Ed Kilgore, writing for the New Republic, believes that Robert Jeffress’ recent endorsement of Romney ought to serve as a warning to Democrats who expect that “evangelical distaste for Mormonism will cost Mitt Romney a significant number of votes.” He is probably right.
In any case, Kilgore finds Richard John Neuhaus and Chuck Colson’s Catholics and Evangelicals Together, its recent “Statement on Religious Liberty” found in the pages of First Things’ March issue, to be indicative of the same temporary subordination of theological concern in service of a greater, more urgent responsibility:
The same principle guided the remarkable rapprochement between conservative evangelicals and “traditionalist” Catholics in recent decades. When the theocon Catholic theoretician Richard John Neuhaus and evangelical celebrity Charles Colson formed Catholics and Evangelicals Together (CET) in 1994, it was perceived as a quasi-revolutionary development. It was particularly controversial among Catholics who felt the group’s efforts to move from tactical political cooperation on issues like abortion to theological accommodation went too far. That controversy now seems quaint. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ recently released “Statement on Religious Liberty” went out of its way to endorse a recent manifesto by CET, published in the late Father Neuhaus’s magazine First Things. The Bishops’ statement echoes conservative evangelicals in demanding a high-profile campaign against the Obama administration’s so-called attacks on religious liberty—specifically, the contraception coverage mandate and recent judicial decisions that deny federal funds to religious organizations unwilling to comply with anti-discrimination laws.
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