Lunch with Mitt Romney

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Okay, it wasn't a private lunch, but there weren't all that many of us there, either.  Gov. Romney was in Greenville yesterday and I attended a Q & A forum with lunch.  I suppose winning the South Carolina primary is fairly significant to his campaign, and it looks like he might just win here. 

As expected, I was enormously impressed with the man's presence, and I have to say that given President Bush's media troubles, it was nice to see.  I also agreed with just about everything Mitt had to say, from the economy, to the war, and to the culture war.  He also handled an open Q&A session with candor and clarity, even inviting his largely evangelical audience to question him about Mormonism (nobody did).

Perhaps most noteworthy was that this event seemed to have been sponsored by Bob Jones University (at least it was a BJU official who introduced Mitt, and there were lots of BJU folks there).  As you may know, Dr. Bob Jones III recently endorsed Mitt for president, creating a stir because Romney is, you know, a Mormon.  I have to say that the Mormon angle on this is interesting, mainly because while most evangelical Christians realize that we should not be hung up on this we still struggle with it.  And I have to admit that I am one of them.  But why do we think it somehow betraying our religion to support a conservative political leader who gives every evidence of being supportive of conservative Christianity but is a Mormon?  I really don't know -- it probably has something to do with Trojan Horse suspicions.  It also may result from reflections on what it is that a practicing Mormon believes.  Meanwhile, our evangelical President allowed his Secretary of the Navy to ban "sectarian prayers" on board ships (such as prayers "in the name of Jesus").  It seems that easy categories just don't help us here: we must try to objectively assess the man as he is.

Anyway, my impression is that Romney is a terrific candidate who will appeal strongly to evangelicals the more he is exposed to them.  But what he will be like should enter the political vortex of the White House is anyone's guess.  Once again, I find myself more motivated to pray to God for my country than I am to trust in any princes.
Posted November 7, 2007 @ 8:53 AM by Rick Phillips
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