This website is about making converts. Not, as some might have you believe, to Mormonism. Our purpose is not to make Mormon theology more acceptable or to allege that it is part of the “big Christian tent”–that is others’ fight and we don’t have a dog in it. Our purpose is simply to convince people that Gov. Romney is the best choice for evangelical Christians in 2008.
I’m happy to report that we received a detailed e-mail from one person we have indeed convinced. Specifically, this person is one of my dearest friends. He is from Massachusetts and voted for Gov. Romney in 2002. He was subsequently converted to Christianity and took up residence in the Washington, D.C. area, where he attends a stalwart evangelical church. When he first heard about this website, he said “No way,” claiming a big difference between voting for a Mormon for governor and president.
But he has changed his mind. Here is why, in his own words:
1. Romney has a clear understanding of the Islamic threat.
While there are clearly enormous gaps between what I believe and what Romney believes [theologically], I believe his being a “person of faith” inclines him to shun moral relativism and call this fight what it is: a battle between good and evil, one no different than the Cold War. Plus, I think he is clearly the most eloquent speaker in the GOP field, a quality that is vital to making the case for why we fight–particularly after Bush.
2. Romney has proven his social conservatism.
Having fought against the judicial fiat of gay marriage in Massachusetts, opposed stem-cell research and ridiculed the state for forcing Catholic adoption services to shut down after it refused to place children with same-sex couples, Romney has fought a nearly perfect fight on behalf of social conservatives. I believe the strength of marriage–and thus families–is perhaps the single biggest factor in our ability to win the war because it fosters a culture of personal responsibility and sacrifice necessary to preserve liberty. Romney’s faith, such as it is, understands this basic truth. The wild card here is abortion. I think it’s abhorrent that Romney ran essentially as a pro-choice candidate when he opposed Kennedy for Senate in 1994. He has said that the stem-cell debate has changed his mind. Normally I would be very reluctant to believe such a convenient change of heart. However, Romney’s opposition to the morning-after-pill and his defense of the above-mentioned social issues leads me to trust him on these matters. Obviously judicial nominations would come into play here, and I think Romney would be Bush’s equal in nominating excellent jurists to the Court.
3. Romney can help Republicans regain the moral high ground.
Most evangelicals are disgusted with the conduct of this Congress, from Abramoff to Foley, et. al. As a result, I think personal morality is going to place a huge role in the 2008 nomination process. Romney’s personal life is spotless; he’s married to his high school sweetheart, has five kids and a terrific reputation. Again, his “faith” comes into play here. Compare his life to Newt’s infidelity or Rudy’s infidelity/pro-choice/pro-gay marriage stance or John McCain’s disdain for evangelicals which he so clearly expressed in 2000. (Giving a commencement address at Liberty doesn’t get you back to even). As for Allen, after watching his debate this week I no longer consider him even remotely electable. It’s important to note here that evangelicals–like all human beings–will view Romney and all the other contenders in context and not in a vaccum. Because if there was a bona fide evangelical in this race, say a Mike Pence type, then Romney wouldn’t stand a chance. But in the absence of such a candidate, I think evangelicals will begin to gravitate toward the person who most closely shares their values.
There are numerous other reasons to support a Romney candidacy (he’s a low tax, pro-growth guy, for example) but those are the big three where faith comes into play.
So back to Foley. First, the Foley incident reminded me as a Christian that all men are fallen and sinful, even the ones we share a party with. Coming to Washington has taught me not to interchange the words “Christian” and “conservative” because they mean two very different things. So while in an ideal world I’d like to have a president who is both evangelical and conservative, I realize that that is not always possible. And in such cases where there is not a clear evangelical choice (who is also socially and fiscally conservative) then I think the next best thing to do is support the most conservative candidate in the race. To date, I think Romney is that guy.
Now for campaign finance. I’d been leaning toward McCain for the past several months based on his willingness to fight the war and his crusade against federal spending. That support required me to overlook his distrust of Christian voters and his hatred for the First Amendment. Last week I was reading a George Will column about the Seattle case where McCain-Feingold is enabling the government to silence political speech. This reminded me just how toxic that bill–and the philosophy behind it–really is to our form of government. So I decided I won’t support McCain in the primary. I’d already sorted through most of the others, so it brought me back to Romney.