Over at Buzzfeed, McKay Coppins has posted a piece entitled “Why Ann Stayed Home” whose thesis is so simple as to be self evident to some of us: Mrs. Romney stayed home with her kids in part because her faith encouraged her to do so. But don’t tune out, dear reader. This is an immensely important article and it presages much that is to come.
If you read through what Coppins offers, it’s by no means a hatchet job. It strikes me as a reasonable effort by a journalist
who is an outsider to a community to convey to a bunch of outsiders what that a certain community believes. But hard as he seems to try, it’s hard to escape the vibe that Coppins is an Earthling detailing breathlessly to a bunch of Earthlings what how a strange group of extraterrestrials conduct lives that are clearly, well, alien. (Having once upon a time been a campus conservative written up by a liberal Canadian reporter for New York Times readers, I know that vibe pretty well. It’s there even when a reporter tries hard to be fair.)
[UPDATE, 4/20/12: Numerous readers have pointed out that McKay Coppins is LDS. I should've suspected that based on his name and the fairness of his piece and I regret implying otherwise with the way my "Earthling" language was constructed above. However, even with an LDS writer trying to make things comprehensible for a secular audience, I think my Earthling/extraterrestrial point still stands, along with the rest of the piece. I've edited accordingly above.]
So why should you care about this article? Well, first of all, it’s having an impact–I see on Twitter that a number of influential national journalists are reading and discussing it. But more importantly, because Coppins’ take on Mrs. Romney underscores a critical point David has been making for at least five years. That point is that while there are differences between Mormons and conservative evangelicals when it comes to theology, when it comes to defending they way our theology manifests itself in our values, which is what we must do, we’re all in this together.
Our values are very similar, and to secular liberals, they are alien and often dangerous. Coppins’ piece was fair, but I guarantee you a whole bunch that will follow it won’t be. (For an example of the kind of thing that’s coming, see this Washington Post piece on Rep. Bachmann’s marriage.)
Make no mistake, fellow evangelical. Gov. and Mrs. Romney will be defending our values under a harsh spotlight between now and November. The only question is: Will we throw them under the bus because we differ with some of the details of Mormon theology, or will we stand and fight for the values we both believe in? We can do the latter without endorsing their theology, and we can’t do the former without doing a severe disservice not just to all those who would be harmed by a second term for the most pro-abortion, pro-debt president in American history, but also to future candidates who share our “antiquated” values, including but by no means limited to conservative evangelicals.
Put differently, if you’re a disenchanted conservative who likes the sound of “President Santorum” or “President Huckabee,” it would be foolish to sit on your hands during the coming assault on the values they share with Gov. and Mrs. Romney. We’re all aliens now. Stand and fight.