Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BJU Dean to Endorse Romney

I suspect Bob Taylor will catch some heat from the traditional BJU constituency over this report in the Wall Street Journal. Of course, read the story and you'll see that this will be no surprise to Taylor. BJU has allowed Roman Catholics (such as Pat Buchanan) to speak in non-religious convocations in the past, and even some on campus were pretty upset when that happened during my student days.

I like Taylor's statement that we're electing a president, not a pastor. And while I'm fairly convinced that Mike Huckabee is closer ideologically and certainly far closer theologically to the stance of BJU, this seems like a matter in which a little pragmatism is appropriate. Not to concede, of course, that I'm at all comfortable with Taylor's stated intention to use his prominence in the Religious Right to pull others along with him. But that's another discussion.

[Update: Read an alternative view from Mike Huckabee here.]

12 comments:

Jason said...

I find it interesting that BJ is back in the headlines because of politics. I had the impression that they were trying to avoid it under the administration.

From Wiki regarding Stephen Jones:
"When, in 2005, he was asked by Newsweek if he wished to play a political role as had his predecessors at BJU, Jones replied, "It would not be my choice." Further, when asked if he felt ideologically closer to his father's engagement with politics or to other evangelicals who have tried to avoid civic involvement, he answered, "The gospel is for individuals. The main message we have is to individuals. We’re not here to save the culture."[2]"

David McGuire said...

Perhaps it is a fine point, but Bob Taylor is only one of the administrators at BJU. It is not Stephen that is doing the endorsing. Admittedly, Bob Taylor is an important political player in Greenville County politics, but I doubt whether he is assuming that all of the University family and its constituency will necessarily come out for Romney.

I well remember 1979-1980, when there was quite a difference of opinion on campus between supporting John Connally or Ronald Reagan. As it happened, Bob Taylor led the charge for Reagan, while other administrators were for Connally.

It is quite signficant, though, to see the impact that Bob Taylor's announcement is having on the blogosphere.

Coach C said...

This is a big surprise to me. Why does he feel the need to even announce an endorsement? And why so early? Is this a BJU endorsement or just a Bob Taylor endorsement?

I like how he just throws Thompson and Huckabee under the wagon because he things they are "unelectable".

Ben said...

Jason and CC,

It's inconceivable to me that Taylor would announce this endorsement without someone with the last name of Jones approving it, or at least being aware of it. But I don't think we should force a between-the-lines endorsement from either Bob III or Stephen.

And CC, Taylor clearly seems to be endorsing early to pull others with him (and to get on the bandwagon early, when there's more benefit than at the latter stages).

Don Johnson said...

Huckabee or Thompson might be electable against Hillary, but what Republican wouldn't? The country has been fairly evenly divided in the last two presidential elections and I don't think the Republican support has been so eroded lately that any Republican wouldn't have a reasonable chance in the general election.

But... right now we are in primary season. It looks like Huckabee is completely unelectable at the top of the ticket (but maybe angling for a Veep spot??) Thompson, while exciting my interest earlier, has some extremely disappointing character issues and has not impressed in the early going of his campaign. I don't think either of them are electable in the primaries.

FWIW...

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

David McGuire said...

The Greenville News just broke the news that Dr. Bob III has also endorsed Romney. The line of the day is that "we are not electing a pastor, we are electing a president." I'm not totally convinced that Romney is our guy, but I respect the right of Dr. Bob III and Bob Taylor to endorse a reasonably conservative candidate. It's going to be an interesting ride.

Ben said...

Yep, see my post from an hour ago.

By the way, we might not want to presume that there IS an "our guy" for two reasons. First, there might not be any good candidate, and second, there might be multiple candidates that believers could support equally validly.

And Don, I think many Republicans are unelectable, if for no other reason than that many religious conservatives won't vote for them under any circumstances.

Don Johnson said...

Ben, I agree that the current situation is a bit of a mess, and a real dilemma for Christian voters. As I look over the field, outside of maybe Huckabee, there really is no one I could enthusiastically support.

However, politics isn't church. I understand the Drs. Bob making their choices, but I am not yet convinced. If Rudy is the candidate, and I had a vote, I would vote for him. He has a lot of attractive qualities, in spite of the obvious negatives.

In my opinion, if Christians simply sit on their hands, or vote for some third party candidate, they are almost always making the wrong choice. Any vote that enables a Democrat president would be the wrong choice, I think.

And lest you think my status as a non-citizen of the US should make me disinterested (or at least silent!), I am married to a US citizen and the father of five of them, three of them eligible to vote. So I tell them who to vote for, then they do what they want!

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

Don,

If you didn't read the Hugh Hewitt post I linked to a couple days ago, ti deals with some of the same calculus you're talking about.

Ben

Don Johnson said...

Hi Ben,

Yes, I saw the Hugh Hewitt piece. Hugh is the ultimate pragmatist. He does claim some kind of Christian testimony, but I think he is very confused, given the sorts of religious leaders he gives credence to.

I tend to agree with political pragmatism, but there obviously does come a point where the choices are so awful you just have to sit on your hands. Some would criticise a no-vote strategy, but not voting is a vote, in my opinion.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Frank Sansone said...

Don,

"Not voting is a vote"

This is true, except it is a very unclear vote.

I would think it would be wiser to vote third party for someone who held closer to your values than to not vote - if that was the choices. At least then your view is getting counted. Your silence can too easily be interpreted by whatever side in a way to benefit them.

(Note, I am not advocating voting third party, I am just saying that it is better than not voting.)

Frank

Keith said...

The "traditional BJU constituency" never throws heat toward the unversity leadership.