Thursday, December 06, 2007

Romney's Mormon Speech

I missed the speech, but Hugh Hewitt has the full text and his analysis here.

The speech, which had a precedent in 1960 in JFK's "Catholic" speech, was announced late last week. My take was that it was largely driven by the press, which (in the name of "the voters," of course) couldn't quit asking him inappropriate questions about Mormonism--as though without their constant attention Romney might spontaneously produce a Second Lady and maybe even a Third Lady to join him in the White House. Idiocy, thy name is the National Press Corps.

Hugh Hewitt, on the other hand, believes the "Mormon" speech was planned from the beginning by the Romney campaign to coincide with the beginning of New Hampshire's absentee voting (December 10th). It doesn't really matter why Mitt Romney gave the speech. It was beautiful. Here are some excerpts:

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 are 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 was made for a moral and religious people.'

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

As a young man, Lincoln described what he called America's 'political religion' - the commitment to defend the rule of law and the Constitution. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will 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.

There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. 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.

I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: 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.

The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God' and in God, we do indeed trust.

There's more, of course. Read it all.


Malott said...

In this jaded, cynical culture... It's easy to become preoccupied with "motivations" and "calculations"... But the fact is that Romney said things he didn't have to say... And he said things that should be said more often by our political leaders.

He sounded more like a "founding father" than a opportunistic politician.

I'm convinced that this is a good man who would be as good a president as anyone else in the field.

Charlie said...

I agree with Malott. In fact, I underestimated Romney. I thought his speech and his defense of the idea that democracy needs the full participation of religious people, as well as the moral influence of religious ideas, was said better than anyone has said it in a long time. I think this speech will help him.