Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Oct. 25 2007 03:15 PM ET
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seems to be gaining ground with the much sought-after evangelical community as he adds more Christian leaders to his growing list of supporters.
Bob Jones University Dean, Dr. Robert Taylor, shares his views on the 2008 presidential elections during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Greenville, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 22, 2007. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s campaign was embraced in an unlikely place last week, when he was endorsed by both Taylor and Bob Jones III, the top dean and the founder’s grandson of the influential Christian university that teaches that Romney’s Mormon church is a cult.
The former governor of Massachusetts picked up support among evangelicals and social conservatives while campaigning in South Carolina.
Among his new supporters are the heads of Bob Jones University, an influential conservative Christian college that teaches the Mormon Church as a cult. Romney gained the endorsements of Bob Jones III and Robert Taylor, the grandson of the university’s founder and a top dean at theschool, respectively, according to The Associated Press.
Megachurch pastor Don Wilton, former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and Dr. John Willke, a founder and past president of the National Right to Life Committee, had also signed onto the Romney bandwagon.
Wilton, however, retracted his endorsement Tuesday, saying it was a “mistake” and a “personal error,” noting he has never endorsed a candidate for any elected office.
“It’s hard to see, but I think that they just realized that he (Romney)’s the best of a bad lot. I hate to say it that way,” said Dave Woodard, a GOP activist and political science professor at Clemson University, according to AP.
Oddly enough, many of these evangelical pro-Romney leaders believe the Mormon Church – which the presidential hopeful is a proud member of – is a cult or at least not part of historic orthodox Christianity. Yet a growing number of evangelicals are putting aside their theological conflict with the Mormon faith and focusing on Romney’s conservative and ultra pro-family stance.
Romney also narrowly won a socially conservative Values Voter straw poll in Washington last week. There were some controversies, however, over the percentage of his votes that came from online compared to those at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. While Romney garnered 0.47 percent more overall votes than runner-up Mike Huckabee, Romney won only about 10 percent of the on-site votes. Former Arkansas governor Huckabee won over 50 percent.
According to data from recent AP-Ipsos polls, 22 percent of born-again Christians said they would vote for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, 17 percent for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and 13 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Huckabee and Romney trailed behind with 9 and 8 percent of the votes, respectively.