It appears that former Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney is finally going to address the Mormon issue in a speech on Thursday at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library. It is about time!
A lot of people, led by Hugh Hewitt http://hughhewitt.com, have said that Mr. Romney should not even bother. But, unless Mr. Romney addresses the issue head on and builds a case for religious liberty and no religious test for any candidate for any office, Mr. Romney continues to be dogged about his faith and what it means to all of the United States.
There is some speculation that the reason Mr. Romney chose now is the fact that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is gaining and even may have the lead in Iowa if the latest Des Moines Register poll is to be believed http://dmregister.com.
Actually, there may be truth to that and one way that Mr. Romney can address the issue of religious liberty is to take on Mr. Huckabee by name because in one of his broadcast commercials he touts that he is a CHRISTIAN candidate for president. So, if I understand Mr. Huckabee, does that mean that Jewish, Islamic, Roman Catholics (who some Southern Baptists do not consider Christian), Buddhists, and any other religion should NOT vote for Mr. Huckabee?
This is where Mr. Romney can put a stake into the heart of the Huckabee surge, if there is one. He needs to tell all voters, but especially conservative, Christian, Republican voters that it is un-American to vote for or against a candidate for any office based solely on the religion of the candidate. Period.
It is disturbing that Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist preacher, would tout being a Christian as some kind of qualification to be considered for the highest office in the land. It is touting a kind of exclusivity that the Republican party has had to spend decades fending off. In the old days, it was the blue-blood, mainstream Protestants such as the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Oh, and for the record the United States has had four non-Protestants elected to the presidency. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, William Howard Taft were all Unitarians, non-Christians. John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic.
Now, the Republican party is doing the religion test. And Mike Huckabee is disgustingly leading the way.
But, Mitt Romney has a great chance to get the monkey off his back and let 'er rip on Mr. Huckabee or anyone else who uses religion in such a negative way. And, Mr. Romney can address the fears and or concerns of those with the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons.
It is a seminal moment for Mr. Romney and he should carry it out well and get the momentum back in his campaign.