A matter of faith
As Mitt Romney scours the South for endorsements from evangelical leaders, he is getting distinct advice on how to explain his Mormon faith: Don’t try to be one of us.
“I told him, you cannot equate Mormonism with Christianity; you cannot say, ‘I am a Christian just like you,’ “ Rep. Bob Inglis, South Carolina Republican, told Bloomberg News. “If he does that, every Baptist preacher in the South is going to have to go to the pulpit on Sunday and explain the differences.”
This advice, which reflects the views of many Southern Baptists and other evangelicals, makes Mr. Romney’s co-religionists bristle.
“The fact that we are Christians is nonnegotiable,” said Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In seeking the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney must court churchgoing voters, who make up almost 30 percent of the party’s electorate.
His supporters argue that he doesn’t need to address all of the tenets of Mormonism to appeal to evangelicals.
“Talking about values is a winner, talking about theological stuff is a no-no,” said Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida, a Republican and Romney fan.