I have to say that Rich Lowry's most recent column gives a pretty good assessment out today on Governor Mitt Romney's speech on faith at the George Bush Presidential Library. Here's a look:
Romney appropriately steered his discussion away from Mormonism in particular to our civic religion, or as he called it, our "common creed of moral convictions." This is our fundamental American public faith: that we are a religious people who should acknowledge our debt to our Creator in our public ceremonies and rituals, and more importantly, in our devotion to equal rights under the law and to liberty.
Believing in this civic faith is the real "religious test" in American politics; it's impossible to imagine anyone being elected president who doesn't profess it. Romney argued that demanding anything more of a presidential candidate is basically un-American. In a passage invoking shunned religious dissenters Ann Hutchison, Roger Williams and Brigham Young, he placed Mormonism in the tradition of once-exotic faiths in America that have been absorbed into the mainstream precisely because our civic religion is so broad and open.
Romney had his slips. It's not true that it would violate the Constitution's prohibition on religious tests for office if a presidential candidate talked in detail about his faith and people voted on that basis; people can vote for or against candidates for whatever reason they like. Romney seemed to contradict himself by not wanting to get into doctrine but still going out of his way to say he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
But overall Romney dealt with a complex topic admirably. At bottom, all that Romney asks is something very basic -- that he be judged on his merits as a businessman, father, governor and presidential candidate.
In the conclusion of his speech, Romney talked of the difficulty of settling on a prayer at the First Continental Congress in 1774 because of all the different faiths represented there: "Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot." Amen.
I for one liked the speech and believe that Romney's speech was more in tune with our Founding Fathers and embodies the spirit of this this nation which is freedom. To gather a further understanding of Governor Romney's speech then I suggest you click on the video clip below.