Mitt Romney ought to rank atop the Republican candidates for president in 2012. He finished second in votes cast in the primaries of 2008. He is a candidate with immense private-sector economic expertise in a time of urgent economic debate. But Romney has a political problem: his Mormon religious faith. A Gallup survey in December 2007 found that 18 percent of Republicans would not vote for a Mormon for president.
Romney has worked hard to persuade Republicans to think again. In the 2008 cycle, many conservative Christians showed support for his candidacy. But the important new statement by Christian leaders suggests that Romney may face even greater religious resistance in 2012.
The Manhattan Declaration -- that is the statement's name -- offers an ominous assessment of the Christian condition in Barack Obama's America. It warns that the administration and its supporters will "trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments."