Voices from Russia

Monday, 16 January 2012

US Presidential Candidates Experience the Power of Faith: Mormon Mitt Romney Faces a Christian Opponent

Rick Santorum’s noxious pandering to his fat-cat paymasters on the backs of the elderly and the poor didn’t bother the “evangelicals” one little bit… can you see why many Catholics, Orthodox, and Mainline Protestants don’t consider them real Christians? 

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Opponents of the nomination of Mitt Romney for the office of US President used virtually the last trump card against the leader of the Republican race… religion. A meeting of 150 leaders of the most influential American evangelical organisations named a single Republican candidate as an alternative to Mormon Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, a former senator and a champion of Christian values. The appearance of a figure bringing together the conservative wing of the Republican Party introduced a new aspect to the race.

Last weekend, influential conservative Republicans convened an emergency meeting of leaders of American evangelical organisations at a ranch near Houston TX because of their profound concern about the strong lead that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon, had taken in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination race. In early January, he won the Republican caucus (meeting of party activists) in Iowa, and, a week later, won the primary in New Hampshire by a wide margin. This has prompted many to say that these victories mean that the Republican nomination’s in his pocket. The polls predict another success for Mitt Romney in the primary scheduled for next Saturday in South Carolina. If he does win, and outpaces his competition, his opponents will seem to lose their last hope to have someone other than Romney face Barack Obama in the coming election.

In this case, Mitt Romney’s opponents regard the primary in South Carolina as a decisive battle, leaving on the table one last trump card… religion. Given that 60 percent of South Carolina’s population are evangelicals, the organisers of the Texas meeting wanted to send the voters of the state a powerful message from the leading figures of the evangelical movement. The poll taken on the ranch near Houston was in three stages, to name a single candidate for Republican conservatives in the upcoming presidential election. At the end, the result showed that 52-year-old Rick Santorum, a former US Senator from Pennsylvania, received 75 percent of the votes, and former US Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich got 25 percent.

It’s noteworthy that Santorum’s already created a sensation in the current race, as he was behind Mitt Romney in Iowa by only eight votes. However, after this success, he looked very pale in New Hampshire, winning only fifth place. Nevertheless, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has bet on him. The father of seven children, Rick Santorum’s a devout Christian and a known staunch opponent of abortion and gay rights. However, the experts took a very guarded estimate of the last move by Romney’s opponents, believing that they missed the boat. In their opinion, the meeting at the Texas ranch would’ve had a far greater impact if it took place a week-and-a-half earlier… before the caucus in Iowa, when Romney wasn’t so confident. Nevertheless, the evangelical leaders’ proposal revived the almost extinct Republican race, forcing everyone to wait for the outcome of the primaries… at least, the one in South Carolina.

16 January 2012

Sergei Strokan

Komersant

As quoted in Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=print&div=14180

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