When Mitt Romney ran for president in the 2008 GOP primary, many evangelical Christian voters were reluctant — putting it mildly — to support him because of his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One of the Utah Republican’s opponents, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, exploited this hesitance by trying to instill fear about the differences between himself and Romney: “Don’t Mormons,” Huckabee trolled in a New York Times Magazine interview, “believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” (Though real theological differences exist, that was not one of them.) At the 2007 Values Voter Summit, Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, told the crowd that they ought to back a candidate who speaks “the language of Zion as a mother tongue.”
I was there that day and swallowed hard as the crowd, full of anti-Romney fervor, cheered. Was this what Christians were about? Making theology a political litmus test struck me as terribly misguided, especially since Christians, more and more, find ourselves at the short end of that stick.