God, Man and the White House
Rick Esenberg takes another look at the Romney speech and finds it comparatively better than the Kennedy model:
Kennedy went to great lengths to essentially say that his faith was a private thing, unlikely to affect anything that he did in public life. I am unconvinced that was or could be true, but it may have been in keeping with a time that had not yet learned what the “absolute separation” of religion and public life would mean.
Romney did not make the same claim. Faith, he said, is important. But what is important, in politics, is the way in which faith informs public life, i.e., how it impacts temporal policies. He acknowledges that it does. But Romney says that his Mormonism, in that regard, is within the best tradition of the Abrahamic faiths. It says things about the value of all human beings and the value of freedom that are ultimately consistent with what most of us believe.
What I find odd about the reaction to this is the extent to which some people, who could care less about contentions regarding a God in which they do not believe, want to say that Mormon views about the nature of the reality we cannot see (and which they think is not there) differs from those of mainstream Christianity. So we see atheist bloggers on the HuffPo getting into debates about the nature of Christ that we have not seen since Nicea. Don’t you see, they claim, he is theologically unsound
You know what? I think he is. You know that else? It doesn’t matter. People can believe all sorts of things about the nature of God, but if the distillation of that into how we live today is consistent, then we can, despite our theological differences, make common cause.
I think Rick hits it right on the head. There’s not and should not be a religious test for office, but we can look at what a candidate believes and draw conclusions.
“People can believe all sorts of things about the nature of God, but if the distillation of that into how we live today is consistent, then we can, despite our theological differences, make common cause.”