Now, I defend Romney in the sense that I do not believe that he or anyone should have to explain their religious beliefs as long as they pledge that their religious beliefs will not affect their public policy. As long as they use rational thought when it comes to leading then I could care less what they believe. However, the minute you start trying to influence government policy with your religious views then we have a problem and I believe such actions should require a severe rebuke (i.e. censure) by the people, thus, Congress. Romney however, doesn't seem to understand the very constitution that seeks to protect his faith:
"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," Romney said.
GOI: Clearly the good Governor hasn't read article six of the constitution regarding the religious test and therefore Mr. Romney you are the one who is at odds with the founding fathers of America, not secularists.
Romney goes on:
"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," he said.
Let's break this quote down a bit. First he says, Freedom requires religion. No, it does not. There is not one word in the constitution which says that in order to have freedom, religion must be present in one's life and certainly not in the government. At least not the constitution that I read. The founding fathers left England and other states which had this idea in stone that freedom required religion. In many cases a persons rights (or freedoms) were dictated by religion and that is exactly what the first Americans sought to leave behind as they formed a new, more enlightened country.
Next Romney said, religion requires freedom and yes, that is true. That is what I was saying in the above paragraph. He went too far with his first statement and should have just simply said this second point. Romney wouldn't even be free to practice his Mormon faith without the founding fathers rejecting his notion that "freedom requires religion," let alone try to explain it as he was trying to do in this speech. Because which religion should they have chosen? Anglican Christianity? That would have indeed left Romney's Mormonism out as it didn't form until the 19th century. That is the crux of the issue that he is mixing up here.
Then he stated, Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone. I think here that there is an important distinction and that it isn't as simple as this statement. Yes, I do believe that without freedom you can not have religion or at least religious freedom. However, I also believe that you can have freedom without religion. In fact, the ability of government to function for all people as equally as possible, has and does require that there is no religion in such affairs and it is not hard to understand why. So the irony here is that without the government being free from religion there would be no freedom to choose or not choose what religion or non-religious belief you wish.
I don't understand why this is so hard for some religious folks to understand!! If this was a country with a radical, Islamic theocracy then the minority Christians wouldn't stand a chance to practice their faith openly and be treated equally by the law. That is what they do not see or choose not to see about imposing their Christian beliefs into the government arena. By doing so they are violating the constitution and actively or subconsciously discriminating against minority faiths in America just as that radical, Islamic theocracy would do to their Christian beliefs!!! This is a classic case of the problems that one can run into by not being able or willing to put yourself in someone else's situation. How would you feel, act and re-act if you were the minority? Doing so helps one understand the importance of balance in government and in life in general.
So let's now return to his first quote: 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. O.k., that is fine to believe that as your personal beliefs but then he contradicts himself again later in the speech by saying, Like him, [John F. Kennedy] I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith."
GOI: So which is it Mitt? Should religion be a matter seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us, as you said. Or, should we not define a candidacy by one's religion? And that a person shouldn't be elected because of their faith nor should they be rejected because of their faith, as you also said?
It sounds to me like Romney is getting caught up in "mexed missages" as Bush once famously said. As far as I can tell this only muddies up the water even more for his campaign and is exactly why no religious test should be applied to one's candidacy!!
GOI: Let's return back to his speech. Romney goes on: 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," he said. 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, he said.
But wait a minute Mitt, you just said that you wouldn't serve only one group but then you go on to say that you need the prayers of the people of all faiths? This clearly leaves out Atheists and other non-believers who do not believe in prayer. So let's be honest here. You just said "the people of all faiths," not the "people of all faiths" AND the support (not just prayers from the religious) of those of no faith. Perhaps you might think that such a criticism is splitting hairs but for many it is a very, very important distinction to make.
Let's return again to the speech, he says:
Romney said he thought some have taken the idea of separation of church and state beyond its original meaning by trying to remove any acknowledgment of God from the public arena.
"It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong," he said.
GOI: (slams head against the computer sdsdaojfsoeashdflasdhaoeanew'aiwea[ohwefioawefhaw'oi)
Oh Mitt, here we go again!! The very idea that there is any acknowledgment of "God" in the public arena means there is no longer freedom from religion within government!! Don't you see, the word, "God" automatically means only certain religions, let alone those who have a right to be free from any religion in the public, government arena. It does not include for example Buddhists who do not believe in "God." Therefore, such behavior is not keeping with the separation of church and state at any level!! And, "the religion of secularism??" Secularism means NO RELIGION in the public arena therefore how can secular philosophy be a religion?!!! It's a philosophy that is on more solid, legal ground then pushing "God" into the public arena, that's for sure.The Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State agrees:
"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 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.
GOI: Of course, none in the media are mentioning or caring to mention his lack of inclusiveness of the non-theists and non-religious. Fair and balanced my hairy, bobbin' man ass!! (a nod to the late, great comedian Bill Hicks).
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