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Pro-Perry Evangelical Leader Amplifies Anti-Mormon Rhetoric

Pro-Perry Evangelical Leader Amplifies Anti-Mormon Rhetoric

By Scott Conroy - October 17, 2011


In the wake of anti-Mormon comments made by Robert Jeffress -- an influential pastor who has endorsed Rick Perry -- a second prominent evangelical power broker with ties to the Texas governor is now causing an additional stir.

On Sunday, The Daily Beast published excerpts of emails sent by David Lane, a key organizer of Perry's "The Response," an August gathering in Houston billed as “a call to prayer for a nation in crisis.” In the email excerpts, Lane questioned Mitt Romney’s fitness for the presidency on theological grounds and reveled in the potential political utility of Jeffress’ comments.

“We owe Dr. Jeffress a big thank you,” Lane wrote to Christian talk radio executive Dick Bott, according to the Daily Beast, adding that Jeffress’ comments were “a stroke of luck” in that they drew attention to Romney’s Mormonism.

On Sunday night, Lane doubled down on his anti-Mormon rhetoric in a mass email he distributed, which was obtained by RealClearPolitics.

In the mailing, addressed to unspecified “friends,” Lane drew attention to a Sunday New York Times story that highlighted Romney’s past work as a lay leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lane highlighted an anecdote featured in the article, which recounted the counseling that Romney provided in 1993 to a fellow Mormon who was struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse and has since become sober.

Lane wrote, “Mitt's spiritual guidance to Mr. Clark, ‘Are you trying to improve, are you trying to do better? And if you are, then you’re a saint,’ may not need much polish for core curriculum at a Positive Mental Attitude seminar, but it's not Christian.”

Lane added that the Bible alludes to “two classes of people, ‘Saints and Aints.’ ”

“The ‘Saints’ accept Jesus' prescription for eternal life, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,’ ” Lane wrote. “The ‘Aints’ do not . . . one can serve as a missionary, abstain from adult beverages, and be a good boy, ‘but its end is the way to death.’ ”

Lane went on to suggest that Romney should have been excommunicated from the LDS Church due to his previous support of abortion rights and gay rights.

“My biggest problem with Mitt Romney is not that he's a Mormon, it's that he is not even a good Mormon,” Lane wrote.

Later in his email, Lane turned to his attention to the 2012 Republican presidential horse race, suggesting that Romney, Perry, and Ron Paul would join whoever wins the Iowa Caucuses in moving on to the subsequent GOP contests.

Lane wrote that Romney “very badly” needed Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum to stay in the race, in order to divide the evangelical and pro-life Catholic vote but that Perry’s impressive fundraising haul “threw a monkey wrench” into the theory that no other Republican contender would be able to compete with Romney financially.

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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