By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – At campaign events these days, Mitt Romney often says that if he is elected president, he will emphasize the role of God in American society and will not “take God out of the public square.”
That kind of rhetoric is a departure from earlier less God-focused versions of the Republican candidate’s stump speech and his early apprehension with discussing his Mormon faith.
According to Mark DeMoss, Romney’s adviser to the evangelical community, such lines are designed to create a contrast with a Democratic Party that had to fight to get God into its platform at its recent convention.
“I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” Romney has been saying in his stump speech since the Democratic platform fight this month.
The former Massachusetts governor used the line at a campaign stop in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday. In nearly the same breath, he said that “we are nation under God.”
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DeMoss says the new rhetoric is not a departure from anything but is “as much as a response to something that really shocked a lot of people.”
“I think the governor is probably doing two things,” said DeMoss, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign: “reinforcing his own commitment to God and, secondly, showing some contrast.”
Some religious leaders and scholars see Romney's new God talk in a somewhat different light.
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and media commentator, said Romney’s line that “I will not take God out of my heart” is a coded way to question to veracity of the President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.
“Critiquing the president for taking God out of the public square when he regularly refers to God and implicitly critiquing him for taking God out of his heart, any way you look at it, is offensive,” Martin said.
In his critique of Romney’s religious rhetoric, Martin cited Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
DeMoss, a Christian PR executive, said questions about the president’s faith should not be read into the speech.
“I take that comment as a reinforced pledge and commitment that God is not going to be stripped from anything if he has anything to say about it, whether it is his heart or the public square or the party platform,” DeMoss said. “I think it would be unreasonable or unfair to suggest that that was a comment on the president.”
Last week, at an event in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Romney pledged to keep God on U.S. currency.
“Our pledge says ‘under God,’” Romney told thousands of energetic supporters at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach. “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart.”
On Tuesday, the anniversary of terrorist attacks of September 11, Romney tweeted, "On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest and freedom at home and across the world."
The increased God rhetoric adds to a campaign that has frequently discussed religious issues, even as Romney says the economy is the most important issue.
From debates over religious liberty – sparked by the Obama administration's "contraception mandate" for health care plans – to abortion rights, the Romney campaign has taken stands on a number of religious issues, attempting to draw a distinction with Obama.
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Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown University professor with an expertise in religion and politics, says he sees the change as a response to a president who is doing better in recent polls.
“When (Republicans) get nervous about a loss, they go into base-whip-up stage,” Berlinerblau said. “They try to energize the base even more.”
He argues that such rhetoric will not appeal to “moderate religious voters” and that it is pushing Romney off his economic message.
“They are totally getting off-script,” Berlinerblau said. “We hear that this election is all about the economy, but now we are talking about religion and faith issues.”
DeMoss says it's possible to emphasize both religious and economic issues.
“I am comfortable with the balance that he has struck about talking about his faith and other people's faith, and I was comfortable with the balance at the Republican convention,” DeMoss said. “It is part of the equation, but it is certainly not the dominant part.”
– CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.
I refuse to go against my beliefs and support a lunatic like this man! Mormonism is NOT a Christian religion, it is an abomination! These people are all possessed by demons!
I for one believe Mr. Obama is a Christian! ..if he was a Muslim he would definitely Not be drinking beer At All!!
Don't be fooled fellow Christians! Mormons Are Not Christians! They Do Satan's Work To Lead People Away From Christ!
Agreed! Please vote for the least delusional candidate – Obama!
Isn't it sad that American politics has devolved to the point that we are trying to decide which candidate is least insane out of the two?
0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls
I will vote for Obama because I think he's a good and decent Christian man who wants to do as Jesus would and help the weak and the poor. Mr. Romney only wants power. He is consumed with every sort of greed!
Wow. You are one of the most brain-washed people in the country probably. How long have you had your imaginary friend?
The insanity of Mormonism.
Thank you for posting this! All true christians Have To Know this information!
Mormonism is Not a Christian religion folks!! It is Satan's work!! Please Do Not Vote For Satan!!
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then, frothing at the mouth about religion is the last refuge of a loser. Romney has flop-sweat all over him. Put a fork i n 'em...he's done.
Romney just tell them about your magic underwear, and how your are invincible wearing it.
In all fairness, they don't think their "garment" is any more magical than Christians think that about their crosses, St. Christopher medals and rosaries.
(an easy target for teasing, I know, but it is getting old)
Here it comes.
Romney trying to make the Conservatives forget he's a Mormon again...
When is N.A.S.A. going to locate planet Kolob??
When is Mittens gonna let everyone in on the joke??
Mitt is just another puppet for Senior and Cheney, as were Junior and actor Regan.
Little wonder Romney is pushing for a war, using Lybia as an excuse... he got millions in illegal campaign contributions from Israel during his visit. (See Veterans Today)
Mitt is pro war, but skipped the draft hiding out in France. See any of his kids in these bogus bush wars? No. See any of Congress or House members kids in these wars? NO. But they're willing to send you and yours to die for their lies and profits.
Bush's real name was Schreff – Senior and Prescott born in Germany, and Hitler supporters. Little wonder the US is in this mess after Sr became CIA director - aganin see VT for info.
This nation is guilty of wrongdoing. We convict ourselves. This country was built on the knowledge that GOD exists. More power to Mitt Romney for coming out in his glorification of GOD. GOD is real, and he will reveal himself to us in ways that we will regret. How can anyone be concerned about an economy with so much immorality in this world that will eventually destroy us, but for the grace of GOD. Do we even have a future?
Mittens doesn't believe in YOUR God!!! Lol!!!
Mittens believes he's gonna be God!!!!
Don't you people know ANYTHING about the Mormon Cult???!!!
Ask MItt which GOD???? Mormons "God head" consist of infinite "gods"–don't be fooled. ITs polythisit. NOt Christian.
Mittens the clown aint got a chance!!
What a wonderful waste of the "Job Creators" inherited billions!!
Lol! I'm going to LMAO for months after I watch Mittens give his concession speech!!
Republicans are such fools! "Ya'all" oughta get real and wake UP!!! Yer all done!!
wow!! so true but his first name is Williard....he's ashame to use it because some "real" MorMons think that name is cowardly due to the actions of one of its "founders". LOL! WILLARD TH RAT!
DAN MERICA IS A JERK IN THE NICEST SINCE,THE "GOD" RETHORIC IS WHAT IS DISTORTED IN YOUR BRAIN THE TRASH YOU WRITE ISN'T EVEN FIT ON CNN. YOU AN YOUR BUNCH IM SURE WILL GET WHATS COMING TO YOU.
This is what the last GOP WH did to NY, America, and the world...
see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.
Yeah, the Bush WH Gang did it. CIA knew. McCain knew. Most of Congress knew.
Likely they were behind the Lybian attack to force US into another bogus war. Be wary.
Welcome to the Theocracy Empire of America (TEA) Party
I wouldn't worry too much about it.
It gets more absurd by the day with Romney. He is not serious. Jon Huntsman is and he is a Mormon. This guy is a joke.
Evangelical; Thenmove to Iran. They have a Theocracy there.
A few months ago, I was afraid Huntsman would become a GOP candidate, as he might have a chance against Obama. Turns out, GOP doesn't like anyone remotely reasonable.
All Mormons are beholden to Satan. They Are Not Christians!
Will someone please shut these religion-happy peabrains up. Keep that nonsense in church where it belongs, and keep it OUT of my government.
It's my government too, and I want God in my government.
Evangelical; Then move to Iran. They have a theocracy there.
Sorry Charlie – the first amendment expressly forbids this.
Perhaps you are one of those people who are unfamiliar with the notion that 'establishment of religion' == 'state religion'.
Evanidiot, all you have to do is propose a const!tutional amendment to change the first amendment. Well, then you'd likely have to prove your god actually exists, not to mention duke it out with the other cults to decide which god is included. I think it would be highly entertaining but do you really want to put your silly childish beliefs on trial?
God is in our government.
Our elected politicians that believe in God, live their lives by the laws of the Lord.
At least you would think they do.....right?
Like that pacifist Quaker president who carpet-bombed Cambodia. You remember him? Some people called him tricky Dick.
The First Amendment talks about religion. God is not religion. He is universal.
It's my government too, but I don't want this man's Satanical beliefs in the White House!
He Is Not A Christian, He belongs to a cult that is doing Satan's work!!
President Obama Is A Christian, And, he's been very good to the poor and less fortunate – Just Like Jesus Would Be..!
please define your God, without specifying a religion.
OH ATHEIST? HUH?
YOU ARE KINDA RIGHT THOUGH...ET PHONE HOME.
Ha ha ha, Romney president, ha ha ha
There we go, catering to the least common denominator again.
Are we going to see his tax returns at the debates?
The tax returns would show the millions his company made disposing of dead fetuses from abortions.
TONY YOUR ARE CORRECT!! where are those tax returns?? BAin? mafia style company credit line overage then bail?? Maybe Bain stands for BAIL??? I want to see his returns and Utah olympic fund and paper work?? all destroyed?
Of course, nothing is more important that deciding whether "under god" should stay on our dollar bills.
The right would prefer to see the biblical anti-christ elected than see that black man re-elected. that's why they hold their noses and embelish robme for president.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.