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Romney on Faith and History

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 6 -- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, seeking to allay public misgivings about his Mormon faith, pledged here Thursday to serve the common good and no single religion if he is elected president, while also making an impassioned plea for the importance of faith and religion in the public arena.

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions," Romney told an audience at the George Bush Presidential Library. "Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

The Republican presidential candidate, in a long-awaited speech that could be critical to his hopes of winning the Republican nomination and the White House, went on to say that, as president, he would serve "no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."

But he was equally emphatic in defending the idea that there is a place for religion in public life. Arguing that the doctrine of separation of church and state had been carried too far, Romney said some have pushed to remove "any acknowledgement of God" from the public domain.

"Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life," he said. "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

Romney's speech was widely compared to the address John F. Kennedy delivered to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association during the 1960 presidential campaign as he was seeking to become the first Roman Catholic elected to the White House. But in contrast to Kennedy, whose speech was a strong endorsement of the separation of church and state, Romney's challenge was twofold.

He first sought to neutralize concerns about the Mormon faith and its possible influence on presidential decision making, but he also wanted to reassure religious conservatives that he shares with them a deep religious commitment and would seek to assure a continued role for religion in the life of the nation.

Romney's address came at a potential turning point in the Republican nomination battle. His once-healthy lead in Iowa, site of the first presidential caucuses on Jan. 3, has evaporated in the face of a surge of support for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who has strong support from Christian conservatives.

Romney's hopes for the nomination depend in part on his success in wooing and winning support within the community of religious and social conservatives, who play an influential role in the nominating process. Evangelical Christians in particular are skeptical about the Mormon faith, according to many polls.

To those Christians, Romney offered a statement of his own beliefs: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind," he said. He went on to acknowledge that the precepts of the Mormon faith may be different than other denominations but urged tolerance for the beliefs of all. "Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree," he said.

But Romney declined, as some had suggested he might have to do, to demystify the teachings of the Mormon church, arguing that no politician should become a spokesman for their religious denomination.

"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines," he said. "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

The setting of the Bush library on the campus of Texas A&M conveyed a presidential aura to what Romney advisers viewed as the most important speech of his campaign to date. Romney, who was accompanied by his wife Ann and four of their sons, was introduced by former President George H.W. Bush, who said he was endorsing no candidate in the GOP race but nonetheless spoke warmly about Romney and his family.

Romney, like Kennedy, asked for understanding and tolerance from voters weighing their presidential choices. "A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith," he said, adding that no authority of his church would exert influence over his presidential decision-making.

But he also explicitly declined to distance himself from his church. "I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it," he said. Should he lose because of that, "so be it," he said, while adding that he believed the American people prefer politicians who are true to their faith rather than "believers of convenience."

Romney praised the practices of many faiths and underscored repeatedly the religious heritage that was at the heart of the Founding Father's vision of the new country. He called for public acknowledgement of the Creator on currency, in the pledge and said nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in the public square.

With an eye on conservative voters who believe the courts have undermined religion in public life, he said, "Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'"

Romney said that any person "who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty has a friend and ally in me." But he said the strength of the nation is in its collective moral heritage, not a single strain of religion but, as he put it, "our nation's symphony of faith."

--Dan Balz

By Editors  |  December 6, 2007; 11:58 AM ET
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Next: With His Message Delivered, Romney Awaits Verdict


"Romney rooted the speech in the literature of America's civil religion. When he said "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," he was paraphrasing Tocqueville: "Despotism may be able to do without faith, but freedom cannot."

His criticism of "the religion of secularism" recalled a radio address by President Reagan. Banning school prayer, Reagan said "is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism."

Romney invoked John Kennedy's famous speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He also alluded to other remarks by JFK. "When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office," Romney said, "that oath becomes my highest promise to God." In 1960, Kennedy said that anyone who takes the presidential oath "is swearing to support the separation of church and state." A president who broke that oath, Kennedy said, would be committing a sin "for he has sworn on the Bible.""

Romney said: "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government." In his inaugural, Kennedy proclaimed that "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.""

Posted by: hoops4lifer | December 7, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's a quote from Bush the First:

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."

And here's a quote from Romney the First:

"freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom."

It was a good speech Mr. Romney, it had good flow and spirit and all that speech stuff. But do you think you actually convinced any of the evangelicals to change their mind about your church?

You're an intelligent man Romney, I'm sure you know when you said what is quoted above that you have told all atheists, agnostics, non- and un-believers of all kinds that they are not American citizens, do not enjoy the rights and privileges which only people of (christian variant) faith possess.

I hope you can win without the evangelicals and without the more secular minded Americans. I was willing to listen to you to a greater extent than the evangelicals. Now I will not listen to you at all.

Posted by: khote14 | December 6, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I would be curious to know exactly who the audience was; were all folks invited to attend? Or was the audience selected by G.H.W. Bush? Or by Romney himself? The applause seemed too 'appropriate' to his speech - like they knew the 'sound bite' moments and thus applauded on cue.
If Romney really wanted to speak about religion and faith in America, he should have taken some risk and spoke to 'all comers'. At least Kennedy spoke to an audience - Houston ministers - who were not automatically receptive to his message. He took a chance. Romney - with his father's friend at his side - did not.

Posted by: ChrisLorrain | December 6, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Can we please do away with the "public domain" straw man for good? No reasonable non-Christian seeks to push religion underground. The point of preventing the Ten Commandments from being posted in courthouses is keeping government neutral among competing religions. Either Romney does not understand that government and the "public domain" are not the same thing, or he's deliberately playing to the fears of conservative Christians. Or both.

Posted by: Carstonio | December 6, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Besides the numbskull who is convinced that members of the "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" do not believe in Jesus Christ, the most amusing part of this blog is that many of Romney's critics appear to be conservatives and yet Mormons, as a group, are some of the most conservative people in America. They just are not angry about it.

The ignorance and intolerance that have been fostered in our Country for the last 10 years is bearing some pretty nasty fruit.

Posted by: thomaslogue | December 6, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This uproar over Romney's Mormonism is laughable. Every presidential candidate, Republican and Democratic, professes equally delusional convictions concerning the nature of the universe. Giuliani will tell you that Christ's mother was a virgin who ascended bodily into heaven. That's not nutty enough for you? Huckabee will tell you that he accepts literally the words of a hodge-podge of anonymous writings collected, revised, edited and translated over a 3,000-year period. This infallible Bible tells him that he should stone Giuliani to death as an adulterer. Isn't that just a bit weird? And so on.
In fact, Romney is in hot water because his "religion" was invented from whole cloth less than 200 years ago by a known charlatan. In many respects, it is reminiscent of Scientology: one man's impossibly bizarre fabrications, but ultimately no more absurd than the basic tenets of the so-called mainstream religions.
Which leads to an interesting question concerning the religious test for political candidates: would it be legitimate for voters to question the beliefs of, say, Tom Cruise were he to run for office? Is Xenu a lesser god than Jehovah?

Posted by: wolfram1 | December 6, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not interfere with politics. I am a member and in church services we are asked to vote and be active citizens. That is as much into politics as church services get.

A former Prophet of the LDS church was a member of Reagan's cabinet. His name was President Ezra Taft Benson. Just thought you all should know.

Posted by: MissRed | December 6, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I love all the inane anti-Mormon myths floating around this comment section. Here's a few more facts you should know about Mormons:

1) They can only be killed by silver bullets.

2) If you feed them after midnight, or get water on them, they turn into gremlins.

3) Tricking them into saying their name backwards sends them back to their original dimension.

4) A chunk of green mormonite will weaken them and rob them of all their super powers.

Ha! I guess those filled with anti-Mormon hysteria don't realize how transparent their derangement is. What a bunch of asses. lol

Posted by: errinfamilia | December 6, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The speech on his religion that didnt mention it will have not much effect on the 25% of his own party that think the Big love man worships the devil or drinks blood,,in a short while friar Huck will appear tied to a cross as he campaigns.

Posted by: gonville1 | December 6, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is made up of the same fabric as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. That is,
a man who is seriously enmeshed in his religious dogma that he can't see the forest through the trees. Or simply put,
just another self-righteous NEOCON totally
disconnected to the real world in which he lives. Romney's concern about religious focus ove rthe true needs of our nation speak more of the man and his true shallow character.

Posted by: jetsfoto | December 6, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that I will not be voting for the former Governor of Massachusetts. But I admire his faithful articulation of the need of religious toleration, which, I strongly believe, was no doubt in the minds of the Founding Fathers!

Religion, by itself, should not be a basis for political elections, which will always reflect the overall convictions of the American people, who will keep on being be in the forefront of the global industrial,technological and intellectual developments of this, the 21st Century! With more diversity and progressive immigration policies, which are sure to prosper, we should be ready for a woman, an African-American, Mexican, Asiatic and even a Muslim to lead the United States! That will really be when the basic ideals of the Founders of the Constitution will have been fully realized, when there is full, spiritual, mutual trust and toleration among fellow Americans, each self-confident in his[her] personal faith!

Posted by: talmitun | December 6, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Shakenbabee -

It's not John Smith - it is JOSEPH SMITH.

Posted by: bagreene | December 6, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I need help to understand Romney. He believes another living human being (The Mormon Prophit) is a prophet of God, who speaks to God and receives revelation from GOD directly and he wont hold favor to his own church? I don;t know about anyone else but if I really thought someone I know gets direct and real revelation from God I would be swayed by their thoughts and information.

He seems to either be insulting his own religion, has no sense of the importance of revelation, or think we are simple minded.

Posted by: jonathon.johnson | December 6, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired of hearing about people criticizing Mormons, who adopt theology and practices that set them apart from other Christians (don't all religions have things that set them apart? if not we wouldn't have different religions!). I am a Catholic, and went to a Mormon service, and found that it was an uplifting experience. I have never been greeted with such a sincere than when I did at the LDS service, I sure as hell don't receive it at the Catholic Church. Mormons are Christians, and yes, they have practices, and a slightly different theology than mainstream Christianity, but that does not make them a cult or freaks. Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Baptist, or any other religion for that matter, you can dissect and find differences. It all boils down to if a candidate can serve this country for the better good. Gov Romney should not have to defend his religion, being that we have a thing called freedom of religion. I personally think he will be a great president, and he has my vote.

Posted by: John42 | December 6, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"Secularism????" What is secularism? If he means a turn away from the faith-based wishful thinking of the past 7 years that has wrecked our country, then I'm ready to adopt secularism today.

Posted by: nick4 | December 6, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't the president serve those with no religion as well?

Posted by: thecrisis | December 6, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney's speech today only shows how bigoted America is against the Mormon religion. I am shocked and outraged that the so-called Christian Conservatives have so consistently and thoroughly brainwashed their followers against Mormonism that they will not believe anything a Mormon says about their religion. Romney's speech, although one of the all-time American speeches, fell on many deaf ears. There are too many in this country who are either too stupid or too bigoted to even want to attempt to understand what the Mormon faith is all about. What a tragedy.

Posted by: nbdodge | December 6, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

bcamarda2, bravo! That was beautifully said, and spot on.

Posted by: Chip_M | December 6, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Church/State separation is exactly what guarantees everyone's religious liberty!

If you are against absolute separation of church and state, then by definition you oppose complete religious liberty.

If you oppose religious liberty, then you don't respect religion. Simple as that.

It's so damn simple that it's hard to believe a smart guy like Mitt doesn't get it.

So he's either missed the main point of our Bill of Rights entirely or he really doesn't respect anyone's religious liberty (including his own) or both (*ding*).

Either option disqualifies him immediately, in my book.

Posted by: Freestinker | December 6, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Excellent job Governor Romney. You were passionate, articulate, and presidential. You generate credibility better than any of the other candidates. I appreciated your sincerity and genuine conviction. Finally, I was touched by the hugs you exchanged with your family after the speech. You have taken your family responsibilities seriously and raised good children, all the while staying loyal to your wife who has struggled with MS. Combining all of this with your oustanding business and political credentials, you are far and away America's best hope for a strong president. Mitt, you've earned my vote!

Posted by: mindstretch1 | December 6, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Americans are uneasy about some of the truly weird tenets of Mormonism. This does not make them bigots. What sensible Americans wanted in Mitt's speech was some sense of that old tune "It Ain't Necessarily So". Instead Mitt gave the message that he very much believes it is exactly so. Some of those bizarre doctrines:

1) That men (uniformly 6'8" tall) live on the moon (no kidding, that was taught by Joseph Smith!)
2) That men live on the sun (this was believed by Joseph Smith's successor, Brigham Young!)
3) That ceremonial Mormon underwear (referred to as "Magic Undies" by some Mormons) will protect them from evil non-Mormons;
4) That Jesus had three wives. This just brings to mind the old Mormon theology of polygamy; it is amazing that the church hasn't jettisoned this teaching. But polygamy figures in the afterworld.
5) That our Black brethren are inherently deficient bearing the curse of Cain via the descendants of Ham;
6) That God was once a man and is now an exalted being, a being of flesh and bones living out in space near a star called Kolub.
7) That God has a father, that father has a father, and so on and so on. According to Mormon theology, Jesus has a Grandfather God.
8) That Mormons can become a god and receive their own planets to rule as god. As gods, Mormons believe they will enjoy the reward of eternally procreating spirit children with which to populate their world. And polygamy will be the norm in the afterlife.
9) That women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands and their destiny is to remain pregnant for all eternity. It takes a whole lot of procreation to create enough spiritual children for a rookie god to populate his own planet!

Mitt states that he doesn't define his candidacy by his religion, but many Americans judge their candidates by the candidate's gullibility. Any man of intellect who can't figure out that this is the stuff of cult shouldn't be expected to have the analytical capability to stand at the helm of the worlds' largest superpower.

For the love of God, Mitt, if you want voters to take you seriously put some distance between yourself and these truly bizarre doctrines. Repeating that you love Jesus does not do the trick.

Posted by: xanpar | December 6, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

If Romney wants us to believe that, as a Mormon, he would serve "no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States," why didn't he specify that he would not serve the "Mormon religion, the Mormons as a group, the Mormon cause, and the Mormon interest" against the "common religious freedoms and freedoms from religion of the non-Mormon peoples of the United States" as protected by our Constitution in our first Amendment right. Instead of speaking to specific and real questions about Mormonism, Romney tried to assuage our concerns by urging us to consider the idea of religion disembodied from real religious practices and doctrines that not only vary but also often clash. So Romney's vague avowals to abstract categories and pious sentiments are meaningless unless grounded in the real fears and concerns that we have about Romney's assurances that he will "believe in (his) Mormon faith and...endeavor to live by it...." But that's no assurance to non-Mormons living in Utah, a Mormon majority population state that has never elected a non-Mormon, or a non-white to represent the state in Congress since it entered the union. The test of Romney's character and veracity is how directly he addresses the relationship of non-Mormon minorities in Mormon communities. In his speech today, he only deepened our concerns about his honesty and his character.

Posted by: thedefendant | December 6, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Good old teflon Mittster, still trying to have it both ways and leaving himself enough room to flip-flop the moment this Plan-A speech looks to have made things a little shaky for his it will be that Mitt is not really Mormon but plays a Mormon at Disneyworld....and then it will be who-knows-what...good, old slippery Mitt.

Posted by: Jerryvov | December 6, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This is all very twisted. Romney has to give a speech, essentially, begging for tolerance because of his religion and he hopes to win the evangelicals over by calling for further erosion of the wall between church and state - the goal of the intolerant people who are already making his bid for the presidency difficult.

Posted by: Dieterman | December 6, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Governor Romney's speech was a disgrace.

According to a 2006 Harris poll of U.S. adults:

• 11% are "not sure whether or not there is a God"
• 6% are "somewhat certain that there is no God"
• 6% are "absolutely certain" that God does not exist

That is 23% of American adults: somewhat more than 50,000,000 Americans.

Many of these Americans have looked in their hearts -- looked hard -- and not heard God's voice speaking to them, even in the quietest moments. Others find the sacred books of hundreds (or thousands) of years ago incompatible with what they have learned about the universe through science. Others are alienated by the ignorant and bullheaded certainty of the religious leaders they have heard in the public square. Still others are simply not sure.

But virtually all of them are good citizens, good Americans. They contribute to their communities. They teach their children values. They are honorable people. They do not become serial killers or child molesters because they cannot truthfully say they are people of faith.

There is no place for these fifty million citizens in Mitt Romney's America. Mitt Romney stands before us and says that "freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." They do not. If that were true, the nations of Western Europe - with their cathedrals, "so grand... so empty" - would be tyrannies. As would Canada, where only 30% of citizens say religion is very important in their lives. As would Japan, where only 12% do. Mr. Romney knows his claim is demonstrably false, and chooses, unsurprisingly, to lie.

For tens of millions of Americans, liberty includes the right to stand outside of Mr. Romney's "symphony of faith," respect its players and singers - and expect equal respect from them in return.

When John F. Kennedy spoke about religion in 1960, he said, "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end -- where all men and all churches are treated as equal -- where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice."

Even George W. Bush, who is second to no man in his readiness to publicly and loudly announce his devotion to Jesus, said this last year: "The United States of America must never lose sight of this beautiful principle: You can worship or not worship and you're equally American. You're equally American if you're a Christian, Jew or Muslim, atheist, agnostic. We must never lose sight of that. That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban."

George W. Bush, uncharacteristically, said it perfectly. That is precisely what distinguishes us from the Taliban. John F. Kennedy, too, had it right. Mitt Romney has it wrong, and knows better, but as usual, prefers the worst sort of pandering to any form of courage.

Posted by: bcamarda2 | December 6, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Religious zealots Bob Jones III endorsed Mitt Romney; and Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani.
No surprises. They're all of the same "talk-tough" stripe. Religion is camouflage for them.
After all, neither endorsers nor those endorsed have sons/daughters in military service. Romney has five grown sons who've not served. He's not unique. How many sons and daughters of Senators, Representatives, and Governors are serving in our military? Ditto the Bush and Clinton girls. Any them done military service, or even gone to Iraq to pass out coffee and donuts to the troops?

These folks are the tribe of self-anointed elitists. They hide their children and themselves behind the dedication and courage of military members coming from less than one half of one percent of all American families, most of whom have endured loved ones being in Iraq and/or Afghanistan two or more tours. For every family having one or more serving, there are 200 plus families in which no one serves.
So, in spurts of self-gratifying pseudo-manhood and phony Americanism, these "leaders" (and too many of their fellow "Americans") can safely ballyho about God and/or Jesus; talk tough about war in Iraq; spout how quickly they'd trigger war with Iran; whilst proclaiming torture of detainees is good. No big moral issues for them. Their bloodline is not involved. And, this pre-emptive war of Grecian-tragedy proportions that they've all hyped and supported is in its fifth year.

These power-piddlers have seduced those who've brought them to power, and are continuing to seduce others, into believing that their religious rhapsodies/fantasies and family values---including the peculiar values they've instilled in their children to let others do military service in their stead---make them good Americans.
Rubbish their beliefs are. Rubbish they speak as well.

Posted by: ffmcgurk | December 6, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

We are warned about the "Secularists" and a secular society. but I have heard no definition of the term. Can a secular person "what ever that means", believe and do good things? According to the rhetoric from the right the answer is "no". To my mind it depends on the person.

Posted by: Abramowitz | December 6, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I just vomited a little in my mouth.

Posted by: clvarner | December 6, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

What is religion?
The fairy tales of cave men.
Anyone that buys into this nonsense doesn't have the brain power needed to run a country.
Just look what the last two religious idiots have done.
After Clinton & Bush people should be throwing rocks at these brain damaged morons.

Posted by: eco-pharm | December 6, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Gee, maybe when Romney gets elected President he can have NASA build a spaceship so that the white, the rich, the worthy, the patriotic and the faithful can all "hie to Kolob" to make a house-call on the physical Mormon God who hangs out there with all the Mormon "Elders" who achieved godhood.

Posted by: coloradodog | December 6, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thesis: No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith, but of all faiths."

Corollary: Non-believers can take a hike.

Posted by: mus81 | December 6, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

What a dumb bunch of loonnies you guys in the USA are that should actually be having such a debate. Very few people on this side of the Atlantic would ever argue such a case. For us it is clear that religious beliefs are are entirely person matter and have no role at all in how a country should be governed. That you even think that there is a case to be made speaks volumns about why other cultures are so anti american these days. Wake up and take a good look at yourselves. You are going back wards and need to join the modern world not simply in technology but in intellect.

Posted by: david | December 6, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Romney is wrong. There is no such thing as a "place" for faith in politics. It's like being a "little" pregnant. Either there's faith or there isn't.

And is everyone else in the country brain-numbed? If someone says they feel they need to use their faith to make decisions, aren't you the eentsy, weentsy tiniest bit interested in what that faith is and how it might affect those decisions that in turn affect you???

We just a a "faithful" president. If you want to consider the MORONIC prinsicples of Bush, just elect another of the faithful.

Posted by: ethanquern | December 6, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

This is just sad. People don't have a problem with this guy because he is a Mormon. They have a problem with him because he is not trustworthy. Although many social conservatives in Iowa and New Hampshire have apparently bought into this sham, most intelligent Americans see through his recent conversion to pro-life principles, as well as his newfound respect for our immigration laws. If anyone ever bothered to watch this guy in a debate they would see a shameless political opportunist (ala Hillary, John Edwards) who will say whatever he thinks will get him elected. The fact that he is trying to come out today and exploit his Mormon faith for votes is almost criminal. WAKE UP, PEOPLE.

Posted by: gthstonesman | December 6, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Xcuse me, but from a woman's viewpoint, it is obvious that the Mormon cult was invented by a group of nasty old men who wanted their own harem, a bunch of nubile young women at their disposal. For this purpose, they invented visions, prophets, the works.

I want no part of them, even though the Mormos--most of them--have finally set aside polygamy.

Moreover, according to Mitt: "Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life," he said. "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

That is a blatant non sequitur. To have religion as a private affair in no way means the establishment of a "religion of secularism."

If Mitt Romney misleads the American people in this most elemental of ways, how will he end? Like our current Liar-in-Chief!

Posted by: FedUp1 | December 6, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

what I don't understand is the way the Romney defenders here are confusing the Constitution's prohibition on a religious test for office with the public's right to examine a candidate's way of thinking (including, as I mentioned earlier, whether they think they will actually be made a "god" in the afterlife).

Aside from the "we're in the end times" (hence, "Latter Day" Saints) fascination of the Mormons, the religion itself doesn't bother me. But the overly sensitive way in which that church responds to comparison of its tenets with mainstream Christianity makes me think that Joseph Smith doeth protest too much. Since their founder taught that all forms of Christianity had become "apostasies" when LDS was founded, why on earth do they now so stridently profess that they are also "Christians"? I would think that, absent the obvious deleterious impact it might have on a candidacy, they'd loudly proclaim that they are Mormons and were the "one true church."

Yes, it's true that anyone from any religion can run for office in this country. But that doesn't mean that voters aren't entitled to know about how a candidate's faith, or lack thereof, informs/guides his or her decision-making process. If a Muslim ran for president, I'd be just as concerned to find out if he or she believed the more violent parts of the Koran (such as whether non-Muslims should be converted to Islam or executed).

I wonder how many of the "a man's religion makes absolutely no difference" crowd would be just as comfortable if a devout member of Heaven's Gate or a Wiccan threw their hat in the ring....

Posted by: pcpatterson | December 6, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I believe in Zeus, Hera, Apollo and the other gods of the Greek pantheon. I cannot understand how so many people can believe in the Christian God and the the Muslim Allah when my gods are so obviously real and theirs are only imagined. I have prayed to Zeus many times, and sacrificed many bulls to him on his altars, and he has rarely failed to answer my prayers. If this were investigated properly true belief would emerge into the light of day, and Christianity and other currently popular religions would be shown for the shams that they are.

Posted by: chaszz | December 6, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Only devout atheists could find anything to quarrel with in this fine speech. After all Sen. majority leader Harry Reid is a morman as is Orrin Hatch and a Utah Rep. Hey, this crowd is not Barney Frank and Alcee Hastings or "dollar Bill" Jefferson. it?

Posted by: usarownow | December 6, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"None of Romney's sons is serving in the war that Romney claims to support. Easy, isn't it, to let someone else's kids die? "

Oh, but the Romney sons know all about freedom, because they believe in a Magic Friend in Sky (on the planet Kolob, actually, which is just a little further out there). Those soldiers, or the non-indocrinated ones, don't know squat about freedom. Just ask Mitt.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the way Romney supporters have spun the fact that he steered clear of any details of his science-fictiony religion. He did it out of "deference to a separation of church and state". Oh yeah. If I had that kind of religion, *I'd* want to keep it as separated as I possibly could from my campaign. Talk about spinning a vice into a virtue!

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

How about instead of pledging not to serve any *single* religion that he instead pledges to serve NO religion? How refreshing it would be to have a presidential candidate that doesn't feel the need to pander to religion.

Posted by: scooterndc | December 6, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

So, according to Willard Romney, "freedom REQUIRES religion".

I wonder if any of our polite-to-a-painful-fault press corps will ask Mr. Romney whether the non-religious soldiers in our Armed Forces should just resign from their positions, since they obviously don't know know anything about the thing they are fighting for.

Ditto for the agnostic scientists who are curing diseases at a furious clip these days. Clearly without religion guiding them, their minds cannot be free enough to function. They should hang it up too, right?

Ask Romney this, Mr. and Ms. Washington Journalist. I dare you. I bet you don't have the... well, freedom to.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

And how does Romney's God feel about being ignored and left out of presidential decisions?

This is not faith or religion. It's sheer greed and convenience.

Posted by: wardropper | December 6, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse


"Why don't we elect GOD as President. Will God show up to take the job? "

Probably not. God's political stock has been reeling of late, ever since he told George W. Bush to "end tyranny in Iraq". He probably needs at least a one-term breather before he resumes his political career. He might get a spot on Fox as a commentator, however.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

To the negative people posting out here: It is clear that nothing will make you happy. It is clear that you will find a way to complain about anything anyone says! I dare say that no one has a chance with you negative people out there. He could have given a speech in which you liked but still you would find something to pick apart. Why can't people respect the fact that he is addressing issues that need to be addressed, and then he'll move onto other issues? If he didn't address religion, you would complain that he was hiding. Now you're complaining now he did address religion, but you wanted more facts on Mormons. Why can't you see that he's running for Commander in Chief rather than Pastor in Chief? Whine, whine whine.
It was an extremely well done speech but yet always seem to pick on Romney. Fed up with you left wing Washingtonians. (and I'm a native Northern Virginian). Can't you be more open minded? Good grief.

Posted by: John42 | December 6, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a \"crime does pay\" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you:

Posted by: avraamjack | December 6, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

This speech is a campaign ploy, pure and simple. John Kennedy faced organized, public opposition from major Protestant groups headed by then-respected religious leaders, including Norman Vincent Peale (Reagan later gave Peale the Medal of Freedom). Romney is not facing any such opposition and in fact, Mormons today face nothing like the anti-Catholic bias that existed in the US during the 1950s and 1960s. After all, Romney was elected governor of a state that doesn't have a large population of Mormons and one that generally elects Democrats, which is hardly evidence of religious prejudice. Romney is just trying to differentiate himself from the crowd, in part by wrapping himself in JFK's mantle. Romney is from Massachusetts, he's relatively young, he's from a wealthy political family, he's got lots of wavy hair -- you get the picture. And he's tying himself in with the more moderate and popular of the two George Bushes. This is all a smokescreen. The real issues with Romney are his hypocrisy and his lack of conviction. JFK was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism in World War II. None of Romney's sons is serving in the war that Romney claims to support. Easy, isn't it, to let someone else's kids die? And Romney flips and flops on major issues like abortion. Ask him about these and other real issues in the election. Yeah, there are some right-wing fundamentalists who have an issue with his religion, but these are the same ignoramuses who are suspicious of Hillary because she's a Methodist.

Posted by: Bob22003 | December 6, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I find it all too ironic that a Mormon is asking for religious tolerance and then promptly denouncing secularism as having no place in government. He fails to see that only in having a secular government can you ensure such tolerance. I wonder if in his his request for 'tolerance' he also includes Muslims. The road to tolerance starts with something Jesus says: 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28)'. I will believe that a Mormon is religiously tolerant the day he selects a Muslim running mate and America votes for it.

Posted by: chritipurr | December 6, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse


What you tried to SPIN, is what this Texan KNOWS.

Ron Paul did not get the title DR. NO for NOthing!

He is truely "DR. NO"!!!!

LOL! What a con game that was! He did not do ANYTHING, and THAT makes him GREAT!


Posted by: rat-the | December 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

As I read all these earnest stories about whether the great American electorate will vote for someone from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I find myself asking this question:

Just what is the big deal about Mitt Romney's Mormonism?

The implication is that the LDS is some sort of weird sect filled with wackos. They're not like us - they don't drink, they have those funny white churches, they're just a bit too friendly!

Seems like one of their kind can't be trusted to lead the free world, unlike, say, someone from a mainstream Christian denomination, a Jew (remember Joe Lieberman?) or one of the cuddlier Islam folks (hey, they believe in only one god, just like us!).

Whatever happened to good old tolerance? After all, we're very good at that when it comes to considering some the, er, quirks among the so-called established religions and denominations.

Think the Mormons are strange? Consider these comparisons:

1: One of the basic beliefs of Mormonism is that founder Joseph Smith stumbled upon some gold tablets in an upstate New York field, which he, um, copied before they somewhat conveniently disappeared. Kinda wacky? Probably just about as madcap as claims made for Jesus Christ that his mother was a virgin and that he woke up from the dead before walking out of his tomb.

2: Another odd thing about Mormons is that they used to permit plural marriages. And some, in a splinter group, still practice polygamy. If Mitt's in the White House it'll be time to lock up your daughters! But would we be asking the same questions if a Muslim were running for president? After all, Islamic rules allow up to four wives. Is Islam a cult? Try taking that to Mecca (or to the politically correct). And, talking of strange marital traditions, how 'bout them unmarried Catholic priests? Hardly an advertisement for the benefits on non-marriage (plural, gay or otherwise).

3: And then there's the fact that Mormons wear some kind of funny underwear (the men, at least) and don't drink alcohol or coffee. They must be crazy! A cult! Meanwhile, no one bats an eyelid over those little beanies and that kosher-food thing favored by Jews.

All to say, of course, that one religion (and the various departments thereof) is just about as good as another. Which is to say a form of magic that should have disappeared along with cavemen (or at least when Darwin published his book).

Of course, the fuss that would arise if a self-declared atheist somehow made a legitimate run for the presidency would make the roaring about Romney seem like a whisper.

Posted by: mattdiebel | December 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Like JFK, he is advocating for the common good. I'm sure the libs will continue to attack him and when they do they attack everyone of faith.

Posted by: dwightcollinsduarte | December 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse


Take NOTE!

NO Guns, No Swords, No Kidnappings, No Bombs, and No Blood!

IF, Iraq is some Noble and Ancient Culture, why is it WE are the ones who have progressed past Violence?

Electing Representatives who are Secular and on thier Political Views for the Good of the nation as a whole, rather than our Sects!

Dang, we are light Years behind that Glorious Babylonian Culture!

Maybe we can bring in several Million so they can teach us Intolerance!

Posted by: rat-the | December 6, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Clever little misquoting of Kennedy though, to optimally flatter the GOP rank and file. He claimed that JFK said "I come to you as an American running for president..." when in fact he said, "I come to you as the Democratic candidate for president, not the Catholic candidate...".

Just a slip, I'm sure.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I think I get it now Mitt. Romney's faith is fundamental to his beliefs, and his actions. But it won't play any role in his decision-making. Or something like that. We should stop removing God and religion from public life, but we should also not examine the religion and Gods that candidates for public office hold dear. Religion is very very very important, but please don't look at mine. God is Great, Jesus is my personal savior, and no questions please. And kill all the Muslims (let the Heavenly Father sort them out). Peace. War. Whatever.

Okay... if Republicans want to nominate this slippery double-talking empty suit for office, may they get everything that's coming to them. Banishment from playing a role in establishing our national policy for decades. It's the 21st century, and America is ready for reality-based leadership now.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 6, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

You write:
Romney praised the practices of many faiths and underscored repeatedly the religious heritage that was at the heart of the Founding Father's vision of the new country. He called for public acknowledgement of the Creator on currency, in the pledge and said nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in the public square.

So much for history:

Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

Posted by: laloomis | December 6, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life," he said. "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

If my history is correct, and it is, the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was added because of political expediency, to separate the U.S. from the Soviet Union. This was around the time that television was starting to show the violent racism going on in the U.S. and America's true face was on display to the world. As far as religion is concerned, didn't George Washington lead an attack on the Hessians in Trenton on Christmas? Seems that holiday wasn't so sacred when it afforded the opportunity to kill fellow "Christians" celebrating their savior's birth.

Posted by: edwcorey | December 6, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Governor Romney's message is spot on. We do not have, and should not have, religion as a test for holding public office. He does NOT need to explain his religion or his faith.

What many people lack in this discussion is TOLERANCE. Governor Romney is far more tolerant of all points of view than a lot of people posting here. Many of the posts here are not only intolerant, but bigoted and hateful as well.

Some of the most virulent intolerance and hatred comes from those who say they have no religion or faith. If given a choice between a hateful non-believer and a tolerant believer, I'll take the believer every time.

Posted by: cooper100 | December 6, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Bears Empty Pot For Americans
December 6, 2007
Carl Fiser

(Smithtown, N.Y.) Many contend that Ron Paul, although an honest, plain-talking man, comes to the 2008 presidential campaign podium without a lot of achievement. While in office, he hasn't steer-headed proposed legislation into law, or galvanized broad-based support for this national agenda or that, or even been on board with most post-911 bills and actions. For almost twenty years, he's been a dedicated representative for his Texas District and has not a potpourri of achievements about which to boast on the presidential campaign trail. Is this exactly true? How could someone serve for so long, and have so little to show for it?

At this time, I should share a story I heard from two entertainers at my son's grade school. The entertainers were turning books from different parts of the world into short, little plays, in order to spark the children's interest in reading. The following story took place centuries ago in the Far East.

The wise, old emperor was keenly aware that he was getting along in years, and he worried about finding a suitable replacement to lead the people. One day, he solicited the young people of his kingdom to gather, and he shocked them by telling them that he would be stepping down and that he would choose one of them to be his successor. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today, a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!"

One young man named Ling, a son of a farmer, was there that day, and he was certain that he could cultivate that seed better than anyone else. He got a pot, filled it with rich soil and watered it carefully. Day after day, he checked the pot. Weeks passed by, then months, and still nothing had grown. Other youths from the kingdom began to talk about their plants and flowers and trees, but Ling said nothing. He was sure that he somehow had killed the seed.

After a year had passed, all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling's first inclination was not to attend, but he showed up that day, sick to his stomach. He was amazed at the plants that the others had brought. They were of all different varieties and all so beautiful. Some of the others made fun of Ling's empty pot and others felt pity for him. Ling stood toward the back of the crowd.

The emperor looked over the vast array and seemed pleased. Then, he spotted Ling standing at the back of the room with his empty pot, and he ordered his guards to bring the young man to the front. Ling was led grudgingly, fearful that he may be punished for his utter failure. The emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. Now, all the youths were laughing and making fun. The emperor then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"
The emperor continued,

One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. The rest of you substituted your own seeds for the one I gave you, but Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be your new emperor!

Ron Paul, like Ling, is a great truth-teller. His voting record is one of the most consistent
this writer has ever seen. No flip-flops are to be found. As well, he is a courageous and wise man, and a heck of an economist. Just ask the Wall Streeters. However, he bears to his fellow countrymen (and countrywomen), an empty pot. He can't claim to have brought you wars or higher taxes, which we now have. He never brought you an unbalanced budget, which is a perennial joke. He never voted himself a wage increase and, to this day, gives back part of his salary every year. He has always voted to preserve the Constitution, cut government spending, lower healthcare costs, end the war on drugs, secure our borders with immigration reform and protect our civil liberties. Sorrowfully, he was outvoted or shot down on all measures. The Constitution has been chiseled down, government spending is through the roof, healthcare costs are out of control, the war on drugs keeps getting less effective, immigration issues remain unresolved and our civil liberties have been crimped for our own safety. I'll just throw in that Ron Paul opposes regulation of the internet, which has been a revolution in the exchange of ideas, this article being a case in point.

The eye-popping reality of the situation is this. No longer can it be said that Ron Paul is running for President. Amazingly enough, his candidacy has been hijacked, and it appears now that the people are running for President. . . through Ron Paul! That's the true revolution about which your neighbors are speaking.

So, do you want the plants and flowers that your other government representatives have cultivated for you year after year, or do you want an open and honest effort at change, not for the powerful interests, but for you and for members of your family yet to arrive. If you want to see an unprecedented effort at change - starting with the only man on the campaign trail who is not afraid to tell you the truth - your action must start now. Get informed. Get angry. Get talking to your neighbors. Then, get to the voting booths!

Posted by: US-Citizen | December 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

shanenbabee --- If I were "fascinated" by a religion, I would do my homework...thus here is your "F" on Mormonism.
John Smith??? Morman Church???

Keep your "babel" to yourself...the issue is the presidency, not your inaccurate facination.

Posted by: larryndennis | December 6, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

this is painful to read... what this says about your country would be funny if it wasn't scary... Romney looks like a Sunday TV preacher in (even more) expensive clothes, and why anything he says is interesting or worth repeating is a complete mystery to most sane people. I thought it was bad when Pat Robertson had some traction, but two of these religious wingnuts are the frontrunners, and the 2 term incumbent is one too? Tax the churches and abolish campaign contributions. This is undue influence.

Posted by: stef | December 6, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

You can't have it both ways, Mitt. You can't say that you'll serve the common good over any specific religious interests from one side of your mouth and decry the separation of church and state from the other. You either support the strictly secular foundations of our government or you don't. If you can't put your religion aside when you leave the church and home to go to work as the leader of a secular government then you're not fit for the position.

Posted by: Chip_M | December 6, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Facinated by its secrecy I have read a good bit about LDS. And in my life met many mormans. In my reading and personal experience I can say LDS see the world in black and white. I wont say that they are good or bad. Mormons are just like any other group of people shrouded in mysticism. Women of the church (among other things) are made to have at least one years food stored up. And in some places are wed to men 50 to 60 years older than them as teenagers. Not to mention they are wed to them as a 4th, 5th, maybe even 15th wife. I am aware that the official Morman church has moved away from polygamy. But it still goes on in the name of John Smith, and his never ever seen gold proof.
No "Big Love" here. The U.S. has a wide variety of peoples and beliefs. I feel that it would be awful for our country to elect someone with such a strict doctrine Our country is "colourful" to say the least. We need a president who can let go of fundamentalism. Look what fundamentalist have done this century alone. No matter how pretty HBO paints them.
Steven Colbert 08

Posted by: shakenbabee | December 6, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Does it require more tolerance to accept that some believe that the Prophet Mohammed climbed on a winged horse, launched himself from Mount Moriah, and flew into Heaven, or that The Garden of Eden is in Missouri and Adam and Eve began their earthly peregrinations from Jackson County?

For many Christian Fundamentalists who are locked-in to a literal translation of the King James Version of the Bible, it may be a toss-up. Is it then a matter of concern to them if the latter religious accounting is part of the historical belief system of the Mormon Church?

Tolerance is a scarce commodity among adherents of many Christian sects. When it comes to "God's Word," it's often "my way, or the highway." Will the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists who actually acquaint themselves with the tenants of the Mormon Faith view them as safe beliefs for an American President?

In the end, the issue may not be, "can a Mormon be a good president?", but "can Christians look directly into the face of Mormonism and not respond with great discomfort?" The latter question is not rhetorical. In the early 1800s Mormons were frequently killed by Christians. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs wrote an executive order declaring, " the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description." Joseph Smith, Jr, was murdered by a mob in the Carthage Jail in 1843. Want more? Google Nauvoo, Illinois; Carthage Jail; Haun's Mill.

But how could anyone believe modern-day America would be savage enough to repeat the brutality and persecutions of 19th century America? What an absurd thought. But wait! Is it more defensible to kill a few hundred Mormons in the Name of God than it is to kill tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the Name of Democracy?

The more some things change, the more they stay the same....

Posted by: valleyforge | December 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Christian fanatics (oh, excuse me, fundamentalists) wouldn't vote for Romney. He - like them - doesn't understand that America is NOT a Christian nation and that religion is NOT public matter. CHRISTIANS/MORMONS/MUSLIMS - PLEASE KEEP YOUR BELIEFS AND RELIGION TO YOURSELVES AND LEAVE EVERYONE ELSE ALONE. WHY, OH WHY, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Posted by: droth1952 | December 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The entire speech is useless. It is intended for the the most base morons who want "GOD" in government. Why don't we elect GOD as President. Will God show up to take the job? If not, How about we elect someone that will talk about Public Administration, tax policy, Defense, ending the Iraq War, Social Security, and just fixing the roads, bridges, and electric grid..........Enough God, lets do government for all the people including non-believers!

Posted by: fare777 | December 6, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

regarding flip floppers... one has to flip then flop to be a flip flopper. As far as I'm aware, romney has changed positions on abortion. Some say he changed his position on gay rights by defending marriage.

But to be a flip-flopper he would need to change is mind then change it back.

Posted by: supernovia | December 6, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Romney's' greatest weakness is that it is hard for a moderate in either party to get much traction in a primary. we see in both parties that a moderate must play up to the further reaches, and special interests. yet in the general election it is the seeming practical and cross-over appeal of a moderate platform that offers broader hope.

the inordinate importance of the primary vote in the first few states has a deleterious effect of a government by consensus, as indeed does the archaic electoral college. Romney is credible as a moderate, but the system in place today demands that a moderate move her views to a higher pitch during a primary. If the candidate makes it to the general election her views are allowed to swing back to the middle. but then the credible moderate looks like a, "flip-flopper"

Frank Taylor

Posted by: artknarf | December 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Romney still did not tell us his potential treatment of gays and people of color based on his adherence to his Mormon faith.

Posted by: coloradodog | December 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with the American people. Should a presidential candidate be forced to make a speech about his/her religious beliefs. Apparently since 40% of you have issues voting for a Mormon. Good work Romney, your speech is like that of Kennedy's, and even Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream speech. We cannot allow intolerance or prejudice of any kind.

To that person who said vote Democratic, both Hilary and Barak have used their religious beliefs to connect with the religious population.

Also, the belief that because one Republican President has troubles distinguishing between believing in God and that God is sanctioning his actions means all Republicans will do the same is another form of prejudice.

Think America! Make a decision on each and every person individually, not based on preconceived ideas about who you think they are because of the labels they hold. I just want to end by say "Duh!"

Posted by: MissRed | December 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Please vote whom ever you wish, for what he or she stands for politicly, not their religon. I like Romney a lot and I like the Gov. from AK too, or I did until he played the religon card. The one that plays the religon card may very well be a cult member.

Posted by: tharmonwvmastersgt | December 6, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"believers of convenience" - isn't Romney already in that group for his abortion stance(s)?

Posted by: stonyrovers | December 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: supernovia | December 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Did Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accomplish his goal of convincing people disinclined to vote for a Mormon to support him?


Posted by: jeffboste | December 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

He said, "I'm not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty -- (patronizing)

He's wrong about the Cathedrals, they are often filled (this is stereotype an Europhobia, Catholics will take deep offense -- the Vatican is empty???)

He said, I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired ... so grand ... so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer.

The link of Islam to violence is a big mistake (it's what the Pope did to set off protests) (this would set off protests, if msulims were lsitening, indeed he may still have to apologize and clarify, messy business)

He said, Infinitely worse is the other extreme, the creed of conversion by conquest: violent Jihad, murder as martyrdom... killing Christians, Jews, and Muslims with equal indifference. These radical Islamists do their preaching not by reason or example, but in the coercion of minds and the shedding of blood. We face no greater danger today than theocratic tyranny, and the boundless suffering these states and groups could inflict if given the chance

(Mostly they kill other Muslims, why list Muslims last?)

The correct line is that the Al Qaeda crowd are terrorists, who happen to be Muslims, not Muslim terrorists. Just like Romney wants to say he is a politician who happens to be a Mormon, not a Mormon politician.

More on Islam:

He said, America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us.

The only thing he has good to say about Muslims is they pray a lot, which is hardly a nuanced or penetrating observation

He said, I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life's blessings

Bad example, where are the Muslims and Jews:

He said, In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. 'They were too divided in religious sentiments', what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Catholics.

So, why is Romney Mormon?

He said, 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.

If he was born the son of Jihadists, he'd be a Jihadist. Religion as tribe.

Nothing about any personal experience of God or God's grace. Most of the country does not care what he thinks about God. The evangicals, who do, want to hear something personal and emotive, not a lecture everyone is free to do what they want (freedom is the opposite of order, and generally a hippy sentiment). The Evangelicals want to know everyone believes in the same God -- here was the chance to talk about the 3 great (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) faiths and the wonderful diversity that God works through them as each of us is diverse but we have 99% the same DNA -- DNA being the order.

Finally, here is a foolish sentiment, along the lines of I will take my ball and go home if you won't let me play:

He said, Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world

In fact, this is the worse line of the speech. It has the following adverse effects. 1 -- it calls into question his sincerity, his weak point and flip flopping, would he in fact sell out on principles he believes, if he believes any and 2 -- it reminds the evangelicals that this is no confession, or if it is, then they cannot relate to it

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." -- "compassionate" borrowed from the Bush playbook --
what did he do, not his dad? --
all of a sudden he is pro civil rights?

This is a bad line: we welcome our nation's symphony of faith." Is it the royal "we"? Sounds chocolaty like the Hershey bar by that name. Plus sounds snobbish. Do they have symphonies in Iowa?

Bottom line, it was a speech about John Adams, not about mitt. It was as political, not personal speech. He should of talked about how God supports him through his wife's illness.

Posted by: MattConnolly | December 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Shame on CNN. Shame on CNN for dislaying a split screen, during Romney's religious speech, displaying the negative aspects of the Mormon Church. I would expect better. It was biased and unbalanced. What religion is the producer that came up with this stunt? To write "the Mormon church abandoned polygamy in 1890" is like saying "candidate denies having abortion".

It is our responsibility as journalists to provide the public with credible, trustworthy information WITHOUT BIAS. If you show the bad, show the good and the ugly.

America is a land of religious freedom. If you display on-screen the negatives of the Mormon Church, you must do the same with each Presdential candidate.

What are the negative aspects of Hillary Clinton's Methodist religion; or Mike Huckabee's Baptist religion? Did you know that the Baptist Church used to consider Catholicism as an Egyptian/Babylonian cult? I've never seen that in a split screen next to Huckabee.

Step up to the plate and be fair. Produce a split screen of every candidate showing the historically negative aspects of their religions. Anything less would be a cop out.
Cissy Baker

Vice President, News Operations &
Washington Bureau Chief
Tribune Broadcasting
Washington DC

Posted by: CissyBaker | December 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Romney's relationship with Mormon authorities:

It's long past time for major news orgs to look into this story. As a university professor, Judith Dushku shouldn't be hard to find.

Posted by: misterjrthed | December 6, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes, the things we know to be untrue are the hardest to believe.

But with enough effort we can turn the deepest doubts into pillars of faith in a theology that promises shelter from the harsh realities of life.

No matter how unlikely the tenets of a religion may appear from the outside, the true believer will adhere to them against all evidence to the contrary. Setting aside our own personal point of view is simply the price of entry.

Posted by: motorfriend | December 6, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Mormons do believe in the Christ of the bible, but disagree with the definitions offered by the Nicene council. So yes he believes in Christ and is a Mormon.

Posted by: supernovia | December 6, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Romney: Belief is awesome as long as you don't believe in anything specific. Sounds about right for him.

Posted by: sfmandrew | December 6, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

the big problem I have with any devout Mormon having their finger on the button is derived from LDS's belief that we are living in the "end times" and that the U.S. is to play a big role in the final battle of good and evil. We've seen what someone who believes the first part of that equation (like many evangelicals do) can do to this country for close to seven years. Do we really want someone who believes both parts of it making foreign policy decisions?

I am also waiting for someone in the press to sack up and ask Romney, point blank, if he believes that he will be a god in the afterlife, and how that Mormon view squares with the Christianity LDSers claim to be a part of.

Posted by: pcpatterson | December 6, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

RossPhx -- Can you get a per capita statistic? Utah is the fourth highest state in the nation for highest number of enlistees by population.

Posted by: supernovia | December 6, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Google "Tarot of the Bohemiens" and read the first Introductory Chapters as they give an explanation about the ROOTS of "Synthisis" and Kabbalistics.

Written in the 1800's, it is a masterpiece of profound thought!

See Folks, the belief of the One True God is OLD! MUCH was lost! I can only dream of what once existed in the Great Library Alexander the Great accumulated in Alexandria. It all Burned with the Library!

"Never put ALL your eggs in One Basket!" is an Understatement after THAT Loss!

Posted by: rat-the | December 6, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Romney "urged tolerance for the beliefs of all. 'Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree,' he said."

Well. Thank goodness we will hear no more Muslim-baiting from the religiously-tolerant Gov Romney!

Posted by: duffybloom | December 6, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Mitt wants it both ways? I'm shocked.

Posted by: hklepper | December 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with pookiecat- he is trying to have it both ways.
He says: Don't concern yourselves with the details of the Mormon religion. Not important.

Then he says: I believe in Jesus Christ.

So if we are not supposed to worry about his religion, why should he emphasize his belief in Christ? A bit confusing, eh?

Posted by: sanjay08544 | December 6, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Romney's speech was a bomb. He spoke to the choir and not the skeptics he needed to reach. The religious issues of today are not the same as when Kennedy addressed the nation on his Catholicism. Kennedy got it right, Romney performed another tap dance. The base of his party still does not know what makes this man tick. In the end, his speech was more than a personal setback, it muddled the Mormon question even further.

Posted by: ButchDillon | December 6, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

So he says that "religion" should not be a litmus test for administrative skill, yet all he and all these other Republican candidates blabbed about 24-7 is Christianity and why is is such an eseentail part of governing and our government. That is absolute theocracy and flaunts the clear meaning the Constitution and the Establishment Clause. I will not accept any decisions, like whether to invade a nation in the middle east, or deny family planning eduaction to the poor in Africa, or spoil an entire ecosystem to extract fossil fuel, made on some strained version of the Bible or religious "text" as the basis for justification. I am millions of Americans, and I have seen what 6 years of this type of thinking has wrought. This guy didn't say anything to change my mind about him, and the religious fanatics who control his party. Enough. Vote Democratic and save your kids from an apocolyptic future, which is EXACTLY what the fundamentalist freaks want.

Posted by: pookiecat | December 6, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I found Romney's recent speech reassuring..................All religious convictions are a form of moral code and nothing more..........."Who's the dude behind the curtain Dorothy?" Does it matter...? Don't forget the lessons of history that tell of the millions who died and suffered as the result of religious differences, bigotry and hatred. Problem is that our current President fell into that age old trap and thought his god was better than their god and so he was right in invading an Islamic state! Maybe we need a President that consoles with his god.....not one who thinks god "personally" instructs him on what he should do.

Posted by: tonyholst | December 6, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney was Born and Raised a Mormon. It is simply how he was brought up. HE, has done an excellent job being a compliment to his faith!
I was brought up a Catholic. I try to do the same in memory of my Parents and Church.

Judge the Faith by it's actions and the actions of it's faithfull, NOT the Faithfull by the Church! Catholics have come Light Years since Martin Luther broke away over issues the Church has since changed! Once branded a Heritic, Martin Luther is NOW considered more a Man of vision.

Ruthie Giuliani can Claim to be a Catholic and a Republican all he wants, BUT, HIS actions do very little to substatiate his Proclamations!

Hence, this Catholic, thinks higher of "President-to Be" Romney!

The Huckster should STOP making Religion a Wedge issue, and grab the tittle of "#2", and get the others on the Bus!

The Congressional Dims, NEED to stay in Congress!

Stop fighting each other and TEAM UP Execs!

OK, Cue the Tabernacle Choir:


Posted by: rat-the | December 6, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps significantly, Romney did not point out that Utah has the lowest rate of military enlistment for any state (in 1999 it was tied with DC, but by 2003 Utah's rate had increased slightly and DC's had declined). This is based on figures compiled by the Heritage Foundation. Rhode Island was second lowest, and Massachusetts third. The Iraq casualty reports show the same result as enlistment rates -- it appears that not many Mormons are dying in the Mideast.

Posted by: RossPhx | December 6, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Romney appears to be saying that religion holds no influence over his prospective decisionmaking.

The voters will have to decide for themselves what that means, and whether they agree with it.

My sense is he lost key ground and any possibility for making ground amongst 'the base'. My sense is he also lost respect among a lot of independents who don;t find what he said as credible.

Posted by: HillRat | December 6, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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