Prominent Baptist leader Richard Land published a provocative op-ed piece in Monday's USA Today titled "Romney's problem with evangelicals will end."
Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He noted in the USA Today piece that one-third of evangelical voters already support Romney, and reminded readers that Republican presidential candidates George W. Bush and John McCain garnered 76 and 74 percent of the evangelical vote, respectively, in the last two presidential elections.
But the most interesting point Land extended is his belief that Romney would not have had problems with evangelical voters in the first place if only his political positions had always been "more Mormon," i.e., more in line with the basic tenets of Romney's LDS faith.
"The evangelical and conservative unease about Romney has not been primarily about his Mormon faith but about his earlier pro-choice and liberal social positions," Land wrote. "Ironically, if Romney had been more Mormon, more in tune with his faith's views on these issues from the beginning of his political career, there would be far fewer doubts among evangelicals."
The California political blog Calbuzz, in a staff editorial published Tuesday, essentially echoed Land's forecast that evangelicals will soon embrace Romney.
"Romney’s problem with evangelicals is an issue only in the GOP primary. Once he wins the Republican nomination, evangelicals (including fundamentalists, Pentecostals and other charismatic Christians) will vote for Romney over President Barack Obama, whom they regard as a secular humanist at best and an Allah-worshiping Muslim at worst."
Further down in the Calbuzz piece is some interesting food for thought that illustrates how greatly Romney's candidacy will benefit if and when the majority of evangelical voters adopt him as their preferred candidate. Last month's USC/Los Angeles Times polling of all California Republicans showed Romney leading Santorum, 42-23. But when counting only the California Republicans who are also evangelical, the tables turned and Santorum handily bested Romney, 40-33.
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