David S. Reynolds
Why do evangelical Christians have such a sour view of Mormons? asked David S. Reynolds. The distaste is not purely theological. Christian Scientists, Seventh-day Adventists, and dozens of other, smaller sects also have strikingly different religious views from conservative Protestants, but they are rarely condemned as “cults” and “false religions,” as Mormonism often is.
Simply put, evangelicals see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “competition’’ for souls—and dues-paying members. Mormonism is one of the world’s fastest-growing religions; “Joseph Smith’s tireless progeny” have sent missionaries to 162 countries, and now number some 14 million people worldwide.
Evangelicals worry that a Mormon president would give a huge boost to all that aggressive proselytizing—especially a fervent one like Mitt Romney, who has tithed $4 million to the church in the last two years. But the Founding Fathers specifically set up America as a land of religious tolerance, where government would favor no sect nor oppress others. “Religious competition” has no place in our nation’s politics.