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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. Bootyfunk

    bringing up gawd won't help you, romney. time to eat it, republicans.

    September 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • nope

      @bitterfang
      nope

      September 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • American Atheist

      Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team! Red Team! Blue Team!

      September 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  2. magnum12

    Increasing violence an economic melt-downs in our societies is the result of an atheist philosophy (lDems booing God) where every individual decides for himself what is right and what is wrong. Christian values such as loving unconditionally, forgiving generously and returning good for evil has to be taught to our children at an early age. As opposed to violence, greed and immorality being taught on TV, video games and music. Replace the self centered ideology of (what's in it for me) with the Golden Rule.The family is the building block of society. When it fails, so does society. People need to get reacquainted with God and get on their knees and learn to pray again. Isn't it ironic that as more churches have become empty and torn down, more prisons have been built and filled. To paraphrase a scripture: We are reaping what we have sown.

    September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Damocles

      @mag

      Fine then, pray. Don't do a damn thing except pray. When you are sick, pray. When your bills come due, pray. When disaster strikes, pray. When you are hungry, pray. When your kids have questions, don't answer them, just pray.

      It may not seem like it, but I do agree with some of what you said, but the idea that prayer is going to lead us out of these bad times is naive at best.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you think christianity brings people together? want to see the most racially divided time in the U.S.? go to the south on sunday morning. whites go to their church - blacks go to their church - latinos go to their church. religion doesn't bring people together - it divides. i know you want a hive mentality where no one is an individual, free to think for themselves. be part of the herd, a mindless sheep cult member. no thanks.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • nope

      @pottyfink
      nope

      September 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      Religion has been the cause of more human suffering and death than any other thing on this planet. It is oppressive, backward, hypocritical and intolerant. The atheists I have met just don't care. They're more passive and just want to be left alone. Of course, they do tend to get a little irritated when they see doctors being killed in the name of religion, or the funerals of servicemen being picketed by anti-gays.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • DOC2480

      Why do all Christians feel the need to impose their beliefs on everyone. On top of that they use false information to convey their message. More people have died in the name of religion especially Christianity than all the major wars combined. I respect your faith and your choices just don't shove your religion down my throat, and please don't tell me how to raise my children.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • truth be told

      More people have been tortured and brutally murdered by atheists in the last 100 years than in all previous centuries.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "truth be told", but you assertions regarding crimes by atheists 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 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Isn't it ironic that as more churches have become empty and torn down, more prisons have been built and filled."

      Funny but during more 'christian times' the poor were thrown into poor house prisons simply for being poor, so much for faith and prison populations.
      Another thing is that as a nation the US currently has the highest population in prison and other, far less 'godly' countries have far lower prison populations.
      US incarceration rate is 750 per 100,000 in 2009. Compared to 154 for Britain, 85 for Germany and heck even 'godless' Russia is lower at 577.
      Though there are in fact several factors for this. One is the US has far longer prison sentences so people stay in prison longer; 5 to 10 years for first drug offence in the US might be 6 months in the UK for example.
      Secondly the rate of recidivism in the US is far higher, maybe because anyone that tries to lower it by improving conditions or whatever, is branded a 'bleeding heart'

      So simply put, lower church attendence doesnt lead to higher prison populations, your premise is false.

      "Christian values such as loving unconditionally, forgiving generously and returning good for evil has to be taught to our children at an early age"

      none of those values are followed by christians so you guys sort your own house out first. In fact your whole rant about dems shows you yourself dont follow the loving and forgiving part.

      September 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  3. American Atheist

    I wish these fleabags wouldn't feel the need to incessantly invoke the Flying Spaghetti Monster.....but at least this goofy Mormon didn't spent 20 years in the church of Rev Jeremiah Wright.

    September 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • truth be told

      President George H W Bush has said an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of the USA. We are one nation under God.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      george bush was an idiot. so are you.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • nope

      @battyfink
      nope

      September 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • nope

      @snopes
      nopes

      September 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @truth be a moron
      it's a fact - you're an idiot.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • nope

      @blisterfonk
      nope

      September 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • nope

      But then again, sometimes the smell of cat pee does cloud my thinking.

      September 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  4. Ah Ha

    When you have nothing else left, God is the answer

    September 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And then you still have nothing.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • on judgement day

      look for tallulah13 it will be one of the ones with the oh sh it look on its face.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I love how christians like to threaten about judgement day, when of course, there is no proof for their god or any god, heaven, hell, devil or judgement day.The sad fact is that christians only have empty threats, and empty promises, and I am neither frightened nor interested in either.

      September 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  5. donny

    im glad he stands up for god thats a big + thats whats wrong with the world today god has been taking out

    September 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  6. AvdBerg

    Liberty University, BYU and all other Theological schools and seminaries are the training grounds for false apostles (Mark 13:22). The Gospel of Christ cannot be taught by mankind but can only be revealed by the Spirit of God (Gal. 1:12). For a better understanding of this mystery, we invite you to read the article ‘Ye Need Not That Any Man Teach You’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in 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 Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the United States of America, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’, ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ and ‘Boston University – School of Theology and Stonehill College’, listed on our website.

    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 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows that the dude who wrote that was high as a kite. He must have crashed his camel in a field of burning poppies or worse to come up with that mess. St. John the Opium Addict, evidently.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  7. sensibility

    Wow. At this rate, Mitt will be just dust by the time November is here. Yee-ha!

    September 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  8. Dave Harrris

    Is he hoping that people will forget he's a Mormon? The Mormon god is the father of both Jesus and Satan, who are brothers. It's a dysfunctional family, which is apparently the norm among Mormons. So whose god is he promising to push on us, anyway?

    September 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Dave Harris

      The father of the Mormon God is Satan (John 8:43-45.).
      The father of Jesus Christ you don't know (1 Cor. 2:14).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA article: Mormon Church – cult and Spiritual Harlot

      September 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  9. trashcup

    Romney's true colors are finally coming out.

    It is EVERY MORMON'S JOB – required to be in the Mormon faith – to convert as many people as they possibly can.

    Being converted to Mormonism IS essential to Mormon life. Mitt is a church

    September 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • sb

      Trashcup...you are wrong on soooooo many levels!!!! It is NOT every mormon members job to bring others in! I am 35 yrs old and have been a member my whole life & NEVER ONCE have i been told to do that or that it was required! Are u kidding me???? Where do u get your information from?? Go hang out w/callywag & headbutt bullet's.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  10. Alex

    20% of the adults in this country don't believe in a God. Get over yourself, GOP.

    September 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Noah

      Yes, but 80% do!

      September 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • cogsboy

      But do the 80% believers need to have God shoved in their face when discussing politics? Jon Stewart said it best that God isn't that insecure to have His name mentioned all the time. There's a reason the word "seperation" applies to the relationship between State and Church.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  11. Ted

    21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
    22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
    23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (New Testament, Mark, Chapter 7)

    September 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ted

      Thus, it is evident that I am defiled and dirty.

      September 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Damocles

      I just don't get why believers are so gung-ho about putting themselves down.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Foster

    Stay informed...every nation that leaves God out falls...check out history...

    September 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      The Russian Revolution was led by Jews. The Russian Imperial family were VERY Christian and encouraged it in their country men. The French revolution was led by agnostics and atheists, the French Royal family was VERY religious and encouraged it in their people...
      I think you have no idea how to read, or you know nothing about history. It is RELIGION that makes countries fall!!

      September 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Noah

      8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
      9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
      10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. (Book of Mormon, Ether, Chapter 2)

      September 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "every nation that leaves God out falls...check out history"

      i'll bite. Do provide us examples of this. I mean the Roman empire didnt fall until after it became christian so thats no good as an example either.

      September 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Funny that a number of countries that are completely secular and largely populated by people who don't identify themselves as believers are quite successful–Switzerland and Denmark are two of them. Danes are among to most contented people in the world, according to one survey I read.

      How do you explain that?

      September 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "to" should be "the".

      September 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  13. edward ryder

    mitt romnet needs to shut up on foreign policy. his mouth can get people killed as a viet nam vet,mitt romney needs to learn first what war means.its easier to tal;k war when you dont have to fight it.he's lived a life of luxury.he didn't work for it, it was handed to him.he needs to straighten out his own tax misgivings.everyone already knows he's got something to hide else why would he say that if he released them the opposition would find fault.if there is nothing to find what fault could they find?

    September 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • pgraham52

      He pays more in taxes in one year than you will pay in your lifetime. Give it rest and quite listening to all the liberal BS. Grow some stones. Why don't you go out and develop a fortune instead of whining on some liberal site. Disgusting.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "He pays more in taxes in one year than you will pay in your lifetime."

      false logic, its % amount, not monetary amount.

      September 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  14. DanTheMan

    Romney ratchets up God rhetoric to draw in the far right, but in the process pushes every other American further away. Believe in God all you want, however, please save it for church and your own home. Like it or not, this is a secular country. That doesn't mean that you can't love God, it just means that you keep her out of the government.

    September 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  15. .

    I'm a motard. That's what Mormons call a really stupid Mormon. We have a caste system that establishes our level of tolerance for each other. My meds are late today, so I had to get back online to attack more people! Romney sucks!

    September 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Katie

    pandering...

    September 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  17. captain america

    f*kn this and f*kn that and this and me and God and f*kn republitards!

    September 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  18. .

    6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (New Testament, Revelation, Chapter 13)

    September 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  19. RS, CA

    @settino – RS, people like your self righteous @ss think faith is the answer to all problems. Get a life.
    ---------
    I have a truly wonderful life. I take responsibility for it, I earn my own living, help folks who need help whenever I can, and I don't call them nasty names as you do. And I have faith that whatever you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

    September 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      RS, you sound VERY proud of yourself! Yet I need to point out that when you say that your religion is above all others, you are saying that you are superior...and that, in its own way, is "calling people nasty names."
      Mormons act that way though, as we've seen through Romney. To bad he can't keep HIS trap shut...

      September 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  20. truth be trolled

    Example of "trickle-down":

    Idiot degenerates to:
    __truth be told degenerates to:
    ____just sayin degenerates to:
    ______captain america degenerates to:
    ________Ronald Regonzo degenerates to:
    __________christopher hitchens (which is total idiocy since the idiot in no way represents the real CH)

    September 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      And I should say the only "trickle down" that seems to work, although in a very pathetic way.

      September 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. You are dismissed troll

      September 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism

      September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      "stupid followed to its logical conclusion becomes atheism"

      See – you need to throw that fortune away. That's why they let you go from the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co.!

      September 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
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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.