Minnery Offers Look Into Religious Right Presidential Forum

Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to preview the Thanksgiving Family Forum, the “family discussion with the Republican Presidential Candidates” that CitizenLink is hosting in Iowa on Saturday along with The Family Leader and the National Organization for Marriage. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are all slated to appear at the forum moderated by Minnery and Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Minnery told Mefferd that the moderators will ask questions about what a president will do if “we end up with a welter of different definitions [of marriage] in different states,” and what the candidates think about “the last words in that oath of office…‘so help me God.’” In fact, the oath does not include the words, “so help me God,” but the phrase has been used according to tradition.

We have decided that wouldn’t it be wonderful for at least one presidential debate to have the candidates respond to questions of the heart, questions of the soul. For example, I’ll just give you one of the questions we’ll be asking them: If you are elected president you will be taking the oath of office, the last words in that oath of office will be ‘so help me God,’ what will that mean to you? We’ll be asking them how much they believe that the institution of marriage as one man and one woman is important to the country and what will they do if we end up with a welter of different definitions in different states, is that the realm of action for a president to take or will he leave a bunch of different definitions around the country, he or she, so those are the kind of questions we’ll get at.

However, “questions of the heart” and “questions of the soul” apparently do not pertain to multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Later in the interview, Minnery said that there is even “room for people who do not hold an orthodox Christianity,” referring to the two candidates who are not attending the forum: Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who both just so happen to be Mormons. He said that if Christians “prize Thomas Jefferson,” then it is possible that they can vote for a presidential candidate who is not a Christian but at least has a Christian “worldview.”

Just saying one is a Christian is not sufficient, one has to understand: what is your worldview? How do these moral and soul-matters play out in the policies that you will support when you are in the White House? There is room for people who do not hold an orthodox Christianity, we prize Thomas Jefferson, but I don’t think anybody would say he was an orthodox Christian in his beliefs. He did so much because he understood freedom, he understood the nature of a Creator and the blessings of a Creator as beneficial to the country, so people have to look beyond simply the response to the question, ‘is someone a Christian,’ because I would say, for one thing, I cannot remember an election cycle in which there were so many people trying to get the nomination for one party who professed to be Christians. So just saying you’re a Christian is not enough.