It’s political suicide for a candidate to disavow religious convictions – every candidate has a bungee attached to some church or temple. At the same time there’s a consensus that a candidate’s theological leanings should be a nonissue while evaluating their fitness for office and their decisions in office. For the sake of this column, I’m going to pretend that I feel sorry for politicians when faced with this conundrum. We tell them they better believe in God, and then we tell them God must wait in the lobby when they enter their chambers of judicial, legislative or executive action. Voters will only elect someone who believes that God is king of kings (including presidents), but they become incensed when elected officials seek to politically live out that which they have professed. Essentially we’re tempting our candidates to be double-minded, or as the Bible puts it, hypocrites. This double-mindedness becomes a significant factor when confronted with electing a Mormon for president. No doubt the majority of evangelicals view Mormonism as a cult and are nervous about the kind of momentum a Mormon president might give an already growing sect – although the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 didn’t seem to be a boon for Roman Catholicism. Yet we should be equally nervous about electing a candidate who is readily willing to jettison his or her religious convictions because they’re not politically expeditious. Quite frankly, most politicians claiming adherence to mainline world religions, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic or Jewish, have political world views that would be unrecognizable to any faithful member of their church, parish or temple. Of course, that still doesn’t answer the question: Should evangelicals who believe Mormonism to be biblically abhorrent vote for a Mormon? Heretic or hypocrite – it’s a tough choice. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champMy point so far is that we’re left with picking the lesser of evils. I know many resist this saying, “Picking the lesser of evils is still picking evil.” But given the nature of man, unless you’re going to write in “Jesus,” picking the lesser of evils is a logical necessity. And it would appear that the nature of today’s political landscape increases the amount of evil on the ballot. I am under the somewhat cynical conviction that superstar status, especially in politics, requires a healthy amount of soul-selling. This is nothing new. When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, anyone who wanted a position of political power had to make a profession of faith. This not only had a drastically polluting influence upon the church, but it made religious faithfulness a necessary fashion accessory for the upwardly mobile politician. So here we are. Should evangelicals vote for a Mormon? I think a person’s religious convictions are the most important thing in his life. But at the risk of sounding wry, the religious convictions of politicians and other celebrities are so dubious that the amount of disbelief I would need to suspend in order to believe them is more than my tender heart and mind can bear. So I become an issue man. I will vote for the candidate who has the most Christian platform and best promotes, and seeks to live by, Christian ethics. A candidate who is pro-life, pro-marriage, doesn’t believe government should be everyone’s Mary Poppins, will try to protect our nation from invasion and attack and other biblical notions of the purpose of government is my candidate. His heresy or hypocrisy I will leave between him and God. Right now I’m just concerned for my kids. The Rev. Paul Viggiano is pastor of the Branch of Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Torrance (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!