Will Mitt Romney's 'Mormon moment' help his campaign?
When a Dallas pastor called Mr. Romney’s faith – Mormonism – a 'cult' at a recent convention of Christian conservatives, he brought into the open the role of religion in the primaries.
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At the Values Voter Summit in Washington, where Jeffress made his controversial comments, it wasn’t difficult to find attendees unwilling to vote for Romney, at least in the primaries. Many readily agreed that Mormonism is a cult – and that they in fact didn’t know much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally known. But that wasn’t necessarily the top reason to reject Romney. His authorship of the Massachusetts health-care reform, a model for Mr. Obama’s reform, was one. Others had different reasons.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Murff holds up the Susan B. Anthony List’s 2012 Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge, with a big, black “No” under Romney’s name. In June, Romney said he would not sign because it was “overly broad and would have unintended consequences.” But to a conservative Christian like Murff, that meant Romney was not serious about his opposition to abortion, a view Romney came to profess only in recent years.
“Mormonism isn’t the issue,” Murff said. “Baptists have always upheld a belief in religious freedom. And if I run for office, I would hope people wouldn’t discount my candidacy because I’m an evangelical.”
But to Dee Hayden, a retiree from Newport News, Va., Mormonism is an issue. She doesn’t believe Romney’s faith would affect how he governed, but she’s afraid his election would boost Mormonism. “If he’s elected, that would bring notice to the church,” she says.
Ms. Hayden says she’d vote for Romney if he got the GOP nomination, but would not be willing to go door to door for him, even though she plans to get involved in Virginia’s Senate race.
Her comment echoes the view of Jeffress from the day before, when he predicted to reporters that the nomination of Romney would lead to Obama’s reelection. In 2008, he said, Evangelical voters stayed home rather than voted for Republican nominee John McCain, handing the election to Obama.