In my opinion there is a far greater religious issue in this race than who belongs to what religion. That issue is, who will protect our religious freedoms and who will damage them. It’s clear to me from Romney’s speech today that he will protect our religious freedoms, and today he defined a clear and mutually beneficial relationship between the faiths of America and its government.
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”
"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.”
In contrast today when Mike Huckabee refused to even concede that he could possibly ever vote for a Mormon on Glen Beck’s program (a Mormon), it became clear to me that he is using religion as a wedge in his campaign for Presidency. Huckabee’s also refused to acknowledge The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a Christian Religion. He’s run ads proclaiming himself as a “Christian Leader”. He’s insinuated that his rise in the polls is God’s will by saying, “There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people.”
Because I share John F. Kennedy’s view on Article VI of the Constitution, it is clear to me that Huckabee has no respect for this provision of our Constitution.
“I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendment's guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so--and neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test--even by indirection--for it. If they disagree with that safeguard they should be out openly working to repeal it.”
While I’m sure there are those who share Huckabee’s religious views and won’t fault him for using Religion as a wedge issue, you have to first understand the effect this will have on our country.
As John Schroeder at Article VI blog puts it, “Romney and this issue is a hammer that will be used to beat on the Christian Right by the left over and over and over again. With this speech, with its masterful authorship and its presidential delivery, has drawn a line in the sand for the religious right. It has said, if you do not vote for me on the basis of my faith, you are the one that risks sounding like a fanatic. You are the one that runs the risk of being considered on the fringe.”
If we as Republicans allow Religion to become a wedge issue, we’ve defined ourselves, for this generation, as the Party of intolerance.