Monday, October 17, 2011

"A Spiritual Call To War" for Perry

The Daily Beast on Sunday reported on a series of emails it obtained between a Christian talk radio executive named Dick Bott and David Lane, a Christian "power broker," that suggests the Perry campaign is quietly but persistently using Mitt Romney's Mormon faith against him in the primaries.

Perry has publicly distanced himself from the idea that Romney's Mormon faith is a "cult" that disqualifies him from the presidency.  Despite that, emails from Lane to Bott cite the comments of evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who caused a stir at the Values Voters Summit earlier this month by saying that Romney was not a Christian.  Lane wrote: "Getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”

Other emails cite a conversation Lane had with a "key Perry aide" where he argued that "the creation of a clarion call to Evangelical pastors and pews is critical and from my perspective is the key to the Primary."

While the official spokesman for the Perry campaign has gone on the record to say that the email exchange "appears to be a private conversation that has nothing to do with our campaign," the implications are very loud and clear: that Rick Perry's campaign has relied heavily on Lane to rally evangelicals to his campaign by pointing out that he is the only one who truly represents their values who can also be nominated and who can beat Barack Obama. 

In fact, Lane writes in one of the emails that he would rather not vote than vote either for Romney or Obama:
“Let me go on the record, I won’t vote for Mitt Romney as Republican nominee in 2012.” He followed the statement with a link to a news article describing Romney’s various ecclesiastical positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He also cited Romney’s past positions advocating for abortion and gay rights before adding, “The Soul of America is at stake, where is the Church? Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please stand?” (The last question refers to Biblical characters whom God called to save the Israelites in the Old Testament—an apparent plea for a candidate who will bring America in line with conservative Christian values.)

My emphasis above, as well as below.

One email concluded: “If RP [Rick Perry] can sound the trumpet to Evangelicals, a spiritual call to war for the Soul of America, Christie is weak on our issues.”

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