ROMNEY AND "THE SPEECH"
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave a speech today to address the issue of his religion (except that he didn't). While millions try to decide if they could vote for a Mormon, including a number that wonder what Romney really believes, Romney basically ducked the issue and discussed broad themes of religious tolerance and advocated a sort of general Deism to be embraced by the masses, while tending to more specific beliefs in private.
Romney said "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. 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."
This is nonsense. A citizen is entitled to know what a candidate believes before he entrusts the leadership of this entire nation to him. It is not a "religious test", but it is part of the character and personality of the man that must be evaluated. For an extreme example, does Romney mean he would not want to know if a candidate was a Raelian before voting? It would not matter to him that the candidate believed in aliens and thought a space ship had come and hidden in space and you had to kill yourself to join it? If he really thinks that, he is as nutty as the Raelians. I don't believe he thinks that, I think he is afraid to make his beliefs known.
Evangelicals want a conservative, but they want someone who is an Orthodox Christian, if they are smart, because only someone with basically orthodox beliefs can understand them and lead the country in a way that they will believe is moral and effective.
If Romney is to pursuade Evangelicals that they can vote for him, he must satisfy them he is not a member of some weird cult. Many Christians would be disturbed to know a candidate believes God was once a man, that Christ was born of a physical union between a physical father and mother, that you must be a Mormon elder or married to one to get to heaven, that the American Indians were descendants of Israeli tribes (a claim DNA testing has shown to be impossible), that Joseph Smith claimed to have translated a papyrus from "Reformed Egyptian" though translaters have determined it is just a part of the Book of the Dead.
Romney's talk is full of non sequitors and vague but grand sounding claims. I think his supporters will say it was great, his detractors will hate it and the rest will be confused.