Just saw part of his speech HERE. Now he is being congratulated by George H. W. and Barbara Bush.
Earlier this morning, I read excerpts from the speech he planned to give and concluded that Romney does not sufficiently respect the necessary separation of Church and State. MSNBC First Read comments on the excerpts.
According to Political Wire, Robert Novak says Romney’s advisers opposed giving this speech at this time.
As a religious Jew, it is obvious to me that religion (yours, mine, anybody else’s) does not belong in the public square. Romney would have us keep the nefarious 1954 interpolation “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and fill public property with Nativity scenes and menorahs (but probably not Muslim crescents or Wiccan ceremonies). Oh, “The legend, “In God We Trust,” became a part of the design of United States currency in 1957 and has appeared on all currency since 1963.”
So, Romney would have us restore a faux-1950s generic Protestant Christianity to American citizenship.
Romney “stresses that Americans are bound by moral convictions that transcend any single denomination or faith and says those beliefs are what should guide a president.” There is little that transcends denominations or religions – that’s why we have different religions. When it comes to moral convictions, Americans do NOT agree.
AP Coverage of Romney’s Speech
CNN – Romney: ‘Freedom requires religion’
For a Round-Up, read my full post continuing below…
SOME WEB-LOG REACTION:
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.
Andrew Sullivan posted this before the speech – still quite interesting and informative.
MSNBC First Read: Mitt mentions ‘Mormon’ just once
That was perhaps the best political speech of the year. It was well-crafted and delivered with conviction and — this is unusual for Romney — considerable emotion. I thought his contrast of the empty cathedrals of Europe with the violent jihadis was particularly adroit. He managed to make this a speech about patriotism as much as about religion. Brilliant.
Romney just quoted John Adams saying, “Freedom requires religion.” This is a pretty radical statement, and something the candidate should be asked about later.
Mark my word, “the Religion of Secularism” will resonate. Nothing revs evangelicals’ engines more than the notion that smug, pointy headed secularists have launched a war on the values and the very way of life of good, God-fearing Americans. Points must be awarded to whichever of the governor’s speechwriters came up with that bit.
Bottom line: This was a pretty well-constructed, well-executed speech. Skeptical religious conservatives should feel somewhat reassured after watching it. But it may nonetheless cause Romney problems, since it gives the press license to elaborate on the less-savory particulars of Mormonism. CNN’s graphic was kind of the reductio ad absurdum of that, but I suspect you’ll see more than a few MSM accounts noting that he didn’t get into any particulars, then giving examples of what went unmentioned.
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog: Romney wishes his faith were more like Islam
Melissa has a great analysis of ONE paragraph of his speech. That is all you need to know as all the others are equally BORING and full of generalities about faith. He is a politician. Always keep it vague!
My favorite part of Willard’s speech was the CNN coverage. When Willard started talking (not really) about his Mormon Faith, CNN popped-up a handy-dandy Mormon Church History Box beside Willard. Ahhh… Joseph Smith blessed CNN with the courage to inform the masses with basic information about his creation
Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst. On every level it was a masterpiece. The staging and Romney’s delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday –for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.
Many commentators on the Right are praising the speech, but I fear they’re grading on a curve; strictly as a matter of rhetoric, it tended toward the bland. The only genuinely novel aspect of it was the addition of the Mormon trail to a brief account of the history of religious intolerance in America
Once Romney answered any question about the content of his religious faith, he opened the door to every question about the content of his religious faith.
Giuliani also said he agreed with everything he heard in Romney’s speech in Houston Thursday.
“I thought Gov. Romney said everything I agree with,” he said. “Everything he said, at least the parts that I heard, I think I heard most of it, I agree with.”
He used the question to showcase his view on religious tolerance.
“I guess it would be better if he didn’t have to do that,” he said. “This is no reflection on Gov. Romney, he did what he thought he had to do. But from the point of view that you would wish that everybody would move beyond that. I believe his talk helped to put that issue to rest.
“There is no religious test for office,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any religious test for office.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said some Americans are taking the concept of the separation of church and state too far and railed against those who would establish “the religion of secularism” in a speech Thursday aimed at reassuring voters about his own religious background.
Romney backed public holiday displays including Christmas nativity scenes and hanukkiot and urged the country not to remove references to God from US currency and the Pledge of Allegiance.
A debate is raging in America about the permissibility of such references and the permissibility of religious displays, a debate which traditionally intensifies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Romney has also been the subject of a more personal religious debate – whether his faith as a Mormon will affect his chances of winning the Republican nomination.
Romney called for religious tolerance and stated that he “will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office [of the Presidency] and the sovereign authority of the law.”
“As an organization that respects faith and its role in our society, we applaud Governor Romney for pledging not to exert his religious beliefs, and those of other faiths, on the will of the American people.
“Romney’s assurance that ‘no one religion, no one group, no one cause’ will supersede the rights of the American people is commendable. However, we encourage Governor Romney to apply these convictions to his policy positions. To date this remains a hollow promise, as evidenced by his positions on full and equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.
“Religion-based bigotry should not be disavowed on a case by case basis, and religious tolerance is more than a rhetorical position. It is a value that should be applied equally to all Americans. Romney failed to use today’s speech – and last week’s debate – to acknowledge the harm caused by religion-based bigotry against gay and lesbian individuals and their families.
“We call on Govenor Romney to assert policy positions that would ensure a world in which reason and religion no longer conflict with the liberties and freedoms guaranteed to all Americans, including gays and lesbians.”
This was not the “moral values” address that many had expected, although Romney did mention perhaps the most appealing aspect of his persona to religious conservatives: His marriage of 38 years, and his loyal, photogenic five sons. (This is also his greatest advantage over his Republican rival Rudolph Giuliani, who is on his third marriage.)
But Romney made no mention of hot-button evangelical issues, such as abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research. Instead, he emphasized shared religious values.
Shaun Casey, an expert on religion and politics at Wesley Theological Seminary, called this emphasis a weakness in Romney’s address.
“This was a generic religious freedom speech, and it could have been given by any number of politicians,” Casey says. “But that’s not the problem he faces. It’s not what he needed to do. I don’t think it will comfort the red-meat types in the Republican Party.”
Americans United Press Release:
Today’s speech by Mitt Romney on the role of religion in American politics reflects an inaccurate understanding of the constitutional relationship between church and state, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
“I was disappointed in Romney’s statement,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “The founders of our Constitution meant for religion and government to be completely separate. Romney is wrong when he says we are in danger of taking separation too far or at risk of establishing a religion of secularism.
“I was particularly outraged that Romney thinks that the Constitution is somehow based on faith and that judges should rule accordingly, “ Lynn said. “That’s a gross misunderstanding of the framework of our constitutional system.
“I think it is telling that Romney quoted John Adams instead of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison,” Lynn continued. “Jefferson and Madison are the towering figures who gave us religious liberty and church-state separation.
“I was also disappointed that Romney doesn’t seem to recognize that many Americans are non-believers,” Lynn continued. “Polls repeatedly show that millions of people have chosen to follow no spiritual path at all. They’re good Americans too, and Romney ought to have recognized that fact.
“I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and I believe in my faith,” Lynn added. “But I believe just as strongly that non-believers are good Americans too. I wish Romney had said that.”
Don’t Forget: This week’s edition of the PBS newsmagazine program RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY (distributed Friday, December 7 at 5 p.m., check local listings) will feature the following report: Response to Romney Speech on Religion — Kim Lawton talks with Dr. Shaun Casey, an associate professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary and author of a forthcoming book on religion and politics in the 1960 presidential campaign, about reaction to Mitt Romney’s speech on “Faith in America.” This week on the show’s “One Nation: Religion & Politics 2008 Blog” available at http://www.pbsorg/wnet/religionandethics/blog.html, hear an extended version of the studio discussion between Kim Lawton and Dr. Shaun Casey focusing on reaction to Mitt Romney’s speech about “Faith in America” and watch video clips from the address. To access the transcript and streaming video of the Cover Story and Feature segments, use the Web links listed above. For a transcript of the conversation about Mitt Romney’s speech on faith send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the show’s Web site at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics after 8:30 p.m. on Friday where both the broadcast and extended version of this interview will be posted.