Jewish Journal


December 6, 2007

Mitt Romney’s unremarkable JFK moment *


Today was the much anticipated day when former Massachussets Gov. Mitt Romney would explain the role of religion in public life and work to diffuse voter apprehension to his Mormon faith.
Here’s video of the speech and some excerpts, which left me fully underwhelmed.

“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.”

Yeah, it’s sort of his JFK moment, and I agree with what he is saying. But when you get down to the substance, it’s just political rhetoric and vagaries.

* Updated: Jeffrey Weiss at the DMN religion blog says Romney is trying to have it both ways by saying he will be true to his Mormon faith and that as long as he serves all Americans, the specific of his religious beliefs are nobody else’s business.

But as I wrote in January, there are distinctives of Mormon doctrine that could have public policy implications. If he chooses to follow them, it won’t be necessary to have a church authority tell him what to do. And if he doesn’t tell us which of those distinctives he considers essential to his faith, how will we know?

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