Christian voters looking for a Presidential candidate who shares their values may finally have someone to vote for in November. Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and Chief Policy Director of the House Republican Conference, launched a third-party bid earlier this week. In an interview with Freedom Crossroads earlier today, McMullin shared about his faith and where he stands on key issues such as life and religious freedom.
Evan McMullin was born into a Mormon family in Utah and grew up in the Mormon church. He attended Brigham Young University, a Mormon school, earning a Bachelor’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy. McMullin also served for two years as a missionary to Brazil.
“I was [in Brazil] teaching people about the church and about Jesus Christ,” McMullin said. “I did a lot of service projects, cleaning up things and building houses – that sort of thing. I would spend two to four months a city and then move on to a different city… I worked in the southernmost state of Brazil, called Rio Grande do Sul. I worked in a variety of cities in that state. I got to know the Brazilian people – they’re wonderful, wonderful people.”
“I also ate a lot of Brazilian food,” McMullin continued. “If anyone has not experienced that pleasure, I highly recommend finding your nearest Brazilian restaurant and partaking of some because it is very good. I really enjoyed my years working in Brazil. I had a great time there. Loved the Brazilian people -still do. It’s a wonderful country.”
McMullin said his faith has played a large role in his life: “I’ve grown to value my faith as something that when I live it well, I feel closer to God and I feel like a better human being in every way. Obviously none of us are perfect and neither am I, but that’s what I’ve learned over the years. And my faith has grown more important to me over time.”
That faith seems to drive McMullin’s policy positions as well. He’s firmly pro-life, noting that “Our respect for life is the most important measure of our humanity.”
“From conception to death – and any time in between – life is precious and we have a responsibility to protect it,” reads a statement on McMullin’s website. “A culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person – it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike.”
However, McMullin takes his pro-life stance further than many other candidates. According to the statement on his website, McMullin believes that “Americans can and should work together to increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights.”
When asked if he would commit to appointing Justices who would work to overturn Roe v. Wade, McMullin replied without hesitation: “Yes, I would.” McMullin also told Freedom Crossroads that he would use the life issue as a litmus test for judicial appointments.
McMullin is also committed to protecting religious liberty. “I would do several things to protect religious liberty as President,” McMullin told Freedom Crossroads. “I would put Justices on the [Supreme] Court who understand that religious freedom is such a basic part of our country. I heard some comments Gary Johnson made the other day about that, and it was sort of bewildering. Given that he’s a libertarian, you would hope that he would at least understand the importance of religious liberty in this country. But I would appoint judges who understand that, and who will protect it. That’s the first thing.”
“The second thing,” McMullin continued, “is that I would work with Congress. I know there are a lot of members of Congress who also have concerns in this area, especially among House Republicans with whom I used to work. I would work with them to pass laws that would protect people’s religious freedoms. The last thing I would say is that as President I certainly would not be issuing executive orders as President Obama has that limit people’s religious liberties.”
Specifically discussing the classic case of Christian bakers and florists who don’t want to cater same-sex wedding ceremonies, McMullin said that he “absolutely” believes that people should have the right to live out their faith in their business.
However, McMullin noted that he does not support discrimination in housing. “I will say that I do think there needs to be some thought around this here. I’m not in favor of being able to exclude or turn away people from living in an apartment complex based on sexual orientation or something like that. I think that’s too far.”
McMullin certainly has an uphill fight ahead of him. Ballot access deadlines have passed in dozens of states, but Joel Searby, McMullin’s campaign manager, says that they plan to compete nationally.
“We expect to be on a broad number of states’ ballots, and in some especially critical states across the country,” Searby said in a memo. “And we expect to be competitive. Even at this late hour, we do see a difficult but very possible route to winning, and that is the goal, and that is what we’re going to fight for until the end.”
McMullin said he hoped someone else with campaign experience and national name ID would step forward, but said he decided to run after realizing that no one else was willing to do it.
“I think millions of Americans have been waiting for someone to step forward,” McMullin said. “The numbers indicate that people are unsatisfied with the options they have from the major party candidates.”
“These two major party candidates don’t understand what makes America special,” McMullin continued. Donald Trump talks about making America great again, but I sincerely believe he does not know what makes America great to begin with. What makes America great is that power comes from the people and the government is accountable to the people. Hillary Clinton is someone who believes that she is not accountable to the people. She doesn’t get it either.”
Finally, McMullin says his campaign does not have a timetable for announcing a running mate. “We’re in discussions with people and we’re considering different options, but we’re looking for someone who understands on a profound level what makes America special. We’re also looking for someone whose interests are well aligned with those of the American people. It won’t be someone who for their entire lives has been dreaming of being president and maneuvering to do so. It also won’t be someone who is willing to exploit the frustrations of the American people for their own personal gain. That’s what I think Donald Trump has done.”
McMullin also said his running mate will be pro-life.
Perhaps the best summary of McMullin’s candidacy came over a month ago. On his Facebook page, McMullin posted: “Our country needs leadership that unites, not divides. Leaders set the tone and bear responsibility for its consequences.”