Dean Robert Taylor, Bob Jones Univesity, On His Endorsement Of Mitt Romney
HH: Now Dean Taylor, obviously, a lot of people have wondered whether Governor Romney could overcome, especially in the South, especially in conservative Evangelical and fundamentalist circles, the fact that he was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Do you see that as a significant issue, or is it one that was and has dissipated?
RT: Well, I think it is an issue, but I think we have the ability to dissipate it, because if we just look at the abilities of the man, the unique abilities among all the candidates, and vote for those abilities and what he’s able to perform, instead of focusing solely on his religious beliefs.
HH: How widespread is the support for Romney among the faculty and staff at Bob Jones University? Just for me, obviously, it’s not scientific, but you’re the Dean, you talk to most of the professors and the staff there.
RT: Well, I think among those folks that are politically active, I would say he has a great deal of support. You know, a lot of people just don’t pay too much attention until it gets a little closer to the real thing. But you know, I feel confident that we’ll have a pretty good majority that would support him when the time comes.
HH: And would you describe your theology for the audience, Dr. Taylor, or Dean Taylor?
RT: Well, I’m an independent Baptist, and our doctrine is basically that we believe the Bible’s the inspired Word of God, that we’re sinners, and the only remedy for that is the blood of Jesus Christ, and accepting Christ as my Savior, I’m confident that he has forgiven me of my sins, and when I die, I’m going to go to Heaven.
HH: Now Dr. Taylor, when I wrote a book about Mitt Romney, A Mormon In The White House?, I encountered three different objections, generally, to him, based upon his faith. The first is that Salt Lake City would control the Romney presidency. You have no concerns about that?
RT: No, sir, I don’t. You know, he’s been a governor, his father was a governor. We’ve had Mormons in cabinet positions almost constantly in my lifetime. And you know, I have never seen or heard an accusation like that, I mean, where that actually played out in the lives of these men that held these high positions.
HH: The second is that a Mormon president would supercharge LDS missionary work. Your response to that?
RT: I just don’t see that. I don’t think he’s going to make that something he’s going to talk about. So I don’t see that happening, either.
HH: And then the third one is look, it’s just so odd, Mormon doctrine and history is so different from classical Christianity and the founding narrative of it, the Joseph Smith narrative, is so supernatural that it detracts from confidence in a candidate’s rationality. Your response to that?
RT: Well, I agree that the Mormon religion is certainly not something that I believe in, but you know, I don’t know that I can answer that for Mr. Romney. He grew up in a Mormon home. I don’t really know exactly what he believes with regard to many of the doctrines of the Mormon Church. And so it’s just, it’s not going to be an issue with me. If…I look at him as a man who has great accomplishments in the business world, and has shown the ability to solve very difficult problems by gathering together men of talent in the area of the problem, and putting together a team that comes up with good solutions. And to me, that’s a refreshing prospect, that we would have a man that would bring together this kind of talent outside of the normal inside the Beltway people that have been there all their lives, and have certain ways of solving problems that this man can bring a fresh approach. And I think that’s what this country needs.
As I wrote yesterday, though the overall number of fundamentalists in the electorate is small, their significance in states like South Carolina is large, and to them the endorsements from Dean Taylor and Chancellor Bob Jones III will matter a great deal. Political journalists are always covering the last war and are thus looking for a JFK-style Houston speech from Governor Romney. Many have thus missed the significance of these endorsements, or prefer not to notice them. The next MSMer that writes a story about the Mormon issue without mentioning Dean Taylor or Chancellor Bob Jones III will be instantly revealed as an agenda journalist.
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