The Enemy of My Enemy

If you do go over to TNR to read Noam Scheiber’s piece on Obama’s “war room” operation, you might also check out my new column on why Democrats should have no illusions that conservative evangelical distaste towards Mormonism will cost Mitt Romney a significant number of votes. As Dallas First Baptist Church minister Robert Jeffress (who became nationally notorious for denying that Romney was a Christian as opposed to a “cult member” during 2011) said in endorsing Romney this week:

Given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces very unbiblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who supports biblical values like the sanctity of life and marriage, I think there’s a good biblical case for voting for Mitt Romney.

There you have it. The Christian Right’s very foundation is the belief that “biblical values” make culture war the primary moral obligation of believers at this particular point in U.S. and world history. Even the most unusual allies in this war are treated much as the United States treated the Soviet Union during World War II. Meanwhile, mainline Protestants like Barack Obama, along with “Cafeteria Catholics” who disobey the Vatican’s moral teachings, are considered Christian-in-Name-Only, all the more contemptible, in fact, for abandoning what passes for “biblical truth” among conservative evangelicals, or, from somewhat different perspectives, among “traditionalist” Catholics or members of the LDS.

Christian Right leaders, or even the rank-and-file, may privately mock Mormons and their exotic theology. But in terms of political action, all that really matters is that they are comrades-in-arms in the great fight against feminists, unbelievers, and sell-out “liberal Christians.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.