About 30 seconds before Professor Matthew Bowman of Hampden-Sydney College sat down for an interview with me, I whispered to him:
Matthew, this interview is not for our colleagues in the American Academy of Religion. It’s not for the specialists that we write for in our scholarly publications. It’s for intelligent people everywhere, who will benefit from the breadth of your knowledge on this subject. So keep it real!
And keep it real he did.
With his inner wonk summoned, validated, and released, Dr. Bowman (author of the fine monograph, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith) proceeded to dazzle us with highly sophisticated insights about the Mormon community, rendered in clear, accessible locutions.
Our guest tries to make sense of an extremely curious demographic finding: When it comes to voting for a Mormon president, conservative Evangelicals and secular…
That deafening, churning, leather-on-wood sound you just heard is the sound of the entire Romney campaign “pivoting to the general,” as the pundits like to say.
In the coming months, Mitt and his Faith and Values team will need to figure out how to draw lucrative religious voting blocs to the Republican side of the ledger. Faith-based politicking is always a complicated affair, and for these reasons I offer a few hopefully helpful suggestions on how the Romney team ought to proceed:
Bait the secularists (if you must): Secular-bashing is among the easiest, and most intellectually dishonest, forms of Faith and Values politicking out there. Easy, because there is widespread confusion as to what “secularism” means. The dreaded “ism” can conveniently stand in for anything a politician loathes: godlessness, gang violence, pornography–it’s all good. Or, bad as the case may be.