I just read the speech that Mitt Romney gace at Texas A & M today on religious liberty and tolerance in the USA. If one wants to read the speech in entirety, the New York Times web page has it.The speech strikes me as a balanced statement of what is required of candidates in our country. It also gives a nice glimpse that our founding history and how religion played an important role for many of the founders. There was religious diversity then that the founders were sensitive about in building the nation. There is religious diversity now, and the state is there to represent all of its citizens. Romney's speech understands this and articulates some of the boundaries well, including challenging the idea that religious tolerance means the removal of any and every sign of religion from our public life, what he referred to as the religion of secularism. His objection here is sane. What gives a segment of our population the right to require of others to deny something that they see as a key part of who they are as humans. When we can't say Christmas, Hannakah, Quanza or Ramada in our public speech or holiday celebration (or there is pressure not to do so), something is wrong. We are far better to recognize and get to know the faiths that surround us and that drive many of our citizens. Somehow in the cultural war of today we need to sort out how to have the public square discussion of these issues without eliminating anyone from that conversation by definition. This conversation should take place in the public square, in our schools and universities and in other locales of cultural reflection (for that is when the public square can be of its greatest value, when all can be represented).So let the candidates be assessed for what they will give to this country and their policies for the American public. After all, that is what the President is elected to do, to lead the executive branch of our government.
Romney Speech on USA and Religious Liberty and Tolerance Dec 6