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Evangelical Leaders On Romney's Speech

Hannity & Colmes

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to HANNITY AND COLMES. We'll get right to our top story tonight. Earlier today, Mitt Romney gave the speech that many people were waiting for. For all the critics out there, he addressed his Mormon faith.


ROMNEY: I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith, nor should he be rejected because of his faith. Let me assure you that no authorities of my church or of any other church, for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs within the province of church affairs. And it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.


HANNITY: Joining us now is the senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, the Pastor Jonathan Falwell, and the president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, Eastern University professor and author of "Red Letter Christians," Dr. Tony Campolo. First of all, Jonathan, let me say publicly to you, your dad was extraordinarily kind to me in my life, and we miss him dearly, and we appreciate you being on the program today.


HANNITY: What did you think of the speech?

FALWELL: Well, you know, I think obviously the questions that have been asked for quite some time about Mitt Romney's faith -- I think that Governor Romney felt it was time to address those things. I think he did it. While certainly I would have to say that there are some doctrinal differences that he and I would have in our beliefs and his beliefs; we're not electing a pastor in chief. We're electing a commander in chief. And we have to look to the person that might closely represent what we believe, and to pull that lever for that person.

If I were trying to find a person that would agree with me 100 percent of the time, I think I'd probably end up having to vote for myself, and I'm not running for president this year.

HANNITY: My wife doesn't agree with me all the time. I know the feeling. Let me ask you this, Jonathan, should Evangelicals have any problem at all, in your estimation, supporting Governor Romney because of his faith?

FALWELL: Again, I don't think we're ever going to find a candidate, whether you're an Evangelical or not, that absolutely agrees with you 100 percent of the time. So I think what we have to do is we have to evaluate what their values and beliefs are, what they stand on, and find the person that closely resembles and best resembles what you believe and vote for that person.

HANNITY: Let me pin you down a little more if I can here. Could you support Mitt Romney -- if Governor Romney gets the nomination, would you be comfortable supporting him?

FALWELL: Again, if Governor Romney gets the nomination, and he's running against Barack Obama or running against Hillary Clinton, you know, using the test that I just shared with you, there's no question that I could support Mitt Romney in that situation, because, again, he would more closely resemble what I believe and certainly what Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would.

HANNITY: Tony, I've got to tell you something. I wish Mitt Romney didn't have to give the speech that he gave earlier today. I think it's an unfortunate truth, but he has been, from almost the very beginning, in my estimation, the victim of a very vicious, nasty campaign by people that are attacking religion and using religion as a wedge, and it goes back to John F. Kennedy and his speech that he gave in 1960 defending his Catholic faith, his Catholicism. Your thoughts.

TONY CAMPOLO, EASTERN UNIVERSITY: I couldn't agree with you more. This should not be an issue. I was really disappointed when Mr. Huckabee raised the Mormon issue and said, I don't know about electing a Mormon. This should not be an issue, because if you start raising it, you'll begin to ask Giuliani and -- you're a Catholic. What about birth control? You'll begin to ask Huckabee. You're a southern Baptist, do you really believe that wives should be submissive to their husband? Do you really believe --

HANNITY: That's a whole other debate.

COLMES: Let me jump in here for a second. Tony and Jonathan -- let me say to you, Jonathan, I welcome you to the show. I had many great debates with your dad. We didn't agree on much, but he was always kind to me, so I share your less.

FALWELL: He enjoyed being with you many times.

COLMES: We appreciate that very much. Tony, let me ask you -- I want to pick up on what Sean said. It's a shame that 47 years after J.F.K. gave a speech on it's OK to be a Catholic and be a president that Mitt Romney has to say it's OK to be another faith and be president of the United States. And at what point do we mature enough as a country where this is a total non-issue?

CAMPOLO: I hope that Romney has helped to set this thing behind once and for all. Kennedy did a god job. I think Romney hit the ball out of the ballpark today in separating his religious convictions from the role that he would play if elected president. I think he did a brilliant job. He said, I'm not going to be ruled from Salt Lake City, and that's what I would expect him to say.

You don't have to be for Romney or against Romney to recognize that he did a great job today in differentiating between those two. And I'm sorry that as an Evangelical Christian I have to face the fact that it has been Evangelicals that have raised this issue, talking about Mormon people as though they're a cult, as though they're some group of people who are a danger to the society.

The Mormons I have known have been good Americans, decent living people, and Evangelical Christians ought to be ashamed to raise this issue.

COLMES: I wonder if you, Jonathan, agree with that? Here's a guy, who if -- I'm not a Romney supporter. I don't agree with him politically. I would not vote for him if he ran against the people you said you would not vote for. Nevertheless, look at his values, look at his family, look at the way he lives his life, certainly that comports with the things that you as an Evangelical Christian have preached for a long time.

FALWELL: Again, that's what I said earlier. It's about values, about what you believe in. Certainly, there are doctrinal differences. To be honest with you, going out there and sharing with people the gospel of Jesus Christ, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that's my job, that's Tony's job, and other pastors around this country. We certainly shouldn't be looking to our president to do that.

But the values are important. The things that they believe in, the things that they stand on. Here at Thomas Road Baptist Church, we preach the gospel often. We've had over 1,700 people that have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior in the last six months. The reason for that is that we believe that we are the ones that stand up for truth, and we're the ones that stand up --

COLMES: Let me ask you this, there is a Constitution that says there can be no religious test to run for public office of the United States, and Mitt Romney says he believes in Jesus Christ. You believe in Jesus Christ. Could you only support somebody who believes in Jesus Christ? Do you impose that test on somebody running for office?

FALWELL: Again, I'm never going to find somebody who agrees with me 100 percent. But I will always look to the person who most closely resembles what I believe, the values that I stand for, the values of being pro life, standing up for truth, protecting our borders, standing up for the troops that are over there in Iraq, and all of those types of things. That's the test that I will apply to find the person that most closely resembles what I believe.

COLMES: Pastor Falwell, Dr. Campolo, we thank you both very much for being with us tonight. And by the way, it is that time. Which candidate is leading in those all important swing states? Who has got the edge in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania? Find out after the break when we bring you the fastest two seconds in politics, coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator from Illinois, and future president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.


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