Robert Millet, professor of ancient Christian Scriptures at Brigham Young University, and Gerald McDermott, professor of religion at Roanoke College, are co-authors of Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate, to be published in September by Brazos Press. The book discusses a wide range of topics, including how to understand the biblical canon, the Book of Mormon, the Trinity, faith and works, and other theological subjects. Here they ask how much the theological divide between Mormons and evangelicals should matter when considering a Mormon candidate's presidential campaign.
As we enter the summer, Mitt Romney remains the most conservative among the top three candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. But can Romney get the votes of evangelicals, whose support is essential to winning the nomination?
Romney is attractive to evangelicals for a number of reasons. Unlike Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, Romney is clearly conservative on both social and fiscal issues. He talks about the need to protect traditional marriage and is opposed to abortion on demand and stem-cell research. He was also a successful venture capitalist who, after running his own company, rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from financial disaster. Furthermore, Romney can claim political success. As a conservative governor in liberal Massachusetts, he eliminated an inherited deficit and pushed through major healthcare reform.
Some analysts say Romney's social conservatism is very recent and politically motivated. They point out that in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney proclaimed support for Roe v. Wade and promised he would not change the state's abortion policies. In the same year, he endorsed RU-486, an abortion-inducing drug.
Romney says ...