I was annoyed by Romney’s speech on being a Mormon, but I’m angry about the articles about it in the Boston Globe today (their editorial is better). The two articles are here and here. As others have said, it seems Romney is setting up a division between those who believe in a God and those that don’t (so far a spokesman has not responded to say if atheists have a place in America) and I suspected he would (he changes his views to whoever he’s talking to and he was talking to people who are religious). On the other hand, I didn’t think an article in a mainstream newspaper would downplay it this much:
The pledge of fidelity to America’s religious heritage probably alarmed those who believe in a total separation of church and state, but he made clear that he was talking about relatively uncontroversial matters such as putting “under God” on money and allowing multiple religious symbols – such as mangers and menorahs – on public land. There was no mention of flashpoints such as abortion or school prayer.
He also made clear that no church leaders, of his faith or others, should hold sway over a president’s decisions in public office. By making such an assertion, he put to rest the most relevant concern about his faith – that it could bind him in ways that would affect his presidency.
I’m alarmed because he also said things such as ‘Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.’ and ‘Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests.’. If you read the speech, you come to the conclusion that Romney believes that you need to be religious to be a judge or to have freedom or …, but we shouldn’t be alarmed?
The other article isn’t as bad because it did talk to people who were upset that Romney wants to expand the role of religion in government, but it has no mention of atheists except in this quote from the speech: ‘It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong,” he said. You would think that we be a good opening to talk about what nonbelievers think, but no. I guess we don’t exist.
Update: I forgot to put in this graphic from the Boston Globe which makes it obvious why nonbelievers get alarmed by all this religious talk (and why, if Romney really believed in the separation of Church and State, he would have put in at least one line about nonbelievers):