In the past couple of weeks, both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have telegraphed an interesting tell — one that (I hope) bodes well for secular sanity in America. When questioned about the specifics of their absurd religious beliefs — Huckabee is a creationistand Romney a Mormon — both refused to discuss details, instead preferring vague professions of faith and solidarity with other believers. The political calculation behind this suggests that both Huckabee and Romney have realized that, to the average American that does not share their particular beliefs, they will sound batshit crazy if Huckleberry starts talking about Earth being 6,000 years old and Romney spinning out the details of Joseph Smith and his amazing golden plates.
This merely interesting conjecture becomes positively galling when one sees Mike’s and Mitt’s defensiveness about being questioned on their beliefs. At one of the CNN debates, Huckabee characterized as an “unfair question”an inquiry as to whether he believed the creation story in Genesis (with the questioner noting that, at a previous debate, Huckabee indicated he does not accept the theory of evolution). That didn’t stop the Huckster from repeating (6 times by my count), that he does believe God created the universe. When Wolf Blitzer followed up to ask whether Huckabee believes in a literal 6 day creation story that happened 6,000 years ago, Rev. Mike fell back on “I don’t know” as a response.
Romney’s nauseating speech on religion yesterday followed a similar playbook. Argue that people shouldn’t be questioning the specifics of your faith:
There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.
Then trumpet your non-specific Christian beliefs as a benefit over non-believers:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.*
Through all his posturing about tolerance between believers and his belief in religious liberty, Romney did not once note a word of support for those with no religion.
Here’s the bottom line, Christian candidates. If you’re going to tout your faith as one of your qualifications to be President, you’d better be ready to answer specific questions about that faith. Don’t cry foul, don’t piss and moan that we’re picking on you, and you’d damn well better not claim to be a victim of bigotry. If your God isn’t tough enough to take the heat, maybe he’d better stay out of politics.
* This statement is so idiotic I don’t even know what to say about it. You’re a moron, Romney.
[UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens takes Romney apart at the seams here.]
[UPDATE: Team Romney doesn’t have anything inclusive to say to atheists even when directly asked.]