Evangelicals balk at Romney’s policies, not his theology

A Newt Gingrich supporter waited for his arrival outside Centro de la Familia evangelical church in Orlando before Florida’s January primary.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A Newt Gingrich supporter waited for his arrival outside Centro de la Familia evangelical church in Orlando before Florida’s January primary.

RE “ROMNEY’S faith puts up an extra obstacle in South: Anti-Mormon views stronger in the region’’ (Page A1, March 10): Polls suggest that Mitt Romney does indeed have a problem with evangelical voters, but, while most evangelicals do have theological differences with the Mormon faith, I do not believe that Romney’s religion is their primary concern. As an evangelical, the misgivings that I hear most often about Romney are about his policies, not his theology.

Given his complete reversal on his position on abortion - a non-negotiable issue for many evangelical voters - the possibility that Romney might change his mind again were it to become politically convenient gives many evangelicals pause.


Furthermore, his recent embrace of harsh “self-deportation’’ policies on immigration, modeled on laws that are having disastrous effects on churches in states such as Arizona and Alabama, are offensive to many evangelicals, most of whom (according to the Pew Research Center survey you cite) support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and meet certain other requirements.

If Romney wishes to win over evangelicals, he might do well to read through the resolutions on immigration of evangelical institutions such as the National Association of Evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention, and then flip-flop back to the comprehensive immigration reform approach that he supported as recently as 2006.

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Matthew Soerens

Wheaton, Ill.

The writer is co-author of “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate.’’

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