The GOP had better not take evangelicals for granted. Many of us will throw the Republican party overboard if they dare to demand that we vote for Rudy Giuliani. Don’t believe me? Well, Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), a very influential voice of religious conservatives, makes it absolutely clear. And I applaud him for speaking out. Hot Air provides some key snippets from an interview with Newsweek. The entire interview is worthy of a read, so be sure to check it out.
NEWSWEEK: So we wanted to ask you, first of all, about the third party idea and whether it’s serious. A number of people are suggesting it is just a threat.
Land: My intuition [is that] this is not a bluff. If Giuliani is the nominee, there will be a third party. There are things that Giuliani could do to help mitigate the damage. But I have been in too many discussions over the last 15 years where evangelical leaders have said, “The one thing we will never allow to happen is for the Republican Party to take us for granted the way the Democrat Party too often takes the African-American community for granted.”
This is not a bluff…
NEWSWEEK: When Rudy says “I will appoint strict constructionist judges,” you are not hearing that?
Land: I hear it. I hear it.
NEWSWEEK: Well, you don’t hear Hillary saying that.
Land [turns to question a Newsweek reporter]: Could you vote for a Klansman?
[Reporter responds] No.
Land: You’ve answered my question. I cannot vote for someone who believes that it’s all right to stop a beating heart.
That’s absolutely right. The pro-life issue is simply non-negotiable. Hasn’t the Republican party learned this lesson yet? Will the GOP throw the 2008 Presidential election and all that social conservatives have worked for during the last several decades? They will do so at their peril. As Land says, “this is not a bluff.” And evangelicals and socons cannot be blamed if this happens. It’s up to the party to make the right choice. We will not obediently submit if an intolerable candidate is selected.
Land also had some interesting things to say about Mitt Romney. If Mittens were nominated, it would not necessarily be a deal-breaker; it wouldn’t necessarily result in Richard Land and other evangelicals voting third party, but there are a number of concerns that potential voters would have. Mitt hasn’t done much, if anything, to qualm their fears.
What are the three or four things that he absolutely needs to say more vigorously?
For starters, he needs to quit trying to convince evangelicals that Mormonism is an orthodox, with a small “o,” Trinitarian, with a capital “T,” Apostolic, with a capital “A,” faith. He is not going to win that argument [and] he doesn’t need to try. That’s not the issue. Kennedy didn’t try to defend Catholicism. He defended the right of a Catholic to run for President. What I think Romney has to do is he has to give a speech in which he defends the right of a Mormon to run for president and appeals to Americans’ basic sense of fair play. I would encourage him to say that “there was no higher percentage of Mormons in my administration than there were Mormons in the percentage of the population in Massachusetts.”
That is a concern that has been expressed to me by my constituents–that he would have a disproportionate number of Mormons in his administration.
What did Romney say [when you suggested that]?
He said he would consider it. [But] he has not given that speech. I’ve seen him go to South Carolina and say things like, you know, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.” Well, you know what, that ain’t going to work in South Carolina. The most generous description [evangelicals] will give [Mormonism] is the one that I give it, which is that it is the fourth Abrahamic religion, you know, Judaism being the first, Christianity being the second, and Islam being the third. And Joseph Smith plays the Mohammed figure in a fourth Abrahamic faith, but it is not a Trinitarian Christian faith.
Need I remind you that Mormonism isn’t Christian?
Brownbackers instinctively know that neither Giuliani nor Romney are acceptable; neither deserve their vote. If either choice is presented as the only one, they will look elsewhere: either third party or a write-in. You can count on it. This is no bluff.
See also: Rudy Giuliani: Soft on Child Molesters? Is this the kind of person that a President Giuliani would welcome into his cabinet?