Governor, You're No Jack Kennedy
DonByrd printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 12:18:00 PM EST
This morning, Mitt Romney attempted his version of then-candidate John F. Kennedy's famous speech to a group of Baptist ministers in Houston. As difficult as it is to imagine now, Southern Baptists did at one time believe in the separation of church and state (many good Baptists still do). So it was sensible in 1960 to deliver a reassuring speech to that crowd that included this:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute- where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote- where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference-and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
Needless to say, Governor Romney's speech was a bit different...quotes and thoughts below the fold.
He started off well enough...
Link
"Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for President, not a Catholic running for President. 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.

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

But the allure of the straw man was just too great....

"We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

"The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God' and in God, we do indeed trust.

"We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders - in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'

We are a nation full of religious individuals and communities, but not a religious nation. Church-state separation is necessary to preserve religious freedom - both the freedom to believe and the equally important freedom not to believe. It is not an effort to remove God or religion, nor to "separate us from God." It is simply the requirement that agents of government refrain - in their official capacity - from promoting or preferring, criticizing or harassing religious believers and non-believers. When the official institutions of the state are free of the enactment of religion, then and only then can the business of religious liberty really begin.

The kind of fear-mongering we see from candidates today - contorting the institutional separation of church and state into a supposedly serious threat to the place of God in our lives - preys on many Americans' most solemnly held beliefs. It is the height of cynicism and exploitation.




Display:
Mr. Romney attempts again to connect with the religious extremists of his political party to the exclusion of the majority of Americans.

by Lantern Jack on Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 12:24:32 PM EST
have said it better myself.
   Listening to the speech this morning, I heard an awful lot of dog-whistle language, to the effect that if one is not a theist of one stripe or another, one just cannot be a good American. Pretty scary.

by nogodsnomasters on Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 09:49:32 PM EST
Parent


A good beginning for this week's sermon from Isaiah 11.
Well, worded.

by Don Niederfrank on Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 04:33:12 PM EST

With Kennedy and catholicism there was a tremendous history that wound from the first/second century in which the 'Christian' world was Catholic. Even following the Reformation, Catholicism wandered around the world doing great things in the 'New World', complying with the status quo most everywhere, earning Vatican City status as its own little nation. There's a helluva of a big difference betwixt Mitt's religious preference and John Kennedy's. Kennedy's had more of an involved history responsible for shaping all kinds of stuff. I'm too tired to list 'em. There's something I want to throw out. Mitt says: "What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history." Would you say that most Christian denominations (protestant) have a similar view of Jesus Christ? That 'my church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same....' irks me a bit.

by ecoflame on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:42:32 AM EST
if you were from an LDS-dominant community. I wouldn't downplay the ability of the LDS to muster its adherents in political issues of interest, and the LDS certainly has the money to have much influence in politics. Certainly in the anti-ERA, anti-abortion, and anti-gay-rights field, LDS has played an important but little noticed role in getting out the vote.

by NancyP on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 02:50:31 PM EST
Parent
to what I wrote. I grew up in an LDS-dominated farming community. I don't know as much about LDS (Mormon) 'theology' as I do about the evangelical or fundamentalist types, both of which is considerably less than what I know about Catholicism theology, history, and practices. The LDS church is not the Catholic church. It does not have the history the Catholic church has nor the outright power. Many folks probably don't even know who is head of the Mormon church here in the U.S. There's no correlation between Romney's comparison of himself to John F. Kennedy. It's a ruse. Like bringing in the name of certain people into his speech: Thomas Jefferson and Anne Hutchinson (!).

by ecoflame on Sun Dec 09, 2007 at 02:18:57 AM EST
Parent




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