On campaign trail, Romney ratchets ups God rhetoric
Early in his campaign, Mitt Romney spoke at Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.
September 14th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

On campaign trail, Romney ratchets ups God rhetoric

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.”

CNN Belief: Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?

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.

CNN Belief: Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate

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.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • God • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (3,354 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Typical

      The xtians have to repeat themselves in hopes of brainwashing you into believing their nonsense because it's all bogus.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Please get over yourself.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Alexk

      I never understood this. If god is all knowing and omnipresent then how come we have to actively pray out for god to hear us. Shouldn't god know the thoughts in our minds and feelings in our hearts? Shouldn't god know what it is that we need and desire in life? By saying you need to pray to god for god to know what is in your heart doesn't that mean you are claiming that god is actually not as powerful and all knowing as the Christian church preaches?

      September 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • bam

      slamming kids with a bible changes things

      September 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Singularity

      So do remote controls. What's your point?

      September 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      When you know God the answer will be obvious to you. Without being born again you will never figure it out.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Pragmatic

      Ahem, how can I put it..are you off your drugs?

      September 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      False. All children are born atheists. If it was unhealthy, they wouldn't be born that way.

      Shop your craziness elsewhere.

      September 15, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • brian

      until the Jews left Egypt there are no records of wars being fought for or against "ANY" religion or faith. there may have been internal strife in a country but not external.................now look at the mess you lot have made over GOD...........how many more have to die in the name of ..........................wait for it............wait for it.................."YOUR GOD"..................its just to bad GOD didn't stop building on the " 5TH DAY"

      September 15, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Acdsasf

      Ok Fred Phelps.

      September 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • ReaganDem

      Based on what facta?

      September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Tranice

    When its time for judgement day..........man its really going to be HOT

    September 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Pascal's Gambit was refuted long ago.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Alexk

      Well you guys have been wrong for the last 2,000 years so I'm not going to hold my breath.

      September 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Singularity

      Whatever. As long as I don't have to spend eternity with you, I'm good.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      You will spend eternity in one of two choices that you can make with God in eternal bliss or in a lake of fire alone and in constant pain and torment.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Gordon

      But don't forget, he'll only send you to the lake of fire to be in pain and torment forever because he loves you!

      September 15, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  3. Kenny

    Romney will tell you that Obama is wanting to take GOD off our currency but he will not tell us what he wears to bed at night. He says just trust him and elect him and he will tell us what he wears to bed at night.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This implication that somehow Obama wants to take "In God we trust" off the currency is exactly the same play as the NRA's "buy ammunition now before Obama bans all guns" campaign in 2008.

      It is pure deception. The creation of an election issue out of thin air, courtesy of the RNC dirty tricks department. It only appeals to the ignorant, but ignorant votes count exactly the same in a democracy.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • dirtpickle

      A Snuggie? A clown suite? An A$$ Hat? Come on tell us!

      September 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Singularity

      My understanding was they powered him down at night, and plugged him back into his charger. Does he have to wear something special for that?

      September 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Marshal

      wasnt the God reference put on our currency just to give the Communists the finger anyway?

      September 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  4. Larry

    Romney has as much a chance of winning this election as god has to be real. Wasn't sarah palin god's favorite?

    By the way, how dare liberty call itself a university. What evolution and plaeontology courses do they teach? Is the requirement for admission still a pulse?

    September 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Louis

      They have mandatory creationism courses. I wonder what they entail by way of a final exam?

      "Did God create the universe?" Y

      "Is evolution true?" N

      PASS 100%

      September 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  5. Brian

    Romney's "faith" supported slavery before the Civil War. For some reason our "free press" doesn't wan to go there.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Democrats supported slavery before the civil war as well. Do you know your history? Apparently only bits and pieces. Back to school.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Historic Election?

    If Romney is elected President he will be the first Mormon President. This will be another historic election if Evangelical and Protestant Christians decide to vote for the Mormon candidate instead of voting for the Protestant Christian candidate.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This tedious "God" diversion by the Romney campaign is likely a result of two factors:

      1. He's behind Obama in the polls
      2. He's not getting the support normally given to Republican candidates from Evangelical Protestant voters.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Who's the Protestant Christian candidate? Certainly not Obama.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Jim Hahn

    The Romney campaign's desperation is starting to show. They are throwing whatever they can up against the voter wall and see what sticks.

    What voters want most is honesty and truthfulness. Like releasing tax returns, answering questions directly, and not changing your position on issues according to the political wind.

    Makes you feel like he hasn't nailed down his so-called "base" yet. He can't win without them, but if he has to do this sort of thing to keep them firmly in his camp this late in the campaign, he'll lose the independents big time and thus will lose the election. Awwwwwww.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Like Obama's campaign is not spewing ridiculous lies. They have Axelrod, he couldn't tell the truth if it smacked his ugly face.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  8. norma jean.


    September 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Athy

      Writing in all caps is not a normal and respectful manner.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • college_student

      Norma Jean, I'm having a very difficult time with your "ramblings"? What does separation of church and state have to do with posted comments here? And your rambling does affirm that we have "lost the art of writing". By the way WHAT'S WITH ALL CAPS?

      September 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  9. RobinMO

    If you want to see what putting God in the public sphere looks like, see what is happening in religion-based protests across the Muslim world. Romney is pandering to the American Taliban.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Hear hear!

      September 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Recovering Catholic

      I was going to say "Amen, Brother" but then I realized that might not be the most way of expressing my total agreement with you.

      We have separation of church and state in this country to protect the government from religion and to protect some of us from being the victims of government power being used by others of us to worship in a way we don't choose to.

      Personally, I am not a theist (one who believes in the existence of God or gods) or an atheist (one who doesn't believe in the existence of god) or an agnostic (one who isn't sure about the existence of god).

      Rather, I am an apatheist (one who does not care about the existence of god).

      There are two tenets in apatheism. The first is that existence of right and wrong is independent of the existence of God.

      The second is that no God worthy of being worshiped would have anything to do with any of the religions invented by mankind.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • 1twinsfan

      Incredibly spot on point.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. v_mag

    Romney thinks that by now, people have forgotten that he's non-Christian. He thinks people have forgotten that, for him, God lives on the planet Kolub, and that Jesus flew over to America and impregnated people. He thinks they won't remember that he depends on magic undies for his salvation and protection, and that there is a "prophecy" in his cult about a Mormon who takes over the country and turns the whole country into cult members.

    We haven't forgotten, Mittler.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Rynomite

      His cult is certainly slightly more amusing (but not much less ludicrous) than the standard Christian cult.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • v_mag

      Rynomite – What is amusing to me is that the same people who profess Christianity so fervently and evangelically will turn on a dime and vote for the non-Christian Romney when it comes to a choice between him and a black man. That is a strong insight into the real values held by fundamentalists.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Rynomite

      It certainly is. Granted I'm no voting expert. I'll be throwing mine away on Gary Johnson.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Zeus overlord of Loki

      I yam what I yam...you are all in BIG trouble!

      September 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • v_mag

      Rynomite – I'm voting for Johnson, too. In Texas and other states where the vote has already been counted, there is no other logical thing to do than vote for a third party person. My vote for either major party candidate will not raise the total for that person by a single vote, as the almighty electoral college (or, connage) is the only one that counts. The powers that be have ordained that Texas gives all its votes to Rob-money. The only thing I have left is a protest vote, weak as it is.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Your post certainly shows what a pathetic moron you are.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  11. crush

    It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven. Politicians use religion the same way kings and the church do; to control the sheepy masses. If they truly believed in what was in the bible, they would all be poor and humble. You can't be truly righteous and rich at the same time.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • In the O.C.

      Please go see the movie "2016" before you miss the chance to see it. Please read "The Odds Against Obama – Why History and Logic Make the President a Likely Loser" by Michael Medved – it's an E-book. Or please read "The Brief Against Obama" by Hugh Hewitt. OBAMA WILL LOSE THIS ELECTION. He and his minions are pulling out all the stops, but it WON'T WORK THIS TIME.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Primewonk

      OC – why would you tell folks to watch or read known tea bagger lies?

      September 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Athy

      The polls don't seem to support your opinion, OC.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • v_mag

      There's a whole new version of Christianity out there based on greed and self-interest. People are actually preaching ideas diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus and calling themselves Christians. They even think of themselves as Super Christians, while at the same time they identify with the modern day equivalent of the Romans, Pharisees, and Sadducees. It is amazing how they can twist the traditional beliefs 180 degrees and not even notice that they are headed straight to the Devil.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  12. Jenny

    Should read “I will not take the Mormon God Elohim, Joseph Smith, and Satan's brother Jesus out of my heart, I will not take them out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,”

    September 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      RNC pseudo code for the Romnoid:

      WHILE date < november_6
      IF romney_poll < obama poll THEN
      PRINT "Talk about God";
      PRINT "Talk about economy";

      September 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  13. Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

    Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, Christian and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan islam pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national beef dog. Filthy mandingo foot-long dog. No dogs! WHO let them be out? Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Mitt should make direct and public appeals to God at campaign stops: "God, please strike me dead right here and now if you don't want me to President." God will endorse Mitt by his silence.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  15. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    He is nothing but a Magi, trickster, he claims of God, truth absolute but denies God, truth absolute by faith of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism,. re labeled as Christianity, a branch of hinduism, racism.To know causes of mayhem among humanity, handy work of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, denier of truth absolute and thir hinduism, fabrication, hindu Mithra ism pagan savior ism, labeled as Christianity, please visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Louis

      Isn't it kinda ironic that the gospel has Magi, people that the later followers would burn at the stake for practicing witchcraft, pay homage to the infant Christ? Just asking!

      September 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  16. Andrew

    So Romney wants to use the platform of the Dems against Obama? So should we hold Romney to everything in his party's platform? If so, we assume Romney believes that there should be ABSOLUTELY NO WIGGLE ROOM for abortion bans. It's just sad that no matter what issue rises, Romney throws both sides out there to see which one he should run with. That is a losing strategy Mitt!

    September 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&w=420&h=315%5D

    September 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      September 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • William Demuth


      September 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • truth be told

      hitler was a deceiver a liar and an atheist.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Perhaps Hitler lied about being an atheist?

      September 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." ~ Adolph Hitler

      September 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Huh?

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.
      -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

      September 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Mon Dieu!

      Then "truth"* why did Wehrmacht soldiers wear insignia reading "Gott Mit Uns"? 50 or 60 million dead later, how much did it help them?

      * as seen by the far right.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      "Gott Mit Uns"?

      Would that be translated as "Mitt will get us?"

      September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  18. AvdBerg

    Mitt Romney’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather an image of the spirit and god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and his quest for the Presidency of the United States of America, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as
    confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Jew's filthy self centered called Bible, authored to promote hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism, re labeled Christianity to hind, fool humanity. To know causes of mayhem among humanity, handy work of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, denier of truth absolute and thir hinduism, fabrication, hindu Mithra ism pagan savior ism, labeled as Christianity, please visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      Matt 24:24 = Mark 13:22 and as per Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 90: "These sayings of Jesus are inauthentic........................ "

      September 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows whoever wrote that was high as a kite. Evidently it was St. John the Opium Addict.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jenny

      Christian groups claiming exclusive "truth" are a dime a dozen, and have been since the Roman Church persecuted the gnostics and other heretic sects. Why should we be impressed?

      September 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

      This poster is a TROLL on this blog, they have been proven LIARS over and over again – and they are only here to sell their book to support their cult. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      September 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • SeilnoigileR

      The Book of Revelations reads like a bad acid trip and is so open-ended (as is most of the bible) that you can spin anything to make it sound like it's 'fitting' those prophecies. If everything in the bible were so cut and dry, why are there so many denominations and off-shoots? Ridiculous.

      September 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  19. Reality


    Bottom line: Romney is Mormon because he was born Mormon. Should we hold this against him? After all, BO also believes in "pretty/ugly wingie thingies, bodily resurrections and atonement mumbo jumbo.

    Warren Buffett, THE AGNOSTIC, for President !!!!

    Bill Gates, THE AGNOSTIC for VP !!!!

    One should be voting based on rational thinking. Believing in angels, satans, bodily resurrections, atonement, and heavens of all kinds is irrational.

    Apparently, BO and MR have been severely brainwashed in their theologically and historically flawed Christianity and they are too weak to escape its felonious grip.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      When I get the question on some kind of questionnaire I always list my religious preference as;

      Lot of times people let me know I misspelled AGNOSTIC, but I tell them there's no misspelling. Then they look at me sideways and move away from me on the Group W bench...but then I tell them I brought cookies and they all move back towards me on the Group W bench....

      Daily question; Did someone DIS prove the existence of Zeus? I'm still waiting before I change which silly myth to buy...

      September 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  20. reddragon

    Please, please, God... save me from your followers.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
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About this blog

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.