Michael Medved: Why Mitt Romney's Mormonism has caused no backlash among GOP faithful

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 2:07 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wave to supporters at a campaign event, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Koehler Athletic Complex on the campus of the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio.

J.D. Pooley, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Our take: Daily Beast reporter Michael Medved looks into how Mitt Romney's faith and other faiths in the GOP have been able to work well together for the sake of shared political goals.

It's too early to know whether Mitt Romney will realize his dream of becoming the first Mormon president, but he has already made history by achieving a new pluralism in the Republican Party and encouraging a more inclusive focus for the religious right.

I saw that change first hand as a featured speaker at a Battleground States Talkers Tour event in Cleveland last Thursday night. The boisterous, overflow crowd of 1,700 included a prominent portion of evangelical Christians who nonetheless cheered lustily at every mention of a Mormon named Romney, a Catholic named Paul Ryan, and the Jewish nominee for U.S. Senate in Ohio: Josh Mandel, state treasurer, Marine Corps officer, and Iraq War veteran. In conversation and during the book signing afterward, I met Latino Catholics, black Baptists, Eastern Orthodox believers of Serbian heritage, Irish-American cops, a smattering of Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and dozens of observant Jews.

Had Democratic partisans or pundits from the mainstream media attended this event, they would have found it jarringly incongruent with their image of the Republican base as bigoted, benighted, and born again. Contrary to common contentions that Christian conservatism promotes intolerance and a narrow-minded insistence on biblical literalism, the Romney campaign has assembled a coalition of truly impressive theological diversity.

Read more about Why Romney's Mormonism Has Caused No Backlash Among GOP Faithf on The Daily Beast.

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