By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
Some withering criticism has been directed my way in the wake of the dustup over Mormonism that occurred at the recent Values Voter Summit. In the process, I have been accused of doing and saying things I have never done or said, and so it might be helpful to set the record straight for those who care about such things as the truth.
First, although I have said that Mormonism is outside the mainstream of historic Christian orthodoxy - a simple, objective, historical fact - I have never referred to Mormonism on air or in print as a “cult.” I’m sure that Mormons would agree that it should be possible to discuss our theological differences honestly and yet with mutual respect. That’s what tolerance is really all about - allowing others to hold different opinions on important matters without demonizing them.
Second, the only times I have referenced Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has been to criticize him, not for being a Mormon, but for not being Mormon enough on the sanctity of life and marriage. The LDS church has been staunchly pro-life and pro-marriage, and Mitt Romney in the past has not. He now campaigns as a defender of unborn life and a defender of marriage, but did not do so in the past.
Third, when the Mormon church came under scathing criticism in the Proposition 8 campaign in California, I was a vocal defender of the LDS church when its temples were vandalized and books of Mormon were being burned by same-sex marriage hooligans.
Fourth, when Olympic gold medalist Peter Vidmar was bounced from the Olympic committee in the spring because of his Mormon-inspired support of Proposition 8, I included his case as the very first in what has grown to a list of 12 hate crimes committed by pro-homosexual bigots.
Fifth, I have often happily collaborated with Mormons to pursue common public policy goals. I led a pro-family organization for a number of years in Idaho, and one of my founding board members was a Mormon. I worked alongside Mormons to help pass Idaho’s marriage amendment, and Mormons were some of our most committed volunteers in a campaign I led to protect a Ten Commandments monument in a Boise city park. Prior to that, I worked closely with a Mormon mayor of Boise on a pro-family anti-drug campaign.
When it comes to culture rather than theology, we here at the American Family Association share many convictions and values with our friends in the Mormon church, and are happy to work collegially with them to advance our shared values in the public arena.
It is a simple fact of life that Proposition 8, California’s marriage amendment, would not have passed without the monumental work of the Mormon church, and for that, the entire pro-family community in America owes the Mormon church a lasting debt of gratitude.
The bottom line: there is certainly a place for a robust conversation with our Mormon friends about issues of theology and salvation. But there is also a place where we can respectfully lay those differences aside in order to work together for the preservation of our culture. Saving and protecting the institution of marriage is certainly one of those places.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)