Like most Republican politicians, Mitt Romney readily invokes the "Judeo-Christian" as a source of America's greatness. As in his speech May 12 at Liberty Baptist College: “Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.”
But Sunday, on Meet the Press, Romney went a step farther and made it the source of his own higher calling.
The Judeo-Christian ethics that I was brought up with, the-- the-- the sense of obligation to one’s fellowman, an-- an absolute conviction that we are all sons and daughters of the same God and therefore in a-- a human family is one of the reasons I am doing what I’m doing. It would have been very easy for me to just stay in business. I like business. That’s fun. But when the Olympic request came along, Ann said you’ve got to do this, this is important. And when I ran for governor, this is important, and now when I’m running for president. I think that comes in part from this Judeo-Christian ethic of-- of service and commitment to one’s fellowman.
Now Romney might have spoken of his Mormon ethics, but "Mormon" never passes Romney's lips on the stump--as if it were the faith that dare not speak its name. And he could have talked about his Christian ethics, but that would have been worse, since so much of the base of his party doesn't consider Mormonism Christian.
So Judeo-Christian it was, and rightly so. For no American religious tradition deserves the handle more than Romney's.
Like a number of other new religious movements that arose in antebellum America, the Mormons began by seeking to restore Primitive Christianity, renewing prophecy and recovering a new testament of Jesus Christ. Then, under Joseph Smith’s prophetic guidance, they undertook to revive the religious economy of ancient Israel as well, building a temple, creating priesthoods, establishing patriarchy, and gathering the faithful as a sacred community.
Actually, they didn't stop at this exercise in Judeo-Christianity. Smith concluded his ministry by imparting a set of esoteric tenets—tiered heavens, proxy baptisms, celestial marriage, and eternal progression toward godhood—that would lead humanity back to a celestial existence through what came to be called “the restoration of all things.” Call Mormonism "Judeo-Christan Plus."