Just in case you hoped it was an oversight, a spokesman for the Romney campaign won’t say whether non-believers have a place in the America he wants to lead. I thought it was pretty clear from the text that the answer is “No.”
But a reader points out an equally nasty feature of the speech that had escaped my attention. Romney’s recitation of the religious traditions he admires includes only monotheist failths. I’m not surprised he left out pagans and wiccans, but excluding Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Native American traditions couldn’t have been accidental, could it? When Romney says:
any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty has a friend and ally in me
he seems to mean that literally: that to be his “friend and ally” you must practice a religion that acknowledges one Almighty God. (Let’s cut him some slack for missing the point that Jews don’t “kneel in prayer”; that phrase could, I suppose, be understood metaphorically.)
Reporters should press Romney on this point: it would be fun to watch him squirm between offending the bigots and offending the Hindus.
[James Joyner has a good roundup of reaction; his take is substantially the same as mine.]
Footnote No, I’m not going to get started on the argument about whether trinitarianism is really a monotheism; let’s accept for the moment that, in some branches of sacred mathematics, 1 = 3.
Second footnote TPM commenter “Sabatia” points out that Romney’s religion was no problem for him politically in liberal, secularist Massachusetts. And “Jeremy,” in the same thread, points out that Romney’s speech is in fact the opposite of Kennedy’s: where JFK defended an absolute wall of separation between church and state, Romney tries to rally one set of believers against everyone else. Feh.
Second update Acccckkkkkk!!!!! Not only do I agree with David Brooks; I agree with David Frum . Well, not the part where he says that Romney has shown himself to be “data-driven,” unless he means “driven by polling data.” But this is just about perfect:
To be blunt, Romney is saying: It is legitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the son of God?” But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?”
Amen, brother! Preach it!