Governor Mitt Romney gave a much anticipated speech on faith today. You can read the text of the speech here. Michelle Malkin also has the video of the speech embedded on her blog if you would like to watch it in its entirety.
“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’re 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,’ he said, ‘was made for a moral and religious people.'”
“As Governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution – and of course, I would not do so as President. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.
“There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it’s more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be true to them and to my beliefs.
“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’re intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They’re wrong.
“These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements. I’m moved by the Lord’s words: ‘For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me…’
“It was in Philadelphia that our Founding Fathers defined a revolutionary vision of liberty, grounded on self evident truths about the equality of all, and the inalienable rights with which each is endowed by his Creator.
“We cherish these sacred rights, and secure them in our Constitutional order. Foremost do we protect religious liberty, not as a matter of policy but as a matter of right. There will be no established church, and we are guaranteed the free exercise of our religion.
Overall I think it was a good speech. It was a great reminder of the role of faith in our government and how it should inform our civic life. I do not, however, believe it will give the Romney campaign the boost it was hoping for.
I have talked with evangelical Christians who would not vote for Romney due to his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I too believe that Mormonism is a cult, because of its denial of major tenants of orthodox Christian faith. Does Mormonism offer excellent family values? Sure. My discomfort with Mitt Romney is not due to him being a Mormon. When he said he wouldn’t disavow his Mormon faith in order to become President. I respect that position. While I would like him to see the truth of the Gospel and the error in the LDS doctrine (to see a chart of differences between Mormonism and Orthodox Christian faith go here) for him to disavow his faith would be the ultimate in political pandering.
While I believe that he follows a false gospel, I am not voting for a theologian-in-chief. I would vote for him over a secular humanist or somebody who is running on a pro-choice record (like the entire Democrat field of candidates). Melinda over at Stand to Reason said “we shouldn’t look to presidents for our theological guidance.” That is true because even President George W. Bush, an evangelical, has made comments that are theologically inaccurate.
Governor Romney, you are running as a pro-life, pro-marriage candidate, but you have a history of being strongly pro-abortion on demand and pro-homosexual. You supported Roe v. Wade and said abortion should be “safe and legal.” In 2002, you opposed a state constitutional amendment that would have stopped homosexual so-called ‘marriage’ in Massachusetts. You said homosexuals should be allowed in the Boy Scouts of America, and as governor, you officially celebrated ‘Gay-Straight Youth Pride Day.’ You sat on Marriot’s Board of Directors for 10 years while it profited off the sale of hard-core pornographic videos to its guests. Why should voters trust you after you spent so much of your career aggressively promoting anti-life and anti-family positions? I understand a “change of heart,” but a “change of position” on life, marriage, gun control, pornography, and immigration all preceding your run for president?
Update: I agree with Kevin McCullough’s sentiment about Romney’s line – “I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”
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