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    December 08, 2007

    Romney's brand of religious 'freedom'

    Posted by: Chris

    Mittromneycollegesta Mitt Romney's speech Thursday about how his Mormonism would, and wouldn't, inform him as president was both stirring and depressing, and two columns for the New York Times set it just right.  The editorial board, clearly not friendly to Romeney's conservative candidacy, was predictably harsh:

    Mr. Romney spoke with an evident passion about the hunger for religious freedom that defined the birth of the nation. He said several times that his faith informs his life, but he would not impose it on the Oval Office.

    Still, there was no escaping the reality of the moment. Mr. Romney was not there to defend freedom of religion, or to champion the indisputable notion that belief in God and religious observance are longstanding parts of American life. He was trying to persuade Christian fundamentalists in the Republican Party, who do want to impose their faith on the Oval Office, that he is sufficiently Christian for them to support his bid for the Republican nomination. No matter how dignified he looked, and how many times he quoted the founding fathers, he could not disguise that sad fact.

    Romney's ongoing attempt to present himself as something he's not -- in this case an evangelical conservative -- is disgusting enough. But conservative Times columnist David Brooks pointed out an even greater contradiction in Romney's address, noting that he was essentially blending "an argument for religious liberty with an argument for religious assertiveness."

    How can Romney argue for religious freedom at the same time his central pitch is to social conservatives who want to impose their particular religious beliefs through the force of law? Brooks also pointed out, to my surprise, that arguing from freedom among religions but not from religion leaves out another group: the non-religious:

    When this country was founded, James Madison envisioned a noisy public square with different religious denominations arguing, competing and balancing each other’s passions. But now the landscape of religious life has changed. Now its most prominent feature is the supposed war between the faithful and the faithless. Mitt Romney didn’t start this war, but speeches like his both exploit and solidify this divide in people’s minds. The supposed war between the faithful and the faithless has exacted casualties.

    The first casualty is the national community. Romney described a community yesterday. Observant Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Jews and Muslims are inside that community. The nonobservant are not. There was not even a perfunctory sentence showing respect for the nonreligious.

    All these contradictions aren't just features of Romney's presidential campaign; they are central to modern-day social conservativism. But Romney has so bastardized his past beliefs in an effort to court favor with evangelical and fundamentlist Christians, there is some additional satisfaction in seeing him surpassed in Iowa and nationally by Mike Huckabee, who is at least the real McCoy.

    Gnw_lighthouse_logosmall For a complete news summary, click or bookmark: www.gaynewswatch.com/GOPprimary



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    1. Double T on Dec 9, 2007 1:06:23 PM:

      The older I become, the less of a fan I am of religion.

      People don't appear to practice their faith. It has become a catch all excuse to behave in any manner they wish.

      Whether it be controlling women, hating gays or waging war.

      It's ok, the Bible tells me so.

      Romney's religion would not allow Blacks to join until 1965. Why? Because sacred scripture told them that Black were not human.

      It's ok, the Bible tells me so.

      If there is a God, the almighty must be very dissapointed.

    1. Tim C on Dec 9, 2007 2:20:39 PM:

      What I found most disturbing about Romney's speech was his assertion that "freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom". Diderot was more correct when he held that man would not be truly free until the last tyrant had been strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Both religion and despotism have been used to enslave man and it seems I weekly encounter people afraid to question what they hear from the pulpit. How, Mr. Romney, does freedom require religion?

    1. phoenix landscape design on Jan 8, 2011 8:54:19 PM:

      Romney...I just don't see the appeal to that guy. Not just because of all the religion stuff, but even with that aside he's just so...blah. Ya know?

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 26, 2011 2:49:57 AM:

      but even with that aside he's just so...blah. Ya know?

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