The Baptist endorsement | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Baptist endorsement

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2007 at 4:07 PM

Richard Land, a big political stick in Washington for the Southern Baptist Convention, chatted with the Wall Street Journal for an article today on his take on the Republican candidates. (Baptists like Land don't vote for Democrats, even if they haven't cheated on a spouse.)

Giuliani won't get it, of course. He yearns for Fred Thompson, sounds like. Also, the article said:

Mr. Land might, on the other hand, vote for Mitt Romney. He says that evangelical voters may be able to get over their problems with a Mormon. "Charitably speaking," Mr. Land says, "they would call [Mormonism] the fourth Abrahamic religion. When they're less charitable, they would call it a cult." And they might even let him off the hook for his flip-flops on the social issues. "A lot of people in this country who are pro-life didn't used to be."

...To review, we have Rudy Giuliani, a twice divorced, pro-choice, supporter of civil unions; Mitt Romney, a Mormon who as recently as his 1994 Senate campaign against liberal icon Sen. Ted Kennedy was pro-choice and wishy-washy on gay marriage; John McCain, who voted against the gay marriage amendment and who crafted the campaign finance laws that have done much to damage the anti-abortion efforts of religious conservatives; or perhaps Fred Thompson, who supported McCain-Feingold and says that gay marriage is a state issue.

Mr. Land remains oddly upbeat, particularly about Mr. Thompson, the possibility of whose candidacy he finds "tantalizing." But he acknowledges the reality of his constituency's situation: "Evangelicals would be very happy if Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback or Duncan Hunter were the nominee, but the problem with those three guys is they don't give any indication they can win." And he adds, "With Hillary Clinton looming on the horizon, electability is a very important issue."

At the very least, the evangelical influence in the Republican primary will be diluted, with some religious conservatives thinking ahead to the general election and others going for the purest representative of their values. It is noteworthy that even among the unelectable candidates, evangelicals can't make up their minds between a free-trade, open-immigration candidate like Sen. Brownback and a closed-borders protectionist like Rep. Hunter.

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