About a week ago, I expressed my concerns regarding Romney opening up the religion issue. As I have said repeatedly, he is not opening up the religious belief question, he is simply placing Mormonism in its rightful place as a religion that participates properly in the great American civil religion. But in so doing he is opening the door to people trying to pull the conversation into the old canards – “cult” from the right and “weird” from the left.
The right does not even seem to be trying very hard to shift the conversation (Thanks I am sure to Obama’s hideous years of pretending to govern) and the left’s attempts seem to be in vain, whether they are gentle and somewhat reasonable (such a piece would be downright good if it had a single source from the right) or just bizarre. Even the New York Times is starting to sound like this “rolling out” is not such a bad thing.
The meme of humility is working quite well, I think. I loved Tagg Romney’s interview from the other day:
Tagg Romney on Tuesday sought to explain why his father rarely discusses his Mormon faith in public, saying that a fundamental principle of the Church of the Latter-day Saints is to not “brag” about one’s good deeds.
“One of the tenets of our faith and of many faiths is that you do good works. [But] you don’t want to brag about things,” Mitt Romney’s oldest son told Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen on the “Newsmaker” set of the POLITICO Hub. “He’s done his best, he’s led his life that way. He’s willing to talk about the fact that he was in that role but he doesn’t want to talk about the people he helped.”
Tagg is right – it is not something one should brag about, and I think most Americans know it and most Americans are really tired of hearing the current president yammer on about what he has done, or at least thinks he has done. When this meme was started with regards to Romney’s tax returns, I said:
And so he is betting that the religious sensibilities of the nation are stronger than its economic jealousies. Five to ten years ago that would have been an utterly safe bet. Now it is a test of just how far the nation has shifted.
I applaud Gov. Romney for his confidence in the American people.
This convention is convincing me that the nation has not shifted as far as I feared, and Romney is actually restoring my faith in the American people. Ronald Reagan was the last guy to get that job done. We are watching Romney step into some pretty big shoes here and they seem to fit quite well.
Paul Ryan got it absolutely correct last night. One passage of his speech in particular rang loud in the halls of this blog because it perfectly captured why we started it, and for the first time in a long time, I am starting to think America still understands it – it was Ryan’s biggest applause:
Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.
Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.
We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.
Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.