Today at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, Mitt Romney spoke on Faith in America. The text of the speech is here.

This speech was necessitated by questions about electing a Mormon as President. Sort of like John F. Kennedy and his Catholicism. That’s probably why Mitt Romney had this to say toward the beginning of the speech:

Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president. Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.

Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin. As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution — and of course, I would not do so as President. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.

This is something that is also taught in the Book of Mormon, that the state power and the religious power have their place and should not intrude on each other. See Alma 1:17, Mosiah 26:8-12, and Alma Chapter 4.

In Alma, there is a short period where Alma the Younger is both the Chief Judge and High Priest of the Church, but he treated the offices differently and acted differently in his roles. In Alma Chapter 4, he gave up the Chief Judge position to go and preach to the people to encourage riteousness.

Mitt Romney spoke of his religion and testified of the Savior. He spoke of the dangers of secularism and how we need to get back to allowing free religious expression.

Mitt Romney strikes a correct balance between church and state relations. They should not intrude on each other and people should be allowed to freely live their religion. He spoke in terms of expressing Faith in a Creator rather than “all religions are created equal”. He definitely has a bias in favor of religions that worship God vs. those that worship twigs or the devil.

He pointed out that it is a freedom of religion, not a freedom from religion.

Mitt Romney is on the right track regarding religious freedom. Hopefully he will get on track with other issues too.

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