Can Evangelicals Trust Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney finally gave “The Speech” about his religious views. I read the transcript and thought it was a wonderful speech. The best line in it was:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

This is the same view expressed in the Declaration of Independence where we are reminded that our rights come from God not government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .

This is the watershed issue in our culture. Those that agree with the Founders are Conservative. Those who believe rights come from government are Liberals.

I think this speech will help Romney with evangelicals but I’m not sure that it will be enough. I think evangelicals are haunted by Jimmy Carter, George H Bush and Bill Clinton. We remember “reading my lips” and “never worked so hard for the American people” as preludes to broken promises and tax hikes. We remember Carter and Clinton gutting our military and trying to peacefully co-exist with terrorists.

Romney’s problems with evangelicals are not really theological but ethical. We are asked to trust that he is a conservative—one of us—but his track record as a politician and his words as a presidential candidate do not agree. What is his epiphany? What caused the change? Evangelicals happily acknowledge that God has the power to do this in the hearts of men but Romney does not credit God with the change. According to Romney he has been consistent the whole time to his faith in God. Both he and Harry Reid are LDS and they are polar opposites on political and social issues yet both in good standing with the folks in Salt Lake City.

Another reason that trust in Romney is thin is our experience in California with Arnold Schwarzenegger. We threw a known conservative—Tom McClintock—under the bus and went with Arnold because Arnold was a fiscal conservative that told us he could work with Democrats. Now Arnold is counted as the eighth most influential Liberal in the United States and has sold-out to the homosexuals and environmental extremists. Arnold has papered over the debt in California by transferring obligations to 30-year bond measures instead of correcting the structural issues that created the deficit spending. Furthermore, while Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised over 120 million dollars for his campaign coffers the Republican Party in California is bankrupt and two million dollars in debt!

Conservatives want to be charitable with Romney. We need converts to our cause to change the direction of our country. We need the children of the ‘60s to embrace the values of their fathers. Jesus told us to forgive our brother if he offends us even seven times seventy times. Conservatives went way beyond that number a decade ago and still we want to forgive. We just want a measure of assurance that Romney will govern with the same values he wants to campaign on.