Friday, December 07, 2007

Mitt Romney and Atheists

One of the few positive things I've said about Bush is that he consistently includes "people of no faith" when he's speaking about religious diversity in America. I honestly appreciate that.

From his speech on Mormonism the other day, it appears that Mitt Romney would not do the same if he were elected.

Washington Post Editorial:
No Freedom Without Religion?
There's a gap in Mitt Romney's admirable call for tolerance.

Friday, December 7, 2007; Page A38

RELIGIOUS liberty is, as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared yesterday, "fundamental to America's greatness." With religious division inciting violence across the globe, he is right to celebrate America's tradition of religious tolerance. He's right, too, that no one should vote against him, or for him, because he is a Mormon. We only wish his empathy for religious minorities such as his own extended a bit further, to those who do not believe in God.

It is regrettable that 47 years after John F. Kennedy felt the need to promise voters that his Catholic faith would not dictate his conduct as president, Mr. Romney felt compelled to offer similar assurances that "no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions." It's regrettable, too, that the skepticism and even hostility some voters feel toward Mormonism has been played upon by the man who has emerged as his chief rival in Iowa, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who is running commercials that proclaim him to be a "Christian leader." That is why Mr. Romney felt the need to detail his creed: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind." If, as Mr. Romney correctly says, the country's founders took care not to impose a religious test for any public office, a candidate's belief, or not, in the divinity of Christ ought to be irrelevant.

Where Mr. Romney most fell short, though, was in his failure to recognize that America is composed of citizens not only of different faiths but of no faith at all and that the genius of America is to treat them all with equal dignity. "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom," Mr. Romney said. But societies can be both secular and free. The magnificent cathedrals of Europe may be empty, as Mr. Romney said, but the democracies of Europe are thriving.

"Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government," Mr. Romney said. But not all Americans acknowledge that, and those who do not may be no less committed to the liberty that is the American ideal.

And shame on Huckabee, for his "Christian leader" campaign.

Update: Ezra Klein sums it up brilliantly:

In a speech Romney was forced to give because he feared unfair discrimination, Romney did not stand against intolerance. Instead, he simply asked that it not be directed against him, a man of faith. You can be intolerant, but do it to them, over there. They're even more different.

It's like when black activists oppose gay rights -- all the more infuriating because they of all people should know better.


Scott said...

And shame on Huckabee, for his "Christian leader" campaign.

Hear hear.

libhom said...

I think it's great that more atheists are speaking up about anti-atheist bigotry.

Rose said...

He is a Moron...not I didn't mean to type "Mormon"... lol

He's taken back by having to defend his religion, but it's all right to criticize anything outside the Abrahamic monotheistic religions? That's unfair and retarded.

"It's like when black activists oppose gay rights -- all the more infuriating because they of all people should know better."

I hear that!!

One of the reasons my logic says all blacks, gays, and women should be atheists from the start. But logic doesn't always win. :(

CyberKitten said...

"Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom"....

"Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government"....

Totally, totally, totally £$%&* amazing. There is a man who knows nothing of history nor political philosophy. The US political process continues to scare the living **** out of me!

JDHURF said...

I really don't like Romney.

littlefoxling said...

romney's problem is that he doesn't want to get dinged for being a mormon but he also wants to look christian so he can get the fundie vote. So, he ends up accepting the fundie intolerant position but then pretends that he's on their side. He ends up just looking stupid. He has the same problem with all the other issues where he tries to outdo the rest of the conservatives and even critisizes them for not being conservative enough when his record is the liberalist of them all (accept maybe rudy). He ends up looking like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

While Romney is pleading for "religious tolerance," he showed his own misunderstanding of the public role of religion, which is at the very heart of why he is being attacked for his religious views. If you bring religion into the public square, other people have a right to criticize it. If you don't want criticism, keep your religion to yourself. Is that the "religion of secularism?" No, that's called minding your own business. Americans used to have the courtesty to do that.

jewish philosopher said...

How do you distinguish between "intolerant" and "having high standards".

Environmentalists may be intolerant of oil companies. Animal rights activists may be intolerant of meat processors. Orthodox Jews may be intolerant of atheists. Almost everyone is intolerant of Nazis and pedophiles, unless they are one.