Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.
– from Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I view most professions of faith by presidential candidates with extreme jaundice, if not prejudice. And the more they profess, the more skeptical I become.
This is not just an issue I have with religion, however. It also applies to investment products, sports fandom, imitation Rolexes, eBay security notices and basement waterproofing services. If people want to believe in something that I regard as superstitious, fine, as long as they keep it out of my face, my house and my business.
Most people of faith are fine folks, and I take Romney's statement to apply to those of us who try to live good lives, but do other things with our Friday sundowns or Sunday mornings.
I do, however, tire of those whose embrace of their beliefs is actually calculated to "gain the world." Without naming names here, I have my own pantheon of those characters, and they include some politicians as well as television's prosperity gospeleers.
As for Romney's beliefs, I regard Mormonism well past snake handling pentecostalism and just this side of Scientology on the scale of American belief systems. His religion is a relatively new invention, so its market acceptance still has a way to go.
Analyzing Romney's speech, the Washington Post's The Fix seems to think Romney should have explained a bit more about his beliefs to inoculate him against false witness:
The less the average voter knows about the specific tenets of Mormonism, the more susceptible they will be to misleading and false allegations about what Romney believes.
This makes me wonder if author Chris Cillizza knows much about those tenets. For some voters, Joseph Smith's revelations might not seem any more farfetched than the ones other religions embrace. But for those whose belief in the unprovable depends on supposedly infallible words from millennia ago, Romney's beliefs will be considered just as dangerous as mine.