Christians Are Better

by | Oct. 20, 2011

Opinions & Features

In Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Perry was asked whether he would repudiate the anti-Mormon comments of Robert Jeffress, the Baptist pastor who introduced Perry at the Oct. 7 Values Voter Summit. “I have said I didn't agree with that individual's statement,” said Perry. But Mitt Romney pressed the point:

With regards to the disparaging comments about my faith, I've heard worse, so I'm not going to lose sleep over that. What I actually found was most troubling in what the reverend said in the introduction was [that] he said in choosing our nominee we should inspect his religion, and [that] someone who is a good, moral person is not someone who we should select; instead, we should choose someone who subscribes to our religious belief. … And it was that principle, Governor, that I wanted you to [answer], “No, that's wrong, Reverend Jeffress.” Instead of saying, as you did, "Boy, that introduction knocked the ball out of the park," I'd have said, "Reverend Jeffress, you got that wrong. We should select people not based upon their faith.

Romney is right. The problem with Jeffress isn’t what he said about Mormonism. It’s what he said about religion as a voting issue. That statement was made onstage at the Values Voter Summit right before Perry spoke. And Perry has never clearly addressed it.

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