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For months pundits have argued that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney must deliver a Kennedy-esque speech on his Mormonism. What journalists could not provoke, rival Mike Huckabee's surge in the polls apparently required. With Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist preacher, touting himself in ads as a "Christian leader," Romney saw fit to explain how his Mormon faith would affect his presidency. The former Massachusetts governor vowed that as President, he would serve no one religion but rather the common cause of the people of the United States.

His speech echoed some issues he raised in an earlier interview with Christianity Today. "It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions," Romney said on Thursday. "And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter—on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people."

David Neff, editor-in-chief of the Christianity Today Media Group, says evangelicals can affirm much of what Romney said about religion in the public square. But Neff also observed what Romney did not say—namely, what does the candidate believe about the controversial aspects of Mormon history? And what does he think about the worrisome particulars of Mormon theology? These particulars include the Book of Mormon, belief that God is both male and female, and baptism for the dead, according to Randall Balmer. The Columbia University professor doesn't ...

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December 2007

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