Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mitt Romney: Freedom and Religion are Inextricably Linked

Recently, Mitt Romney gave another speech on faith and government at the Metropolitan Club in NYC, where he was accepting the Becket Fund's Canterbury Medal for defending religious freedom. He took this chance to answer some critics of his earlier speech who condemned him for ignoring the contributions of the a-religious - specifically atheists.

...Would America and the freedom she inaugurated here and across the world survive--over centuries--if we were to abandon our faith in God?

I don’t believe so...

Nor can we overlook that people of faith have a unique appreciation for freedom. Because the practice of religion requires freedom, liberty is especially precious to people of faith. They are willing to sacrifice much to protect it.

“We and God have business with each other,” even the father of pragmatism William James once observed. “In opening ourselves to his influence, our deepest destiny is fulfilled.” When a people’s “deepest destiny” can only be realized in a land of liberty, you can expect that that land and its liberty will be preserved at any cost. As indeed it has!
It is an interesting argument and one that I suspect the Founders would have had no problem with - even those who were deists who believed in only a clockmaker God who wound up the universe and never much interacted with it again. But it still leaves open the question whether reason - unrestrained by a particular religious creed or belief in God - can sustain a government dedicated to Freedom. No such government has been founded and endured, although some would argue the secular European states are evidence that it could work. But, of course, the primary anti-religious governmental structure of the last 100 years - Communism - was certainly also anti-freedom in its practice by each and every example of its government.

What do Mod-Bloggers think? How linked are religious practice - belief in God, anyway - and freedom and liberty as in the American sense?

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