Divine Rites

Well, he's finally going to do it. Mitt Romney has finally decided he has no choice. He's planning on Thursday to make his "I'm Mormon but Not a Nut Case" speech.

I must say that I sympathize with him. I mean, why should he have to justify his religious beliefs while the others don't?

After all, the candidates, particularly the Republicans, like to wear theirs on their sleeves. If we're going to question how Romney's faith would "inform" his presidency, shouldn't we know how Huckabee's Baptist fundamentalism would, or Giuliani's adherence to his Catholicism, or lack thereof?

What about the spirit of the First Amendment, which is supposed to allow us to be free of someone else's religion? What do we do about all the pandering to a so-called "base" as the wannabes compete to be more harsh than the others against people who don't share their visions?

I would have been truly impressed if someone had responded to that YouTube fanatic who asked whether candidates took every word in the Bible as literal truth by saying, "That is an incredibly stupid question, and has nothing whatsoever to do with my qualifications to be president."

As for that "What would Jesus do?" question, I enjoyed Mike Huckabee's response: that Jesus probably wouldn't run for office. But I'm wondering whether, after viewing all the candidates, Jesus would even vote.

By the way, I'm including the Democrats. In fact, we can give the GOPers credit for shamelessly shouting about their hellfire-and-brimstone politics. The Dems kind of mumble about their religion. Every once in a while, one of them declares his or her deep and abiding faith or shows up in church somewhere. (Personal note: One of most enjoyable campaign events for me to cover has always been the visit to a black church. The music is great!)

The point here is the United States government is not here to win over non-believers; at least, it shouldn't be. In fact, the candidates should probably work hard at converting all those who have stopped believing in our political system. They can begin by doing away with all their pandering.