Romney's SpeechDecember 06, 2007
Mitt Romney gave his anticipated speech on religion and politics today. He barely mentioned anything about Mormonism, but did profess his faith in Jesus. He also took a very different approach from that of John F. Kennedy's famous speech nearly fifty years ago (which has led some commentators to declare that Romney "is no Jack Kennedy"). Kennedy spoke to his protestant critics and took questions, while Romney spoke to his invited guests and did not take questions. Additionally, while Kennedy stressed the importance of separation of church and state, Romney only gave it lip service and dismissed some attempts to preserve true religious liberty.
It will be interesting to see if the speech will stop his dropping poll numbers. However, I wonder if it was a good idea since Richard Land, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, urged Romney to give the speech. Land, however, has not had too great of a record on political pronouncements this year. He claimed that Fred Thompson was a great speaker (he is not) and regularly attends church (he does not). Land also claimed that Mike Huckabee was not able to win, which is not true and is why Romney decided to give the speech now instead of later. And yet, Land was there in the audience at today's speech after being invited by Romney.
For some interesting opinions on Romney's speech, check out these pieces: former JFK aide Theodore Sorensen, Baptist Joint Committee leader Brent Walker, author Randall Balmer, and Americans United leader Barry W. Lynn.