Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 6, 2007

Quote Of The Day: Religious Liberty Edition

by Doug Mataconis

Ron Paul with, so far, the sanest thing I’ve heard anyone say on the subject of religion and politics:

“We live in times of great uncertainty when men of faith must stand up for American values and traditions before they are washed away in a sea of fear and relativism. I have never been one who is particularly comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena, and I find the pandering that typically occurs in the election season to be distasteful.

Our nation was founded to be a place where religion is freely practiced and differences are tolerated and respected. I come to my faith through Jesus Christ and have accepted him as my personal savior. At the same time, I have worked tirelessly to defend and restore individual rights and religious freedom for all Americans.

The recent attacks and insinuations, both direct and subtle, that Gov. Romney may be less fit to serve as president of our United States because of his faith fly in the face of everything America stands for. Gov. Romney should be judged fairly, on his record and his character, not on the church he attends.”

Further thoughts on faith, politics and religious liberty can be found here.

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  • LBest

    I could not agree more.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    Does this statement mean that Ron Paul winds up the big winner on the topic of Romney’s Mormonism speech?

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Mark,

    Big winner in what sense ?

    I haven’t seen any coverage in the media of this press release beyond Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

    Paul is right, but the implication of his statement (which clearly applies both to those of faith and those without any faith) is far more than most Americans are willing to accept, I think.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Doug,

    Probably, but then Paul’s statement is a nice olive branch to offer any of Romney’s supporters who may be looking jump ship if their candidate decides to pull the plug on his campaign because the voting numbers aren’t there. They may not agree with everything Paul said, but they’ll remember the guy who stuck up for their candidate when he was getting unfairly blasted for his religious affiliation.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    I was being somewhat facetious with that, and probably shouldn’t have said anything at all.

    To the extent I had a point, it was mostly that (from what I’ve read) Romney’s speech was largely calculated and cynical, whereas Paul’s statement actually shows decency.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Mark,

    I think your assessment is accurate, as was Paul’s press release. It’s not right to blast Romney for being a Mormon…it’s fine to blast him for being a shameless political opportunist who loves to increase the size and scope of government whenever it suits him politically.

  • http://www.kaligulawired.com Kaligula

    MSNBC’s Hardball did give very brief mention of Paul’s response

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Doug,

    Paul is right, but the implication of his statement (which clearly applies both to those of faith and those without any faith) is far more than most Americans are willing to accept, I think.

    From Paul’s statement itself:

    We live in times of great uncertainty when men of faith must stand up for American values and traditions before they are washed away in a sea of fear and relativism.

    I don’t think Ron Paul was talking about respecting the rights of atheists and agnostics in that quote.

    We know Ron Paul thinks you have the right to believe in something, I can’t read from this statement alone that he believes in the right to believe in nothing at all.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    Guys,

    Let’s be honest here. Most people don’t even think of atheists when they speak. They’re not going to tailor their words to say “we should respect those who believe in something as well as those who don’t”.

    Of course, the fact that they’d probably raise holy hell if an declared atheist ran for President is a different matter, but in that respect it’s the same as if a declared Scientologist or declared Wiccan decided to run for President. All of a sudden, they’d be criticizing the person as a kook and out of the mainstream.

    Let’s take the Romney situation for what it is: a statement that Mormonism isn’t a “weird enough” religion to deny someone your vote over. I’m sure Mitt Romney or Ron Paul wouldn’t vote for a Wiccan, and whether they admitted so or not, it would be due to religion.

  • UCrawford

    Brad,

    I’m not so sure that Paul wouldn’t vote for a “weird” person for office, as long as that person was pretty strictly for a small-government philosophy and in line with the Constitution. I’ve never gotten that Ron Paul is hostile towards atheism or religions other than Christianity…his proposals have all been relatively atheist/agnostic/non-Judeo-Christian friendly (or at least they’re not openly discriminatory as far as I can tell, which is further than most of the political mainstream has ever gone). If Paul’s come out and said that atheists or Wiccans or non-Christians shouldn’t vote for him or that there’s no room for respecting their beliefs in America, I’ve yet to see him put out anything about it.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    UC,

    Good point. My comment was more a “general” idea, rather than about Ron Paul specifically. My guess would be that he’s similar to me, in that he doesn’t give a damn what god you follow, as long as you don’t try to tax him to pay for your worship…

    I think the only “religious” policy for Ron Paul is that he’s pro-life, and you don’t have to believe in god to build a natural-rights basis for being pro-life.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Brad,

    Let’s be honest here. Most people don’t even think of atheists when they speak. They’re not going to tailor their words to say “we should respect those who believe in something as well as those who don’t”.

    Of course and I wasn’t asking Ron Paul to do so either. There just aren’t that many atheists in this country.

    Of course, the fact that they’d probably raise holy hell if an declared atheist ran for President is a different matter, but in that respect it’s the same as if a declared Scientologist or declared Wiccan decided to run for President. All of a sudden, they’d be criticizing the person as a kook and out of the mainstream.

    Hell just look at the holy hell some conservative bloggers and talk show hosts tried to raise over the false rumors that Obama studied in a madrassa and the holy hell conservatives raised over Keith Ellison swearing on a Koran. Also, look at the fights every year when atheists try to remove Christmas and Hannukah displays. Also, conversely, look at the holy hell raised when Muslims demand that Ramadan be respected as well. This country has a long way to go in religious tolerance.

  • http://www.kipesquire.com KipEsquire

    “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers.”
    Ron Paul, 2003

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