Washington Post: Buried in the mountain of demographic data preoccupying political pundits this week is one historic statistic that may have far-reaching consequences for religious freedom in America:
Seventy-nine percent of white Protestant evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney, a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – popularly known as the Mormon Church.
After a bitter Republican primary season during which many evangelical leaders supported the “anybody but Romney” effort, prominent conservative Christian ministers lined up behind Romney for the general election. A defining moment came on Oct. 11 when America’s Preacher,the Rev. Billy Graham, publicly signaled support for Romney’s candidacy.
One week after Graham’s embrace of Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed from its Web site the reference to the Mormon Church as a “cult” – a small change in language that could have a big impact on future relations between evangelicals and Mormons.
It’s very likely, of course, that conservative Protestant acceptance of Romney was largely a political marriage of convenience. Evangelical positions on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage trumped misgivings about putting a Mormon in the White House.