Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry visited Liberty University this week to talk about his faith, not politics. His testimony was compelling and sounded genuine. The Washington Post featured it on the front page.
Perry spoke of his personal failings in his 20s and 30s and then said he turned to God because there was nowhere else to turn.
That is language familiar to evangelicals. Presidents have used religious language from our first president to this one. President Obama read a Psalm on September 11. Many invoked Messianic language about him in 2008 and he especially used such language.
Jimmy Carter spoke of being born again, as did George W. Bush. Remember, though, we are not electing a pastor, but a president. I am a follower of Jesus, but I would make a lousy president. It is one's policies and the outworking of one's faith in those policies that count.
Perry may, indeed, be the best candidate to defeat Barack Obama, but if Mitt Romney, a Mormon, turns out to be better able to defeat the president and advance policies with which most evangelicals agree, then he should be the one the president's opponents get behind.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Publication date: September 16, 2011