The Campaign Spot

Highlights and Lowlights of Romney’s Speech

Best line of Romney’s Speech: “Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience.”
This is what he needed; a bit of “here I am, take me or leave me. I won’t change; there are worse fates than losing a presidential race.”
Second best line of Romney’s Speech: “Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me.  And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.”
A “symphony” – a great metaphor for religious life in America. Not everybody does the same thing, but every contribution creates something more powerful and compelling than what one could do alone.
Worst line of Romney’s Speech: “Americans do not respect believers of convenience.  Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.”
I think those are the wrong words from a guy accused of flip-flopping and shifting his positions from left to right to run for the nomination of a conservative party.
Second Worst line of Romney’s Speech: “I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God.”
Really? No faith you’ve encountered has made you think, “boy, are they off base!” Scientology? Jehovah’s Witnesses? The Nation of Islam? The folks who think “The Da Vinci Code” is nonfiction? In “Airplane!”, when Robert Stack punches out the Hare Krishna-looking guy offering him a flower for “this flower from the church of religious consciousness”, there’s no intolerant corner of your heart that laughs with glee? You’re a better man than I, Mitt Romney.
A section I will quibble with:

“I’m not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty.  I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe.  They are so inspired … so grand … so empty.  Raised up over generations, long ago, 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.  The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe’s churches.  And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away.”

I think reports of the death of Christianity in Europe are overstated. Having been overseas for the last two Christmas eves, I can attest that Midnight masses in the grand catherdrals of Salzburg and Munich are packed to standing-room only. I know the Christmas-and-Easter Christians are easily mockable for their lack of week-in, week-out devotion, but I figure that if the faith were really so dead over there, people would have better things to do than spend a late night in a not-terribly heated church.

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