Reading Time: 3 minutes

Would Mitt Romney be our first Hispanic president?

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

facebook twitter instagram

Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign stop at Cherokee Trikes and More in Greer, South Carolina January 12, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Everyone knows that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, a fact that has provoked consternation among some evangelicals who would otherwise be predisposed to vote for him.  But you may not know that he’s also Hispanic.

The 2000 Census states that “the terms ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latino’ refer to persons who trace their origin or descent to Mexico . . . and other Spanish cultures… People who identify their origin as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.”

Today’s CNN website asks, does Romney qualify?  This week, he told a crowd at a New Hampshire campaign stop that his father was born in Mexico and came to the United States at the age of five.  The story begins with Miles Park Romney, who fled the United States for Mexico in 1885 to escape persecution against Mormons.  Neither he nor his descendants ever became Mexican citizens.  His grandson, George, eventually became head of American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan, and a Republican presidential candidate in 1968.  Now George Romney’s son is leading the race for his party’s nomination.

Mitt Romney is not the only rags-to-riches story in this campaign.  Rick Perry was born in Paint Creek, a ranching community in West Texas.  Newt Gingrich was adopted by his mother’s second husband after his teenage parents divorced.  Rick Santorum was born to an Italian immigrant.

Ron Paul began working for his father’s dairy company at the age of five.  Though Jon Huntsman was born to a billionaire businessman, he dropped out of high school to pursue a music career and later obtained his G.E.D. before completing college.  And most Americans know that Barack Obama is the child of a Kenyan father and Anglo mother, and that he was raised primarily by his grandparents.

God measures us not by where we’ve been but by where we’re going.  Here’s one of my favorite statements in Scripture: “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

What goal are you pressing toward?  What purpose defines your life?

This Monday, our nation will observe the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Here’s my favorite statement from one of America’s most profound speakers and leaders: “I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”  Are you “fit to live” today?