Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Faith in Politics

In his column today, E.J. Dionne writes:

Let's say it unequivocally: Mitt Romney's Mormon faith should not be an issue in this presidential campaign. Period.
Wrong. Period.

What is true is that the fact that Mitt Romney is Mormon should not be an issue, but his faith must be. With pride, Romney says things like
"What is it about America's culture and values that makes us such a successful nation and society? Part of that is we love liberty, we love our country, we're patriotic," Romney said. "I believe it's also because we are a people who love God and look for a purpose greater than ourselves in life."
Well, what purpose is Romney looking for? Is it to be found in his Mormonism? It is a relevant question to ask.

The latest rage in the Republican Party is Mike Huckabee. As I noted early in the life of this blog, Huckabee said at an early debate
But what I'm saying is, when a president is elected president, he's elected president to make decisions that are going to be basically balanced between two immovable things that ought to govern every decision he makes. One is the Constitution, that he's sworn to uphold. And the other is his own conscience and
If that is so, we must examine his conscience to know what kind of President he would be.

Dionne only wants Romney (and I presume he would ask the same of Huckabee)
to explain how he can fairly ask that we not hold his faith against him, even as he insists that religious people should vote for him because of the values his faith has taught him. Mormonism should not be an issue. Consistency is another matter.
But it is clear that Romney believes that his faith is important to his decisionmaking. Therefore, I think we have every right to expect him (and every other candidate who claims a belief in God informs his or her judgment) to explain how his faith influences him.

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