Major metropolitan newspapers generally gravitate towards bad news, and certainly have no incentive to preach the Good News. So it's a little odd that a Dallas preacher's anti-Mitt Romney sermon got picked up in the October 18 Dallas Morning News, especially since the sermon was a full 18 days old.
Erick Erickson at RedState argues it's no coincidence that Dallas Morning News reporter Gromer Jeffers' story ran the day before the October 19 "Values Voters" forum hosted by the socially conservative Family Research Council.:
That "Mormon Speech." Will Romney give it? You know the one. It's the one Bob Novak said weeks ago existed and is ready to go.
Tonight, Mitt Romney will address "values voters," a group of Christian evangelical political activists, a lot of whom are skeptical about Romney because of both his religion and his positions. And he just might have been given the perfect incentive to give his speech tonight thanks to Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX.
"Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise," Dr. Jeffress said in a sermon Sept. 30. "Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult."
Some in the large crowd began to applaud as Dr. Jeffress continued with his remarks.
"What really distresses me is some of my ministerial friends and even leaders in our convention are saying, 'Oh, well, he talks about Jesus, we talk about Jesus. What's the big deal?' " he said. "It is a big deal if anybody names another way to be saved except through Jesus Christ."
Here's the interesting thing about this story. The sermon was given on September 30th. It only got picked up October 18th by the media. Why?
Perhaps it is because today, October 19th, Mitt Romney is going to speak at the FRC event.
And the danger here is simple. A prominent Southern Baptist minister of a larger church has just gone on record from the pulpit saying "Mormonism is a cult." Some who have not spoken out on the issue just might start. And then the flood gates could open.
In other words the timing is perfect for the media to kick-start a controversy within evangelical Christian ranks that might be rather dormant. It may well be another example of the media pushing a storyline to influence the presidential election.