By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
A prominent evangelical supporter of Mitt Romney, invoking the late Jerry Falwell, has sent a letter to fellow conservatives and evangelical Christians that seeks to rally their support for Romney and allay their concerns about his Mormonism.
The five-page letter from Mark DeMoss, an Atlanta public relations executive, urges evangelical voters to “galvanize support around Mitt Romney, so Rudy Giuliani isn’t the unintended beneficiary of our divided support among several other candidates—or, worse yet, so we don’t abdicate the presidency [and the future of the Supreme Court] over to Hillary Clinton.”
The letter comes as Romney has been stepping up his efforts to woo evangelicals in response to some prominent Christian conservative leaders who threatened last week to back a third-party candidate. Most prominently, James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, said that he and other social conservatives had agreed to support a "minor party" candidate if the Republicans choose a presidential nominee who is not conservative enough.
DeMoss says in his letter that, “After spending months researching [Romney’s] life and his record, and hours with him (and his wife and staff) in his home, his office and on the road, I am convinced his values practically mirror my own -- values about the sanctity of life, the sacredness of marriage, the importance of the family, character and integrity, free enterprise and smaller government.”
DeMoss -- who has appeared on the "700 Club" television show with Pat Robertson, authored a book of biblical wisdom, and whose firm provides PR for prominent Christian groups -- also forcefully confronts some evangelicals' reluctance to support Romney because of his religion.
“Now, I fully recognize some evangelicals take issue with me for supporting a Mormon for the office of president, and I respect their concerns,” DeMoss writes in the letter, first reported by The New York Times. “Indeed, I had to deal with the same concerns in my own heart before offering to help Gov. Romney. But I concluded that I am more concerned that a candidate shares my values than he shares my theology. (If I believed similar theology was paramount in a president, I would be writing this memo urging support of Mike Huckabee.)”
DeMoss also invokes the name and words of Falwell, the late televangelist and founder of the Moral Majority who DeMoss said had accepted DeMoss’ invitation to meet with Romney, Romney’s wife, Ann, and about 15 other evangelicals for an “intimate discussion” at the Romneys’ home in Belmont last year.
According to DeMoss, “Jerry was one of several that day who said, ‘Governor, I don’t have a problem with your being Mormon, but I want to ask you how you would deal with Islamic jihadists…or with illegal immigration…or how you would choose justices for the Supreme Court…,’ and so on.”
DeMoss continues, “While Jerry Falwell never told me how he intended to vote in the upcoming election, I think I know how he would not have voted. I also know he would not have ‘sat this one out’ and given up on the Supreme Court for a generation. I am wholeheartedly convinced that Mitt Romney can be trusted to uphold the values and principles most important to me as a political conservative and an evangelical Christian.”