Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s minister ally Robert Jeffress might think Mitt Romney’s church is a cult, but a new documentary on the presidency and Mormonism suggests that Romney could snag the nation’s top job despite the religious feud between Christians.
Adam Christing, director of A Mormon President, about founding prophet Joseph Smith’s failed bid for the White House, suggests that while the issue lingers, voters appear ready to choose their economic security over their religious concerns.“The race certainly feels different than it did in 2004 when Romney dropped out of the race,” Christing says. “Luckily for Romney, I think many conservatives are going to be voting with their pocket books instead of their Bible.”
And it helps to have the church playing along. Christing says The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made a few strategic moves to make Romney’s race more about his political issues than about his faith, including keeping their support for him under wraps. “I think the church is holding back from being too vocal about their support for Romney. After all, it seems like this is a time when Joseph Smith’s long-term dream of having a Mormon in the White House might really come true,” says Christing. “It is a smart move for the church not to endorse Romney. Of course, there are probably millions of Mormon dollars from individuals pouring in and saying ‘go Mitt go’, but the church’s support is quiet,” he adds.
That isn’t to say though that Romney’s faith doesn’t leave something to be desired among evangelical GOP voters.“I know many evangelical Christians who would rather sit it out in the next election than vote for a Mormon,” Christing says. “Some evangelical Christians feel like they would be going against their morals and values by voting for a Mormon.”
Christing says unfortunately for Romney there’s nothing he can do to convince staunch evangelicals otherwise.Instead he advises Romney not to run from the topic of religion completely, but instead discuss God in broad terms. “He needs to say, ‘My religion will guide me in terms of morality and principles,’ and leave it at that,” Christing says.