SBC’s Land: Romney’s Mormonism “Like Islam” (Here we go Again)

It turns out that from a hard-right American evangelical point of view, the US public may have a choice between two Muslims, or two ‘may as well be Muslims’ for president this fall.

Dr. Richard Land, a major leader of the Southern Baptist Convention has told Newsmax that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism is not an orthodox form of Christianity and is “charitably speaking” an Abrahamic religion like Islam He compared Mormon prophet Joseph Smith to the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and the Book of Mormon to the Qur’an. He says that the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon both are built against a biblical background but go beyond and contradict the Bible.

He underlined that the fact that someone is not a professing Christian (sliding over from Mormons not being orthodox Christians to not being Christians at all) should not disqualify him from running for president. He quotes Martin Luther that “I would rather be governed by a competent Turk [i.e. Muslim] than an incompetent Christian.”

at 12:04:

[Everything Land says earlier about Ahmadinejad, Iran and Israel is factually incorrect by the way.]

Ironically, Land’s quotation of Luther, which is historically without any basis in fact, actually points to another analogy that Protestant leaders once made, between Islam and Roman Catholicism. Throughout history, evangelicals have used Islam to represent “the other.” Now it is Mormonism, but once it was the papacy.

The rumor that Luther felt this way about accepting Muslim rule was actually promulgated by Leo X. George W. Forell, “Luther and the War against the Turks,” Church History, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Dec., 1945), pp. 256-271, explained,

“It was at that time that Luther published his first major statement in regard to the Turkish danger. It appeared in 1529 under the title On War against the Turk, and was written to counteract the prevalent opinion that Luther considered the war against the Turks a war against God. This impression of Luther’s position had been fostered by the notorious papal bull, Exsurge Domine, in which Pope Leo X had condemned Luther’s theses as heretical. In his fifth thesis Luther had said that the pope cannot remit any other punishments than those which he or canon law had imposed. He had claimed that the pope cannot remit God’s punishments. And in his defense of the ninety-five theses of 1518 he had tried to make his point even more emphatic and had added that if the pope was as well able to remit divine punishment as he claimed, he should stop the advance of the Turk. Luther said that he must indeed be a poor Christian who does not know that the Turks are a punishment from God, and invited the pope to stop that punishment.

The pope had countered by condemning as heretical the following sentence of Luther: “To fight against the Turks is to fight against God’s visitation upon our iniquities.” In this misleading form, Luther’s attitude toward the war against the Turks had been widely publicised. This had given the general impression that Luther considered a war against the Turks sinful and preferred the rule of the Turks to the rule of the emperor.

Luther had to answer this accusation. He did that in a detailed reassertion of all the articles condemned by Leo X. In regard to the Turks he said that unless the pope were put in his place, all attempts to defeat the Turks would prove futile. The wrath of the Lord would continue to be upon all Christendom as long as Christian nations continued to honor those most Turkish of all Turks, even the Romanists.

But this answer merely showed that Luther’s pronouncements in regard to the Turks were not a defense of the Turks but an attack against the pope.”

Actually, Luther believed that Muslims were being allowed to advance into Central Europe in the 1500s as a punishment on European Christians for being Roman Catholics. He understood that Muslims often lived moral lives and had mystics among them, but considered them ‘saints of the devil.’ He saw both the pope and Islam as ‘anti-Christs’. Forell explained,

‘Luther’s identification of the Turk with the Antichrist sounds confusing in view of his frequent claims that it is the pope in Rome who is the real Antichrist. But for Luther two Antichrists presented no problem. He said, “The person of the Antichrist is at the same time the pope and the Turk. Every person consists of a body and a soul. So the spirit of the Antichrist is the pope, his flesh is the Turk. The one has infested the Church spiritually, the other bodily. However, both come from the same Lord, even the devil.” ‘

Luther rejected the idea of a crusade or a religious war as blasphemous. Human beings are too sinful to wage war in the name of a holy cause. But he did believe that Germans had a civil obligation to fight the Ottoman advance to defend their homes. The idea that he would have accepted an Ottoman ruler is absurd.

Yet another irony is that the Ottoman Empire was interested in Protestantism as a way of dividing and ruling Christian lands, and perhaps they knew enough of it to know its leaders often rejected holy war against the Ottomans or even that some had pacifist tendencies. They also viewed it as closer to an Islamic sensibility. Ultimately Protestantism in eastern Europe sometimes benefited from Ottoman protection. Luther himself was aware of this tendency, and rejected it. Forell:

‘a little episode reported in the Table Talk. At one time Luther was informed by a member of an imperial mission to the Turkish Sultan that Suleiman had been very much interested in Luther and his movement and had asked the ambassadors Luther’s age. When they had told him that Luther was forty-eight years old, he had said, “I wish he were even younger; he would find in me a gracious protector.” But hearing that report, Luther, not being a realistic politician, made the sign of the cross and said, “May God protect me from such a gracious protector.” ‘

Land’s position is therefore actually much more tolerant and admirable than that of Luther himself, insofar as he says, at least, that he would accept a non-Muslim president and he lacks Luther’s animus toward Roman Catholicism. But in likening Mormonism to Islam (to the detriment of both in his own mind), Land is deploying the same intellectual gesture, of amalgamating the internal Christian Other to the external Muslim Other, that Luther engaged in. And while Land believes that evangelicals will in the end prefer Romney to Obama, so far they are not voting that way, and they may well stay home on election day. What with having only Muslim or Muslim-like choices.

15 Responses

  1. Dr. Land has worked with the Romney campaign and Land has worked with the Southern Baptist trying to get them to accept Romney.

    Good for anyone who opposes Romney no matter the reason.

  2. I was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian church. From my recollections of the doctrine, Mormons would not be considered Christians by most Fundamentalist Protestant Christians.

    Basically, putting any other book on a par with the Bible is going to make you suspect in the eyes of a certain segment of Christians.

    • The Book of Mormon is not put on par with the Bible, it is superior in the eyes of Mormons. Mormons taught for decades the Bible was flawed, and it was better for Mormon Church members to use the Book of Mormon.

      “The Pearl of Great Price” another Mormon Book, by Joseph Smith, was used extensively, until it was discovered The Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price
      which is a proven fraud. They (papyrus) were found in New York in 1966 and examined, and found to be a … Well, that it’s a fake, a scam, a total fabrication.

      Joseph Smith was to have run with the ‘golden plates’ however, they were if described correctly, far too heavy for anyone to run with.

  3. To me this is really just an argument about the taxonomy of current (or historic) religions. On such a chart, Islam, and Mormonism would both be seen as branches each of which claims a more recent avatar than Jesus. Generally the most recent avatar is seen as correcting or at a minimum clarifying the presumably now garbeled message of the earlier ones.

  4. It makes a certain amount of sense to consider Mormonism as a fourth Abrahamic religion. As noted, they add to the Jewish/Christian canons and consider their newer text to have priority. Perhaps a bigger problem is that Mormons are polytheists. I don’t think it is injudicious to say that a group that disagrees with most of the Nicene creed, an ancient and universal Christian statement, are not “really” Christians.

    • (Psst, Super — they’re not just in Utah… link to slate.com)

      Zoom in and check out places like Liberty County, FL, the dark bit about where the trigger pivot would be if you visualized Florida as a concealed-carry, Stand Your Ground, .32 cal pocket pistolero, butt down of course, locked and loaded…

  5. In your final paragraph, I presume you meant Land would accept a non-Christian president.

  6. I’ll bet this dick in knocking down a couple of million a year(blessed are the poor was not meant for clergy)and supports bombing Iran (Blessed are the peacemakers does not apply to the US)all the while wearing thousand dollar suits and having his swept back hair style attended to by a personal barber. The sad part is that it’s all paid for by “The sheep” in his congregation.

  7. Romney and all other candidates represent the ruling billionaires and their puppet millionaires, excluding maybe Ron Paul.

    America needs a President that has the wisdom, courage and honesty to lead America and the world out of the Dark Ages of lies, deceit, deregulations, and corrupt ignorant rule by the billionaires and their families and corporations.

    “On Feb. 13, seven writers who described themselves as “concerned citizens, activists and financial professionals” filed a 325-page comment letter to financial regulators, outlining their concerns about loopholes in the “Let’s Try to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis” proposal known as the Volcker rule.”

    The seven writers include: Caitlin Kline, Kaye Scholer, Kamlesh Tewary, George Bailey, Alexis Goldstein.

    link to bloomberg.com

    I believe that there’s a chance for real recovery and honest government if the group that prepared the “325-page comment letter” takes the initiative to make their “next action” and that of the Occupy Movement to be selecting a third party presidential candidate(s) that will have the wisdom, courage and honesty to lead America and the world out of the Dark Ages of Corrupt Governments. And, will represent over 99% of Americans. Otherwise, more of the same crap.

    Politics must be replaced with democracy.

    google: “Occupy Vigilantes Write New Volcker Rule Script”

    • Paul is the most de-regulatory of anybody. He wants to legalize everything millionaires want to do to become billionaires; pollute, endanger, usurize. Abortion, not so much.

      When a country has a class system as steep as ours, just because a guy’s friends are the rich instead of the extremely rich doesn’t mean those rich aren’t a bunch of murderous bastards too. Sometimes, they’re the worst of all.

      • Super390, if what you say is the real truth, then I would also scratch Ron Paul as a candidate.

        But do the apparently real and useful changes that Paul has been advocating for over 30 years including nationalizing the Federal Reserve and bringing the uncontrolled exponential growth of the Military-Industrial-Complex(MIC) out weight the slight inconvenience of some of his de-regulatory ideas.

        If not, scratch Paul, but I still feel that none of the candidates do or would represent the 99% of Americans.

        Hasn’t the deregulation of the financial, banking systems and the exponential growth of the Military-Industrial-Complex(MIC) been two of the major causes of the financial crises and the illegal wars/imperialism of America?

        I’m just a senile, political ignorant 71 year old Nobody. Please educate me. But before you comment, please watch and listen to the following items and then correct me if I off track or have been misguided:

        1. “The Secret of Oz” an award winning documentary that presents the history of money and information on how the Federal Reserve, a privately owned corporation that illegally controls OR strongly influences the financial system which has failed the 99% of Americans while making the secret owners and share holders of the Fed sickly rich.

        link to documentarywire.com
        Written and directed by Ben Still.

        Beloit International Film Festival 2010 Best documentary(BIFF)
        Yosemite Film Festival 2010 Silver Sierra Award for Excellence in Filmmaking
        Accolade Competition 2010 Award of Merit La Jolla, California
        Nevada Film Festival 2010 Silver Screen Award
        Nathan’s Economic Edge, 2009 Excellent review at a world top economics blog.
        British premier Oct. 1, 2010 At prestigious Bromsgrove conference

        2. Watch Nick Turse’s comments on the exponential growth of the Military-Industrial-Complex(MIC) in the Middle East and around the world

        “450 Bases and It’s Not Over Yet.
        The Pentagon’s Afghan Basing Plans for Prisons, Drones, and Black Ops”

        link to tomdispatch.com

        The Military-Industrial-Complex(MIC) is very much alive and growing exponentially making the billionaires sickly richer.

        3. “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”

        “The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent.”

        link to rollingstone.com

        I was reluctantly resistant to a friend’s recommendation to watch anything from the Rollingstone, but did and was educated or misguided. I didn’t read the whole article, but glad that I did.

        Again, please correct me if I’ve been misguided. Thanks

    • “Politics must be replaced with democracy.”

      Hey, Mr. Ron Paul man, you got any idea how many things are wrong with those six words, in that order, in the same sentence?

      You got any idea what “democracy” is, other than maybe the Full Libertarian Agenda? Of which Part I of V is here, if you haven’t read it already: link to nakedcapitalism.com And wait! There’s more! the links are at the bottom of Article I…

      • JTMcPhee, thanks. I made a mistake with my wording. I thought democracy means or includes representative government with honest elections, not elections controlled by money, the billionaires and puppet millionaires.

        Correction: The politicians and government that America has had for about 30 years must be replaced with politicians and government that relate to and represent the 99% of Americans and not the billionaires and their millionaire puppets.

        I don’t care what you call or label a true representative party. Call it the Donald Duck party. Both the democrats and republicans have been failing the 99% of Americans.

        Please excuse any mistakes – provide corrections.
        I’m 71, politically ignorant, have dysfunctional memory, and just doing my best.

        Possible Solution to Crises

        “On Feb. 13, seven writers who described themselves as “concerned citizens, activists and financial professionals” filed a 325-page comment letter to financial regulators, outlining their concerns about loopholes in the “Let’s Try to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis” proposal known as the Volcker rule.”

        I believe that there’s a chance for real recovery and honest government if the group that prepared the “325-page comment letter” takes the initiative to make their “next action” and that of the Occupy movements to be selecting a third party presidential candidate(s) that will have the wisdom, courage, honesty and a Congress to lead America and the world out of the Dark Ages of Corrupt Governments. Such candidates would represent over 99% of Americans.

        Otherwise, more of the same crap.

        link to bloomberg.com

        I believe that the healing and recovery of America must include the following:

        1. Politicians and government representing the 99% of Americans. Not rule by and representation of the billionaires and their millionaire puppets.

        2. Nationalization the Federal Reserve and maybe most of the banking system. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned corporation whose main goal is making its owners and share holders rich. It’s evidently owned by 10 large American and foreign banks. But, who really controls these banks?

        The Fed loans billions of dollars to the US government and charges 6%(?) interest. Thus, the Fed keeps America in debt and maintains control of the financial system.

        Watch “The Secret of Oz”, a documentary movie, winner of 4 film awards. It presents some history of the past and present financial crises, of other crises and more on the illegal Federal Reserve(a privately owned corporation).

        link to documentarywire.com Written and directed by Ben Still.

        Beloit International Film Festival 2010 Best documentary(BIFF)
        Yosemite Film Festival 2010 Silver Sierra Award for Excellence in Filmmaking
        Accolade Competition 2010 Award of Merit La Jolla, California
        Nevada Film Festival 2010 Silver Screen Award
        Nathan’s Economic Edge, 2009 Excellent review at a world top economics blog.
        British premier Oct. 1, 2010 At prestigious Bromsgrove conference

        3. The Military-Industrial-Complex(MIC) is alive, growing exponentially. It must be reined in.

        In Afghanistan:
        “450 Bases and It’s Not Over Yet.
        The Pentagon’s Afghan Basing Plans for Prisons, Drones, and Black Ops”
        By Nick Terse” link to tomdispatch.com

        4. Take the money out of politics(federal, state and local), special interest groups and lobbying.

        Again: Please excuse any mistakes – provide corrections.
        I’m 70, politically ignorant, dysfunctional memory, and just doing my best.

        5. The millionaires, billionaires and corporations MUST help Americans recover from the financial crises that they help create through corruption, greed or/and ignorance.

        New Total Taxes (federal, state, luxury, etc)

        Millionaires, billionaires: 40% to 80%

        Corporations: 35% to 55%

        From 1945 to 1986, America experienced its greatest real growth in history with the highest taxes on corporations, the rich (over $20,000 in 1945)and on millionaires and billionaires.

        Right after WWII, “1945: 94% tax on income over $200,000 – absolutely astounding. It stayed over 90% until 1964 when it was lowered to 77% and had been consistently falling until …”

        More than enough, I’m getting dizzy.

  8. American people doesn’t have any reason to think like Luther about Turks. Maybe you know or not, one week ago Turkish helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, 12 soldiers have died. For what? For security of USA of course!

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