Faith In America

Gov. Mitt Romney made an important, and apparently effective, speech today, in an effort to defuse the issue of Mormonism (and religion) in his campaign for president. One of the key points:

There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams’ words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.’

I’m glad he made this speech. There were many good points that he made, and this was exactly the time to make them, especially the point that it is legitimate to use religion as a criterion for electing our president. From The Captain’s Quarters:

Will this suffice to reduce anti-Mormon sentiment? Probably not, although I’m certain that it’s been wildly overstated. The speech probably did serve to make evangelicals more comfortable with Mitt’s approach. Mitt specifically mentioned how his father marched with Martin Luther King for civil rights, a reproach to those who continue to talk about the historical racism of the Mormon church. Rather than focus on being defensive, Romney talked expansively about our best traditions in ecumenical faith, perhaps only souring those who profess no faith at all — and who likely wouldn’t support Mitt anyway.

All in all, Romney gave a good performance — and thanks to the hype, it will be seen by a wide audience. Whether he opened Pandora’s Box will be judged by later events.

I’m not sure Mitt Romney told us anything about his religion. I think he probably did tell us something about himself.

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