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  • Romney's Religion Speech

    Republican candidate Mitt Romney gave a speech this morning at the Bush Library in Texas that brought up memories of John F. Kennedy's speech on his Catholic faith. Though Romney said this is not a speech on his faith in particular, it is a speech on religion. I'm curious what people think about Romney's speech today, and also general thoughts on a Mormon president. Does it matter to you? Does it matter to you that it matters?

    Here's one quote from the speech this morning that I found interesting - if you have a full transcript please post the link.

    Originally posted by Mitt Romney
    “It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
    I personally don't care what religion a President (or any government official) subscribes to, believes in or is a member of. I believe it fundamentally should not matter. Apparently I am in the minority on this in America. I interpret Romney's quote above to indicate that my opinions (as a non-religious person) do not count when it comes to 'movements of concience' in American government.

  • #2
    Re: Romney's Religion Speech

    Actually, the majority of polled Americans really don't care what faith a person is, just that they have some sort of belief in a higher being (IE: not Atheist). Whereas Mormonism isn't exactly mainstream, I would assume it gets more of a benefit of the doubt than something like Scientology.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Romney's Religion Speech

      .. And I should point out that of course I understand that it's foolish to think that someone's religious background and beliefs won't play a role in their role as President (or any elected government office). Obviously this is why this issue matters.

      My argument is that it fundamentally shouldn't. It shouldn't matter, and it shouldn't play a role. Elected officials should serve the constitution and American law - not religious beliefs.

      As for numbers, the Gallup poll that I found on the subject of the level of influence that organized religion has in America:

      32% - would like organized religion to have less influence "in this nation,"
      27% - would like it to have more
      39% - that the current amount of influence should be kept as is.

      I read these numbers as showing a 30% minority in America would like organized religion to have less influence. Granted, this poll does not use the term 'government.'

      An NPR story seems to reference an AP/Ipsos poll that has 40% of Americans thinking that religious leaders should influence public policy.

      Lastly, an interesting 'debate' among the founding fathers on the role of religion in American government. It's broken down into 'yea' and 'nea' votes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Romney's Religion Speech

        Parts of Romney's speech seemed right out of the lips of C.S. Lewis...particularly where he talks about the common grounds amongst the denominations.

        I don't really mind that Mitt is a Mormon. I won't vote for him because I don't feel he's the right guy to lead the country. I honestly wish candidates would NOT campaign on religious issues.
        | | |

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        • #5
          Re: Romney's Religion Speech

          I always liked the quote: "You swore on a bible to uphold the Constitution, not the other way around."

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          • #6
            Re: Romney's Religion Speech

            I think his speech was necessary for his own campaign. This is simply due to the fact that he catches a lot of flack for being Mormon. And it I believe it happens to be mostly conservative Christian Republicans who give him a hard time for this. And as was said earlier, JFK had to do the same thing about Catholicism.
            "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Romney's Religion Speech

              Originally posted by AMosely View Post
              I interpret Romney's quote above to indicate that my opinions (as a non-religious person) do not count when it comes to 'movements of concience' in American government.

              (Full Disclosure: I know shamefully little about Romney aside that I have no interest in voting for him ever for any reason)

              I think you're reading something into that quote that isn't there. I don't think the idea is that "non"-religious humanists such as yourself do not count, I think he's saying that movements of conscience survive or fail based on moral principles, and no matter what religion people are, they happen to universally accept the importance of moral principles. That doesn't mean other people don't have morals...quite the opposite, it means we all find common grounds in morals, and specifically here he's pointing it out as a uniting factor among a certain typically divided subset.

              Unless you're making the argument that moral principles are solely the province of the religious, I just think you're really trying to be offended by something that wasn't even about you.
              ---
              Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                (Full Disclosure: I know shamefully little about Romney aside that I have no interest in voting for him ever for any reason)

                I think you're reading something into that quote that isn't there. I don't think the idea is that "non"-religious humanists such as yourself do not count, I think he's saying that movements of conscience survive or fail based on moral principles, and no matter what religion people are, they happen to universally accept the importance of moral principles. That doesn't mean other people don't have morals...quite the opposite, it means we all find common grounds in morals, and specifically here he's pointing it out as a uniting factor among a certain typically divided subset.

                Unless you're making the argument that moral principles are solely the province of the religious, I just think you're really trying to be offended by something that wasn't even about you.

                Romney's speech was to get the votes of christians to vote for a mormon. It was aimed at the (mainly) evangelical christians that have been the backbone of the Republicans in recent elections.

                So maybe he didn't mean that only the religious among us have the morals needed to run the nation successfully. But he would not do anything to dissuade his target audience from thinking this. And I would bet most of the target audience believes it. Otherwise why even bring up religion at all? Why not just say the morals possessed by the individual are important and not how the morals where obtained?
                Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                  Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                  I think you're reading something into that quote that isn't there. I don't think the idea is that "non"-religious humanists such as yourself do not count, I think he's saying that movements of conscience survive or fail based on moral principles, and no matter what religion people are, they happen to universally accept the importance of moral principles. That doesn't mean other people don't have morals...quite the opposite, it means we all find common grounds in morals, and specifically here he's pointing it out as a uniting factor among a certain typically divided subset.
                  I think Mosely makes a good point though: Republicans generally don't care about Atheists. And when the future leader of the free world makes the comment:

                  "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

                  it becomes clearly evident that they don't even consider them worth anything.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                    Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
                    So maybe he didn't mean that only the religious among us have the morals needed to run the nation successfully. But he would not do anything to dissuade his target audience from thinking this. And I would bet most of the target audience believes it. Otherwise why even bring up religion at all? Why not just say the morals possessed by the individual are important and not how the morals where obtained?
                    That line of reasoning assumes that Mitt Romney was one to bring up the topic of religion. But he wasn't. His political opponents have spent some time already beating him over the head with the idea that because he's a Mormon therefore he isn't a real Christian, and therefore Christian voters should vote for someone else in the primary.

                    Its not particularly easy to answer that sort of criticism without mentioning religion. If you find yourself offended as an atheist because Romney is trying to minimize differences between Mormons and other Christians, then that just serves to reinforce my belief that atheists in general are way too easily offended.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                      Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                      That line of reasoning assumes that Mitt Romney was one to bring up the topic of religion. But he wasn't. His political opponents have spent some time already beating him over the head with the idea that because he's a Mormon therefore he isn't a real Christian, and therefore Christian voters should vote for someone else in the primary.

                      Its not particularly easy to answer that sort of criticism without mentioning religion. If you find yourself offended as an atheist because Romney is trying to minimize differences between Mormons and other Christians, then that just serves to reinforce my belief that atheists in general are way too easily offended.
                      I agree. I don't really think Romney is looking to bring up the issue. I think he would really like to avoid it if he could.

                      It is the targeted voter for who the issue is important.

                      *Edit. Which is why I think the Republican party has lost it's way.
                      Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                      - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                      - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                      - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                      - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                      - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                      - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                        Switchcraft certainly isn't wrong - I know I'm reading into Romney's remarks, and I know the speech wasn't aimed at me (or pretty much any non-Christians). I'm playing the devil's advocate though (no pun intended). Hypothetically, if an atheist or any other 'nonbeliever' candidate were to give a speech on religion, how do you suppose religious Americans would percieve it? Would they read too far into it? If the inverse comment was made - that any 'movement of concience' in American govnernment should never be guided the convictions of religious people - would the religious community find that threatening?

                        I feel like I must re-iterate that this thread is about reading between the lines, and touches on a sensitive issue for a lot of people. I realize that for many Americans, morals and values are religious in origin and cannot be checked at the door. Today, religious beliefs are accepted as personality traits that people carry with them in everything they do, including the Presidency and politics. My opinion is that this should not be so widely accepted as normal when it comes to government.
                        Last edited by Mosely; 12-06-2007, 05:43 PM. Reason: sp

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                          AMosely, if you'll allow me to be the devil's advocate for your, uh, devil's advocate...if a non-believer candidate was going to give a speech on religion, that would be interesting, but I don't know that it would be comparable.

                          The only real inverse comment is that any "movement of conscience" would not survive if it spoke to the convictions of religious people...in this case those convictions being explicitly stated as being "great moral principles that urge us all on a common course." I think both religious and non-religious people have based their positions on the aforementioned "movements of conscience" on the idea that there are moral principles that should be adhered to. As a non-religious person yourself, would you argue that you don't feel racial equality is "the right thing" to strive for? Can you really picture people saying we should repeal laws against theft and murder because they represent morals that only a religious person would have? Of course not. His point is not to say that non-believers have no morals, his point is clearly stated: a movement that obviously violated those great principles would not survive.

                          There are plenty of amoral reasons to make decisions, and plenty of subjects of dispute, like economics, where one side wants an answer to fall in with their beliefs and the other side just doesn't think it's a moral issue at all...but I have never heard someone argue that "morals and values...be checked at the door" when it comes to politics.

                          I believe absolutely that our government should not be in the business of trying to establish religion. But I do not see how Romney's above-quoted paragraph could be seen as non-inclusive, when it seems to me to be doing the opposite...pointing out that no matter how you arrived there, the majority of people seem to have a common set of moral principles and we should be trying to embrace that and do the right thing. I am willing to believe, AMosely, that you vote for people specifically because you believe they will not check their morals and principles at the door.

                          Is it so bad to have someone say "my beliefs are so important to me that I believe if I do not adhere to the principles I espouse it will have eternal repercussions?" I am not a religious person, but if the next guy said "I have no moral principles, and any time I find myself wondering what 'the right thing to do' is you can be assured I'll immediately take a shot and then flip a coin to avoid any appearance of morality" it would cause me some concern.

                          Hell, this thread causes me some concern. Again, I am not religious, but I still believe in such things as "right" and "wrong" and I don't think they're terms to be avoided.
                          ---
                          Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                            Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                            AMosely, if you'll allow me to be the devil's advocate for your, uh, devil's advocate...if a non-believer candidate was going to give a speech on religion, that would be interesting, but I don't know that it would be comparable.

                            The only real inverse comment is that any "movement of conscience" would not survive if it spoke to the convictions of religious people...in this case those convictions being explicitly stated as being "great moral principles that urge us all on a common course." I think both religious and non-religious people have based their positions on the aforementioned "movements of conscience" on the idea that there are moral principles that should be adhered to. As a non-religious person yourself, would you argue that you don't feel racial equality is "the right thing" to strive for? Can you really picture people saying we should repeal laws against theft and murder because they represent morals that only a religious person would have? Of course not. His point is not to say that non-believers have no morals, his point is clearly stated: a movement that obviously violated those great principles would not survive.

                            There are plenty of amoral reasons to make decisions, and plenty of subjects of dispute, like economics, where one side wants an answer to fall in with their beliefs and the other side just doesn't think it's a moral issue at all...but I have never heard someone argue that "morals and values...be checked at the door" when it comes to politics.

                            I believe absolutely that our government should not be in the business of trying to establish religion. But I do not see how Romney's above-quoted paragraph could be seen as non-inclusive, when it seems to me to be doing the opposite...pointing out that no matter how you arrived there, the majority of people seem to have a common set of moral principles and we should be trying to embrace that and do the right thing. I am willing to believe, AMosely, that you vote for people specifically because you believe they will not check their morals and principles at the door.

                            Is it so bad to have someone say "my beliefs are so important to me that I believe if I do not adhere to the principles I espouse it will have eternal repercussions?" I am not a religious person, but if the next guy said "I have no moral principles, and any time I find myself wondering what 'the right thing to do' is you can be assured I'll immediately take a shot and then flip a coin to avoid any appearance of morality" it would cause me some concern.

                            Hell, this thread causes me some concern. Again, I am not religious, but I still believe in such things as "right" and "wrong" and I don't think they're terms to be avoided.

                            For me it isn't that Romney is trying to be non-inclusive. I think that he is trying his absolute hardest to be all-inclusive. He is a politician first and a religious man second from what I can tell.

                            What bothers me is that his religion is so center to his canadicy. And the problem with that is, in religion, "right" and "wrong" are often determined by dogma and not rational thought.

                            So if a person says "my beliefs are so important to me that I believe if I do not adhere to the principles I espouse it will have eternal repercussions" it can be horrible. A belief that white is better than black or that being gay is against all that is holy are only two examples of this.
                            Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                            - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                            - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                            - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                            - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                            - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                            - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Romney's Religion Speech

                              Crap, premature posting. I am bad about that.

                              I was going to add that abortion is also another example. It can be a secular issue but with the absolute right and wrongs imposed by many religious people no rational thought can be put into how to minimize the occurrence of such an event while also protecting the womans health.
                              Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                              Comment

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