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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hugh Hewitt's Advice to Evangelical Leaders and Theologians RE: Romney

Very interesting read here from the Associated Baptist Press. Hugh Hewitt gives us a preview that his book will be arguing that Evangelicals would be VERY unwise to oppose Romney on religious grouds as they would be shooting themselves in the foot (feet?)

After discussing the importance of blogging and the blogosphere for political influence/opinion driving the coverage turns to Romney:

Hewitt is currently writing a book about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints and prominent potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Hewitt said he believes evangelicals have the potential to help or hurt themselves in how they react to the possibility of a Mormon in the White House.

As a result of Romney's potential, Hewitt noted, journalists will inevitably begin asking evangelical professors and pastors for their take on a potential Mormon in the White House.

He cautioned against disparaging or inappropriate comments about Romney's faith. Every theological or philosophical argument evangelicals use against a Mormon candidate or Mormon theology will eventually be used against evangelicals, he said.

"Many in this room in the next year to year-and-a-half will be asked by students and the media, 'What do you think about Mitt Romney?'" he said, adding that once "secular absolutists" get them to talk about theology, they open themselves to attack. "If we begin to ask Mitt Romney about which [Morman] practices and doctrines he subscribes to, it cannot be capped. It will not be stopped."

According to Hewitt, most people have three main objections to Romney's presence, should he win the election: that Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City will control the White House, that a Mormon president will energize Mormon missionaries around the globe, and that it's "irrational" to be a Mormon.

All three concerns, Hewitt said, are unfounded.
And if people see evangelicals bashing Mormons for their unique beliefs, the thinking goes, secular leaders will turn their own argument against evangelicals seeking the presidency.

"They do not want us in politics and in the public square because they believe us widely to be irrational," he said. "It would be tragic to me that in the course of rushing off to do battle with Mormon theology, you attract our common opponent," the secular absolutists.

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