December 7, 2007


The gaggle grows (Jonathan Martin, 12/07/07, Politico)

Mitt is about to give a speech on defense at the old Fort Des Moines, a military training center on the south side of the city.

There are a handful of soldiers in uniform, but they and all the other Iowans are overwhelmed by the press pack. A quick count shows 13 still and video cameras and a handful of reporters who don't typically cover the Romney beat (Washington Post's David Broder and Dana Milbank, St. Pete Times' Adam Smith, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe).

And precisely zero of them came here in the snow to hear Romney talk about national security issues.

Romney Dodges Doctrine: But questions about candidate's Mormon beliefs may continue. (Collin Hansen, 12/07/2007, Christianity Today)

David Neff, editor-in-chief of the Christianity Today Media Group, says evangelicals can affirm much of what Romney said about religion in the public square. But Neff also observed what Romney did not say—namely, what does the candidate believe about the controversial aspects of Mormon history? And what does he think about the worrisome particulars of Mormon theology? These particulars include the Book of Mormon, belief that God is both male and female, and baptism for the dead, according to Randall Balmer. The Columbia University professor doesn't miss the chance to rip President Bush as he observes that Mormons believe God divinely inspired the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines," Romney said. "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

But didn't Romney himself raise matters of theology in the speech? It is a theological statement to say, "I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God." He raised the question, "What do I believe about Jesus Christ?" And he answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind." David Frum sees problems for the Romney campaign. "Once Romney answered any question about the content of his religious faith, he opened the door to every question about the content of his religious faith," Frum said on the National Review website. "This speech for all its eloquence will not stanch the flow of such questions."

Activists, pastors in Iowa question impact of Romney speech (SHIRLEY RAGSDALE, December 7, 2007, Des Moines Register)
Romney, a third-generation Mormon, did not talk about the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his speech. Instead, he promised to "serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."

That wasn't enough for the Rev. Frank Cook, pastor of Union Park Baptist Church in Des Moines, who remains unconvinced that Romney would make a good president.

"He was doing the Potomac two-step around the issues that concern many evangelicals," Cook said. "Most evangelicals, including myself and my church, agree with Governor Romney's stand on most moral issues in our country. Our objection with his candidacy is not so much with his public stance as it is with how the Mormon faith has tried to disguise the tenets of their faith."

Cook doesn't believe Mormons should describe themselves as Christian while "directly denying the basic tenets of biblical Christianity, including the inherent inspiration of the Bible, the trinity, and the means of salvation from God's eternal judgment of our sins."

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2007 2:36 PM

For some arcane reason, the Catholic commenterati seem more favorably disposed. Now, why could that be?

Posted by: ghostcat at December 7, 2007 6:27 PM

We are quite acclimated to having heretics as presidents, it is said.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 7, 2007 9:03 PM

News flash to Frank Cook: Romney wasn't looking for your vote. The speech was aimed at reassuring current Giulianni and McCain supporters who will all come streaming to Romney after seeing yahoos like Cook win Iowa for Huckabee.
The great part is that Orrin himself will have a front row seat as the libertarian, Wall Street, and national defence wings of the party bet on Mitt to save them from the Kingfish from Hope.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at December 8, 2007 12:41 AM

The most surprising thing about Mitt's speech was the nasty responses from the Left, not the Christian Right. Listening to the clips on Rush today (I heard Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham) was quite instructive. Now it is no surprise that the elitist Left hates any political language related to religion, but it was surprising to hear them jumping in reaction to what Meacham would probably write in his magazine (Newsweek) is an internal battle for the "hopelessly divided" GOP. But arguments about political philosophy are inevitably losers for the Left (which is probably why the 'commenterati' liked it).

If the Left wants to name a nation/society/culture where freedom has been established, nurtured, and defended wholly apart from religion, good luck. Even Hitch probably wouldn't go that far. Meacham was just silly.

Mitt gave a good speech, but it can't be the ground he wants to fight on. And I don't think he is going to gain much support from Joe average independent last-minute voter. They don't remember John Adams.

Huckabee is going nowhere. He's the Pat Buchanan of the moment. The press will pump him, but Wayne Dumond (among other things) will sink him.

OJ is right about this - McCain is the one candidate who will get votes from Republicans looking for a 'serious' leader. But they have to be turned off enough by the others first.

Rudy can still win, but he has to do very well in NH and probably finish 2nd in SC. If he wins MI, he should be home free.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 8, 2007 2:31 AM

We are electing a president, Rev. Cook, not a pope. Try to remember that, m'kay?

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 8, 2007 8:09 AM
« TIME TO REDEFINE RECESSION AGAIN: | Main | BLAME W (via Fundmastery Blog): »