A pre-caucus Iowan called in to Rick Santorum:
"We don't need a Jesus candidate. We need an economic candidate..."
"And my answer to that was, 'WE ALWAYS NEED A JESUS CANDIDATE, right?'"
Let's explore. First from Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association:
"There is no perfect candidate," says Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the American Family Association. "JESUS CHRIST IS NOT ON THE BALLOT IN ANY OF THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS, SO THAT MEANS SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES HAVE TO DO TRIAGE."Excerpted from "Evangelical Leaders Struggle To Crown A Candidate" by Barbara Hagerty from NPR.
"The mission of this 'emergency meeting' is to unite behind one true-blue religious conservative for the Republican nomination. Fischer says evangelicals are desperate to defeat President Obama. But he does not believe former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney - whom they distrust on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage - can generate the passion to do that."
"It (GOP placing Romney on the ballot) probably won't be that bad, says Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Polls suggest that given the choice between Romney and President Obama in a general election contest, 9 out of 10 evangelicals would vote for Romney."
"NOT THAT BAD" - WHO'S KIDDING WHO?
The only reason Richard Land would make this statement is out of sheer lust for political power and national influence. No way will Fundamentalist Southern Baptists vote for George Romney, a Mormon, unless Richard Land sends a dog whistle to them indicating; despite the stance of the denomination- the very critical and serious questions about Mormonism that have long been bone and sinew of that literal believing denomination- they are now to assume such a anti-Mormon stance is no longer valid, or more to the point; those doctrinaire principles were theologically wrong in their opposition to Mormonism as a non-Christian cult all along.
What is most clear is; race is still a major factor in the Southern Baptist mind. While Land's harsh condemnation of President Obama is spoken as in opposition to his stances and record on a long series of grievances and religiously biased assumptions, the most obvious point known to everyone in the predominately white southern denomination is that President Obama is Black. Dr. Land will strongly object to this assessment. Abortion is the key issue, Land would affirm. So how be it? Mitt Romney is a total chameleon on this issue. Romney's record and public statements and actions as regard so-called "Right-to-Life" is dubious and unreliable. How can that be acceptable? What Richard Land is saying essentially is: We Southern Baptists prefer a white Mormon Bishop over a Black Christian. This Land would do, knowing a sizable percentage of his denomination are birthers, who also believe Obama is a secret Muslim.
Supporting Article "Ethicist Beware, Baptist birthers" August 25, 2009:
"Baptist ethicist Robert Parham has weighed in on the 'birthers' movement that continues to question whether President Obama was born in the U.S., warning Baptists should avoid getting caught in the fray. He points to a story in the Mohave Daily News, which reports that Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said at a town hall meeting he was considering suing Obama over the birth certificate issue.
"Parham notes that Franks, a member of a Southern Baptist megachurch, joins fellow Baptist and former House Majority Speaker Tom DeLay in questioning the place of the president's birth. DeLay called for Obama to produce his birth certificate on MSNBC's 'Hardball.'
"Says Parham: 'If Baptist Republicans walk and talk like birthers, does that make them racists? No. But as every Southern momma knows and warns her children, one is known by the company they keep. Let's hope our Baptist family starts keeping distance between themselves and the birthers.'''
Mormonism as a Cult: Mormonism as "non-Christian" - the Internal Southern Baptist Convention Problem
The Christian Post in "Different Understandings Confuse the Debate on Mormonism" on Oct. 12, 2011
"Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress made some controversial remarks over the weekend (as reported 10.12.11) when he described the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a 'cult.' The Southern Baptist understanding of the word 'cult' is different than popularly held notions, which confused the debate.And then there is this segment from "Your Morning Jolt: Mormonism is more like Islam say South Baptist President" - Mormonism is more like Islam, says Southern Baptist president: Rev. Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta and President of the Southern Baptist Convention, with 16 million-members, the nation's largest Protestant denomination:
"[Richard] Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, explained what Jeffress meant in his remarks, in a Tuesday interview on CNN.
"'When we use the word 'cult,' that's a theological definition of a movement that claims to be within the confines of the Christian faith and clearly is not within the confines of the Christian faith. IT IS A NEW RELIGION,'" Land explained.
"The 'cult' comment was made by Jeffress in an interview with a reporter during the Values Voter Summit last week. Jeffress said that the LDS church is a 'cult' and Mormons are not Christians, as they claim."
"The remarks caused a media firestorm. Many have denounced Jeffress' words. Huntsman called Jeffress a 'moron.' Presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said on 'Face the Nation,' that the remarks were 'very unwise and very inappropriate.'"
QUESTION: Why not just call Latter Day Saints (Mormons) part of a larger Christian tent?
"They're not a part of the big tent if you look at the founders. When you look at the life of Joseph Smith, he really had more in common with Mohammad than he did with Jesus Christ. Both men saw themselves as bringing a purification to what had been distorted in Judaism and Christianity [--a heretical position, Wright later declared]....
"Both of them were polygamists and taught polygamy and practiced polygamy. There's some really radical differences. Both brought into existence new books of authority " the Book of Mormon, the Koran, versus the Bible being our authority."
Who Can Dr. Land and the Southern Baptists Support?
In a coquettish, double entendre manner Dr. Land makes his marriage analogy to prove his stance on choosing a preferred Far Right Christian as the Southern Baptist choice, one that tickles the mind with a gay marriage twinge. Land says:
"Before we marry the guy next door, don't you think we ought to have a fling with a tall dark stranger and see if he can support us in the manner to which WE'D LIKE TO BE ACCUSTOMED? And if he can't, we can always marry the steady beau who lives next door."
"WE'D LIKE TO BE ACCUSTOMED" that phrase encapsulates the real thrust of this weekend's Texas Meeting; Dobson, Bauer, Perkins, Land, Graham, Robertson and all those who may be in the cabal meeting there, love and cherish their direct access to the Presidency and the levels of Federal government which can be of both ideological and economic value to themselves.
How many multi-million dollar religious operations (even billion dollar) empires, publishing houses, music and broadcast networks are under the Religio-Conservatives' control. They aggressively seek and/or enjoy federal government support and/or taxpayer funding. THINK: How many hundreds of millions of dollars were ladled out by George W. Bush to appease and reward his religious rightists under the guise of Faith-Based initiatives?
These are, by in large the same principals (meeting in Texas currently) who blessed the placement of Sarah Palin on the John McCain ticket. This they did with Dr. James Dobson's approval, subsequent to Dobson's fit of obstinacy toward John McCain, whom (prior to McCain's acquiesce and acceptance of Palin on the McCain/Palin ticket) Dobson swore he would not vote for McCain or support in the 2008 election.
"Scores of politically influential evangelicals plan to attend the meeting, but the original dream of coalescing around one candidate of the religious right - Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Rick Perry - is unrealistic for now, several leaders said in interviews this week. If one of those candidates surges in South Carolina, or in the Florida primary on Jan. 31, pressure will grow on the others to step back, the leaders said.Source: The New York Times in "Evangelicals Hope South Carolina or Florida Winnows Republican Field" Jan 13, 2012.
"'Any talk of winnowing out the field is premature until after South Carolina,'" said Richard Land, the president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. "'The best thing that can happen for social conservatives is for one candidate to get a very clear mandate from South Carolina voters. If that happens, you might be able to get a consensus that makes a difference.'"
"Mr. Land, heeding the request of the meeting's conveners, said he would 'neither confirm nor deny' his plans to attend. The meeting, billed as a private discussion, has drawn intense national attention as Mr. Romney tries to sew up the Republican nomination. He (Romney) is opposed by many evangelicals who question the depth of his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage and his fidelity to fiscal conservatism.
"The gathering of religious leaders and their spouses is to convene Friday (1.13.12) afternoon at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler, west of Houston, and is scheduled to end on Saturday afternoon. MR. PRESSLER, A RETIRED JUDGE, HAS LONG BEEN ACTIVE IN EVANGELICAL CAUSES AND HELPED ENGINEER THE CONSERVATIVE TAKEOVER OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION FROM THE LATE 1970S INTO THE 1990' s."