A Secret Group of Evangelicals Picks Santorum

A Secret Group of Evangelicals Picks Santorum January 16, 2012
Police officers checking guests on Friday on the road to a ranch near Houston where conservative Christian leaders met for talks. (Michael Stravato for The New York Times)

So, it turns out that I was only partially right when I posted that evangelicals wouldn’t vote for a woman, a Mormon, or a Catholic. At least their leaders will vote for a Catholic.

At a secret meeting, an unidentified group of evangelical leaders, they took a vote, and Rick Santorum won. The New York Times reports,

The extent to which those attending the meeting will be able to mobilize their followers behind Mr. Santorum remains unclear. The group’s vote is not binding on participants and the leaders did not directly ask Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Perry to drop out of the race.

“There is a hope and an expectation that this will have an impact on South Carolina,” Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and a spokesman for the group, said in a telephone news conference after the private meeting concluded.

The decision here in Texas came on the eve of the final Sunday church services before the South Carolina primary on Saturday. Mr. Santorum said that he raised $3 million in the last week and expected that the support would likely help him raise even more money and strengthen his campaign organization in the state.

But that’s not all.

Laurie Goodstein, the New York Times religion reporter, filed a thorough report on why they won’t. It’s not because they think that Romney is unelectable. It’s because he’s a Mormon. I find this story especially compelling because Goodstein got a prominent liberal Christian leader — Serene Jones, the president of Union Seminary — to go on the record saying that Mormonism is not Christianity (something I’ve said, but found very few progressives who would join me):

On the most fundamental issue, traditional Christians believe in the Trinity: that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one.

Mormons reject this as a non-biblical creed that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believe that God the Father and Jesus are separate physical beings, and that God has a wife whom they call Heavenly Mother.

It is not only evangelical Christians who object to these ideas.

“That’s just not Christian,” said the Rev. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, a liberal Protestant seminary in New York City. “God and Jesus are not separate physical beings. That would be anathema. At the end of the day, all the other stuff doesn’t matter except the divinity of Jesus.”

I still hold that any of these candidates lacks the true, evangelical credentials that will motivate evangelical voters. Evangelicals will simply stay home at the general election (even the IA caucus and NH primary had relatively low turnouts).

And finally, evangelical pollster George Barna has endorsed Newt Gingrich. Will this finally be enough to get people to stop trusting Barna’s research?


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  • I don’t think we need to read between the lines to much to see that this was a meeting where rich conservative white men and the organizations they represents were deciding where to spend their money.

    The laughable part is that these same men are just as distanced from voting, young evangelicals as they are from the core of the republican party. Because we know millennial’s value secrecy and respect their out-of-touch elders. 😉

    I’m waiting for your post on the Focus ad!

  • Neal

    To repeat a comment I saw on Twitter this AM: Evangelical ‘leaders’ to Jesus: Drop dead. This endorsement just shows how out of touch these rich white men are with the Jesus of the Gospels.

  • Frank

    Yes I do hope the left assumes that conservative voters will stay home during the general election! Yes please make that assumption!

    Not sure if I find this cluelessness funny or tragic.

  • Larry Barber

    What I find clueless and tragic is the number of self-professed Christians who would vote for Satan if somebody simply put an “R” after his name. (Yeah, I know, he’s already running as the Democrat.)

  • Lock

    It shows that you were wrong. And you don’t really no what you are talking about, Dr. Jones.

  • Basil

    Romney will win the nomination, because the unified “anti-Romney” is too late. Huckabee said it best about Romney, he reminds of the boss who fired you. That being said, having Santorum in the race really helps to raise issues for discussion. He was booed all across New Hampshire for his retrograde social views, and his rather condescending personality (which is really remarkable — it is not like Mitt is warm and fuzzy). Between his personal corruption (the Ensign affair) and his work as a lobbyist (where he has profited handsomely), and his 19th century social views, Santorum would be a much weaker candidate in the general election.

  • blackyb

    You voters better do what is right and vote for Santorum. Just because someone says he cannot beat Obama and is trying to get your vote does not at all mean he cannot beat Obama. I believe anyone could beat Obama and his Thugs. One thing is for sure Santorum cannot win if he is not voted for. So vote for him and go with a man who is not ashamed of God, his family or his country. Vote and encourage others to go with what is right. You know what you got with the others. Santorum is the best of who is running and needs your vote. Trust God and if there is another decision as to who wins, then it is on Him and not you.

  • How much money did local taxpayers have to pay for those police officers to guard this evangelical confab?

    • Frank

      I am sure as much as necessary. Of course it would be no more than any other candidate if it weren’t for the whiney children like Savage who talks as if he is still in 7th grade.

      • Were any candidates actually at this event?

        • Frank

          Ah sorry I misread your post. No I don’t think so.

  • Christian J

    I wonder if President Jones has considered that 1st/2nd Century Christians did not yet have a developed belief in the Trinity – thus eliminating them as “Christians”.

    If the divinity of Jesus is paramount, then maybe she should look into what exactly Mormons believe about it. In fact, they believe everything the Bible teaches concerning the divinity of the Son of God (that he is God) – they just don’t teach it as a Trinity (neither does the Bible BTW – not once do you see the word).

  • Pingback: Is “Evangelical” the New “Jewish”?()

  • calvin

    As if being “officially” christian matters for anything at all. Mormons aren’t christian, so what. It isn’t what you believe, it’s how you live, how you love.