National Review beat me to it, alas, but I have been deciding to come out publicly for Mitt Romney for some days now. I have been supporting him privately for weeks, though I was trying to avoid supporting anybody publicly.
But the attacks upon Romney’s religion have been a last straw. They are just not fair. I remember his father’s campaigns and what an upright man he was — and no one even breathed a word against him because of his religion.
In addition, every one of the Mormons I have ever worked with, beginning with a great graduate assistant for one of my classes at Stanford in about 1967, have been the most well-mannered, inquisitive, competent, kind and thoughtful people I know. Arch Madsen of Bonneville Broadcasting, with whom I served on the Board of International Broadcast for many years, Joe Cannon who was on the AEI Board, Senator Orrin Hatch, and a long list of others always lifted my spirits.
One of my favorite texts from the New Testament is “By their fruits you shall know them.” That verse has taught me to look for persons who actually love God, not so much by the churches they attend or what they say they believe, but by how they and their families live their lives. Over two public generations now, the Romney family has given us examples of upright, decent, warm lives, given to public commitment even though they did not have to be.
These days, though, it has become imperative for some Christians to come out publicly for Mitt, now that his religion has come under unfair attack. I am no expert on Mormon theology, but I do profoundly admire the good family life and good individuals it keeps sending forth into the world. Those are signs I read clearly.
And last night and today I was too sick at heart at Mike Huckabee’s low and dirty dig at the Mormon faith, along disgustingly false lines. In running a clean campaign, the devil is in the details. Here Huckabee made the devil into a dirty headline. It seems to be a fatal mistake. Since Huckabee has shown himself to be such a good-humored, folksy man, this aside was entirely unnecessary, and emphatically wrong. He should disown it, and publicly apologize, very quickly.
In any case, that’s the last straw. Someone has to protest, in the name of Christianity itself, that spreading bigotry and hatred for the sake of winning a political campaign is wrong. I for one don’t want to let this issue of bigotry and suspicion pass by without protest — and without open support for its victim. The least Americans can do is speak up for each other on matters of religious liberty.
Romney is a good, executive-keen man, and without this mud he would earn the respect and love of the American people on his own.