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Hunter Baker of Red State on the Romney Speech

You can find it here.

(Full disclosure: Hunter, who is presently Director of Strategic Planning at Houston Baptist University, was my grad assistant at Baylor for two years [2003-05], and will be graduating with his PhD in religion, politics & society on December 15).

Comments (6)

You can see Romney's speech, along with some interesting comments by Ross Douthat, here. Our own Daniel Larison has, of course, already weighed in here, with more (much more, no doubt) to follow.

Tell me if you think I am wrong here, but sometimes I think conservatives concede far too much to secularists when it comes to religion and government. On one hand conservatives argue that religion is extremely important, but these same conservatives go on the defense and spend their time trying to convince others that religion will have no effect on who they will vote for or how they will govern if elected. We have to convince others that even though I am Catholic, I will not govern as a Catholic and that I will completely ignore Church doctrine while in office. It is almost like saying "you can have your religion, but keep it locked in your safe and bury it in your closet". It is basically impotent religion.

I thought the speech was pretty good overall though.

Kurt - I think it is safe to say that whether or not it is legitimate for a candidate's religion to have any effect on "who they will vote for or how they will govern if elected," depends entirely and precisely on what specific deliverance of their religion is in question. The disconnect you are rightly decrying is one in which one's religion is barred from having any moral influence over policy. G. Washington and J. Adams, to name just two of our Founders, were adamant about the role of religion in the positive shaping of public morality. But in a religiously diverse nation as our own, candidates are always going to have to assure voters that it is in fact moral principles that will be influenced by their religion. Because Mormonism is still a mystery religion to many orthdox Christians, a candidate such as Romney, in my view, had no choice but to at least attempt such a careful delineation. Whether or not he succeeded will become apparent soon enough.

Let's put this in historical perspective.
"G. Washington and J. Adams to name just two of our Founders, were adamant about the role of religion in the positive shaping of public morality." That statement alone tells us something about how religiously diverse our nation has always been. Washington was an Anglican. John Adams was a Unitarian heretic. [His son John Q. Adams was Trinitarian]

More recently many conservative Protestants would have preferred Wm. Howard Taft [a Unitarian heretic] over the alledgedly orthodox Christians; Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson and Reformed Churchman T. Roosevelt.

In 1928, the Quaker heretic Hoover ran for President, much of the supposedly orthodox protestant public supported him over the Christian Al Smith, a Roman Catholic. In 1960 the Roman Catholic Kennedy beat the Quaker heretic Nixon.

Most Conservatives agree that Ezra Taft Benson, a Mormon, was the only Conservative in Ikes cabinet.

I will not support Romney. Not because he is a Mormon heretic but because he is too liberal. Most Evangelicals will make their judgement on those grounds.

Just a clarification, Tom: By "those grounds" do you mean Mormonism or political positions?

I just discovered from a transcript of an interview that Romney thinks experimenting on "extra" IVF embryos, with parental consent, is moral. He wouldn't fund it, though. I guess we shd. be thankful for small blessings. But I hadn't known that before.

The grounds Christians should use to select those who serve in elected office is are they committed to justice.
I remember when Fujimori was first elected President of Peru, the Roman Catholic hierarchy of that land were quiet hostile to him. His opponenet was a athiest and a socialist. They preferred the athiest to the Catholic Fujimori because they thought he would promote justice. At the time I thought they operated on the right premice they just had a faulty idea of what justice is.

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