Romney’s Mormonism likely more of a negative in South Carolina

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Does Mitt Romney’s Mormonism matter in South Carolina, a state with a large evangelical Christian population? The consensus seems to be that it’s not a particularly big factor. Tony Perkins, President of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said Thursday after the debate that he had not heard a lot about it since coming to South Carolina.

But two of the people The Daily Caller spoke to first at an event at Tommy’s Hamhouse in Greenville, where both Romney and Newt Gingrich made appearances Saturday morning, brought it up — and not necessarily as a positive.

For Chuck Hofstra, Romney’s religion is flat out a “deal killer.”

“I like a lot about Romney, I get a lot of positives … but you know, his faith of Mormonism … I mean, they do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that he is the son of God. And if you take away the deity of the son of God, who died for our sins to forgive us of our sins, all he is is just a mere historical figure, then,” he said.

“That is a huge difference between somebody who believes he’s Jesus Christ, the son of God, co-creator of the world, the Trinity, versus somebody who just thinks, ‘well he was a good man, a good prophet who walked here on earth, a historical figure, he’s a great man, but that’s the end of it.’ And see it’s just hard for me to vote for somebody who just doesn’t see the deity of Jesus Christ,” he said.*

Hofstra, who said he probably wouldn’t end up voting in the primary because there was no one for whom he could vote “and be true to my own conscience and heart and beliefs,” said it was less about what particular denomination of Christianity he was, and more about his “personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.”

Both that voter and Eley Vann, another attendee, brought Romney’s religion up without any prompting. It would be inappropriate to draw conclusions from two discussions, but the fact that it came up organically is interesting.

Vann was undecided as of this morning, but said his decision would be between Gingrich and Romney.

He liked Romney, “even though I disagree with his — I’m not a Mormon. I’m a Christian and I think Mormonism is a cult.”

But, Vann went on to say Romney’s religion would not be a part of his decision-making process.

“I like many principles of Mormonism. Mormonism is very pro-American, and you know, I would not hold his religion against him. I am looking for someone to help preserve this country, not a religious leader,” Vann said.

*Correction: A number of people have written to note that this is an inaccurate description of Mormonism. According to Articles of Faith for the church, Mormons “believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost,” and “that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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