Friday, 7 December 2007

Mitt Romney: give religion a greater role in US public life

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday suggested he would give evangelical Christians a greater role in US public life if elected president, the Guardian reports.

In a speech aimed at winning over Christians suspicious of his Mormon beliefs, Romney attacked secular Americans who fight to defend the constitutional separation of church and state: "In recent years the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. . . [secularists] seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgement of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

Romney went on to advocate placing greater emphasis on religion in history lessons, and expressed support for the display of nativity scenes in public places. He also took time criticise low church attendance in Europe, lamenting the fact that "so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer".

Romney has been leading the Republican polls for the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary – which both take place in early January – but has recently been losing ground to Mike Huckabee, who has marketed himself as a "Christian leader" to contrast with the Mormon Romney. As a result Romney has emphasised the fact that he believes in Jesus.

Just to dispel concerns that either of these men might end up becoming US president, it's worth remembering that national polls show Rudy Giuliani and John McCain to be the frontrunners for the Republican nomination.


robaker said...

Our own government had a similar debate the other day.

The BHA gets a mention near the end.