Rick Perry Supporters Coordinating Anti-Mormon Message?

The Daily Beast’s McKay Coppins has gotten his hands on some emails that seem to suggest that supporters of Rick Perry are coordinating with evangelical preachers on an anti-Mormom whispering campaign directed at Mitt Romney:

The Daily Beast has obtained a series of emails that show an influential evangelical activist with close ties to the Perry campaign stressing the political importance of “juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false God of Mormonism,” and calling for a “clarion call to Evangelical pastors and pews” that will be “the key to the primary” for Perry.

The activist in question is David Lane, a conservative Christian power broker who directed fundraising for Perry’s August prayer rally and was reportedly among the leading voices in the evangelical community lobbying for the Texas governor to jump into the 2012 race. The email thread—which took place over the past two weeks and includes discussion of both campaign strategy and Christian theology—was between Lane and Dick Bott, who heads Bott Radio Network, a self-described “leader in the development of Christian talk radio.”

(…)

Publicly, the Perry campaign has insisted that Jeffress was not speaking at their behest when he attacked Romney’s religion, and Perry himself has said he does not personally believe that Mormonism is a cult. As recently as Friday, Perry attempted to dismiss the controversy, calling it a “sideshow” that voters were uninterested in, and reiterating, “We clearly said we didn’t agree with that statement.”

But in the emails, Lane—on whom Perry is reportedly relying to rally evangelical voters to his candidacy—struck a different tone.

“We owe Dr. Jeffress a big thank you,” he wrote to Bott, adding that the media criticism that has called attention to the pastor’s comments was “a stroke of luck.”

Lane and Bott did not respond to multiple requests for comment by The Daily Beast.

The emails raise questions about whether Jeffress’s anti-Mormon rhetoric was a deliberate strategic move by the campaign, or simply the prerogative of an independent pastor expressing a widely held view among evangelical Christians.

The Perry campaign refused to comment for the article, and Lane does not appear to be on the campaign’s payroll. Nonetheless, it’s fairly clear that the relationship between Lane and Perry is fairly close. Lane was among those evangelicals pushing for Perry to enter the race over the summer, for example. More importantly, back in 2008 Lane was behind the anti-Romney/pro-Huckabee campaign among evangelicals in Iowa that included a strong element of anti-Mormonism. Even if this isn’t officially a Perry campaign strategy, the fact that someone so close to the campaign is involved in this could be as much of a problem for Perry among non-evangelical Republicans as it was for Huckabee in 2008.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    I’d have been surprised if Perry (and most of the others) didn’t have people pushing the meme in certain circles.

  2. PJ says:

    They need to attack Romney and the anti-Mormon sentiment is still strong among certain groups of Republican primary voters.
    Only question is how much it will hurt Romney in the general election; will those groups vote for him as in their view the lesser evil or will they vote third party or stay at home?

  3. A voice from another precinct says:

    The relationship between Evangelical Christians and Mormons involving politics has been schizophrenic for as long as I can remember. Jerry Falwell welcomed Mormonism and Mormons into the Christian Coallition when he realized how much they could add to the anti-abortion voting bloc even though he believed that Mormonism was “a Satanic lie from the pit of hell itself.”

    When Romney becomes the only choice left, the same Evangelicals who are warning people off of him now will be declaring God’s judgement on those who don’t vote for him.

  4. PJ says:

    @A voice from another precinct:
    You don’t seem to get it.
    If you’re only going after their votes then it doesn’t matter if you believe that Mormonism is “a Satanic lie from the pit of hell itself.”.
    That’s quite different from electing a Mormon as president.

    The first one gives you power, the second one gives them power.

  5. Jack Jackson says:

    Those of the Mormon faith are devilishly imposing their will on people from all walks of life as if they we’re God’s chosen Messiahs. Truth be told, there are more rapist and sexual predators that belong to the Mormon Cult Church than any other Religion. If I had to gauge the evilness of their faith with that of the Muslims, bent on terrorism, I’d be more afraid of losing my civil liberties than seeing a plane fall out of the sky. Those who live and breathe the work of the devil will reap what they sew. That’s to say, Mitt Romney will never get elected president nor will the people of Utah have their cake and eat it too. May your days of religious persecutions come to an end with the boycott of all tourism and business to and from Utah.

  6. Hiram says:

    Mormons give more to charity per capita than any other group.
    Then on top of that, they pay a 10% tithing.
    On top of that, they fast once a month, and give the money they save on food to help in natural disasters all over the world, and with the poor all over the world.
    On top of that, they each volunteer hundreds of hours working in farms, and factories producing products which they then give away free of charge to the poor and suffering all over the world.

    Mormons are generally speaking conservative.

    Mormons do believe in Christ. They pray in his name. (actually they do everything in his name)

    Mormons are hardworking. Which is why they are highly sought by head hunters.

    Generally speaking, they are honest, trustworthy, clean cut, don’t swear, are healthy, good parents, good members of the community, and in virtually every way ideal citizens.

    If therefore, they are “a Satanic lie from the pit of hell itself.” then I would suggest that Satan needs to hire new advisers. Because if indeed he were behind Mormonism, then he has completely failed in his original mission. Instead of turning out “devilish” persons, this faith seems to instead be creating individuals who are admirably good people, among the very best you will find anywhere.