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Sunday, April 29, 2012

No Religious Test Required

You know how there are all sorts of people in the press calling for Romney to answer more questions about his religion, or how his faith will shape his presidency? Guess what? He already answered those questions, back in his first presidential run. The media must have conveniently forgotten about that. I think he's smart to let it alone this time around, because there truly is no religious test for the President of the United States, guaranteed by the Constitution. He has more important matters to focus on than continually defending his religion.

For example, here is an excerpt from the Meet the Press transcript of Dec. 16, 2007, picking up after Romney's answer about religious freedom and leading into black members of the LDS Church.
MR. RUSSERT:  You, you raise the issue of color of skin.  In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs.  Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools.  In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully.  Here was the headlines in the papers in June of '78. "Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias.  Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites." You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation.  Didn't you think, "What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?"
GOV. ROMNEY:  I'm very proud of my faith, and it's the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith--well, it's true and I love my faith.  And I'm not going to distance myself in any way from my faith.  But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives.  My dad marched with Martin Luther King.  My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights.  You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights.  So my dad's reputation, my mom's and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else.  And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.
I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made.  I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept.  Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God.  My faith has always told me that.  My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.
MR. RUSSERT:  But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.
GOV. ROMNEY:  I've told you exactly where I stand.  My view is that there--there's, there's no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.
This attitude was typical of Church members, by the way.

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