’s not to say that Christians tell their believers not to explore or research other faiths, it is just the fact that most of these cults’ doctrines preach dangerous viewpoints that cheapen the experience of Christianity as a whole.
So when a respected and revered individual such as Graham removes Mormonism from his loose list of cults, it is a big deal. It’s also hypocritical on the part of the organization and person that have led many to the faith and have solidified Christianity in the latter half of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
In addition, bringing politics into the arena of faith like Graham did sets a precedent of confusion among those who look to him for guidance.
To the Church of Jesus Christ to Latter-Day Saints, it sends a mixed message that their beliefs are now recognized and somehow affirmed by Christians. It may be a moot point since Mormons have long considered themselves to be a denomination of Christianity, but regardless of that mixed messages help no one.
A great tragedy is bestowed on voters, who are already undecided on who should hold the reins for the top spot in the United States, but the ultimate tragedy is on those who aren’t on the political fence but those who are unsure about Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ.
Those undecided on the faith front are the ones who lose out and become the most confused.
Especially when the extreme right preaches that President Obama is a Muslim or even better, the “Anti-Christ” who will inevitably run the United States and the rest of the world into the ground with his heretical positions on health care, abortion and gay marriage.
So voters and Christians alike are left confused (and in some cases hurt) in choosing between a Mormon who now—when politically convenient—has the ability to be assimilated into Christianity or an alleged Muslim who is reported to have visited Christian churches in and around Washington, D.C. on a semi-regular basis.
It’s almost as if Rev. Billy Graham has said, “Romney is not a Christian, but at least he’s not Obama.”
It would have sent a stronger message to his followers and constituents if Graham had kept Mormonism on his list of cults and still endorsed Romney. The message would have been much different in the sense that it would have communicated that Christians disagree about theology, but align themselves politically.
The message given at churches over the last dozen decades has been “vote for a Christian,” but now, on a whim, that message has changed to “vote for an ex-cult member.”
To Graham, voting for a person that was on a list of faiths that diametrically oppose Christianity is much better than voting for a person that has reported that he became a Christian before he entered the political sphere.
But who would want to vote for a Muslim, right?