Responses to Mitt Romney

Here are excerpts from a variety of sources commenting on Mitt Romney‘s faith speech:

Freedom From Religion Foundation:

We’ve read John F. Kennedy’s 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, and have to say, Mitt Romney, you’re no JFK.

Romney’s hodgepodge speech offered a little something for everyone–except nonbelievers. Even Pres. Bush has publicly admitted that America includes nonreligious citizens. But the 14% of adults in the United States who are not religious apparently don’t exist in Romney’s world view. “We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust” means “we” who do not believe in a god are not part of this nation?

The New York Times:

He was trying to persuade Christian fundamentalists in the Republican Party, who do want to impose their faith on the Oval Office, that he is sufficiently Christian for them to support his bid for the Republican nomination. No matter how dignified he looked, and how many times he quoted the founding fathers, he could not disguise that sad fact.

… in his speech, he courted the most religiously intolerant sector of American political life by buying into the myths at the heart of the “cultural war,” so eagerly embraced by the extreme right.

Mr. Romney dragged out the old chestnuts about “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency, and the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — conveniently omitting that those weren’t the founders’ handiwork, but were adopted in the 1950s at the height of McCarthyism.

The Boston Globe:

He left out a significant number of Americans, including those who accept no religion or are less than fervid in their faith. They believe just as strongly in freedom and tolerance as their fellow citizens who go to church every Sunday.

Romney got applause when he criticized those who would supplant a faith-centered nation with “the religion of secularism.” But given the amount of violence and intolerance that various religions have generated throughout history, it is unwise to insist that religious belief is a prerequisite for freedom.

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 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.”

American Atheists:

Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists, said that Romney “is no John Kennedy when it comes to the First Amendment.”

“His speech was a pitch to the religious right which already has too much political clout in this country,” said Johnson. “Like other candidates, Romney is overlooking the 13% of Americans who profess no religious beliefs, and will voting their principles next November.”

Johnson added that Romney “drapes himself in the mantle of religious self-righteousness, and then gives token mention to the First Amendment.”

Christopher Hitchens in Slate:

Romney does not understand the difference between deism and theism, nor does he know the first thing about the founding of the United States. Jefferson’s Declaration may invoke a “Creator,” but, as he went on to show in the battle over the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, he and most of his peers did not believe in a god who intervened in human affairs or in a god who had sent a son for a human sacrifice.

A long time ago, Romney took the decision to be a fool for Joseph Smith, a convicted fraud and serial practitioner of statutory rape who at times made war on the United States and whose cult has been made to amend itself several times in order to be considered American at all. We do not require pious lectures on the American founding from such a man, and we are still waiting for some straight answers from him.

Keith Olbermann:

Besides us, did anybody notice this extraordinary insult, almost a warning Romney just gave to every American who believes in maybe more than one god or doesn‘t believe in any god or just isn‘t sure or just isn‘t sure it‘s anybody else‘s—and I‘m going to choose my words carefully here—just isn‘t sure it‘s anybody else‘s goddamn business?

Well, apart from sort of nominating himself to be a fill-in for Bill O‘Reilly, did he not recognize the hypocrisy in that? He called secularism a religion and then called it wrong, ostensibly, while giving his speech asking for religious tolerance.

[In an exchange with The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson]

ROBINSON: … he‘s got plenty of money. He could have bought the time on the networks if he had wanted to. It was an extraordinary coup for the Romney campaign to get that much coverage on all the networks. So, I‘m sure, maybe Rudy Giuliani will now give a speech on marriage and that will get a lot of coverage, too.

OLBERMANN: You just made my day.

That’s only a sample.

Feel free to link to other statements on Romney’s speech in the comments.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Republican, Christian, Mormon, faith, religion[/tags]

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    Romney’s much-awaited “Faith in America” speech was worse than I had expected. Romney didn’t want to deliver an inclusive speech in support of religious pluralism, as Kennedy did in 1960, preferring to temper the separation of church and state rather than forcefully uphold it. Romney echoed JFK… [more here...]

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    I would say that religion sets up barriers to freedom, in the same sense that laws set up barriers, there are just more of them, and would be different depending on which dogma you chose to follow. In that sense, true freedom is an illusion.

    Who said that? I did. At my blog. So there. I’m a blog whore.

  • http://badidea.wordpress.com Bad

    I’ve already posted on this subject three times in a row so far, and that’s more than enough for me. I think at this point, it’s making too much of what will ultimately be a pretty minor event and giving too much attention to not much in particular other than the same old, same old we’d expect from religious right primary huckstering. I had hoped it might be interesting because it had the potential to rise above that, but it didn’t. Time to move on.

  • Darryl

    I don’t know the mind of Mr. Romney, but I think two things: first, I doubt that if he were running for the Democratic nomination he would have said those things in his speech that were intended to please the evangelicals. Second, I find it remarkable, and a sign of the times, that politicians on the scene now, whose fathers and mothers were respected politicians (like Romney’s father, and GW Bush’s father), are of less substance and character than their folks. This must be such a disappointment to those that still live. It is shameful what our politics has become. As the saying goes, we get the politicians we deserve.

  • Mriana

    Guess he had no problems with Kennedy being Catholic. At the time Kennedy was running for pres., there was some question about him being a Catholic and the pres. JFK was not only the youngest pres, but he was also the first Catholic pres.

    Obama, albeit protestant, looks better and better in comparison to the other more prominent runners for president. Gravel looks good too, but he isn’t so prominent.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    For those who are always wondering whether progressive Christians are ever outspoken against the Religious Right, here is a response to Romney’s speech at the Sojourners blog.

  • Mriana

    I’m not surprised. I see it often. I also hear of death threats too against Progressive Xians, from the Religious Reich, when they do speak out. Truth be told, I find the most violent and profoundly insistant on conformity Xian group to be the Religious Reich. Progressive Xians are not a threat and I, for one, do not want to see them alienated by the more militant atheists, because they could be of great help and support to non-theists.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    I’ve collected up some Mormon and ex-Mormon blog reactions to Romney’s “JFK speech” here.

  • Maria

    I’m not surprised. I see it often. I also hear of death threats too against Progressive Xians, from the Religious Reich, when they do speak out. Truth be told, I find the most violent and profoundly insistant on conformity Xian group to be the Religious Reich. Progressive Xians are not a threat and I, for one, do not want to see them alienated by the more militant atheists, because they could be of great help and support to non-theists.

    I agree.

  • Maria

    I have to say I’m really glad Mitt Romney doesn’t have a shot at winning. The last thing we need is another Bush.

  • JeffN

    So what candidate does 14 percent of Americans officially support for 2008? ;)

  • http://badidea.wordpress.com Bad

    Unfortunately, we’re neither a reliably partisan group, nor one which any sane self-interested politician can do much to court openly. Generally the best we can hope for are candidates who may not much mention us, but which at least do not insult us and have principles broadly accepting of us (even if they are too afraid to get specific and admit that they affect us).

  • Mriana

    Like Obama (Not paid for by the Barack Obama Campaign).

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    Robin Lionheart:

    The former president who introduced you once said, “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” George Bush’s words were profoundly un-American, and very obnoxious.

    As were yours, Mitt.

    I am an atheist, and I am an American, and I am free.

  • Scott

    “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.”

    “What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.”

    So, it’s inappropriate for candidates to describe their church’s distinctive doctrines, but perfectly appropriate to describe any doctrine their church shares with other churches.

    Oh, and denigrating nonbelievers is always good form.

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    I’m still thinking about a response to Romney, but suffice to say that his ahistoricism and his failure to appreciate secularism is at the heart of anything that I will say.

    Romney tried to tell us that his religion will make no difference in the presidency, but he’s shown us that it will. Oh it will.

  • Aj

    Whenever an Atheist gets the chance to question him they should ask him about the time Jesus sailed to America.

  • Mriana

    What? Jesus never sailed to America. Unless he was on one of Columbus’s ships, then his name would be Jesus Cristos. :lol:

  • Richard Wade

    Mriana, it seems that fantasizing about Jesus having toured one’s favorite country is not exclusive to Mormons. Witness William Blake’s very famous song, “Jerusalem:”

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon those clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among these dark satanic mills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold!
    Bring me my arrows of desire!
    Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
    Bring me my chariot of fire!

    I will not cease from mental fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England’s green and pleasant land.

  • Steven Carr

    ‘ They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. ‘

    Shouldn’t that be Allah?

    America is steeped in the Islamo-Mormon-Judeo-Christian tradition.

  • Pingback: The Mitt Romney Religion Address: The Response « POP CULTURE

  • Mriana

    Richard Wade said,

    December 8, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Mriana, it seems that fantasizing about Jesus having toured one’s favorite country is not exclusive to Mormons. Witness William Blake’s very famous song, “Jerusalem:”

    Oh brother. :roll:

  • Eliza

    For those who are always wondering whether progressive Christians are ever outspoken against the Religious Right, here is a response to Romney’s speech at the Sojourners blog.

    Thanks for the link, Mike C.

  • Darryl

    ditto on the “Oh, brother” of Mriana.

  • stogoe

    Meh. I’m not opposed to progressive christians supporting causes I support, but really, they’ve gorged themselves on the same load of crap as the Dominionists. Their beliefs are wrong, and funny, and I’m going to shake my head and roll my eyes and sigh heavily at the crap they regurgitate.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s their right to shovel it in and spew it out. Just please, try not to get any on me.

  • monkeymind

    stogoe said

    Meh. I’m not opposed to progressive christians supporting causes I support,

    That’s mighty big of you.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y2pG6EbQuA Romney Shepherd 08

    Check out this Romney parody in which he adresses questions about his faith and announces his surprise runningmate… Sherri Shepherd of The View!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y2pG6EbQuA


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