Over the last year, we have embarked on a national debate on how best to preserve American leadership. Today, I wish to address a topic which I believe is fundamental to America's greatness: our religious liberty. I will also offer perspectives on how my own faith would inform my presidency, if I were elected.
— Mitt Romney's "Faith in America"
1. belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof
2. a system of religious belief, or the group of people who adhere to it
3. belief in and devotion to God
Today, I want to offer perspectives on how my own lack of Faith would inform my presidency:
Like you, I am a voter who wants my leaders to be ethical, compassionate, optimistic, intelligent, experienced, fair, rational, even-tempered, open to being challenged, self-disciplined and curious about the world. It would also be fine if they rode a bike, played touch football on the beach, blew a mean sax, told funny stories, spoke with a drawl, came from humble roots, looked sharp in a flight suit and knew how to sweet talk old ladies.
But none of these are bonafide occupational qualifications for the job — and by that, I'm referring to both lists.
No, the only way a candidate — man, woman or beast — can come before you with any hope of being elected is to profess their Faith.
I confess, I share a fair amount with people of faith. Some of my best friends — some, I said — may or may not be people of faith. At least, they conduct their lives as if they were — except for sending money to media ministers, telling other people what to do at least once a week and constantly pestering me to join a book club that only discusses one best-seller ghostwritten thousands of years ago.
But my lack of Faith as a candidate is not about them. It's about me and whether I can do the job as your president. If we go back to my lists, I'd score pretty well on most things, although I was brass and strings instead of reeds, and I am too short to look good in any one-piece outfits. Also, my drawl comes and goes and I am told my funny stories are too eccentric, sarcastic and profane for general audiences.
I also try to speak plainly when the occasion calls for it, so let me say this: I do not take the Bible, the Koran or the Torah as my guide, but I try to conduct my life consistently with the core moral teachings of the world's great religions. Doesn't always work out that way, but as a fallible human being, I do my best.
One of those great precepts, in the words of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, is: Don't laaah.
So here it is. I don't believe in any God you might recognize. I don't think there is life after death. And I believe all my earthly transactions should be good and proper for their own sake — not to earn miles for an upgraded seat on some flight to the hereafter.
I believe that taking this responsibility — uncommanded and without any fear of punishment or expectation of future rewards — is a moral position, even a courageous one, in the face of the unknown.
I do believe Americans need faith. Faith that our friends and family will return our love. Faith that our government will do right by us. Faith that when we give our full effort we can advance closer to our dreams. Faith that our leaders will work tirelessly toward making life on this earth better for more people. And faith that those entrusted with public money and power will resist temptation.
Fortunately in a free and democratic republic, we can periodically test these matters of faith, get some information and do something about them if our faith was misplaced.
Beyond that, I will not go to church simply so I can be your president. I will not bow down to Ezekiel, Mohammed and the rest of the prophets. I will not dissemble — at least, not more than national security requires. I will defend your right to have a faith different than mine.
Even without the other Faith, I think it would've worked out okay.