David and Nancy French: A Call to Greater Action

Nancy & David French, founders of Evangelicals for Mitt (co-founder: Charles Mitchell) — Standing with the Tennessee delegation at the 2012 Republican National Convention

Of all content I have posted since writing about Mitt Romney from 2007, I consider this piece written by David and Nancy French to be the most important, by far.

David and Nancy are great American patriots by any definition of that word and they are true friends of Mitt and Ann Romney. This opinion of theirs is directed to members of Governor Romney’s church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but could easily apply to any person of faith.

As you read Nancy’s and David’s call to greater action, please take the time to explore the hyperlinks they included. These are powerful resources in and of themselves.

Whatever you do, you have to watch the video of Chuck Norris and his wife — incredible! Please help MRC publicize this message far and wide. (David’s and Nancy’s bios are included at the end)

Update 1: John Schroeder, an MRC friend and writer for Article VI Blog wrote an awesome piece today that dovetails Nancy’s and David’s call to action. Click here: “Now Is No Time To Be Shy”

Update 2: Hugh Hewitt linked to this post and titled it, “What Will Mormons Do?” — Will Mormons go all in for Romney/Ryan?


By David and Nancy French

Dear Mormon Friends, It’s Time to Go “All-In” for Mitt

Nancy and I started Evangelicals for Mitt in 2006 with one simple idea: To enlist the mighty machinery of evangelical activism behind the single best candidate for President of the United States, Mitt Romney. Even then we could see the need for a man of Mitt’s unique talents and now – with labor participation the lowest in 30 years and with the most sluggish recovery since the Great Depression – the need is even greater.

We were more idealistic back in those days. Convinced of Mitt’s merits, we saw our task as relatively easy. Introduce Mitt to evangelicals, deal with the relatively easy questions about theology and politics, and then watch him win social conservatives on his way to the White House. Of course politics is never easy, and there are always competitors for the same set of voters. First Mike Huckabee won enough evangelicals to hand John McCain the nomination in 2008, then Rick Santorum swept southern conservatives and challenged Mitt for the evangelical vote in 2012.

But now, all that is past. Evangelicals are finally united behind Mitt (even 2008 Huckabee supporter – and coolest action star in the universe – Chuck Norris is pleading with evangelicals to vote Barack Obama out of office), and Mitt’s rivaling George Bush’s astounding share of the evangelical vote in 2008. Pro-Obama evangelicals are coming back home to the Republican Party after Obama’s almost four-year assault on religious liberty and his zealous support for abortion. In short, evangelicals – as theologically and culturally divided as we are – will be there for Mitt on election day.

Curiously, however, we’ve heard disturbing reports that LDS Mitt supporters are hanging back just a bit. Some are afraid of stereotyping (“just because I’m Mormon doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically support Mitt. After all, I can’t stand Harry Reid!”), but many more seem just a bit confused about the role of the church in politics. If the LDS church is politically neutral, how can you use your church relationships to mobilize voters and donors?

But let’s back up a moment. Is the LDS church really “neutral?” Is my Presbyterian Church really “neutral?” Yes, I’ve read the portions of the LDS Handbook that emphasize that the church is politically neutral and doesn’t endorse candidates. But the fact that the church is nonpartisan doesn’t mean that it’s neutral on the key moral issues of the day or that the church’s members must maintain their neutrality. In fact, the LDS Handbook specifically urges member involvement:

“Members are encouraged to support measures that strengthen the moral fabric of society, particularly those designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

Let’s be perfectly clear, after the God-booing abortion celebration masquerading as the Democratic National Convention, the moral choices in this election are beyond stark. Let’s just examine the issue of abortion. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God lays out His will for His people:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live . . .”

And now here’s the Democratic party platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

By contrast, here’s the Republican party platform:

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

Is there anything that threatens the “moral fabric of society” or the “family as the fundamental unit of society” as much as granting mothers the “right” to order doctors to kill their innocent children in the womb?

In addition, the Obama administration’s assault on religious liberty through the HHS contraception and abortifacient mandates represents a clear and present danger to the autonomy of the church. The administration is telling Americans of every faith that if they leave the walls of their church and attempt to reach out to their communities – either as business owners or through ministries – that they can only do so on the state’s terms while advancing the state’s values. This is antithetical to the First Amendment and antithetical to fundamental American traditions.

In other words, while your church and my church will not endorse any candidate for president, that does not mean that individual congregants cannot or should not use our web of church friendships and relationships to invest fully in the outcome of this election.

In the six years that Nancy and I have run Evangelicals for Mitt, we’ve made a huge number of Mormon friends and learned a great deal from the LDS church. In fact, we’ve taken flack for urging evangelicals to emulate Mormons in your approach to missions, service, and church growth. We have long stood on the barricades against anti-Mormon bigots. But now we’re asking you to take a page from the evangelical book: Engage fully, proudly, and without hesitation.

Call your friends from your ward. Make sure they’re registered to vote. Ask them if they’ve given to Mitt’s campaign. If they need more education on the issues, equip them with materials. Don’t use church resources; use your own. Between worship and Sunday School, I can’t tell you how many conversations Nancy and I have had about Mitt, about abortion, about religious liberty, and – yes – about the economy. Politics isn’t a “dirty business;” it’s part of our life and obligations as citizens of a nation and government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Now is not the time for concerns about stereotyping, for false worries about “neutrality.” The church will remain nonpartisan, but you don’t have to. There are more than six million Mormons in America, and the causes of life and religious liberty need every one.

It’s time to go “all-in” for Mitt.

David French is a Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. A graduate of Harvard Law School and David Lipscomb University, he has taught at Cornell Law School and legal practice is concentrated in constitutional law and the international law of armed conflict. He is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. David is a regular contributor to National Review Online and a columnist for Patheos. David is the 2012 recipient of the American Conservative Union’s highest honor, the Ronald Reagan Award.

David is also a Captain in the United States Army Reserve, joining the USAR in April, 2006. He currently serves as Brigade Judge Advocate, 1st Brigade, 104th Division, in Aurora, Colorado. A veteran of the Iraq War, David served as part of the Surge from October 2007 to September 2008 with the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (Sabre Squadron) in Diyala Province, Iraq.

Nancy French is a two time New York Times best-selling author. She co-authored Why Evangelicals Should Support Romney (and Feel Good About It!) and Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War with her husband David. She also co-authored Bristol Palin’s Not Afraid of Life: My Story So Far, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson’s A Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams, and other books like Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle.

She is the editor of the Faith and Family Channel on Patheos.

Together, David and Nancy co-founded (with friends) EvangelicalsforMitt.org in 2005. They live with their three children in Columbia Tennessee — home of a weeklong festival celebrating mules -and attend Zion Presbyterian Church (PCA).


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For those of you seeking additional insight beyond the mere political, I highly recommend the writing of our friends over at Article 6 Blog. Their research is second to none and their writing is intellectually stimulating as they bring to light those who attempt to obfuscate or otherwise distract from truth. Their exposure of the ignorant I find to be refreshing; even cathartic. Frankly, I am inspired by their tireless efforts to promote the most qualified presidential candidate this country has presented in decades — these three men, Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder provide an invaluable service to America as they inform us and denounce the ignorant among us.

Craig and Dad

Many of you leave comments in the published posts here at Mitt Romney Central referring to overt bigotry you have discovered in your research of those who support candidates opposing Governor Romney or you ask why Governor Romney does not seem “to connect” to many in the South. Keeping up on the work of Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder will help you understand that Governor Romney’s remarkable success to date is all the more impressive when you understand who opposes him out of ignorance, fear, or bigoted agenda.

The kind of resistance we are seeing right now against Governor Romney in the underground is nothing compared to what is brewing in the Obama camp.

Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder often refer to “The Question” — What is it? —-> CLICK

Who are these guys? What drives them? ——> CLICK

Two Recent Samples from Article 6 Blog:

HUMOR: Related to Obama Having No Flaws or Weaknesses

Or this recent post by John Schroeder about a Santorum surrogate, soon to become an Obama surrogate:

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET REALLY INTERESTING

As a frequent visitor to MRC, you may have wondered why we generally do not write about or report on the obvious religious undertones that “reporters” touch on in their coded missives. Maybe you have considered us ignorant to the obvious — we are not. Maybe you have considered us shy on the subject — we are not.

An important guiding principle of the MRC contributors is to promote Governor Romney’s candidacy with fact, truth, the record, and light. In part, we feel confident in doing so because we know our candidate will overcome the unseemly no matter how passionate his opponents are in promoting the dark side. Additionally, we are confident that others more qualified than we will handle the subject — they are Article 6 Blog.

Why Evangelicals Can Support Mitt Romney

Dave P with Mitt Romney

Dave P with Governor Romney: an evangelical for Mitt

An open letter to evangelicals, from an evangelical

After months of campaigning, the Iowa caucuses are finally just a week away. The Hawkeye State’s caucus is the first of several GOP primaries where evangelicals will make up a substantial portion of the voting bloc. Since Mitt Romney first ran for the presidency in 2008, there has been the question of whether evangelicals can and/or will support him. I would like to make an appeal to my evangelical brothers and sisters across Iowa and the rest of the nation to not use Mormonism as the reason to oppose Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.

Why do I have the authority to make this appeal? Well, let me take just a brief moment to list my credentials. I was raised in a small Protestant denomination whose first word is “Evangelical”. I attended a Christian college where renowned evangelist Billy Graham was once president. I have even worked for three different denominations of Protestant churches. So, not to infringe upon the now infamous Christine O’Donnell commercial, but “I am you”.

As Governor Romney embarks upon his final campaign swing through Iowa, why does this evangelical feel completely comfortable supporting him to become the leader of this great nation?

Morals and Values

While there may be some theological issues dividing evangelicals and Mormons, we still share morals and values in common. I believe that this is more important in selecting a President than simply having a candidate whose denomination or religion corresponds with my own. The question we ought to ask is, “how will this person’s faith influence his or her decisions once they are in the Oval Office?” And whether someone is Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, Evangelical Free, or Mormon, we all share a common moral code which subscribes to the same Ten Commandments, the institution of marriage, and a strong belief in the sanctity of life to cite a few examples. That is what will give a very good indication as to how a President addresses an issue when it arises. Yes, theological differences do exist, but these shared morals and values transcend the differences in doctrine when it comes to trusting someone with the Presidency of the United States.

For example, if a bill dealing with the sanctity of life comes to President Romney’s desk, it won’t matter if he believes in speaking in tongues or continuing revelation. What matters is that he agrees with us that the lives of unborn children should be protected, which indeed he does. Will a different opinion on theosis come into play when addressing our budget deficit or getting a balanced budget amendment passed? Absolutely not. The differences in theological doctrine between evangelical Protestants and Mormons will not result in a differing viewpoint on the tough issues facing our nation today.

Governor Romney’s 42-year marriage to his wife Ann and devotion to his family is a perfect example of the values and morals he possesses. Recent statistics show that almost half of marriages now end in divorce. What a great example it would be to have someone in the White House who has not only talked about family values, but lived it as well. That is something we as evangelicals would be proud of in a President and aspire to in our own lives.

When I attended a campaign rally in 2008, Governor Romney spoke about the importance of marriage before having children so that the child could have the stability and advantage of having both a mother and father present in their life (and also why marriage should be between a man and a woman). Again, something that we as evangelicals can rally behind. A difference in religion does not mean that a difference in morals and values exists. As I have discovered by closely watching Mitt Romney over the past four years, there is certainly not a difference between his values and my own.

Qualifications

Once the connection of shared morals and beliefs with a candidate has been established, it makes sense to look at his or her actual qualifications to become President of the United States. I happen to believe that based on his accomplishments and life experiences in the private sector and as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney is the most qualified candidate in the race.

If you are an evangelical and a business owner, here is something to consider: when you are looking to hire somebody for your business, do you look to hire the person most qualified to complete the task at hand, or do you narrow your search to only other evangelicals? I’m guessing most would say that they desire to have the most qualified person for the job regardless of religion, because ministry jobs aside, when does simply being an evangelical Christian make you more qualified for a job? It doesn’t (just look at Jimmy Carter’s presidency). The Lord has gifted each one of us uniquely and differently. And just as being an evangelical does not make somebody more qualified to be a sales associate, truck driver, or attorney, neither does it make someone more qualified to be President of the United States.

There’s no question that it’s comforting and exciting to have someone of the exact same religious beliefs running for office, but that by itself doesn’t mean he or she is the best fit for the job. I’m an evangelical, but I can honestly tell you that if I jumped into the presidential race right now I would not be the most qualified person. Far from it! It is equally nonsensical to support someone by looking only at their religious affiliation and not take qualifications into account. If those evangelical business owners we talked about previously hired without considering an applicant’s qualifications, their businesses would likely be in serious trouble.

We as evangelicals shouldn’t be afraid to support someone for President who shares the same morals and values we do and is best qualified to lead this nation, even if he doesn’t subscribe to the exact same faith that we do. Evangelicals have voted for and elected Latter-Day Saints before, without bringing about ruinous results.

It would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to put Mitt Romney in the White House, who in my opinion has within him the ability to be a tremendous President of the United States, simply because of theological doctrine. There is much more that unites us than divides us.

~Dave P

Mitt Romney: Issues Around His Mormon Faith are so Passe

Bob Abernethy host of Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly on PBS discuses issues ahead in 2011 with Kevin Eckstrom (Editor of Religious News Service), Kim Lawton (Managing Editor of Program), and EJ Dionne (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution). Among the topics that were discussed were the upcoming race for the Republican nomination for President.

Here is the text from the Romney segment:

ABERNETHY: Now you were referring earlier to the fact that the beginning of 2011 may well seem like the beginning of the election campaign of 2012, E.J.

DIONNE: Right, and I think you’re going to see some sort of interesting positioning inside the Republican Party. I mean, we still don’t know if Sarah Palin is or is not going to run for president. Sarah Palin seems to be more representative of the Tea Party side of the right, although she has clearly some Christian conservative support. Mike Huckabee is going to be competing with her as the spokesperson for Christian conservatives, but every Republican running for president wants a piece of that vote, because it is such an important vote in the Republican primaries, and that’s going to start right now. It’s already started, before the show went on the air

ECKSTROM
: And I think something worth watching there is Mitt Romney, who is at the front of a lot of these polls, these straw polls, whether or not he tries to make the case about his Mormon faith again with the evangelical base. A lot of people say, you know, he did that; he doesn’t need to do it again. Other people say that he’s never going to win them over; there’s a certain amount of the base that’s just never going to accept a Mormon candidate. So I think it will be interesting to watch how he navigates the Mormon question.

Here is the video of the entire program. To view the 2012 race comments fast forward to the 15:00 minute mark:

As far as I’m concerned, the answer to the Mormon faith question for Mitt Romney in 2012 is, been there, done that. I believe it’s only an ongoing issue for those folks with a personal agenda or those who would prefer one of the other candidates instead.

Anyone who puts a high priority on family values, a strong work ethic, fiscal conservatism, and a vast and successful background and experience in business, the private and public sectors, and takes a hard look at Mitt Romney, will know immediately that he is equipped to help turn around the economy and to put America back on the right path towards better times.

Faith in America Revisited - Remembering Romney’s Speech Two Years After

As a Romney supporter and blogger I have very seldom written about faith and religion, whether in the general sense or as it applies to Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate. I’ve always known Romney’s religion to be a stigma to some. I’m sure it is even a boon to others, especially those who share his faith. Today, in remembrance of the 2nd anniversary of Romney’s speech “Faith in America”, I’m going to take a rare moment to share my thoughts on subject.

Full disclosure: I am a life-long member of the LDS (Mormon) church. Now let’s proceed.

gov-romney-faith-in-americaI consider myself a strong social conservative. My social views aren’t limited to just abortion and same-sex marriage, but I also place strong emphasis on the morality of a politician or a candidate. How a leader comports him or herself in office and in their private life has a huge effect on our lives, whether they like it or not. Political leaders, sports heroes, and pop culture icons all set the trend as to what is acceptable behavior in our society. My religious belief that the family is of vital importance and is the basic building block of society causes me to decry behavioral impropriety, particularly marital infidelity, amongst those in the spotlight because of its lasting affect on many, many people. Behavior that becomes commonplace among celebrities is all too easily emulated by fans and constituents.

Back in the year 2000, when I was 9 years younger and more naive than I am now, I recall watching the GOP primary debates and being delighted with George W. Bush and some of the religious rhetoric he employed. It was refreshing to hear such talk, especially in the wake of a Clinton presidency and the scandals that had ensued. At the time I thought mostly of the character of the candidate and much less of what their actual knowledge and experience was. In retrospect, and being a little wiser now, I realize that probably wasn’t the best approach to choosing a candidate. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Bush greatly still, but there were many things that he could have done better, especially in terms of the economy. Even so, he was the best candidate available at the time.

In mid 2006, I began to look for a potential candidate to support for the 2008 GOP nomination. I knew I didn’t like McCain, mostly because of bad memories of the 2000 campaign. And I wasn’t keen on Giuliani either because of his highly publicized affairs. I recall thinking about rumors I had heard that Mitt Romney might run for president. Even though I’m from Utah, I knew absolutely nothing about him besides that fact that he was highly involved in the Olympics. In fact, I was away serving an LDS mission when the Olympics scandals happened, so I knew nothing about them.

My first thoughts upon hearing that Romney might run for president were, “Great, he’s probably going to embarrass us (Mormons) on the national stage, and just give people more reason to publicly ridicule us.” A couple weeks later, after reading everything I could about him, it didn’t matter to me anymore whether he was Mormon or not, or whether he would “embarrass” us on the national stage. I knew that he was qualified, and had the business and economic resume I wanted to see in a candidate, and that he had a fabulous record of turning large entities around, whether it be a business, a state, or the Olympics. And I could feel confident that he would not get involved the extracurricular antics Clinton tangled with while in office. Basically, I felt he was qualified AND would be a good role model, and this was/is very important to me.

Of course there were obstacles to Romney’s path to the presidency. A USA Today poll in February of 2007 showed that of Republicans a full 30% would not support a qualified Mormon candidate. An additional 12% would do so with some hesitancy. Those combined make 42% at least that had a problem with Romney’s faith. I would consider that a substantial obstacle. I recall being somewhat dispirited from that bit of news, but was sure that once people got to know Romney better, and they certainly would, we might see those percentages fall. Fortunately many came to find that they could support a Mormon, especially one as qualified as Romney. Unfortunately, I believe it required from Romney a lot of money and campaigning to slowly break those shackles. That process won’t be nearly as staggering next time around in 2012. It certainly won’t be a cake-walk either.

My own experience as an LDS missionary in Southern Jersey taught me that folks can have wild misconceptions of what a Mormon really is. Then there were others that were well informed of our beliefs and remained strongly opposed to them. In both cases I was often the first Mormon they had ever talked to and they were surprised to find that I was a normal person, as opposed to being a socially degenerative schmoe stuck in the 1800’s. I share my experience because it coincides with a study on religious tolerance that was also revisited this last week in a USA Today column:

The study was an online survey experiment with a nationally representative sample of 3,000 respondents. We provided randomly selected respondents with different statements about Romney and then asked whether they would vote for him.

Some were given a boilerplate biography that did not mention religion; others were told that he has been a local leader in his church; others were told he has been a leader in the Mormon church. Still others were told, “Some people say Mormons are not Christians.” By comparing reactions to these various statements, we could see how each one affected a person’s willingness to vote for Romney, and also how different kinds of people responded to the statements.

The claim that Mormons are not Christians was particularly potent. […] the results of our study — conducted not long after Romney’s [Faith in America] speech — suggest that his religion was a liability. When respondents were told about the claim that Mormons are not Christians, nearly one-third said they were less likely to vote for him.

Interestingly, the claim that Mormons are not Christians had virtually no effect on those people who reported a close personal relationship with a Mormon.

People who objectively know a lot about Mormons — that is, those who scored 100% on a short quiz on facts about Mormonism — were much less likely to be bothered by the claim that Mormons are not Christians. In contrast, respondents who claimed they knew a lot about Mormons, but who actually did not, were bothered most of all by claims about Mormonism.

Bottom line: those who were well acquainted with Mormons, whether personally or informatively, were not affected by the debate of whether Mormons were Christians or not. Yes, ignorance is the greatest inhibitor of tolerance. The study shows that this is unfortunately true for other less-known religions as well. This really ought not to be, but misinformation will always abound, and until the public becomes generally educated on these minority religions we’ll continue to see similar results.

I believe these findings to also be consistent with the results from the GOP primary elections. There is and undeniable pattern that Romney is well-liked western states, but he is not so well received in parts of the south. Nevada is a state that has an LDS population of about 10%. It’s not a large percentage but it’s enough that most people are at least acquainted with Mormons. I’ve often heard people say that Romney only won Nevada because of the large number of Mormons in Nevada (I wouldn’t call 10% a dominant slice of the pie). But the fact remains that if every vote from a Mormon were discounted from the tally, Romney still won the state handily. The point again: in situations where people were familiar with Mormons, they were much less hesitant to vote for one.

One can see why Romney ultimately decided to give his speech on faith in December of 2007, a speech that he hoped he would never have to give. I believe the decision to give the speech was driven by the fact that Huckabee had emerged on the national stage and portrayed himself as the “Christian Leader”, coupled with the fact that the once strong Romney state of Iowa was slipping away from him.

So what was the purpose of the speech? Merely for people to get acquainted with him on a large scale. Perhaps many wanted Romney to explain certain tenets of his faith to assuage their concerns. Romney wisely did not fall into that trap. In matters regarding doctrine he referred people to the LDS Church itself, which is the proper manner to handle this situation because as a political leader it is not his duty to educate people on all the points of his beliefs. Perhaps also the buzz around the speech would draw folks to see it and realize “Hey, that Mitt is not a crazy Mormon like I thought him to be.” Many people got to hear from his own mouth that he was a Christian in the sense that he believed that Jesus is the savior of all mankind. But that wasn’t even the main point. The main point to get across was that Americans by and large want a person of faith to lead the country, and that he fit in those parameters. Was it effective? I think so. But it obviously didn’t yield the desired results of turning Iowa back in his favor.

I have embedded Romney’s full speech below so you can revisit it. I recall vividly watching this speech live on TV. I rarely get emotional, especially in the realm of politics, but this speech hit home with me. Regardless of Romney’s future, I believe this speech will hold it’s place in history as one of the most regarded speeches of the 2008 campaign cycle, and will be held by many as an inflection point their lives.

Part 1

Part 2

Here is a permanent link to the videos and transcript.

So did Romney lose the ’08 GOP primary because of religious intolerance? Who knows? I think there are valid arguments for both cases. I DO know that no one likes a sore loser and Romney has lead well by his example. Never has he tried to claim that he was discriminated against because of his religion. He lost because in the end he didn’t get the most votes, and it all happened fair and square. I think his supporters would be wise to follow suit. I recommend removing the word “bigotry” from your vocabulary. Even if you do see true cases of religious bias against Romney I would ask you to consider your reaction. By yelling “bigot” at every corner you do much more harm to your cause than good. Be an adult and just let it go.

For those interested in following the topic of religion and how it pertains to political office (especially in regards to Romney) I recommend reading the Article 6 blog run jointly by a Mormon and an Evangelical Christian.