Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Ken Klukowski.
Elections are about choices, and 2012’s pivotal election showcases two very different visions for America’s future. Governor Mitt Romney is quickly consolidating the Republican base to enthusiastically support him this November. His speech this weekend at Liberty University illustrates these efforts, providing an opportunity to underscore Romney’s embrace of American exceptionalism in both his public and private life.
Liberty University is the perfect venue for Governor Romney to make his case. With over 50,000 students, it’s America’s largest Evangelical school. Founded by Jerry Falwell, it’s affiliated with the largest Evangelical denomination in America, the 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Liberty University wisely offered Romney a platform to speak to social conservatives.
Romney wisely accepted, showing both support for cultural issues, and also his desire to have a large and diverse political movement behind him to unseat one of the most radical big government presidents in America’s history. Some seek to make an issue of the fact that Romney is a Mormon—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). But those attacks will deservedly fail in a choice between Romney and Obama.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that in America you have the legal right to be theologically wrong. This protection for diversity of belief includes matters large and small, covering not only Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Catholics, and others, but also 422 Protestant denominations. While there are very significant theological differences between LDS and Evangelical doctrine, none of them are significant for national policymaking.
That’s because most voters only focus on religious beliefs insofar as they inform policy decisions. On those issues, there is little difference, for instance, between the faith teachings of Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons. All are pro-life, upholding the dignity of human life. All fully support marriage between a man and woman. All embrace the value of religious faith and practice, and pursue religious liberty.