"Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person? Or do we want a candidate who is a born again follower of Jesus Christ?"
Good grief. The answer is: yes, evangelicals want a good, moral person, and many people aren't so concerned of whether a person fits the definition of a "born again" follower of Jesus Christ. We want someone who is a leader, who is moral, and who has conservative values. This could be Romney, could be Perry, could be Herman Cain. But it is not surprising that a mega church pastor is going to push one of his own, and disparage a conservative solely because of his brand of faith.
What Jeffress probably doesn't realize is that when the average American sees him endorse Perry primarily because he is "born again" and is "indwelt with the Holy Spirit", and at the same time disparages Romney for his Mormonism, that this will probably scare Americans AWAY from Perry in the general election. Proof of this is that Perry disagreed with Jeffress' statements just a few minutes after Jeffress uttered them!
Too bad that Jeffress is out there trying to speak on behalf of evangelicals. He is certainly not a spokesperson for evangelicals, and his views are NOT those of most clear-thinking evangelicals. His arguments against Romney and in support of Governor Rick Perry don't hold water. For instance:
- Jeffress said Friday that there are many people who won't admit that they will not vote for Romney, that they will vote differently than they will answer in the polls. Jeffress insults Americans with that statement. He is essentially saying that a significant portion of evangelicals are religious bigots and would not vote for Romney solely because he is a Mormon.
- Jeffress even resorts to the scare tactic that he has heard recently at "a conference", characterizing it as a "large constituency" of voters that would rather sit at home and not vote, than to vote for a Mormon over Barrack Obama. Again, that is an absolute insult to American evangelicals. Not the first time Jeffress riles up the faithful by making religious exaggerations; he did the same thing when exaggerating concerns about Islam, saying that "all over the world" Muslim men are "having sex with 4 year old girls", and that Islam "promotes pedophilia".
- Jeffress said Friday that the Southern Baptist Convention has labeled Mormonism as a cult, and that he does not consider Romney a true follower of Jesus Christ. Yes, many say Mormonism is not true Christianity, but most SBC pastors don't view the Catholic Church as true Christianity, some have even labeled it a "cult". Southern Baptists have been narrowing the parameters for several decades now of what a true Christian is.
- Jeffress says that Romney is not a true "Christian". I would point out that David Barton, one of the favorite "historians" amongst the Southern Baptists who preached at First Baptist Jacksonville a few weeks ago on 9/11, has said he considers Mormon Glenn Beck to be a true Christian, and he says that we should not tie a Mormon to the label of "Mormon" and dismiss them as a false believer. Barton says Beck is a true Christian believer. Barton says we should evaluate a Christian on his personal beliefs and fruits, and not on what label he chooses to wear. I didn't say it, Barton said it, and Barton is a darling amongst the Southern Baptist pastors. Read Barton's own words concerning Beck here.
Fact is that the same garbage being spread about Romney and his Mormonism is the same junk said about JFK in the 1960 election. His religion will make him unelectable, he'll be taking orders from the pope, his decision making will be skewed because of his strange Catholic beliefs. Fifty years later, we have to go through it again with a Mormon, and Jeffress is leading the way.
Evangelicals will choose their candidate based on values, economic policy, leadership skills, and other factors that determine whether a candidate would make a good president. Some bigots might stay home and never, ever vote for someone because they are a Mormon or a Catholic or an agnostic - but they are a small, small minority.
And yes, Robert, I'll take a good, moral person, over a professing Southern Baptist in the White House.
After all, the last "born again" Southern Baptist we had in the White House ended up getting sexual favors from a 22-year old in the Oval Office.