The EFM Feature

…and not just because Baby Mitchell is set to arrive in just a few weeks. No, because the chatter about 2012 is building to a dull roar, as evidenced by the many pieces that crossed my desk yesterday regarding Governor Romney. In addition to the items Nancy blogged (speaking of which, I can’t believe the word “porn” appeared on EFM) I would draw your attention to the following.
1. Not very meaningful, but still fun: Rasmussen has our guy on top of the heap in terms of polling numbers. As you know, I don’t think the two folks identified as his closest rivals will run, which makes these numbers even more fun. I also don’t think the person in fourth place, Speaker Gingrich, stands a snowball’s chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks, but that’s another discussion.
2. TIME has a story that features thoughts from many of the insiders in RomneyLand about what lies ahead. Also fun, but more meaningful.
3. Fellow evangelical for Mitt Mark DeMoss got some ink (pixels, I guess) in Politico for a memo he just sent to his very fine Rolodex. My favorite bit:

While the media and political commentators like to talk about litmus tests evangelicals and social conservatives typically impose on presidential candidates (usually referring to being pro-life), I’d like to propose a second litmus test for serious consideration—after, of course, verifying a candidate’s character, personal morality and values:
A candidate for president of the United States should be capable of becoming president, and then competent to be the president.
Those who would suggest I am placing values on the back burner will be misreading me and wrong. I am only saying that a candidate’s values alone are not enough to get my vote. For example, my pastor shares my values, but I don’t want him to be my president. (By the way, “energizing a crowd” is also not enough; Justin Bieber can do that—but I don’t want him to be president either.)

All of that is awesome. But the part I might like best? Where Mark says we need to verify “a candidate’s character, personal morality and values.” Note that he does not say what too many of us evangelicals often think and do, which is to verify that the candidate could teach Sunday School at our church — by which I mean we try to verify that he’s a believer or has the right theology.
Believe me, I take as much joy as anyone else in running across someone in the course of my daily work who is a fellow believer. But it’s ridiculous to think that as a result of seeing someone on television (or, even in the best case for most of us, shaking his hand once) we can know where someone’s heart truly is when it comes to spiritual things, and it’s wrongheaded to try. We serve a God who can work, and has worked, through leaders of all faiths, and you can’t really know from where you’re sitting anyway. All you can work from is the person’s actions, and a life lived as a family man, combined with a vigorous defense of traditional marriage in Massachusetts, of all places, clearly shows what Gov. Romney’s “character, personal morality and values” are — even though I disagree with what I assume (and that’s all it can be) his theology is.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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