Last week the Religion News Service reported that many Christians aren't voting in the presidential election this year because they feel there isn't a 'moral choice.'

Dwight McKissic Sr., a prominent black Southern Baptist who leads the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, shocked many followers by declaring that he couldn’t vote for Obama because of the president’s stance on gay marriage and abortion. But he said he also couldn’t vote for Gov. Mitt Romney because of what he contends are “racist teachings” in Mormon scriptures.

Obama is a mainline Protestant, though many Americans still believe him to be a Muslim. And Romney would be the first Mormon president.

It got us wondering how religion impacts voters, so we asked our panelists:

Do political candidates' religious beliefs influence your vote?

Responses to this Viewpoint

I want to know who a candidate worships

Eric Blauer |

Absolutely.

When I vote for someone to lead the most influential, powerful, richest, war-possible countries on the planet, I want to know who, what and where  they they worship because it influences and shapes their moral compass.

3 Comments

  1. Sure, it influences my vote, but I also take a look at how they stand on issues important to the job. If – as in the case with Obama – they have a record, I look at that as well. If someone professes to be a bible-believing Christian, but admits wanting tax increases and policies that will cripple businesses, they’ll lose my support. I disagree with the teachings of the Mormon Church, but I do agree with Mitt Romney’s position on the economy. When it comes to the presidency, we must remember that we’re electing someone to be the chief executive of the country, not a national theologian. As a Christian, however, I agree with John Jay, the first Supreme Court Chief Justice.

    “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” (Letter to John Murray (12 October 1816) as published in The Life of John Jay (1833) by William Jay, Vol. 2, p. 376)

  2. Jim CastroLang

    This is a complicated question. When I evaluate a candidate, I want to know what their core principles are….the ones they will stick to under pressure and return to when they are unsure on an issue. What forms someone’s core principles – the values that are at the center of their integrity as a person. Clearly, for many people including myself, my faith and religious experiences help shape these core principles. In the case of Mitt Romney for example, how has his Mormon faith help shape his core principles? When deciding on big questions, does he look to the teachings of his religion as a primary source to help make decisions or has it shaped him in the background of this thinking or both? In a direct way, I don’t care about someone’s religion when I vote. However, if their religion has helped shape who they are — then I will look into that connection in order to understand how they might act in Office.

    There are many other influences in life from upbringing to experiences of life that help shape someone’s core values. I will seek to understand whatever is relevant to who they are today and how they will act under pressure.

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