Mitt Romney has been aggressively courting the Religious Right for months, slowly recruiting supporters from among the cadre of full-time activists. Earlier this year he scored Pat Robertson’s superlawyer Jay Sekulow, along with Gary Marx of the Judicial Confirmation Network and James Bopp, a prominent anti-abortion attorney.
Last week Romney’s campaign announced the formation of its National Faith and Values Steering Committee, a list of 50 better- and lesser- known religious-right figures. Among the co-chairmen of the committee are Sekulow, Marx, Bopp, Matthew Spaulding of the Heritage Foundation, Barbara Comstock of the Susan B. Anthony List (an anti-abortion PAC), and Jack Templeton, head of the Templeton Foundation and Let Freedom Ring – suggesting the kind of “values” Romney hopes to be absorbing from this caucus.
Most newsworthy was the endorsement of Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition and one of the most fervently anti-gay activists in the country. Nicknamed “Lucky Louie” by imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who directed a gambling company to donate generously to TVC in exchange for support on legislation, Sheldon is the author of “The Agenda: The Homosexual Plan to Change America,” an agenda he describes as “an attack on everything our Founding Fathers hoped to give us,” consisting of Hitler-like propaganda designed to “recruit” children. “As Homosexuals continue to make inroads into public schools, more children will be molested and indoctrinated into the world of homosexuality. Many of them will die in that world,” he wrote in one “special report.”
“When I give my support for a candidate, I am giving the green light, if he wins, all the way down the line in terms of so many moral and social issues,” Sheldon recently said. Sheldon joined other big-name religious-right leaders in a meeting with Romney last fall, and he recently met with the candidate for five hours, leaving with a promise that Romney would swear his oath of office on the Bible, not the Book of Mormon. “My thinking is that Mitt Romney is a person with the experience and with the Jude[o-]Christian moral values,” Sheldon told CBN’s David Brody, adding that he’d “been around Mormons long enough to know that … they are sincere about” Jesus.
Other religious-right activists on Romney’s committee include Christian Coalition board member Drew McKissic, Jay Sekulow’s son Jordan, anti-immigration writer James Edwards, and leaders or activists associated with the Alliance Defense Fund, Iowa Christian Alliance (formerly the Christian Coalition of Iowa), Heartbeat International, Legacy Law Foundation, and Citizens for Traditional Values.