Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

The big news out of Michigan was Mitt Romney's big win over John McCain. (No news from the Democrat side--Hillary Clinton was uncontested on the ballot.) The victorious Romney secured his place among top tier Republican candidates. It gives him significant momentum as attention now shifts to South Carolina.

Something else about this Michigan surprise: An impressive majority of Evangelicals and other conservative Christians gave Romney their confidence. I saw this personally when I was there. In talking about each of the candidates' religious sensibilities, a number of pastors and lay church leaders told me they had no problem electing a Mormon. That took me aback, given what attitudes have been reported to be. I consider this an important and positive development. (I took note that Romney publicly thanked our friend Jay Sekulow for his work on behalf of the campaign in Michigan and for Jay's efforts to "get good judges"--meaning, of course, good federal judges, including Supreme Court justices. Should Romney win the presidency, Jay will be a top adviser to him on nominees to the federal bench.)

Yesterday I received an E-mail from a woman in Pennsylvania telling me she had examined all the candidates and determined Mitt Romney was the best qualified, but she still had doubts about his religion. She asked what I thought of Mormonism. I won't repeat everything I wrote back to her, but I will mention these points:

1) Religious labels don't mean much in politics. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were both Evangelicals--Southern Baptists to be exact--just like Romney's contender, Mike Huckabee, but they are all very different people and hold very different values.

2) While Evangelicals and other orthodox, trinitarian Christians will have serious doctrinal differences with members of Romney's church (more correctly, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--"Mormon" is a nick-name), LDS members do hold to the highest moral values. God, family and country are passions for Mormons as much as they are tenets of faith. The Ten Commandments are revered and repeated in the Book of Mormon.

3) Romney's official religious advisor to his campaign is an ordained, Bible-believing Evangelical minister.

4) The measuring rod for Romney and all other candidates is whether they adhere to these high moral standards and whether they have the ability to govern effectively. After my personal meetings with Mitt (and Ann) Romney, I'd have to say he clears the first hurdle. I won't say I'm an expert on the second, but many agree with this woman from Pennsylvania.

I have not--and will not--endorse a particular candidate, but I do want the most qualified person to win. Michigan was one more tine in the winnowing fork. Let's see what happens next!

Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002