I have voiced extreme skepticism in the past about the electability of Mitt Romney based on his religious affiliation as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
See these two posts, for example:
Basically, I have always thought that Romney couldn’t win the primaries because of Evangelical opposition to him on religious grounds. If he could get past the primaries, I think he would stand a great chance on the national level. But I figured that he couldn’t survive the primaries based on a tacit — or more likely even explicit — religious test for office. If that happens, it will not be a government-imposed, unconstitutional religious test for public office but rather a deep disagreement about theology and Christian doctrine that a large percentage of the potential constituencies in the primaries would have.
But I may have been wrong in my assessment, even though it is based on my personal observations about Evangelicals and how they act toward Latter-day Saints. An intriguing blog called Evangelicals for Mitt attempts to dispel such theories by addressing the "Mormon question" head-on, and very satisfactorily, I might add. The blog includes a page on why they support Romney, which includes the following statement:
But…He’s a Mormon.
Yes, Gov. Romney is a Mormon. We are not. According to the liberal media, this is an unbridgeable gap, and evangelicals will never turn out to support a faithful Mormon like Mitt Romney. As usual, the media have it wrong. And they root their error (as usual) in a fundamental misunderstanding about American evangelicals—seeing us as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments.
To be perfectly clear, we believe Gov. Romney is not only acceptable to conservative Christians, but that he is clearly the best choice for people of faith. He is right on all the issues, and he has proven his positions with actions. He is a gifted and persuasive spokesman for our political and moral values. Here is the bottom line: the 2008 election is for president, not pastor. We would never advocate that the Governor become our pastor or lead our churches—we disagree with him profoundly on theological issues. But we reject the notion that the president of the United States has to be in perfect harmony with our religious doctrine. In fact, that is not a test that has been applied before—after all, Jimmy Carter was probably more theologically in line with evangelicals than Ronald Reagan, yet we believe that Reagan was clearly the better choice in 1980.
Let’s leave the absurd religious litmus test to the Democrats. What we want is a president who shares our moral and political values and will put them into action. A President Romney would do that—just as he’s done in Massachusetts—making him stand head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
Finally, it is not just our theory that evangelicals will support Governor Romney. In March, 2006, he shocked the political establishment by finishing second at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll in Memphis, Tennessee. We led the grassroots effort that put him above John McCain and George Allen, and where did he get the vast majority of his support? From the very Southern evangelicals who the media is convinced will not support a Mormon from Massachusetts. (emphasis added)
I think this perspective is greatly needed. First, I found it interesting that these Evangelicals who support Romney blame the media for creating this notion that Evangelicals will never vote for Romney. By portraying Evangelicals as unsophisticated and ignorant, the media has created the perception that they cannot see past differences in religious doctrine. Although I find this to be an interesting suggestion, the truth is, I do not believe it is true. Unfortunately, Evangelicals have themselves to blame for the perception that they are so anti-Mormon that they would not even consider voting for a Latter-day Saint as President. If some Evangelicals, such as those running the Evangelicals for Romney blog, have a problem with that, then they need to take it up with the likes of Pat Robertson and other instigators of the whole "Mormons aren’t Christian" campaign.
But Latter-day Saints are different doctrinally than Evangelicals (or other creedal Christians, for that matter). That is just fine. We can still all live together in society and serve one another as neighbors and in politics. That’s why I find the first bolded portion so important. We need to "reject the notion that the president of the United States has to be in perfect harmony with our religious doctrine." If we can do that, we will all be better off in the long run, regardless of whether Mitt Romney becomes President.