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God-O-Meter

Romney6.jpgMitt Romney’s “Mormon speech” this Thursday will be delivered in College Station, Texas, less than 100 miles from the site of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 “Catholic speech” to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. But that may be where the parallels end, according to The New York Times Caucus blog:

Dampening our expectations (and perhaps trying to lessen the hype), Republican candidate Mitt Romney today dismissed the notion that he would offer up later this week a speech on religion akin to that given by John F. Kennedy on Sept. 12, 1960.
Saying he was not running for “pastor-in-chief,” he told an audience in New Hampshire today that they could learn more about Mormonism from books. Of J.F.K.’s landmark speech on his Catholicism and how he would not allow religion to rule his decision-making in office, Mr. Romney replied in response to a voter’s question: “I really think J.F.K. did give the definitive speech. I think he said what needed to be said. I don’t think anything needs to be added.”

Is God-o-Meter the only one who’s confused? On the one hand, Romney is distancing himself from JFK’s speech, which, if did anything, reinforced the wall between church and state. Kennedy’s most enduring line from the address was that he didn’t speak for the Catholic church on public matters and vice versa. It makes sense for Romney to avoid such talk; he’s not going to win conservative Christian support by promoting a high wall between church and state and saying he separates his faith life from his public one.
On the other hand, however, Romney gives the JFK speech major props, calling it “definitive.” Does this come across as slightly schizophrenic to anyone else? Or is it God-o-Meter who’s gone batty?


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