They like us. They really, really like us. Sort of.
Yesterday, Religion News Service reported that a couple dozen prominent Christian conservatives sent a letter to the Romney campaign signaling their public assent to his candidacy despite theological misgivings rooted in deep historical antagonisms.
To hear some tell it, you’d think the moguls of the Christian Right had gathered up and burned all the copies of the anti-Mormon movie The Godmakers they used to screen in their Sunday Schools. Or that they all chipped in for a Jesus fish to affix to the tail end of Romney’s presidential candidate motorcade.
But if you think what they offered Romney was a welcome to the league of Christian gentlemen, you should really read the letter for yourself.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
In this election year, matters of religious belief are once again highly visible in the public square. Some have tempered their enthusiasm for sound governing principles by their concern over differences in a candidate’s theological doctrine. It is time to remind ourselves that civil government is not about a particular theology but rather about public policy, and the question we ask is this one: what are the policy principles that will govern your administration should you prevail on Election Day.
The next thirteen paragraphs congratulate Romney and the Republican party on their platform, celebrating positions against human trafficking and persecution of religious minorities worldwide, same-sex civil marriage rights, and access to abortion—a platform in which Republicans rolled back even access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, and the life or health of the mother—a guarantee even conservative religious denominations like the LDS Church have historically supported.
Signatories include Ralph Reed, Joel Belz of World magazine, Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and other conservative religious stalwarts.
We are not surprised. We’ve seen this coming. Remember it was just last year when Warren Cole Smith of World magazine declared that theological differences between Mormons and mainline Protestants were not just differences but “dangers”—implicitly accusing Mormons of an intent to use the cultural capital of a Romney presidency to bamboozle would-be Christians worldwide into converting to Mormonism instead. But in April, even Pastor Robert Jeffress who so delighted in calling Mormonism a “cult” at the Values Voter Summit promised he’d vote for Romney. “Game over,” we said here at RD.
But now, I guess, as strategic interests align, it’s really truly over.
They really, really like us.
When they have to.