Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered a historic speech this morning on the role that faith would play in his government. In his words, he would not serve “one religion” if he is elected as president of the United States.
Squaring off against those who “feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered,” the presidential contender invoked the nation’s founders. When the U.S. was in peril, Romney noted, the founders “sought the blessings of the Creator.”
The former governor of Massachusetts coupled freedom and religion together saying, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom….Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
With the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas as his background,
Romney drew upon the legacy of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on his Catholicism.
"Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president," Romney said. "Like him, 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."
"When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God,” he told his listeners.
“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," Romney said.
Yet he did little to address those who want to bring a discussion of the theology of Mormonism into the presidential debates.
Instead, Romney explained that doing so “would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.”
The Republican contender only flirted with the topic saying, “[i]t is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America.”
According to Romney, the American political discussion should focus on a “common creed of moral convictions.”
Deriding those who have taken the notion of the separation of church and state “well beyond its original meaning,” Romney said that they “seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God….It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.”
Romney went on to describe the common values of all Americans by recalling his childhood upbringing: I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. 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," he said.
The presidential candidate related that his faith is also grounded on those same truths and that those convictions “will indeed inform my presidency."
In related news, FOX News reports that Romney stressed on Thursday that he believes "Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind," but explained that his beliefs about Christ differ with those of followers of other faiths.