Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a chat with Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider, blogger Jim Galloway. Reed spoke about bigotry against Mormons coming from the left. When chatting about “anti-Mormon prejudice” Southern Baptists came up.
It’s okay – Southern Baptists don’t matter much anyway.
Galloway noted Reed’s position that, “Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:”
”Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because she believes it’s a heresy, she’s more than likely in north Georgia, upstate South Carolina or eastern Tennessee.
“And we don’t need her. But when you talk about the suburbs of Orlando, or the exurbs of Cincinnati, that’s not their deal. It’s not an issue.”1
Does Reed believe that Mormonism is not heresy? Reed’s perception seems to be that Southern Baptist influence is limited to the South which may or may not be true. Maybe Southern Baptists have not done a good job of expanding in North America. Either way, it is somewhat refreshing that we Southern Baptists actually gain a little bit of distance from the Republican party.
For too long Southern Baptist was seen as synonymous with Republican.
Reed may offer more good news on Evangelical voters as a whole. A story covering the Republican National Convention and Mormonism in The Wall Street Journal noted that Reed:
…acknowledged that some evangelical voters may shun Mr. Romney because of his faith, but said most of them reside in heavily Republican states, such as Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
“We don’t need ’em,” he said.2
Maybe more Evangelicals will stop confusing conservative principles motivated by biblical Christianity with the Republican party. Maybe Mitt Romney’s Mormonism can be used as a tool for Christians to share the gospel.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
(Acts 4:31 ESV)