No Regrets

I’ve been waiting to post in large part because I wanted to take some time to sort through my feelings — which have veered wildly between a sense of profound peace that we did all we could do and a deep sense of sadness and loss.  There’s no mitigating what happened Tuesday night: American voters didn’t simply reject a candidate, but they also largely rejected the values our candidate advanced.  When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as Vice President and then Barack Obama ran a campaign that focused on abortion, contraception, and economic redistribution, the election moved from “referendum” to “choice” — a choice between opposing political and cultural world views. Our world view lost.  From a personal perspective, Nancy and I poured years of our life and thousands upon thousands of hours of effort into, ultimately, a losing cause.  Even worse (again, from our perspective) this wasn’t simply one loss out of many races, but the only political race we’ve personally engaged.  Both of us are far more issue- and values-oriented and tend to focus not on any given political race but on cultural and theological ideas and practices.  We made an exception — a big exception — to support Mitt Romney.

But I have no regrets.  None.  Instead, I’m profoundly grateful for the experience.

To paraphrase our pastor, one of the prime missions of any Christian is to battle the effects of the Fall — in other words to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.  This battle takes many forms — from the small things like a hot casserole for the hurting family to the big things like laying down your life to defend your nation and community from profound evil.  It is our family’s purpose to fight this fight on as many fronts as we can, while we can.  We cannot predict or guarantee any of our efforts will enjoy any earthly success, but the duty remains nonetheless.  We work for success and hope and pray that we see success, yet it is for us to take joy in the race regardless of the earthly outcome.

While Mitt Romney did not win, God blessed our efforts in profound and unexpected ways.  First, it brought us innumerable — and hopefully lifelong — friendships, both evangelical and LDS.  There are few things that bond one person to another more than life together in the proverbial foxhole (the bond from actual foxholes is deeper), and we worked together, prayed together, hoped together, and — ultimately — shed tears together.  Words can’t describe our gratitude for the friendships that were created and strengthened during this journey.

Second, we played a small part in jump-starting a new and fruitful evangelical-LDS dialogue.  I don’t want to overstate our role here — after all, I think we were ultimately a footnote to a footnote to a footnote to history (on a good day) — but to help link men and women of different faith traditions in common cause for virtuous ends was a true gift.  As an amateur (very amateur) student of history, I realize no truly meaningful social movement is born out of just one community, and the great causes — like defending and protecting unborn life — are going to require great coalitions.

Third, (and this seems almost academic now) our arguments worked.  The polling numbers are astounding.  Evangelicals supported Mitt at truly historic levels.  We supported Mitt by a greater gap than we supported John McCain or George W. Bush and even constituted our largest-ever portion of the total electorate.  In fact — and this will shock some — evangelicals supported Mitt by one percentage point more than Mormons supported Mitt. To be clear, we are not taking credit for this success.  We were a very small part of a very large effort, but the case that we made was the case that many others made, and we were vindicated.  Evangelicals would and did vote for a pro-life man of integrity and ability who shared their cultural and political values even if they did have important theological differences.  Evangelicals wisely chose life and liberty over sectarian strife, and it was a wonderful moment for evangelical conservatism — a moment that will bear fruit as our fight continues for years and decades to come.

When it was all over Tuesday — and we finally said good night to dear friends at 4:40 a.m. in the lobby of Boston’s Marriott Long Wharf — I felt completely empty.  We had given all we could give.  Nancy wrote a post the next morning titled “Tearful Eyes, Empty Hearts, Just Lost” that captured our feelings exactly.  Today, things are different; today, it’s:

Clear eyes — we see the cultural challenge before us.

Grateful hearts — we’re thankful for our experiences and companions.

Won’t quit — because our cause is just.

Thank you, dear friends and readers.  And we look forward to advancing with you, not retreating, in the face of our daunting cultural challenge.  One chapter closes, the page turns, and another begins . . .

Patricia Arquette, It’s Time to Admit: It’s a Great Time to Be a Girl
Can the “Mormon Way” Beat the “Chicago Way”?
Question for the New York Times: If Gays Are Offended, Do Christians Have Rights?
‘Macho Christianity’ Isn’t the Problem, Gimmick Christianity Is
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  • Rick Johnson

    To do the right thing for the right reason and fail is not failure. It is being faithful. God always rewards faithfulness. Often though not in our timing or understanding. Well done you guys.

  • Numbermom

    While Mitt Romney is not the President-elect, there are many victories from the work done by EFM. One of the most poignant to me is bringing to the forefront of religious people, the need to fight for religious liberty. We cannot bury our head and consider defeat. We must continue to stand for truth and righteousness. The fact the Mormons and Evangelicals and Catholics and other religious peoples stand arm and arm in defense of families and religious values is heartening. Thank you for the work you have done to bring that to pass. While the election did not go the way I would have hoped, I firmly believe that God is in charge and His purposes will not be thwarted.

  • Jen

    Thank you for all of your efforts…
    We know we cannot depend on man or anything in this world…
    I felt disheartened Tuesday night…I feel as if he was not doing this for himself, but for America.
    I read something yesterday Sid Roth had written, bottom line was that this will hopefully make us draw closer to God for everything…
    Thank you…

  • Marie

    I Feel exactly the Same
    We are very far from Christic Ways. I don’t see much humility in behaviour. Romney is incorruptible. He is an exception in the Political Arena. He is an “Exemplar” in a ferocious brutal world of briberies and compromises. I am convinced that the humiliation he is enduring and accepting, those insults from infernal mouths are empowering his Aura even more.
    I wished him to win and he has won. I wait God’s Hammer with impatience. A Big Surprise is on its way and then Romney will be able to Do his job. Maybe God is simply letting all the corruption process reach final phase. A healthy phase cannot start if all the nations’s pockets of infection are not visisble.
    All must come to Light before the Light can operate. Americans must Stop this insane race to Celebrity. Some actors are modest and they are praised. But if a man at the WH is able to feel empathy with anyone around him it is perceived like some “weakness” or lack of ambition.
    If Romney had won, and that Victory was stolen by meanest shameless Fraud, the White House would have irradiated Light and Progress towards any point of the Nation.
    I feel Romney knows exactly why all this happened and how Defeats can turn into Victories by the Grace of God’s mysterious ways. I am Sad for the Blind Americans but I am appalled by the European Arrogance, Ignorance, Brainwashing, Intellectual Apathy, or Envy expressed in the Media or in the population. When ignorance is deliberate and orchestrated and fostered in the name of Ikea Comfort and Nokian self hypnotic tunes, I can only predict a very cruel Tomorrow.

    When people are absorbed by Christ till they make ONE unity, those remaining outside the Luminous Cloth feel resentful. Had they paid the price and kept Integrity uncorrupted no matter what, they would feel total understanding of what Romney is.
    Most people envy Romney but dont envy Obama because Obama is the reflection of their own weakness.
    Romney is the Reminder of the Strength they will never be able to reach.
    He will be Back. At the Peoples’ Request

  • Marilyn

    Thank you for all that you did! We felt so strongly that Mitt was the best candidate right from the beginning. I was so distraught that so many otherChristians seemed to oppose him based on his (my) religion. Your clear thinking and generosity of spirit comforted us.

    Thank you

  • Lisa Campbell

    Again I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I am LDS and I have not posted much but I have followed you and your efforts for years now. I am truly grateful for all you have done and the example of “reaching accross the aisle” to those who don’t necessarily share the same theological beliefs but are good people nonetheless. Through the last 6 years, as I have read posts and comments on MY faith by small minded people, it has given me courage and hope to know that there are so many others who are not so “stiffnecked and heard-hearted”, and that I can come here and feel at home. May God bless you and your family in all that you do!

  • Brantley Gasaway

    David, I’ve occasionally been critical of some of your positions and arguments. And I do not share your sadness over the election result (though, to be clear, I am not rejoicing either). But as one who hosted an “Election Communion” event at my church–an event that focused on Christian unity in the face of political differences–I do want to confirm my respect for the commitment that you and Nancy made to support the candidate that you believed would best advance biblical values. I am glad that you have no regrets.

  • SEaston

    Dear French Family;
    Thank you for all you’ve done to unite many divergent believers of Jesus Christ; opening our eyes and hearts to our common values and concerns for our country. Your love of Christ and the USofA has been evident in all you shared. Your family and service has made a difference in the unity that hopefully will continue as we look ahead to challenges still before us.

  • Agkcrbs

    You’re not alone; many share your feelings, and hope you also feel their gratitude and friendship, whether near or far, here from the beginning or here at the end. While this was not a physical battlefield, the battle did rage, and ring in the ears. Some gave more than others, but all who united their best efforts in this difficult, ugly, tragic, but glorious experience got their own small taste of heroism — and maybe sacrifice and loss is the only way heroism can end.

    The cause is just. I sometimes read verses like 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,” (KJV) and make a mental note not to use them in a debate, at the risk of seeming too self-assured. Nevertheless, here we are reflecting on this bewildering turn of already strange events… and we, too, know, in a way that time, eloquence, and numberless essays may still fail us to explain, that our cause was right on Monday and is still right on Thursday, and that not all, but much of our country lies in wickedness — not that every Obama voter is or means to be wicked, but that in a momentous day of collective decision, although by a very thin margin, an easy falsity overcame a challenging truth. It was neither honest political disagreement nor superior strategy that carried Tuesday, it was unabashed deception and outright malice and prejudice, exceeding the scope and design of our democratic process. If it were war, these would have been war crimes.

    I’m anxious to see what’s ahead, but not afraid. If God leads us to the trouble, he’ll lead us through the trouble. We’ve been humbled; let’s be more humble. Already, many Romney voters have dissipated and fled, some in disillusionment, back to whencever they were recruited; but let’s make our determination like steel to carry on the work we started, bear out our convictions of principle, and retain our unity. In the end, this campaign will have been an earthly effort, but it has been a symbol of something much better. This gloominess will pass… but even the gloom of a righteous cause is far brighter than the sun of an unholy victory.

  • kathy

    There is a good reason why the framers of our Constitution created a separation between Church and State. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    You appear to have wed your religious and political beliefs.

  • Stan Brimley

    Amen. I would love to have the French family in my ward. David would make a great counselor or Elder’s quorum president, and Nancy would make a great Young Women’s leader. On the other hand, I would be comfortable attending Mt. Zion Presbyterian, knowing that we could expect a good, hot casserole in case of illness or a new baby.
    Thank you, again for providing a wonderful forum and much more. I would be pleased if my children grew up with the values you both have and your willingness to put it all out there.
    One of my favorite scriptures says, “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness…”. So it is with the French’s.

  • Mary Cook

    I am in total agreement with what you wrote..and I thank Mr. Romney for giving us hope,he did not win as I had hoped for but America won because he showed us what honor and decency is…Thank you Marie., for your insight. Mrs.Cook

  • Paul

    David & Nancy…many thanks for all you do. Tuesday was indeed a disappointment. I guess this is where we trust in the Lord and carry on. I’ve followed your site for about 5 years. As a member of the LDS church, I’m grateful for what you’ve done to remove barriers and remind us to recognize our allies in the cause of liberty, rather than rejecting them due to theological differences. Your success strengthens my faith that more can be done.

    On a slightly different note (but still speaking of reminding different groups of their common bonds), we need to figure out how to remind latino voters what we have in common!

  • http://Facebook Marjorie Crowley

    I am a great-grandmother. Yesterday, as I wrote to my children and talked about the noble role of America, tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt a grief like that of the loss of a close friend. Today, I feel to share the words of a great Mormon hymn written on the Pioneer trail by a man who just received word that his wife, who had been left behind, had just bore them a son. “Come, come, Ye saints. No toil nor labor fear. But with joy, wend your way. Though hard to you, this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day. Tis better far, for us to strive, our useless cares from us to drive. Do this, and joy your hearts will swell, All is well. All is well……Gird up your loins, fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake. And soon we’ll have this truth to tell, All is well, all is well. Courage. Faith. Serve, Put your shoulder to the wheel — push along. Don’t give up.

  • deila

    Your article has touched my heart and lifted me from the sadness of this election. I gladly join hands with you in this cause of righteousness, and look forward to sharing my LDS goals with yours. You are a great example and may God bless you and your family.

  • Mary Kate Brown

    You forgot about the brother-in-law you gained!

  • NotaBigot

    For all the good efforts of Dave and Nancy, it apparently didn’t reach enough mormon-hating evangelicals for Mitt to be elected. Had they and the Ron Paul/Gary Johnson crowd been able to get over their “principled” vote for Gary Johnson or their “principled” non-vote for the lack of a sufficiently conservative candidate, Mitt would have won. I am ashamed of these people.

  • Keiji

    Thanks to Evangelicals for Mitt and all you did. In 2008′s election I did “Utahans for Mitt” Website and accompanying blog and this year I did “Mitt Romney Only and Great Choice” blog and had accompanying Facebook and Twitter groups. But during both years, I always tried to be in touch with your writings.

    May God Bless You and Thanks Again, Kelly J. Hadfield

  • Patricia Ingram

    Dear Mitt,
    I am really upset that you lost due to voter fraud, intimidation, and votes that were bought with cell phones. There is reported fraud in OH, VA, FL, NE, and who knows where else. The military votes were one day late and obama would not except them but he extended the time for NY and NJ. This extension should have included our military. In Oregon there were 5 million votes for a population of 3.5 million. In NY a couple found a full box of written votes in the trash.
    I understand you probably know these things but if they were made right and all the fraudulent votes removed and the military’s votes, you won.

    Please make them investigate the fraud and other things that happened. You are our next President. I understand that you are very honest and trusting man but you were running against an evil and dangerous man. Please have someone check into these matters with the vote as only you can do.

    Now, I would love to thank you and Ann for the hope you gave to us that America could be great again. Thank you for your sacrifice to run such a hard campaign. You will always be my President along with George W. We love you Mitt and Ann and you belong in the White House.

    If you don’t force an investigation and correction of the votes for 2012, I hope we have a chance again in 2016. Please if you are able to run again, do it for America. We need you.

    Thank you again,
    Patricia Ingram

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  • Wendy McNiven

    Thank you to the French family for all you have done. I have been reading “Evangelicals for Mitt” for six years or so, though I have never commented before. I feel a deep, deep sadness for our country. I am so grateful for you, and I was heartened somewhat by reading your last few posts. While I am frightened for the future of our country and mourn the loss of values such as hard work, responsibility, and thrift, I am thankful for the unity occurring among Christians as a result of this election. Thank you for all your hours and hours of service. May God bless you.

  • Paul Baird

    Thank you David & Nancy. The culture war is worth waging and we will continue the fight. Paul Baird

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  • Darin

    Mary I couldn’t put it better myself. Please connect with me @ The victory was stolen and Romney is incorruptible. He showed us all his kindness in the debates, his class, his dignity and you are right, the mouths from the infernal pit have spewed the most vile things at him now that he has lost. This is only reflective of Obama’s satanic leadership… his followers are just as he is. Obama inspires vileness, strife, contention, division, and hate. I agree with you that God is letting the corruption reach full ripeness and I too await God’s hammer of justice with impatience. I believe, and indeed I hope, it will get so bad under Obama that the people, including many who supported his reelection, will rise up and DEMAND his resignation; that the walls will collapse upon him; that he will reap what he has sown. This election was indeed STOLEN from Romney. There was election fraud at the highest level. Millions of dollars in foreign money was received into Obama’s campaign funds – RUSSIA among them. Millions – MILLIONS – of illegals voted in this election, PARTICULARLY in OHIO, where they do not very ANYTHING. A Wo is upon this administration. God has heard the prayers and seen the tears of those who love Him and as He has said, “Vengeance is mine.” I wailed yesterday for almost an hour, mourning the loss of Mitt Romney’s leadership. I miss him. I needed him to make it forward. I asked God “why? Why couldn’t it have been him?” I too have no regrets. Thousands of hours volunteering my time, calling for Romney’s campaign, donating of my means to his success. Between my blog, and viral ads I created for Romney I was personally able to reach over 163,000 people (not including all my facebook posts which I did about 1-15 a day for the last year). No regrets and when the truth is finally exposed about Obama’s vileness, we will all be on the right side and there will be many whose hearts will fail them and will look with wonder and awe at how they could have been so deceived. We all need to prepare because, unfortunately, we will ALL have to suffer through the calamities on the horizon because of the wickedness that has been suffered to endure. PS… support Allen West’s law suit in FL for the election results – it was stolen from him too. If West wins, it will open up the floodgates to question the Presidential results as well. Obama defrauded us in 2008 and he did it again (even worse) in 2012 because he has lost so much in his approval. Much love to the French’s and to all of you valiant warriors of Deity. God be with us all and the fight is NOT OVER!

  • Louis Deppe

    Thank you for all you did. I’m a Mormon and really appreciate your work over the past years. I agree that new bonds have been made between the LDS and Evangelical communities. We have so much more in common than not. We will need each other moving forward…to lead the fight against moral decay and to protect our constitution. If there’s anything you need in the Atlanta area, please let me know. God bless.

  • Todd_i

    Thank you so much David, Nancy, and Charles. As a Latter-day Saint I am profoundly greatful for the work you did in helping Evangelicals understand my religion and our shared moral beliefs. I have thought much in the last few days and pray for the success of our country. As Mitt suggested, I have been praying for our president, but my prayers are a little deeper than before. Before my words were often “Please help our president to be sucessful.” I’m now finding my words more similar to, “Please inspire our president to make choices in the best interest of the country.” Should any of you choose to run for national office, you have earned my support.

  • Nancy Bennett

    What a wonderful blog. I was reeling this morning when I heard that millions of evangelicals stayed home. Your remarks seem to undo that theory. Did they stay home, and still more of you vote this time? Anyway, I was glad to read your blog. You remind me of the evangelicals I know–and that is what I want to remember.

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  • Tiffanie Wride

    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

  • Sharon

    Kathy, the framers of the Constitution did not create a separation between Church and State–the Supreme Court did during a 1940s case. At that time, the Court took the phrase ‘a wall of separation between church and state’ from a personal letter that Thomas Jefferson had written in 1801 to a Baptist Minister. The Court then twisted it into something that Jefferson did not intend. Jefferson’s remark was to assure the Baptist Minister that the Federal Gov’t would not infringe on religious liberty with a ‘State” sanctioned “Church” as had been done in the Colonies by Britain when fees had to be paid by Baptists in order to proselyte. Jefferson was not even in this country when delegates were arguing over the First Amendment; he had no ties to it at all. As I understand it, nowhere in source documents recording the Constitutional conventions is this phrase mentioned.

    Since that Supreme Court decision, the Court has turned the protection of religious freedom to being “freedom from Christian religion in the public square,” (i.e., removal of Ten Commandment displays, removal of voluntary prayer in school). The Founders by their very actions at the beginning of our nation would have rejected these ideas outright. It was the First Congress who approved the printing of the Bible so that it could be distributed. Congress opens session with prayer. Sunday religious services were even held in Federal buildings. Bibles verses were used as text in public schools.

    The Founders overwhelmingly were men of strong Christian religious conviction who showed by their actions that we were a nation under God.

    The 1940s Supreme Court’s violation of the Constitution’s intent has had dire consequences on our nation. The void created is quickly being filled by secular ideologies which have been unraveling the moral fabric of our society. We are reaping the harvest of that decision daily. What happened when as “a nation” we lost sight of the Ten Commandments–Roe v Wade—and along with it the equivalent destruction of every man, woman, and child in 25 states.

  • gene hand

    Sooo much pain !
    I can’t express in words how much I care for the French family !
    I hate to shed a negative thought…but this country is headed for bad times even per the scriptures!
    As for the amount of evangelicals that voted for Mitt: there are appx. 6+ million LDS in America
    and about 15 + evangelicals (o: !
    But as a former Baptist….lov those evangelicals…and want to thank you for voting for a real
    good Christian— Mitt Romney!
    The French’s brought together LDS/Evangelicals/Catholics,etc.
    IN about 6 months Romney is going to looook great.
    May God bless all of you!!!