CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Iowa Christian Alliance Chairman Morris Hurd heads a conservative Christian group that seemed to give a boost to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign last week. But Hurd has retracted the surprise endorsement, which he now calls an error in judgment.
Initially, the endorsement was described as a blow to Mike Huckabee, the southern Baptist who hopes to pick up the conservative Christian mantle as he tries to stitch together a GOP coalition that will clinch the party's nomination. The Christian Alliance is pro-life and opposes gay marriage. It contends that it is possible for gays to switch their sexual orientation to heterosexual through prayer and perseverance.
Apparently, Hurd backed away because the non-profit group has tax-exempt status which may be jeopardized by active campaigning. Also, the group is trying to stay neutral, a policy Hurd admits he violated. Hurd is a Methodist minister, and he has issued a public apology for openly supporting Romney, a Mormon whose religious faith is considered a cult or cult-like by some conservative Christians. Romney's Mormonism has been an issue during the campaign. Hurd did not address it in his statement withdrawing the endorsement:
"I would like to apologize to the Iowa Christian Alliance bard and to those who support our organization for letting my emotions run away with me at a recent Romney event. I did not mean to endorse Mitt Romney and want to make sure that all those who support our organization understand that fact. I have deep respect for many of the candidates running and wish to clarify that no matter what I said on that day. ICA officers are prohibited from making endorsements, so I wish to make it clear that I have not, nor will endorse any candidate.
"If the board wishes to take action due to my poor judgment, I will be happy to accept whatever consequences they suggest. I love this organization and sincerely look forward to rectifying this unfortunate error on my part."
Notice any twisted bit of language use in that statement -- at one point Hurd contends he hasn't endorsed Romney, then he admits poor judgment and says he committed an "unfortunate error." Sounds like the minister wants to make a full confession, but just can't quite come clean.