December 6, 2007


Romney: 'Freedom requires religion' (Mike Allen, Dec 6, 2007, Politico)

The following excerpts were released this morning by his campaign:

"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 Adam's 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."

Correct in so far as it goes, but it does not require religion generically, but a certain uniformity of religious belief in order that peoples' morality be uniform and their likely behavior predictable. This allows for personal freedom outside the sphere of political liberty. Mr. Romney's specific task here is to describe how and why Mormonism has been Reformed--like Catholicism and Judaism (and, perhaps, Islam)--in order to conform to Anglo-American protestantism. That shouldn't be difficult but would require detailing some of the ways that Mormonism did and does differ from more traditional Christianities.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2007 8:00 AM

The behavior and morality of Mormons in indistinguishable from that of evangelical Christians. At least, as observed from the outside.

Posted by: Brandon at December 6, 2007 10:33 AM

umm Orrin, I think the question was answered in 1842 when Joseph Smith wrote the thirteen Articles of Faith in a letter to a Chicago news paper editor.

The most relevant of the 13 to the discussion here:
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at December 6, 2007 11:05 AM

Yes, the type of thing he needs to explain is how one squares those statements with baptism of the dead, for instance.

Unfortunately, he didn't try to explain anything.

Posted by: oj at December 6, 2007 11:53 AM

Christology matters. The angel who wrote the Book of Mormon and those golden plates had his magic spectacles in one hand and a book of Second Century Christologic abberations in the other.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 6, 2007 5:55 PM

Yet Christ wrote no book. All Gospels are personal aberrations.

Posted by: oj at December 6, 2007 8:59 PM

"Romney rooted the speech in the literature of America’s civil religion. When he said "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," he was paraphrasing Tocqueville: "Despotism may be able to do without faith, but freedom cannot."

His criticism of "the religion of secularism" recalled a radio address by President Reagan. Banning school prayer, Reagan said "is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism."

Romney invoked John Kennedy’s famous speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He also alluded to other remarks by JFK. "When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office," Romney said, "that oath becomes my highest promise to God." In 1960, Kennedy said that anyone who takes the presidential oath "is swearing to support the separation of church and state." A president who broke that oath, Kennedy said, would be committing a sin "for he has sworn on the Bible.""

Romney said: "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government." In his inaugural, Kennedy proclaimed that "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.""

Posted by: josh383 at December 7, 2007 2:05 PM

Of course, the notion that your duty to the Constitution is higher than that to God is deeply pernicious.

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2007 3:23 PM