I was asked by one Mormon blog to contribute a few paragraphs of the speech I would write for Mitt Romney. This is what I (too quickly) came up with:
Many have criticized me for holding my religious beliefs to be private, while some have accused me of making my faith too explicit a part of my candidacy. Both criticisms arise from a misunderstanding of the role faith plays in America. Religious conviction was at the core of America’s founding and drove the progress of this nation from slave-holding and divided to free and united, and then from separate to equal. At no point in our history did any great decision turn on one person’s received theology. Rather, the unique religion of Jefferson, the fervent faith of Lincoln, and the fiery passion of Reverend King formed the course of American events in unison, on their common foundation of belief in God and in His gift of liberty. If those men gathered in a room today, would we ask them to discuss their different interpretations of the Bible? If we did, they would not take the bait. Their contribution lies in their ability to find God in humanity. We would dishonor their legacy by demanding doctrine more detailed than this.
My own doctrine provides more detail of course, as do the teachings of many different faiths in this country. The question is whether the doctrinal details matter when it comes to solving America’s problems. I have considered my religious beliefs deeply, and have always concluded that they have made me better than I might have been without them. Some have focused on marginal or sensational details of my religion, as if my belief in the origin of scripture is more important than my relationship with its author. The beliefs I hold most sacred and most formative are those that teach how I can improve, how I can strengthen my family, and how I can help others in the world. If this rings of Christianity, it’s because I believe the Christian message of love for God and neighbor to be the heart of my religion.
And yet, large differences remain between my faith and that of many others. But large differences existed at the time of the founding, and always have. The differences never defined the best Americans. We are one nation under God. We have always asked our leaders, regardless of their specific doctrines, to embrace that idea, combined with a love for this country, its institutions and laws. I share that belief in God, and that admiration for this nation. I would lead this country without regard to my own specific beliefs, or those of others of my church, but in reverence for the American ideals of freedom and faith.
This was posted as one of several thoughtful contributions from other sharp writers. You can read all of the suggestd speech-lets here.