Monday, February 19, 2007

Baptists endorsing a Mormon?

The Cleburne News out of Alabama has an interesting piece about U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Baptist, endorsing Mitt Romney. However, it goes on to describe Rogers’ reach out efforts to local Baptist church leaders:

Rogers touched base with several leaders within the Southern Baptist communities - including Daniel Harper, pastor of Saks Baptist Church, which is Rogers’ home church and Al Jackson, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, which is the largest congregation in Rogers’ district, among others. None believed Romney’s Mormon background would be an issue.

“And to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised,” Rogers said. “What really matters is Gov. Romney’s stand on the issues.”
This is a significant difference from what major newspapers are telling the public. Instead of standing their ground for theological reasons and opposing Romney, it seems more that Evangelicals will likely support the candidate they feel best represents their values, regardless of religion. The article describes this as something almost unsurprising:

As a voter, Gilmore doesn’t envision any specific stumbling blocks between Romney and Rogers, despite their theological differences.

“The differences between the Southern Baptist Church and the Mormon Church are core differences,” he said. “I don’t see how those issues would come into play in a political venue. Socially their views are similar, and politically their viewpoints are similar. Two people with so much in common are bound to get along nicely.”

Perhaps such interfaith pairings could open the eyes of those standing on once-opposing sides of the pulpit.

“I think Baptists could work comfortably with anyone,” Sewell says. “As long as it’s with someone whose moral values and political values are close to ours, we can all get along.”

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Blogger Marc said...

Heartening news for Romney, to be sure. I'm not sure the question of whether Romney will really gain the support of the larger Evangelical community can be answered anywhere but the voting booth though. No doubt we'll see the issue repeatedly raised in the press until then.

12:50 AM  

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