It's been announced that Mitt Romney will give a speech this week on "religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor's own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected."
I think Governor Romney needs to be very careful in this speech; if he suggests those who believe it is valid to consider a candidate's religious faith are bigots, he risks alienating a fairly large bloc of voters.
As I wrote here last February, I'm inclined to think that considering what a candidate's faith says about his wisdom or loyalty to our country, as one factor among others, is valid. Would those who insist any consideration of a candidate's Mormonism is bigotry hold to the same principle if we were considering a Muslim candidate?
I would add that I certainly wouldn't vote for a candidate simply because he's a Christian, either. I could name any number of politicians who claim to be Christians but with whom I have strong political disagreement. And I'm completely turned off by someone like Mike Huckabee, who offensively and disrespectfully claims to "drink a different kind of Jesus juice" than those who disagree with him on illegal immigration.
Religion is simply another factor to take into consideration when evaluating a candidate, along with their political beliefs, their track records, their moral values, how they conduct their personal lives, and so on.
Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO's The Corner: "...the case that voters shouldn't hold his Mormonism against him is not the same as the case for religious liberty, and it would be a big mistake for him to suggest that people who hold reservations about electing a Mormon president are hostile to religious liberty."
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