My Los Angeles Daily News column today is one that I had to write. In light of all the recent arguments about how much a candidate’s religion should figure into Campaign 2008, I’ve been thinking more about the endorsements from questionable religious leaders. Like Pat Robertson endorsing Giuliani, and Giuliani standing on a stage beaming with, accepting the endorsement of, a man who’s said some pretty unsavory things in the guise of religious leadership:
“Giuliani is hardly singled out here: Mitt Romney had previously courted Robertson’s endorsement with appearances at Regent University, one in which he suggested that the single life was selfish. ‘You cross into the deep waters by marrying and raising good children,’ Romney said to Regent graduates this spring.
Romney got the endorsement of Catholic-bashing Bob Jones III, who as president of the school in 2000 only dropped its ban on interracial dating under heavy media scrutiny. ‘We have the same things we want to fight for on issue after issue, so I’m happy to have his support,’ Romney said in October.
Lifting the ban on interracial dating came with a caveat that parents give written consent. ‘When you date interracially or marry interracially, it cuts you off from people,’ Jones reportedly said in March 2000.
Haven’t we moved past the point of endorsements from folks like this mattering anymore?
At some point, wouldn’t a candidate of character stand up and say, ‘Sorry, endorsement not needed’?…”
Now, there’s another thing about Romney that I looked into over the weekend. The name of Gary Jarmin, a conservative activist who ran a distasteful senior scare scam and described from the horse’s mouth as operating in the service of Sun Myung Moon, originally appeared on the roster of Romney’s National Faith and Values Steering Committee. It was removed there, but still appears on this follow-up press release about additions to the committee. So I contacted the Romney campaign and asked if Jarmin was still on the committee, and received this response: “He had to resign because of other commitments.”
Is “other commitments” code for “you’re a liability, see ya”? Rumor has it that a major paper has been sniffing around Jarmin. ‘Twas only a matter of time before the Romney connection came up.
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