Conservative blogger, political analyst, and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt just wrote A Mormon in the White House? (Regnery). The book urges Christians not to reject former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate for theological reasons. Senior associate editor Stan Guthrie spoke with Hewitt.
Why shouldn't Christians oppose Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism?
Because the civic religion in America is founded very much on the Constitution's Article Six premise that there is no religious test. That was to act as a formal impediment to state action and to foster an attitude of Americansthat we love religious liberty, that we are defenders of religious tolerance.
Would any theological beliefs be disqualifying?
Not a theological belief. But if a theological belief resulted in a political position, it could. For example, if a Raelian believed that we needed to embrace cloning, I would say, "I can't vote for you because you're in favor of cloning."
What role should faith play in a President performing his or her duties?
I want a person of great values. Romney and John McCain and Rudy Giuliani all have some values with which I agree. They also have some positions with which I don't agree. So I look at what they are going to do in office. What are they going to try to implement in terms of the war or judicial appointments? Their personal faith would almost not enter into that conversation about qualifications for office.
I value President Bush's faith. I think that's made him quite a good leader, given him strength, courage, and determination in the face of tremendous obstacles. But Lincoln was a "right strawy" theologian and our greatest President. I'm not looking for a pastor. I'm looking for a President.