Romney or Obama?
Facts for Latter-day Saints to Consider
Michael T. Griffith
June 2, 2012
As Latter-day Saints, we are free to vote for the candidate of our choice. The Church is neutral on political candidates and parties. It is left to us, as individual members, to apply the principles of the restored gospel as we cast our votes. Although the Church does not endorse candidates or parties, the Church has given us some guidelines about the kinds of candidates we should support. The Church has also taken official positions on certain important issues of our day. When faced with a choice between a candidate who agrees with the Church’s stated positions on vital issues and a candidate who rejects those positions, it stands to reason that we should support the candidate who reflects our values and principles.
In this presidential election, the choice is between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Let’s consider their views on issues on which the Church has taken a position.
* Romney opposes same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage). Obama, on the other hand, has done everything in his power to advance same-sex marriage and has recently come out openly in support of it. Romney supports the proposed federal marriage amendment. The Church has officially endorsed the federal marriage amendment and has called for its passage. Obama, on the other hand, not only opposes the federal marriage amendment, but wants to force states that have banned same-sex marriage to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Obama even wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the federal law that allows states to choose whether or not to accept gay marriage.
When Obama’s lawyers went to court over the Defense of Marriage Act in 2010, they argued that having children is not one of the main reasons for marriage. This, of course, contradicts not only what the gospel tells us about marriage, but it also contradicts what Western civilization has traditionally taught about marriage for over 2,000 years.
Obama has even taken the position that public schools should teach children, as young as the second grade, positive portrayals of homosexuality. In a Democratic presidential debate held at Dartmouth College in 2007, Obama said he agreed that children should be exposed to positive portrayals of homosexuality as early as the second grade.
* Romney believes states should be able to ban gay marriage. So does the Church. The Church went to great lengths to help pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. Romney supported Proposition 8. Obama, on the other hand, opposed Proposition 8, has called for its repeal, and has even stated that all efforts to ban same-sex marriage at the state level are “divisive and discriminatory.”
* Romney supports abstinence education, which means he supports having public schools teach teens that they should not have sexual relations until they are adults (and often this teaching includes the idea that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage). It is no exaggeration to say that Obama has waged war on abstinence education. Not only has Obama reduced federal funding for abstinence education programs, but he has also issued regulations that prohibit federally funded marriage education programs from even mentioning abstinence in their instruction and materials.
* Romney supports protecting unborn children from elective abortion. In other words, he supports making abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and endangerment (i.e., when the baby’s birth would pose a serious risk to the mother’s life). Obama, on the other hand, is the most radically pro-abortion president in American history. Obama opposes any restrictions on abortion and has appointed federal judges who favor overturning all restrictions on abortion. If Obama’s judges become the majority on any federal appeals courts or on the Supreme Court, they will most certainly overturn the ban on partial-birth abortion and will also overturn waiting periods, parental consent laws, and informed consent laws. When Obama was in the Illinois state senate, he even opposed a bill to protect babies who survived abortions (indeed, he was the only member of the Illinois Senate to speak in opposition to the bill).
* Romney does not believe the federal government has the right to force churches to pay for contraception, sterilization, and the morning-after pill in healthcare plans for their employees. Nor does he believe that insurance companies should be forced to include birth control, sterilization, and the morning-after pill in their healthcare policies. Obama believes the opposite. Obama recently issued regulations, through his Secretary of Health and Human Services, to force churches to pay for birth control, sterilization, and the morning-after pill in health insurance policies for their employees. Then, in response to public uproar over this unprecedented contraception mandate, he issued a meaningless modification to the regulation that said the insurance companies would have to pay the cost of those provisions, but of course the end result is that churches will be paying for these provisions through higher premiums for their policies.
The Church, in its official policy handbook for local leaders, strongly discourages sterilization (such as tubal ligations and vasectomies). Furthermore, the Church’s health insurance plan for Church employees does not cover “contraception, birth control devices, and/or sterilization procedures.” Because of Obama’s contraception mandate, the Deseret Mutual Benefit Association, which is the insurance company that the Church uses to cover its employees, will now be forced to offer and pay for sterilization, and even the morning-after pill.
* Romney believes in the long-standing right of churches to select their own leaders and employees, including the right to decide who can teach in schools that they run. The Church itself has gone to court to defend this right. Obama, on the other hand, has tried to abolish this sacred right. In a recent case between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Lutheran Church, Obama’s lawyers argued that the First Amendment provides no greater protection for a church to choose its own leaders than the right enjoyed by trade-unions, corporations, and restaurants to choose their managers and employees. In other words, Obama’s lawyers argued that a church has no right to refuse to hire or appoint someone “just because” that person is engaged in conduct that the church believes is immoral. So, by this reasoning, a church has no right to refuse to appoint a gay as a pastor or to refuse to hire a flagrant adulterer to teach in a school that the church operates. Thankfully, the Supreme Court rejected Obama’s arguments, calling them, and I quote, “extreme, remarkable, and untenable.”
* Romney believes that our anti-pornography laws (also known as obscenity laws) should be enforced and that pornography is a serious and growing problem. The Church has repeatedly spoken out against pornography and has called for vigorous enforcement of anti-pornography laws. Obama, on the other hand, has been noticeably lax about enforcing obscenity laws. Indeed, LifeSiteNews notes that “enforcement of obscenity laws has plummeted under the Obama administration.”
Some other facts to consider:
* Obama has appointed open gays, lesbians, and transsexuals to positions in his administration. In addition, a few months after taking office, Obama issued an official presidential proclamation that has made the month of June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Month.”
* In a speech that he delivered in Turkey on April 6, 2009, Obama said that “we” Americans don’t consider America to be a Christian nation, and that Islam “has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country.”
* When Obama spoke at Georgetown University on April 14, 2009, his staff, clearly with his approval, insisted that the religious symbols on the background of the stage, including a symbol of the name of Christ, be covered up. When the covering of the religious symbols became an issue after the speech, Obama gave no indication that he disagreed with what had been done.
* Obama has approved a new regulation that virtually abolishes the right of doctors and nurses to refuse to perform abortions. This action has been condemned by the Christian Medical Association, the Catholic Medical Association, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Medical Students for Life, and several other groups.
* In the three Thanksgiving Day messages that Obama has delivered, he has failed to even mention God in the body of the messages and has said nothing about thanking God for America’s blessings nor about the reason that Thanksgiving Day was established. Indeed, Obama’s Thanksgiving messages have been entirely devoid of religious references. Only in his first Thanksgiving message did he even mention the word “God,” and that came at the very end, in the very last line of the speech, when he said, “Thank you, God bless you.” In his 2011 message, he expressed thanks for America’s “luck” but said nothing about God blessing America, much less about thanking God for blessing America. His 2010 and 2011 messages did not mention God at all, not even in a “God bless you” line—they were completely godless.
In my opinion, the choice is clear. We can either vote for a candidate who agrees with the Church’s position on opposing same-sex marriage, protecting traditional marriage, opposing abortion, supporting abstinence education, and enforcing our anti-pornography laws, or we can vote for a candidate who takes the opposite view on all those issues. We can either vote for the candidate who opposes the contraception mandate or we can vote for the candidate who imposed it. We can either vote for the candidate who opposes forcing doctors and nurses to perform abortions against their will or we can vote for the candidate who is actively trying to force them to do so. And, we can either vote for the candidate who acknowledges and honors America’s Judeo-Christian heritage or we can vote for the candidate who does not.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael T. Griffith holds a Master’s degree in Theology from The Catholic Distance University, a Graduate Certificate in Ancient and Classical History from American Military University, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, and two Associate in Applied Science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force. He also holds an Advanced Certificate of Civil War Studies and a Certificate of Civil War Studies from Carroll College. He is a graduate in Arabic and Hebrew of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and of the U.S. Air Force Technical Training School in San Angelo, Texas. In addition, he has completed an Advanced Hebrew program at Haifa University in Israel. He is the author of five books on Mormonism and ancient texts, including How Firm A Foundation, A Ready Reply, and One Lord, One Faith.