No One Can Unite Evangelicals and Mormons Quite Like Barack Obama

I must confess that I awoke this Monday morning feeling a bit useless — feeling very small and insignificant in fact.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  After all, in this graduation season if I could give one piece of advice to young and ambitious graduates it would be this: “Learn to get over yourself — and quickly.”  But still, it’s not necessarily fun to feel insignificant.

Why did I feel like blowing off work, skipping even my shower, and just heading straight to my favorite video game to tune out the world?  Because last week Barack Obama accomplished more in about two minutes and thirteen seconds than I was able to accomplish in more than six years of continual effort.  Barack Obama united evangelicals and Mormons around Mitt Romney.

In late 2005, I realized that Mitt Romney was not just an outstanding governor of Massachusetts and a man of character and integrity (that much was obvious), but he should also be President of the United States.  Starting in early 2006, Nancy and I did our best to try to make that happen — organizing straw polls, launching a website, giving money, writing a book, and generally talking to anyone who’d listen.  Our message was simple: Mitt Romney and evangelicals certainly have theological differences, but they share core values, and Mitt can be counted on to defend those values.

Over time, our blog morphed just a bit and became a home for thoughtful Mormon-evangelical dialogue, and I treasure those conversations (in fact, that may ultimately prove to have been the highest and best purpose for our efforts).  At the same time, it sometimes felt like we were making zero headway with our fellow evangelicals.  In 2008, they flocked to a less-conservative Mike Huckabee rather than support Mitt.  And in 2012, southern evangelicals flocked to the less-conservative Rick Santorum.  Heck, at one point it even seemed like Newt Gingrich would sweep the evangelical vote.

But Mitt hung on, kept fighting, and won enough evangelicals to win the nomination.  But what about the general election?  After months of opponents hammering Mitt for being “no different” from Obama, would evangelicals see reality?  And if so, would they see in time to make a difference?

Now we know the answer.  It turns out that no one can draw distinctions better than President Obama.  We already knew that he was radically pro-abortion (after all, he refused to support the born-alive infant protection act), that he believes sexual liberty trumps religious liberty (see, for example, his HHS contraceptive mandates), and that some of his key supporters were contemptuous of stay-at-home moms, but last week he went all the way.  Last week he adopted the secular left social platform in its entirety when he endorsed gay marriage.  On life, religious liberty, and marriage, he is a firm “no.”  Mitt Romney is a firm “yes.”

My work is done.  My mission is accomplished.  But I didn’t accomplish it.  Thank you, President Obama, for doing my job far, far better than I ever could.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some gaming to do.

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  • Holly Jensen

    I am a proud Latter-day Saint and I must admit, my relationship with the evangelicals have been somewhat strained and tedious over the years due to their continual bashing over my faith. I have always known that we were more alike than we were different. I have tears in my eyes. All I can say is, thank you for believing in us and more so, in Mitt Romney.

    • Nancy French

      Thanks Holly!!

  • mary polleys

    So true. I am a Christian evangelical from the deep South. I would vote for Thomas Jefferson, who did not agree with my theology. But I would NOT vote for Jimmy Carter, who purportedly does. I am proud to be supporting Mitt Romney again as I did in 2008. I will be very proud to call him “Mr. President.”

    • Nancy French

      Has a nice ring to it!

  • Lucinda Craven

    Holly Jensen, Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. I too am a Latter day Saint. I too have struggled just as you. I agree with you, about David and Nancy French’s efforts! We conservative LDS people thank the French’s with all our hearts! We know what Mitt stands firmly for. We know all other Christians will know just how good of a President he will be, if they will only allow themselves to exert some faith, trust and support in him. We pray that all Evangelicals will take that leap of faith. We desperately need Mitt Romney to get in there, to get the work accomplished that needs to happen; to bring things back around to what our precious Founding Fathers ( with the direction of our Loving Heavenly Father) intended for our nation (throughout all time). Again, thank you, David and Nancy! God be with you in your long sufferings.

    • Nancy French

      :) Aw shucks, guys!

  • Mark Anderson

    Mr. Fench, I know it’s political, but you should attempt to be a little more accurate. When you use the words some, instead of one, that’s just wrong. I’ll even let you say that Hilary Rosen did attack Ann Romney, although she was attacking Mitt when she made the statement. She did apologize, but who cares. I was wondering if Mitt had a change of mind, and tried to state that staying home with children was OK for mothers in Massachusetts who received government money. I don’t think that raising children is seen as any kind of work by any state government or the national for that matter. Here’s a quote from Mr. Romney in January talking about poor mothers,”even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work”. He wants those mothers to “have the dignity of work.” Recently he said that “all moms are working moms”. He seems to be evolving on this issue. When you state that Romney is more conservative than Rick Santorum you are totally wrong, do I have to give you the youtube sites for all of Romney’s liberal messages. He was either lying then or he’s lying now.

    • Terry

      Mr. Anderson: Please do give us the sources for your “quotes”. As an LDS person, I happen to know Mitt Romney in ways you wouldn’t understand. Short quotes like that are easily pulled out of longer explanations and made to appear totally different than what they really are–especially if the person doing the pulling has an ax to grind with a certain candidate.

      Mr. Anderson, we all await your sources with baited breath. I’m just wondering why you didn’t supply them with your original post. (Actually, I know why you didn’t, but I’ll leave that for you to explain.)

    • George

      I guess no redemption for Mitt Romney only for Ronald Regan who made the same transitions. Ronald Regan wasn’t Ronald Regan when he was elected president.

      • ds

        This is true. He was Ronald Reagan.

  • Alejandro

    It’s very ignorant that you support Romney on the whole basis of abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage. Granted, I don’t support Obama either, but seeing how he respects minorities, he is the better option. I just hope he doesn’t invade Iran.

    • Gerald Smith

      Pres Obama does not respect minorities anymore than others do. He has done almost nothing in his time as president for African Americans. He has rounded up and deported more Hispanic illegals than any white president before him. He has not fixed immigration.
      There is a big difference between someone who speaks nicely, and someone who actually does something. Jesus spoke of the two brothers who were asked to work for their father. The first said he would, but didn’t; while the second said no, but later changed his mind and did it. Guess what? The one who actually DOES is the better person. Pres Obama has spent trillions on his personal agenda and buddies: unions, big banks, etc. But his policies are creating a huge debt ($16 Trillion so far) that will be paid for on the backs of the poor and middle class through higher taxes, higher interest rates, higher prices at the store and gas pump. Our elderly will have NO Medicare or Social Security when they go bankrupt. Our poor will have no food stamps, WIC, or other safety net, when all our money will be going to service the giant debt. And while Pres Obama did not create all the debt himself, he has created 1/3 of it in just 3.5 years. What happened to his promise to reduce it?
      Jesus taught, “by their fruits, ye shall know them”. The “fruits” of Pres Obama are not what Jesus had in mind!

    • Green Eyeshades

      Clearly, you have not read much of David French’s writings. He does not support Romney on the whole basis of abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage. He is only pointing out a few of the social issues that separate Romney from Obama.

      I suggest you read the French’s book, Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney (and feel good about it). It’s available for $2.99 on That would give you a more complete picture.

  • Terry

    Oops (Just seeing if HTML works here.)

  • Terry

    Getting something off my mind

    As an LDS person, I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about the evolution of EFM, Mitt Romney, and how things seem to be coming together this election cycle just when they need to. I personally believe that the hand of Providence has been guiding this thing from the beginning–that, and a lot of hard work on the part of Nancy, David, and other EFM’rs who I probably don’t even know about. For several decades, I’ve believed that the time was coming when people of different faiths would begin banding together–on common moral grounds–to help stop the decline of this great country and get her back on the path the Founding Fathers meant her to be on. When I first discovered EFM in 2008, I was…stunned…humbled…excited…and a mix of other emotions as well. My first thought was “how fitting that someone who is not LDS should take the lead in doing this”. It would never have gotten this big–and perhaps not even gotten off the ground, if the idea had been tried by anyone who was LDS. I’m totally convinced of that.

    My second thrill was when EFM put out the call for a national day of fasting and prayer. Again I was humbled and excited. More than just coming together morally, the EFM community (Mormons, Evangelicals, and people of other faiths as well), would joining hands in prayer and fasting for a worthy cause. I was honored to be counted among that group. Never before had I prayed about the outcome of a political campaign, but doing so in this case…Just. Felt. Right. I don’t know what that day of fasting and prayer did for others, but for me personally, it brought peace. Not the peace of knowing that victory was assured, but a greater peace of knowing that whatever was to be, was from that moment on, in the Lords hands. Because of that, I no longer stress over polls that are less than encouraging, news articles that put my candidate in a bad light, or myriads of other things that used to throw little cups of ice water on my all my days. All this because of two very special people who decided years ago that it’s…okay…to support a Mormon for president, then went on to prove it through their actions.

    David and Nancy…thank you.

  • Trevor

    Alejandro, Obama respects minorities? Have you ever heard of Fast & Furious? He killed innocent Mexicans and refuses to take blame for the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, he’s allowed the highest law official (Eric Holder) in the country to ignore subpoenas and basically have monarchical reign, all in an attempt to manipulate public opinion over firearms and subvert our 2nd amendment rights. If a man steals from you and infests your house with disease, and you don’t notice, you still lose your money and your family gets sick.

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  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    My guess is that the reason for Obama’s announcement is that his financial supporters in the LGBT lobby (who have historically provided 17% of his campaign contributions) are afraid that he is going to be a one term president, and they want him to use his office, while he still has it, to materially advance their program. While most commentators have said he can do nothing to establish same sex marriage in the states, he has already shown that he will defy the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, and he therefore believes there is no constraint on him to order Federal agencies to recognize same sex marriages in those states that have made it legal. His position will be that those marraiges are just as legally congnizable by the Federal government as traditional marriages, and will therefore issue an executive order to that effect. It will mean providing spousal benefits in income tax joint filing, the military (including housing and relocation costs), Social security benefits for surviving spouses, HUD housing support, and priority for immigration and citizenship. Once he has granted those as “rights”, any effort by President Romney to repeal the Obama order will be greeted with lawsuits complaining of deprivation of rights without due process of law. Obama’s announcement specifically mentioned spousal benefits in the military, and the rest of it will not be far behind. Thus, Obama’s commitment will involve a financial commitment of billions of dollars. He will also unleash the Justice Department to sue businesses and professionals who do not want to be involved with giving services to same sex couples, alleging “sex discrimination” since the defendants would not have the same objection is one of the couple were of a different gender. The only question about this agenda will be how much of it Obama will enact before the election, and how much he will do afterward, when it is too late for the public to respond. In light of his promises to the Russians that he will be “more flexible” after the election is over, I assume the same will be true for this issue, no matter which way the election turns out. President Romney will have to task his Attorney General to defend his repeal of the Obama executive orders on grounds that Obama acted illegally in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act. In any case, Obamna’s action will ensure that there is a plethora of opportunities for Federal judges to rule on whether the Constitution somehow requires same sex marriage. Obama apparently does not care about creating a constitutional crisis, possibly including the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordering conservative jurisdictions like Idaho to recognize same sex marriage, in the face of a defiant governor and state legislature.

  • Liz

    Obama’s idea of a minority is Elizabeth Warren. It’s true that Obama is obsessively interested in race, and the color of one’s skin. America is so past that. Look at the French family, mine, or just about anyone else in this country. We marry, raise, work for, serve in the military and die with and for every other race, if we don’t actually have that race in our blood already. Obama is a purist of sorts. His thinking is outdated for this country. We’d really like to unload him and move forward once again.
    What I would like to see is for him to respect women enough to give the ones that work in his administration equal pay. His simplistic view that all women really long for is a cabinet stocked with free birth control is insulting.

    My real intent upon commenting was to reaffirm this piece! It’s as if George Soros gave Obama the go ahead to quit holding back and be as radical as he wants to be. It’s very unattractive to the average voter.

    • Green Eyeshades

      Liz, surely, you are not suggesting that Elizabeth Fauxahontas Warren is not really a Native American? (Credit to Mark Steyn).

  • Liz

    The pathetic thing about this administration and thereby our country right now, is that it even matters if Elizabeth Running Mouth Warren is really Native American or not. I’d like to see proof that she’s literate and actually graduated from college, while we’re at it.

  • Matt

    So you moderated my comment about evangelicals and mormons hating the black guy but you let the racist comments about Elizabeth Warren and Obama stand. What a great witness. The problem that I have with Patheos is that I keep assuming that just because you claim to be Christians that you will actually act like Christians. Why do you allow these comments? Do you find them consistent with the beliefs you profess?

    • David French

      Where’s a racist comment? I don’t see one. It’s certainly not racist to make fun of someone for potentially faking Native American heritage for personal gain.

      • matt

        “Obama is obsessively interested in race and the color of one’s skin” – From Liz’s comment yesterday.
        “Elizabeth Running Mouth” from Liz’s comment today

        How is is possible to know that Obama is obsessed with race? How is it acceptable to make jokes that mock Native American names on a Christian website? I know, that the idea is to make fun of Elizabeth Warren, but it’s not any different than when white kids talk in fake “ebonics.” It’s disrespectful. And I don’t think that there has been the slightest evidence that she used this heritage for personal gain. Do you have any evidence of this? It’s a strong claim and pretty serious.

        In retrospect, the comment that you moderated was probably not cool either. I meant it to be pretty snarky and mostly a joke, but it may not have played that way. I think you were right to hold it and I shouldn’t have written it. I don’t actually think that you or most of the commenters here care that much about Obama’s race.

  • matt

    I also would like to say how sad this post makes me. My initial post, the first time I have commented here, was a slightly mean joke about Evangelicals and Mormons united in their hatred of the black guy. It occurs to me though, that the real issue here is that Evangelicals and Mormons can unite in their hatred of teh gays. That’s really awful. It reminds me very clearly of the blog post that Rachel Held Evans wrote after the Amendment 1 passed in NC. In it ( she notes that Barna Group polling shows that the number one word that people in this country aged 16-29 will use to describe Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” A full, and rather staggering, 91% of non-christians use this word to describe the church. Most reactions that I have read to these realities bemoan this fact and acknowledge that this perception is one of the main reasons that young people are leaving the church in such great numbers. It’s like dropping into a parallel universe here to see that anti-homosexual label picked up as a matter of pride.
    I don’t think you are a stupid man, but you are depressing me a lot.

  • matt

    I read your article and I thought you made some good points. But there is a real disconnect for me. Your article is about how the media distorts the priorities of religious right organizations and downplays the enormous commitments that they make to helping the poorest. Yet you wrote a blog post here where you literally celebrate the fact that Mormons and Christians will be able to unite in their shared anti-homosexual activism. They ca’t connect, as you point out, in their belief that Romney is a good man, or that they think his policies will help the poor, or the way that they think he will benefit America’s standing in the world, but they can come together solely on the basis of their opposition to the horror of gay people getting married.
    In other words, it seems like you are contributing to the issue you decry in your article.

  • Liz

    Well thanks Mr. French. I appreciate the way you handled this. I think I said it before that you are first class in terms of intelligence and decency.

    I apologize Matt for offending your tender sensibilities. It’s true though, Obama makes race an issue even when it’s not appropriate by any standard. Trayvon looks like his son? Zimmerman doesn’t, I guess. And the implication is that kids that look like Mr. Obama should get even more justice under the law, or something? The white police acted “stupidly” against his black friend? This is grade school stuff. Clearly it’s a crutch he uses to make himself relevant and garner sympathy. It gets downright dangerous however, when the racist viewpoint is used to run guns into Mexico by Eric Holder, something that is unlawful here in the U.S. or when crimes perpetrated by perceived blacks against perceived whites or yellows or hispanic whites or whatever are not prosecuted in the name of evening the score….
    bless your heart for defending the guy, though.
    I think because his whining in terms of race has worked for him in the past, he keeps it up. But Obama isn’t working, anymore. And I know for a fact many Americans are embarrassed and insulted by his outdated efforts at stirring up race against race. It’s a new world, Mr. Obama, and in terms of equal treatment under the law, America is as good as it gets compared with Europe, or any other country. Obama has been a giant step backwards.

  • Liz

    I would define Christianity as being against all forms of sexual deviancy. It’s a strict code, and that’s why it gets results. Adultery, pornography, premarital anything, bestiality, homosexuality, necrophilia, all no-nos. And the list could go on for pages because new deviance is being invented all the time, I’m sure. So why the war against Christianity? Live and let live. Problem with vice is that it is intolerant, by definition. It is not self-sustaining, others must support a person who is steeped in vice. The definition of liberalism. Doing things that are not self-supporting, and require the constant taxation or suppression of the rights of others in order to subsidize the behaviors with negative consequences for whoever the political favorites are at the time. But like cancer, once liberal lifestyles become the dominant force in a culture, the host conservatives are quickly consumed, and everyone dies. The parasites, and the host. So sad. You can feel it in this administration, can’t you? We’ve got brain cancer now.
    I’ll stop now, I’m so sorry. I’ll call my mother instead.

  • matt


    You didn’t offend my tender sensibilities. You just used racially charged language. Ultimately, you’re the one that is hurt by your anger and hate.
    I don’t think you have any real examples of Obama stirring up race against race. He expressed sympathy to the parents of a murdered child and noted that if he had a child he would like like Trayvon? How can you possibly see this as race baiting? It’s not conceivable that you believe that Trayvon’s race had nothing to do with the initial decision by the Sanford police to let his killer walk. Obama never said anything about Zimmerman, never accused him of racism. In fact, the only thing he said about George Zimmerman is that he thought it was important that people not jump to judgement or interfere with the investigation in Florida.
    And Skip Gates? Sorry, when the police arrest a sixty-something year old, world-renowned scholar and Harvard professor in the living room of his own house, well it’s not a stretch to accuse them of stupidity. And I’m pretty sure Obama never called out the “white police” in the memorable phrase you use here.
    As for the points you make against Eric Holder, well I’m a little mystified. I assume you are talking about the gunwalking issues, but since those started under Bush, it seems strange to make this a race issue. (maybe the fact that the only arrests in these cases came under Holder’s leadership of the DOJ makes you think he’s prejudiced against Mexican murderers or something. I can’t figure it out.).
    And as for Obama not arresting “perceived blacks” for their crimes against whites and yellows, well Liz, I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Can you tell me more about how Obama seeks to even the score by not arresting black criminals? I am anxious to hear more about this.
    Bless your heart

  • Liz

    I am old fashioned in that I believe in equal justice under the law. I don’t think it should matter if the suspect is a sixty year old, world-renowned scholar that I never heard of. I still believe in looking at facts. I believe Zimmerman was not arrested, because there was no probable cause. I believe he was arrested later due to racism. He was black, but not as black as Trayvon apparently. Maybe you think that’s fair. Most world-renowned scholars savvy on this issue, agree with me. Sorry dude.

    • matt

      Your comment about equal justice is confusing. Equal justice under the law for whom? Skip Gates was hit with a bogus obstruction charge which was dropped a couple of days later. George Zimmerman is getting his share of justice and will have his day in a court of law, which is all anyone really wanted to see happen (and he’s not black; what in the world are you talking about?)
      I notice that you haven’t brought up any examples of Obama letting people of color get away with crimes in order to balance the scales. I await your evidence for this charge with enthusiasm.
      And Mr. French, do you have any reply to the fact that you are celebrating, literally, the thing that you complained about in the article you linked to for me?
      Probably not.

  • John E

    I will certainly vote for Governor Romney this fall, and agree he is far preferable to President Obama on the whole spectrum of issues … all areas of economic, social and foreign policy. But I don’t agree that evangelicals supported “less conservative” candidates in 2008 and 2012 for the reason that I do not consider either Governor Huckabee less conservative on social issues or Senator Santorum “less conservative” in general. For this evangelical, the biggest problem I had with Governor Romney was his crafting of a health insurance “reform” that is too similar to Obamacare for comfort and for his previous staunch pro-abortion and pro-gay rights positions. I am glad he has changed his mind (hopefully out of conviction) on the latter two issues.