A number of important things have happened lately, I will focus on the one making quite a stir in the political race: Mitt Romney’s “I swear, Mormons are Christians, I mean, religion shouldn’t, wait should play a role in politics, cough cough” speech. Confused yet? Me too. Every news program I’ve listened to or read about compares this speech to JFK’s speech on Catholicism and government. However, I fail to see the comparison. Instead of insisting that his religion will remain separate during his role as president, Romney (superbly) defended Mormonism (without actually using the words…) and insists religion should, but shouldn’t, have a place in politics… Here are some important excerpts:
"We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust.”
Also, Romney quoted John Adams and said:
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
This speech is just as narrow-minded as the politicians and voters to whom he is trying to "prove" Mormonism, not to mention this entirely ignores all atheists, agnostics, and those people of religions that believe in more than one God…
Herein lies the problem… WHO CARES? Why does he need to defend his religion when the political office of president should have no barring on the president’s religion and visa versa. It’s just so frustrating that religion is still a qualification for president. What ever happened to the separation of church and state?!
As a political strategist (which I am far from) I think his best bet would be to separate his religion from politics altogether because then he will win the hearts of those who believe in the separation of church and state as apposed to trying to prove his Christian-enough-ness.
Also, Romney said the word “Mormon” only once whereas he eluted to “God” over a dozen times. So which is it, Mr. Mitt, are you trying to show how similar Mormonism is to the other sects of Christianity or are you trying to pretend you aren’t Mormon altogether?
On a more sympathetic note, I do feel a tad bit bad for Romney, it’s frustrating that he has to defend his religious beliefs in general, and the fact that he did opens up doors for the other GOP candidates to prove they are more Christian (read: thus more appealing candidates) than Romney.