Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

Mitt Romney: Well, we don't fund faith-based institutions, other than when they're performing a non-faith role.

So right now we have faith-based initiatives in our state. Ann happens to lead that effort. And some of the faith-based institutions, particularly in the inner city, are doing a lot better job helping the poor, helping kids, helping families get on their feet than some government social service agencies.

So helping them in their secular role is, of course, fine.

Helping them in a religious role...

Stephanopoulos: How do you draw the line in that?

Mitt Romney: ... that would be unacceptable.

Stephanopoulos: You've worked with it. How do you draw the line?

Ann Romney: Well, we draw the line on those that are just trying to make a difference in a child's life. I work with inner city at-risk youth and we find that a lot of the black churches in the inner city have been very, very helpful in being there on the ground, helping these kids, really making a difference in their lives.

It's not even a church issue at all when it comes down to what they're really doing. They're on the ground, really there, and I'm very supportive of that, of trying to find anyone that's helping, give them a hand, as well.

And it's not a proselytizing thing that's happening, the way I see it, with the inner city, the faith-based initiatives that I've been working with. They're there to help. They're there to make a difference in children's lives.

And I feel as though we need to give them a hand, as well.

Stephanopoulos: You've met with a lot of Evangelical Christians who are especially skeptical of the Mormon faith.

What do you say to them?

Mitt Romney: Well, you know, it's really quite easy, because they agree. Our theologies are different, the doctrines are different between the different faiths.

My faith has a different doctrine than do many of the Evangelical Christian faiths or the Catholic faith and so forth.

But we don't debate doctrines. We talk about values and where should America go on the values that Americans care about.

And on those issues, my faith is like theirs and like almost every other faith I've encountered in the world.

It believes in the nature of the human family. It believes that we should serve one another. It believes that we should reach out and make a difference to preserve institutions of stability and democracy, that we should have freedom of religion.

These kinds of basic values my faith shares with theirs. So the leaders of the Evangelical movement I have spoken with have, by and large, said, "Look, we're not worried about your religion. We're happy with your values. And if we can be on the same page on issues that we care about, then we can be supportive down the road."

Stephanopoulos: I just have one more question about this and it has to do with the Muslim world.

In your faith, if I understand it correctly, it teaches that Jesus will return probably to the United States and reign on earth for 1,000 years.

And I wonder how that would be viewed in the Muslim world. Have you thought about how the Muslim world will react to that and whether it would make it more difficult, if you were president, to build alliances with the Muslim world?

Mitt Romney: Well, I'm not a spokesman for my church. I'm not running for pastor in chief. I'm running for commander in chief.

So the best place to go for my church's doctrines would be my church.

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