It looks like Romney's Mormon Moment might be just over the horizon, according to GR's latest post, Romney goes to Regent, and the linked media story. It's there at Regent Univeristy that Romney will probably attempt the impossible: make a crowd of über-Evangelicals happy with a Mormon candidate. I've been reading about Romney's "Mormon problem" for months now, without a single reporter pointing out this very obvious fact: He doesn't have a Mormon problem.
Mitt's okay with being Mormon; Mormons are okay with being Mormon; and just about everyone is happy voting for or against Romney because of his record, his issues, or his party, not on him being Mormon. Except Evangelicals, who seem to think the most important thing about Romney the candidate is that he's Mormon and that this very well might spur them to vote for someone else regardless of their policy or party preferences. So what we're dealing with, folks, is an Evangelical problem. There is no Mormon problem. Mitt Romney has an Evangelical problem.
Of course, it's not just Romney's problem, it's everybody's problem. Here we are in the 21st century, with the Democratic nomination likely to be a duel between a woman and an African-American. Diversity and tolerance seem to be alive and well on the left. But move to the Republican side and we see a well-defined group of self-proclaimed Christians — who read a parable about a Jew befriending a religiously despised Samaritan and nod their heads approvingly, as if they understand and agree — who seem to be convinced that diversity and tolerance are for someone else, not them. Or that it just doesn't apply to politics.
But isn't their whole point that they think they are applying religion to politics? Is it simply the case that, for Evangelicals, religion is just a sectarian exercise rather than a set of values that one follows in daily living? It sure looks like it to me. Are secular Democrats acting more like good Christians than Evangelicals? After all, you'd have a hard time arguing that diversity and tolerance are not Christian virtues, given that ethnocentrism and intolerance are the alternatives. Like I said, we've all got an Evangelical problem.