Riptide on the Religious Right


The Wash Times reports nothing but trouble for the GOP when it comes to coaxing the religious right, one of their most reliable voting blocs over the past 30 or so years, to pull the lever or punch the screen for one of the party's leading candidates.

"The question is what will be less distasteful to many evangelicals: Mitt Romney's one-wife Mormonism, Rudy Giuliani's marital mayhem or John McCain's recent disdain," [Univ. of Texas professor and Christian journalist Marvin Olasky] said…. 

"I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," James Dobson, founder of Colorado-based Focus on the Family, has said.

"I hate to say this, and I wish our people were bigger than this, but they do believe the Mormon Church is … not a church," said Free Congress Foundation President Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime leader in recruiting Catholics and Protestant evangelicals to the Republican fold. "But Mormons really do have decent families. In many ways, that ought to be looked at rather than a man's religion."…

Mr. Giuliani and conservative Christians "probably have irreconcilable differences on life and family and that kind of thing," said Mr. Falwell, adding, "I couldn't support him for president."

Richard Land, president of the Religious and Ethics Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, takes a hard line against virtually all the major Republican candidates. He says he'd vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, over Mr. Giuliani if the 2008 presidential race came down to such a choice. And if Mr. Giuliani wins, "he'll do so without social conservatives," Mr. Land said.

More here.

Update: Matt Hawkins of the ERLC of the SBC writes to tell me that that Washington Times misquoted Richard Land. From a story on the ERLC's site:

[Land] is on record as having said that if Rudy Giuliani were the Republican presidential nominee he would not vote in the presidential election for any candidate. It is also incorrect to say that Land has taken a "hard line against all the major Republican candidates."

Land has said he has taken a "hard line" with only two candidates in the Republican race-Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich-if the former House majority leader were to run. These are men for whom Land said his conscience would not allow him to vote because of character issues related to their marital infidelities.

In the same piece, Land calls for Mitt Romney to clarify Mormonism for voters. More here.