Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Religious Opposition to Romney Overblown?

National Review editor Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks the MSM is all wet (see here) when it comes to assessing Mitt Romney’s presidential appeal to Christians, in light of him being a Mormon. Lopez quotes CNN’s Bill Schneider as saying, “[T]he press is one of the most secular institutions in American society. It just doesn’t get religion or any idea that flows from religious conviction.”

Lopez doesn’t think much of the now famous Bloomberg/LA Times poll that concluded that 37% of registered voters would refuse to vote for an unnamed Mormon for president. Of course, many bloggers have thoroughly fisked the poll to demonstrate that it is unreliable (see here and here for examples). (Of course, they knew it was unreliable when they commissioned the poll, but this is the kind of stuff that sells well.) Besides, Lopez notes that a poll about a generic future possibility is meaningless in the real world.

As a Catholic, Lopez is philosophical about Romney. After noting how well his political views align with traditional conservative positions, she says, “I might not go to church with him, but I can work with him. And if I were a conservative evangelical Protestant, I’d certain (sic) consider voting for someone who talks about a culture of life in the way Romney does.”

Of course, Lopez is not “a conservative evangelical Protestant,” so whatever she thinks she might do if she were one is irrelevant. There is no question that many evangelicals distrust the Mormon religion. (Click here for a humorous cartoon on this issue.) But they’re going to be voting for a president, not a pastor. When evangelicals get into the voting booth, are they going to be more concerned about political ideology or doctrinal disagreements? Lopez is betting on the former. And in that case, Romney aligns nicely with evangelicals.

At any rate, Lopez thinks the MSM is overblowing the whole religious difference thing when it comes to Romney. She seems to suggest that they might be projecting their own distaste for anything religious onto the public.

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