Evangelical leaders are urging followers to support Mitt Romney’s campaign for president to prevent Rudy Giuliani from gaining the Republican nomination.
One evangelical, pro-life activist and attorney James Bopp Jr., last week sent a letter to hundreds of social conservatives warning that they must unite behind Romney or risk a Giuliani victory.
“While several of the other candidates are certainly fine social conservatives, none has established his viability as a serious presidential contender – only Mitt Romney has the resources to compete with Rudy Giuliani for the nomination,” Bopp wrote.
“Other evangelical leaders have weighed in on the acceptability of the leading Republican candidates. [Focus on the Family founder] Dr. James Dobson, America’s most influential evangelical leader, has expressed his opinion that Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson are not acceptable, based on their positions on various important conservative issues.”
Bopp points out that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention have also declared that Romney is an acceptable presidential choice for social conservatives.
“So it does come down to two things,” Bopp concludes in his letter, which was excerpted in The Atlantic.
“One, the viability of the candidate, which only Mitt Romney has demonstrated among the socially conservative candidates, and two, whether social conservatives will have the courage to rally around the only viable conservative alternative to Rudy Giuliani. A divided field means that Giuliani is likely to win the nomination.”
Influential evangelical public relations executive Mark DeMoss has expressed similar views regarding Romney and Giuliani.
In a letter to some 150 top conservative Christian leaders, DeMoss – whose clients include Rev. Franklin Graham – asked the leaders to “galvanize support around Mitt Romney, so Mr. Giuliani isn’t the unintended beneficiary of our divided support among several candidates.”
He said Giuliani “clearly does not share our values on so many issues.”
Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor and former president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., has also come out in support of Romney.
“I just believe that this man has the credentials both personally and ideologically in terms of his view about what American government should be to best represent the rank and file of conservative Americans,” he said in a statement reported by the Greenville News.
“If it turns out to be Giuliani and Hillary, we’ve got two pro-choice candidates, and that would be a disaster.”
Romney, Jones added, “has, as far as I can tell, no scandal connected with his life. I can’t say that about all of the candidates, unfortunately.”
Commenting on the importance of Jones’ endorsement, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in an interview:
“This is like a lighthouse going on, the light shining its beam on Mitt Romney. Not only that, but the argument made by Bob Jones III basically means that not only is he supporting Mitt Romney, he’s basically saying he is the only option so far as he sees it on the Republican side.”
Evangelicals supporting Romney are evidently not troubled by his Mormon faith. DeMoss, for one, stated: “I am more concerned that a candidate shares my values than he shares my theology.”
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