Prominent evangelical leaders are warning McCain against picking Mitt Romney as his VP, saying their troops will abandon the GOP if that happens. Evangelicals say Mr. Romney lacks trust on issues such as outlawing abortion and opposing same-sex marriage and because he is a Mormon. Opposition is particularly powerful among those who supported Mike Huckabee in the GOP primary.
Evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye: "McCain and Romney would be like oil and water. We aren't against Mormonism, but Romney is not a thoroughgoing evangelical and his flip-flopping on issues is understandable in a liberal state like Massachusetts, but our people won't understand that" (Washington Times, 7/29).
But some conservative Catholics are opposing the other rumored choice, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty was baptized and raised Catholic and then turned apostate, becoming a Baptist. He remains a favorite of evangelical Protestant Republicans. FDR vetoed the bid of Sen. James M. Byrnes of South Carolina for vice president although Roosevelt really wanted him-- because Byrnes changed his religion from Catholic to fashionable Episcopalian to correspond with the voting traits of heavily Protestant South Carolina. (“Sorry, Jim,” said FDR. “Being a fallen away Catholic won’t go over with the northern big city urban vote.”).
It not certain if John McCain follows FDR's views about an ex-Catholic on the ticket. McCain doesn't seem to put much on denomination, having been unclear as to if he is an Episcopalian or Baptist himself. But will conservative Catholics vote for an apostate? That remains unanswered.