Evangelist Billy Graham has put out full-page ads in Ohio newspapers including the Plain Dealer basically calling on people to vote for Mitt Romney.
He does not mention him by name but says, “I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.” That does not leave much doubt as to where his sympathies lie.
Shortly after Romney met two weeks ago with Graham and his son Franklin (who is now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association that his father created), they scrubbed their website of all references to Mormonism as a ‘cult’. Formerly the BGEA had lumped Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritualists, and Scientologists as all cults.
Some are surprised at the elder Graham, now 93, wading so overtly into electoral politics in the twilight of his life and suspect that it is his politically ambitious son who is behind this.
The Mormon church has been desperate to seek acceptance in the US as being part of Christianity but has been viewed with suspicion by many evangelical Christian groups. But as has been shown time and again, when the leaders of the evangelical churches find someone who they think shares their pro-oligarchic, pro-Israel expansionist policies, they are only too willing to ditch long-held positions to sign them on. Whether the rank-and-file evangelicals can switch beliefs and allegiances that easily remains to be seen.
Romney’s lasting legacy may be the mainstream acceptance that he has brought to Mormonism. Of course, what label is given to crazy beliefs is immaterial. But the crazy beliefs of Mormonism will soon be on a part with the crazy beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the US.