I've been meaning to write this for awhile now. I usually don't discuss politics, but then again, this isn't really going to be a political discussion as much as a theological clarification of something about which many Christians seem to be confused--namely, should I vote for a Mormon or Liberation/Social Gospel candidate, or neither? Let me just say that religion matters far more than the average American realizes. The idea of separation between church and state is the biggest hoax of modern American culture. Most people buy into it simply because they're unaware how ultimate beliefs dictate secondary beliefs, and therefore, how a particular religion might influence one's decisions on public policy. So, in that sense, religion has everything to do with whether a Christian should vote for a particular candidate; but only up to a point. After that point, one's particular religion is irrelevant. Let me explain.
The Bible presents to us two kingdoms, not one. Jesus said that His kingdom was "not of this world" in contrast to the kingdom currently presided over by Caesar and his inferior, Pilate. So the kingdom of Christ on earth, as we see in John and throughout the New Testament, is the Church. This is His sanctified kingdom. The kingdoms of the world have been given over to the devil and the demonic powers that work within them to believe things contrary to the gospel of Christ. However, even within those kingdoms, God seeks to establish justice, security, and a physical, not spiritual, shepherding of those nations.
This is important to note, because it is the duty of Christ's sanctified, holy, set-apart kingdom, i.e., the Church, to deal with specific doctrines and practices that counter the gospel. That is not the job of the nations. However, God does require His people to do what is good and seek the good of the nations in which they reside; and He seeks justice, security, and a physical shepherding of the nations from their leaders. Throughout the Bible, He judges other nations and their leaders for not providing those things to its people who are in need of them, those who are the weaker and do not have as loud a voice.
Now, here is where I'm going with this. Christians ought to judge who they vote for based upon whether the candidate's religion would cause him to bring about justice, security and physical shepherding/nurturing. The job of the nation's leaders, in essence, is a creational one that is absent of the gospel. It is "pre-gospel" if you will, but it still must reflect the duty of the divine image in man to seek the procreation and preservation of human life against chaos and chaotic agents in the world. That is what the creation accounts, and the entire Book of Genesis, are really about (as I've noted numerous times on this blog and in my books).
If a candidate's religious beliefs would cause him to come down on the wrong side of issues, where he was allowing for and instituting practices that work toward chaos (the prevention of human life and preservation, with the former as primary and the latter as secondary only to the former according to biblical theology), then that candidate's religion has everything to do with whether you should vote for him. He is not suited to lead according to the Bible. His religious/philosophical beliefs prevent him from carrying out the duties of his office, and Christians who voted for him would not be doing good, but evil, as they would have participated in his establishment and the policies that work against human life and preservation.
So to be more specific to the present election, Romney's Mormon beliefs should sway him toward landing on the right side of most policies. The one thing I would question is whether he understands and would give help to the poor (something required of all nations' leaders in the Bible). But since the procreation of life is primary, we, as Christians, must look here first. Romney's Mormon beliefs would protect those who are the weakest. It would protect, first and foremost, the foundational creation mandate that human life is to be created. It would also work against defining marriage in a way that runs counter to the creation mandate, as homosexual sex cannot be a unified sex that creates human life, and is therefore, chaotic in nature.
I am less concerned about this last element, as Christians should seek to convey what is good about marriage to the nations, but apart from the gospel, it is probably not as important. What concerns me, instead, is that Christians are doing something directly good or evil when they vote for a candidate that will either pave the road for abortions to take place legally versus one that will seek to set obstacles up to it. Hence, I obviously believe that the primary issue in this or any election is abortion (and I believe that is true for both sides, regardless of religion/worldview).
In contrast to Romney, Obama would likely have more of an understanding for the poor; but not necessarily the right path for them. We can argue whether one's specific policies are better than others to help the poor, but as I noted above, the creation of life is more foundational than specific policies that may help preserve that life, as one must be alive first in order to be preserved. The Bible would obviously have us look to both, but many, even in biblical times, sought to put preservation over procreation, and thus, the Bible addresses it as primary in the command, having only secondary implications toward what one does in terms of preservation. Don't get me wrong, both are considered righteous acts that all people, everywhere are to establish in their nations; but there must be an order to them, lest one argue that we should kill off half the nation in order to preserve the other half, etc.
Obama's social gospel, however, has joined with the radical feminism of Margaret Sanger, and thus, has become a belief system that only seeks to preserve and give extra freedoms to certain individuals who already made it out of the womb. It does not protect the unborn from being killed, and is not something that works toward human creation. It is anti-creational. His views on homosexuality are simply a logical outworking of this.
We can argue also about whether one's foreign policy protects (and thus preserves the human life of his nation) better than the other. This also would be beneficial in determining which candidate the Christian should vote for. And as I said before, one could also look to economic policy when evaluating which would preserve human life better; but the point I would make here is that both candidates have a religion that would seek human preservation (whether one agrees that the ideologies of both actually accomplish that are up for debate); but only one candidate would seek to work toward the creation of human life, the very foundation upon which all society must rest according to Scripture; and hence, Romney's Mormonism becomes an ally, rather than a foe, in terms of what the Christian is looking for in his quest to do "good" (biblically defined as something which creates and preserves human life) in voting for a particular candidate and in being a citizen of his particular nation.
So there is no contradiction between a Christian who would guard Christianity and the Church from the heresy of Mormonism, but turn around and vote for a Mormon. His specific religion on issues where it disagrees with orthodox Christianity are not what the Christian should be looking at in a leader. Instead, where his religion does agree are on those things that would cause one to fall on the right side of what God considers (not what "we" consider) as the doing of good within the nations.
The president's religion, however, not only contradicts orthodox Christianity in terms of its theological beliefs and ethical practices; but stretches so far as to contradict what the Bible defines as good, creational acts toward humanity. His specific doctrines would not matter if they did not contradict the fundamental good of culture; but since his beliefs govern where he lands on those issues, and they are wayward in terms of where they will lead him, his religion becomes of primary importance in his rejection by orthodox Christians.
Hence, there is a reason why atheists, agnostics, liberals, etc. love the President and hate Romney. Their worldviews, i.e., their ethical beliefs, which largely stem from their particular worldviews, match up. In the same way, the ethical beliefs of orthodox Christians match up with those of Mormons in terms of seeking the well-being of human life within the nation. We all match up in certain things, but we don't match up in all of them, specifically upon the issue that Christians and Mormons alike find to be an absolute abominable practice in the killing of innocent human life.
So religion means everything to a point and it also means nothing past that point when we're speaking of the good Christians ought to seek in their influence within a nation. Like Joseph or Daniel advising and seeking to save life in every way, the Christian has a duty to do the same. But the state is not the Church nor the Church the state. It's just completely absurd, however, to argue that one has no bearing upon the other. It's just that it has its full weight to bear on particular issues, and no weight to bear on others.