But former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is looking very strong in Iowa and New Hampshire, where presidential primary voting begins this week. Likewise, a current Rasmussen poll shows Romney with a six percentage point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical election matchup.
So things are looking very good for Mitt Romney, as he seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency. And this means that Americans will likely have to answer an important question in 2012: which would you prefer at the White House -Mormon theology, or Marxist liberation theology?
I wish I didn’t have to ask this question. But as Romney gets closer to the presidency, the criticisms of his church affiliation and theological convictions will get louder. And if you’re troubled by Mitt’s Mormonism, you should be even more concerned about the religious affiliations of our current President.
As for Mr. Romney, he has thus far run a good campaign and has managed to mostly stay out of theological debates. But in the last presidential election cycle the “Mormon thing” proved to be unavoidable, and as primary voting begins in religiously conservative regions of the country, his Mormonism will become a big deal again.
Given this certainty, here’s some advice for Governor Romney: don’t repeat your mistake of 2008 of trying to convince “them” that you are one of “them.” The more you stand in front of conservative Evangelical and Catholic audiences and ascribe terms like “born again” and “Christian” to yourself, the more they’ll be saying “oh no you are not!”
Leave the theological battles over “who is really a Christian” to other people, Mr. Romney, and talk to us instead about the values and policy ideas that America so desperately needs.
When questions arise about your church, tell us, Mr. Romney, why your Mormonism matters: your church informs your understanding of why our society must uphold the dignity of every human individual; it teaches you about the profound importance of human liberty (I love your church’s “Choose The Right” motto – try telling us why it is so important that each of us have the freedom to “choose”); and it affirms to the world that marriage is good for society. Try to convey that, while our theological differences are real, our values are more universal and uniting.
On this point, you might borrow from former President George W Bush. In a little-known March 2001 speech, Bush spoke at the opening of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. Bush, of course, is a Methodist-turned-Evangelical, yet he was still warmly received at the ceremony by the Catholic hierarchy.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.