The Religious Right, specifically the Evangelicals, are in a tizzy. Their worst fear is that Romney will get the Republican nomination and they’ll be left with two unpalatable choices: a Democrat who is a Christian1 or a Republican who is a cultist2.
Lest you think I’m joking, let me reassure you that I know from first-hand experience. I was raised in a small town in the Texas panhandle. I attended church in that town from when I was born until I left for college at 16. About 12 years or so of that was at the Methodist church and the other half was at the First Baptist church (part of the Southern Baptist Convention). And despite the greater Methodist church being more accepting and liberal – Methodist churches in small towns are as conservative as you can get. So I can speak with authority what conservative small town evangelicals are taught and, presumably, believe.
Both churches taught that Mormons3 weren’t Christians but were, in fact, a cult. These churches only begrudgingly conceded that Catholics are Christian if pressed4. But Mormons? They’re in the same bucket as Jehovah Witnesses, wiccans, and satan worshipers.
So that brings us back to Romney. A group of evangelical leaders met this past weekend to decide which non-Romney candidate they’ll support. Note that it wasn’t which Republican candidate, but which non-Romney candidate. Their choice? Rick Santorum. Keep in mind that Santorum is Catholic, not Protestant. They’re that desperate to keep Romney out of the White House. Their only non-Mormon, non-Catholic choices were Rick Perry and Ron Paul, neither of which are serious competitors to Romney. So why Santorum instead of Gingrich, who is also Catholic? My guess is that the twice-divorced, cheated-on-two-wives Gingrich isn’t the “family values” candidate they were looking for.
What does this mean for those of us not falling off the right side of sanity? Grab some popcorn, throw a couple of bucks Romney’s way before the primary, and watch the evangelicals squirm from now through November.
Update: And just in case you don’t believe me.
3 Anyone seen the new Mormon ad campaign? The buses around here have large, 3-panel ads with a person in each panel with the phrase “I’m a Mormon” in them. Sadly. Every time I see one my mind parses it as “I’m a moron”. Mormons aren’t morons, and I don’t think they are. But pure #FAIL on the ad campaign.