Mitt Romney is on “Meet the Press” now. Host Tim Russert spent the first 12 minutes or so asking questions about religion. Russert asked Romney about his “freedom requires religion” statement from his College Station, Texas speech. He asked about statements by Romney supporter Bob Jones III, in Russert’s words, “trash[ing] your religion.” And he asked about the Mormon Church’s ban on blacks in the priesthood until 1978.
“I’m very proud of my faith, and it’s the faith of my fathers,” Romney said when asked about the racial policy. “I love my faith, and I’m not going to distance myself from my faith.” Romney added, “You can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our actions,” mentioning his father’s participation in civil rights demonstrations and his mother’s belief in civil rights. “My dad’s reputation, my mom’s, and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based on race or anything else,” he said.
But it was wrong for the LDS church to have its old no-blacks-in-the-priesthood policy, Russert asked. Romney would not explicitly agree. “I’ve told you exactly where I stand,” he said. “My view is that there is no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I was more than pleased to see the change that occurred.”