The EFM Feature
Old Fashioned, from Flickr user Kenn Wilson, used under a Creative Commons license

Fair warning:  The following comes from someone whose friends named a cocktail after him that is based upon the Old Fashioned.  (That should be enough to offend someone in just about every camp.)

I listened to Gov. Romney’s commencement address at Liberty University yesterday, and I have to admit:  I was prepared for the worst.  Yes, I am both an evangelical and a Romney fan, but I also live in reality.  And if you live there, it’s tough to deny that we evangelicals can be tough to please–and that the Romney campaign doesn’t have a track record of cracking our code consistently.  Having confessed that, let me say that I agree with Santorum fan Tony Perkins and others (probably a first this cycle!) that Gov. Romney hit a grand slam home run.  The main reason is that he made clear that there is a difference between theology and values.  He didn’t imply that his theology is the same as ours as evangelicals; in fact, he explicitly said otherwise.  That’s important.  Also important is that he made crystal clear that his values are the same as ours, and that those are what should unite people of different faiths in endeavors like politics (not to mention works of mercy and other things).  That has been EFM’s core argument since 2006.

One other important thing about Gov. Romney’s speech was the way he addressed the issue of gay marriage.  As you know, that’s been a hot one this week.  One of the things I have long appreciated about Gov. Romney is that when he does address this issue, he doesn’t do so the way too many evangelicals in politics do–with fiery, us-vs.-them rhetoric.  He doesn’t shy away from his belief, which comes from his values, but he states it reasonably and even respectfully.  You could also see this in the media appearances he did this week.  As we’ve seen, his demeanor is actually a turnoff to some evangelicals, but I happen to appreciate it very much.  It was helpful in Massachusetts during the bitter fight that began nearly ten years ago, but it’s even more so now, as the battle over marriage has become even more polarizing and emotional (particularly in my generation–you should see the two sides in my Facebook feed).

One other thing about Gov. Romney’s values and demeanor:  I was traveling this week but wanted to pass along a subtly titled piece called “Mitt Romney, Conservative Cultural Icon,” from The American Spectator.  It’s especially notable that the author is Peter Ferrara, who was part of the Gingrich campaign.  I love this portion:

Obamunistas are saying that Obama is cool, and Romney is not. But cool to whom? Cool is in the eye of the beholder.

I have to admit that if you are an aging hippie who never grew up, still think that the counterculture of the 1960s was the highwater mark of American civilization, reject America’s capitalist economic system as inherently unfair and uncool in the grubby pursuit of profit, see America’s historic world-leading prosperity as crass materialism causing global poverty, and regard America’s world dominating superpower military as the tool of global imperialism, you would see Obama as very cool for bringing your values into the White House. Ditto that if you are a mental infant throwback stuck in the last century who thinks global socialism and Che T-shirts are cool.

But social and cultural conservatives would have just the opposite view. For them, Romney is the personal embodiment of their values. His personal life is right out of Ozzie and Harriett, Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best. The practical relevance of his Mormonism is that he is personally devoted to these values at his core. The offbeat theology of Mormonism is not at issue because he is not a Mormon theologian.

Moreover, his professional life involves the core of entrepreneurial capitalism. It has been all about the finance of struggling smaller and mid-size companies so they can grow into successful larger, national companies, creating boomlets of real jobs in the real world. Romney’s whole business life has been about the capital in capitalism, which means he knows first hand how the system works, and how to fix it. This is why he should personally appeal to the Tea Party as well as to social conservatives.

To the Left, therefore, Romney represents the personification of everything they hate (the precise word for today’s Left). A straight-laced Mormon who personally deeply believes and lives out traditional family values who is also personally a successful businessman, himself a card carrying member of the top 1%, from Wall Street to boot.

That frankly makes this election even more high stakes. For Romney is personally carrying the flag for cultural conservatism like no other candidate could. If he wins, he completely shatters left-wing mythology and demonology regarding social conservatism, the top 1%, and Wall Street. This is why social conservatives and Tea Party conservatives should now come together and enthusiastically support Romney.

As I noted at the beginning of this post, my friends know me as someone who thinks “old fashioned” is a compliment, so I admittedly have an unusual view of the world.  But I agree with Mr. Ferrara that conservatives–and, I would add, particularly conservative evangelicals–can and should rally to the defense of a man whose life manifests what you might call our version of “cool.”  That aspect of him, particularly his understanding of the preeminence of God and family, was on display yesterday at Liberty.

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.

Comments and Discussion

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8 Responses to On Liberty

  1. L. E. Deaux says:

    Decent people of all faiths should recognize the need to select a candidate that understands the kathryn of a journey to begin with. Faith, Liberty and free enterprise are a vehicle. We all need the vehicle to get where we want to go. So Mitt’s vehicle is Ford and yours Dodge or Chevy. That we all have vehicals is important. Knowing we have a road map and driver in the lead who knows when/where to get fuel and the right roads to get us there is most important.

  2. Liz says:

    Contrast and compare Romney the Statesman with Biden and Obama’s clownishness. I find it remarkable at times.

    • David says:

      I’m with you, Liz. It’s hard to imagine that any thinking person wouldn’t see Romney as the grown-up and Obama & (especially) Biden as the selfish and arrogant teenagers.

  3. Terry says:

    So now, Obama has officially come out as being pro-gay marriage, offering yet another stark contrast between him and Mitt Romney. I think that decision will lose him more votes than he will gain.

    I see a lot of foot-shooting by the Obama campaign lately. It’s a wonder they aren’t all hobbling around on crutches by now, lol.

  4. Lorin reeder says:

    I thought he nailed the speech also. He is a man who cares about all people. I am a Mormom and have been for 52 years. I have attended church almost every Sunday my whole life. I have never heard from our pulpit another religion’s name even mentioned. What I have been taught is we are all brothers and sisters in this together and to help and serve my fellow man no matter who they are and what religion they are. We are no better then any other Christian. We are all seen the same in God’s eyes. Jesus Christ is the only why we can be saved. Jesus who want all of us to help each other through this life. I know Mitt Romney feels this same way. Most of my friends are evangelists and by knowing me for most of my life they have no problem calling me a Christian. Thank you for putting up this amazing web site and may God bless all of you, Mitt Romney, and all those that know Christ and have embraced him as our savior and our way back home. lorin Reeder

  5. William says:

    I am a Christian. The MOST important value I have is that Jesus is Lord and savior. Like atheists, Mitt Romney rejects the divinity of Christ. Unlike atheists, Mitt Romney pushes a false gospel. The Bible is clear about which is worse. Mitt Romney might share some of my values, but on the only one that truly matters, he is worse than wrong. If I cannot trust Mitt Romney on the most important issue ever, why would I trust him to lead the country.

    Here are some Bible quotes that address how we Christians should deal with Mitt Romney and others to profess a false gospel:
    2 John 1:10
    If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
    2 Timothy 4:3-4
    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    1 John 4:1
    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    Romans 16:17-18
    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
    Jude 1:1-25
    Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. …
    Matthew 7:15
    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
    Colossians 2:8
    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
    2 Peter 2:1-22
    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; …
    Psalm 26:4-5
    I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

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