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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.”

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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.

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. W.G.

    As a born again Christian there´s no way I could vote for Romney and Ryan ! As a mormon one
    of their beliefs is that satan was he brother of Jesus . The Mormons have taken the Bible and have
    turned it into a comic book . Ryan is a catholic , I used to be a catholic and they wouildn´t know
    Jesus if they met him in a Buffet Line . Mr. Obama is a Christian , I take him at his word . He may
    not be the best Christian But he does care about the sick and the old and the poor . I can pray for
    Mr. Obama that the Lord guides him and leads him to do the right things . I really think it lessens the
    integrity of these T.V. preachers when they say to vote for Romney . I think they´re worried more about
    money than anything else .

    September 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Dippy

      How about being a better writer? Eliminate the extra space before all your punctuation marks and stop capitalizing words at random. Intelligently written statements always have more clout. Of course, being a christard, you do have an excuse for writing poorly.

      September 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      @WG: "As a born again Christian there´s no way I could vote for Romney and Ryan ! As a mormon one of their beliefs is that satan was he brother of Jesus . The Mormons have taken the Bible and have turned it into a comic book ."

      Yeah, you born agains have the market cornered on choosing good leaders, like Ted Arthur Haggard. They believe satan and jesus were brothers; you believe in talking snakes. One might think you "brothers in arms" in the crazy world of religion would cut each other some slack but you're not even smart enough to do that even as your collective religions begin the slide into obscurity.

      ***
      "Ryan is a catholic , I used to be a catholic and they wouildn´t know Jesus if they met him in a Buffet Line ."

      Religion hop much? Being born again doesn't give you special Jesus Goggles. If you're theory is Catholics don't know jesus then you don't either. You can't just shake off a religion like the flu.

      The good news is there is no jesus and all religions are false, so you don't have much to worry about. Now that you understand this please stop using religion as a means to divide us. You'll have to learn to hate for other reasons.

      ***
      "Mr. Obama is a Christian , I take him at his word ."

      Exactly why playing the religion card works. He's a politician. There isn't an honest one among them. It is requisite for the job to lie. Again you've shown you are a poor judge of things. Maybe using religion as your guide in life isn't the best way to go.

      ***
      "He may not be the best Christian But he does care about the sick and the old and the poor . I can pray for Mr. Obama that the Lord guides him and leads him to do the right things ."

      Why would you be so arrogant as to ask your god to do anything? He's going to do his will. Your opinion on the course of events of the universe doesn't matter. And further, Mr. Snooty Pants, who elected you judge of Obama's religiousness? Doesn't your book say something about not judging others?

      ***
      "I really think it lessens the integrity of these T.V. preachers when they say to vote for Romney . I think they´re worried more about money than anything else ."

      After your poor judgement on previous issues, I think I'll pass on your judgment (again) of anyone's integrity.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  2. GOD spoke to me.

    GOD said "YOU THINK, therefore I AM."

    September 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  3. D. Mama

    My belief is a person performing a wedding ceremony needs a license, how can alay person who claims to be a priest of the churchby choice have the legal right to do this? Are all mormons legally married? Just wondering??

    September 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • hippy

      Please stop being an idiot.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • sally

      If you don't care to answer D. Mama's questions, hippy, or have anything useful to add, then I suggest that you shut your ignorant, pompous trap. You obviously only have one objective here – to slam Obama at whatever cost. And I see little substance behind your arguments. Troll.

      September 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  4. brahman1

    Romney is a retard. This only shows his desperation.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Abdullo

      Romney would suck up to any likely voting group. That makes him the worst person to vote.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • hippy

      Sad you think that because by all measuring devices (minus public speaking) - Romney >>> obama.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • hippy

      Dude, obama is the total suck up. Do you forget his "evolving views"? He sucks up to anyone that will give him money. Do you like how he gave his "green donor companies" one 2.3B dollars and they ALL when bankrupt–taxpayer funds, loser.

      CNN seems to have become the hotbed for the ignorant and easily manipulated. Yes, I am talking about a vast majority of posters on here.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      "hippy" wrote "Sad you think that because by all measuring devices (minus public speaking) – Romney >>> obama."

      That's one of the most retarded things I have ever read on here. Sounds like something "truth be told" would write. But regardless, if anyone's to blame for little progress the last four years, it is certainly the Repub. tards in congress who made it their agenda above all else, to just be against the president.

      September 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      @hippy: "Do you like how he gave his "green donor companies" one 2.3B dollars and they ALL when bankrupt–taxpayer funds, loser. CNN seems to have become the hotbed for the ignorant and easily manipulated. Yes, I am talking about a vast majority of posters on here."

      I'm having trouble determining exactly what you're saying but I think you've implied there is no "green tech" company that received loans from the government under Obama that is still in business. You capitalized "all" so I assume you really want to stress there's not a single one of these businesses that hasn't gone bankrupt, is that correct? I'm having trouble locating BrightSource Energy's bankruptcy notice. Can you help me?

      September 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  5. Siara Delyn

    It will be a great day for America when individuals are ruled by faith and ethics and politicians stop parading their faith as a campaign tactic. "Vtoe for me. I believe in ______ [insert Jesus, Allah, etc.] is a sleazy power grabbing tactic.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  6. Big Jilm

    Ratt Money is going to force us all to convert to Mormonism, enter polygamous, underage marriages, and bow to John Smith.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Siara Delyn

      These people have an incredible stash of money, medicine, etc, stashed away so that, in case of a disaster, they survive while others die out. That's not very appealing.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • hippy

      Mormons always help out during times of crisis. They don't advertise it as well as obama advertises his "humility" and other awesome attributes, but they do quite a bit for the poor.

      And who still says,"These people"? Are you that narrow-minded? obama must be proud of how uneducated his lemmings are.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Let's see – "hippy" who defends Mormons, is calling people who back Obama "lemmings". LOL. That is rich. Yeah, right. When it comes to who people think of when they think of lemmings or sheep, I'm pretty sure what most comes to mind the most. Oh yeah, it's the religious nutcases. What a jerk tard this "hippy" is.

      September 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      @hippy: "Mormons always help out during times of crisis. ..... Are you that narrow-minded? obama must be proud of how uneducated his lemmings are."

      "Help out" as in busing Mormons into California and sending @$22M to support Prop 8 to defeat an Equal Rights Amendment? That crisis? Or maybe you mean a crisis like the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857 where Mormons slaughtered @120 peaceful men, women and children? Was that helping out? Were Mormons "helping out" the Native Americans who they had tried to pin the massacre on by disguising themselves as such?

      Was David Kingston helping out his 16 year old niece when he was found guilty of in.cest and unlawful s.e.x.ual conduct with her? Was that helpful to any of his other wives, which include his half-sister and an additional niece? Is Mormon treatment of women helpful to ANY woman? Did Joseph Smith "help out" all the people he defrauded with his "seeing stones"?

      It's bad enough to base a religion on a dude born so long ago we don't have records, but to base one around a dude we do have records of, and that dude is a known fraudster and scammer.... Well, my friend, I guess I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  7. Byrd

    God in the public square is a good idea...so long as it's for a well deserved hanging.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  8. Chris33

    Does anyone really want Mitt Romney's butler answering the phone in the White House at 3 am???

    September 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Peter Wolfe

    Abinadi, For the sake of argument that you assume that we are in the same country, working condition and ability o work in tthe U.S economy. I make $698.00 per month witth Supplemental Security Income being legally blind and the blind in the U.S unemployment stands at 70%. I have donated to Red Cross, United Way and blood donations but I know that mormons donate on average more than other protestant christians and high churches e.g. Christian Today magazine. Let there be no mistakes there are good mormons like there are bad ones and I happen to think that Mr Romney evades taxes, lies threw his teeth and lives in gluttony with his numerous properties and physical abundance uncanny to legitament christians.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • hippy

      What do you think of Pelosi, Kerry Clinton, the obamas (yes, they live an expensive life and have for some time),....

      You seem to perceive only what obama want to you to perceive about his opponent.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      hippy wrote: "You seem to perceive only what obama want to you to perceive about his opponent."

      Hmm. It's starting to sound more and more like this is from another disgruntled ex Enlightened Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      September 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  10. Nodack

    Romney kissing everybody's behinds. You don't have to believe anything you say, just tell them what they want to hear and get their vote.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  11. Noah

    I have to go to church now. Don't dance without me. Kay?

    September 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  12. Noah

    Oh, good. They're back! (clapping hands) dance, devils, dance!

    September 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  13. exlonghorn

    2 Kings 18:27

    "But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own p iss with you?"

    This stuff is priceless...

    September 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  14. jane Marek

    Great we have a rich clown who wants to try and look cool by talking about an imaginary figure made up by 4,000 year old sheep herders.

    No wonder America is in such trouble and most 3rd world countries kids run circles around the American kids in academia!

    September 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      yeah, but those Muslim kids can sure recite the sh it out of the Koran!

      September 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  15. exlonghorn

    Numbers 11:31
    "And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth."

    Human walking speed is 2.5 miles/hour.
    12 hours of walking gives this a 30 mile radius.
    Two cubits is three feet.
    A cylinder with radius 30 miles and height 3 feet has a volume of π * (30 miles)2 * (3 feet) = 1.606 miles3.
    The density of quails is 0.031 pounds/inches3.
    0.031 pounds/inches3 * 1.606 miles3 = 12,700,000,000,000 pounds of quail = 1/14th the total biomass of the Earth.
    That's if they're pressed completely flat though, like a slab of spam 60 miles across. If we assume a spherical rigid quail, the packing efficiency is 74%, for 9,370,000,000,000 pounds of quail = 1/19th the total biomass of the Earth.

    Suffice to say, this amount of airdropped birdmeat is entirely ludicrous and most hilarious.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  16. Debbie

    Using God as a political tool for personal gain was a problem for the Pharisee and Judas Iscariot. Romney might want to reconsider his actions.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  17. Peter Wolfe

    Gavin, What evidense do you have about Mr Romney being a very charitable individual? Good questions on the merits of Barack Obama's own charity and goodwilll of his own choice, however, I'm not the most qualified to answer this question. I do recall Mr Obama volunteering for tutoring and maybe legal aid or something but I need to read his autobiography someday just haven't yet. Is it charitable for Mr Romney to only care for a unborn child as opposed to a woman in Boston with already four children endanger of dying with a blood clot against doctors advice to have hat as a marker? Is it charitable in his biography 2011 Boston Globe writes that mormons are have a generous safety net for fellow mormons not so much for hose unwilling to agree to the strict tennants of mormonism? I thought love was unconditional without regards to any particulars to it or else what is the point? Lastly, he abundance of Mitt Romney's lies is the only charity that most americans feel by his outsourcing e.g. betrayal to the american people and to his flip-flopping like a fish out of water on all issues of any import on any issue.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Mormons give millions to humanitarian the world over – the largest portion to 3rd world countries who have never heard of our church. I personally made a check out this morning for foreign charitable aid of the church which I do every month. By the way, Peter, how much of YOUR personal income do you give to charitable causes?

      September 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      @falseProphetAbinadi: "Mormons give millions to humanitarian the world over – the largest portion to 3rd world countries who have never heard of our church. I personally made a check out this morning for foreign charitable aid of the church which I do every month. By the way, Peter, how much of YOUR personal income do you give to charitable causes?"

      The giving of money to charitable causes, while it may make one personally seem nice, is certainly not a strict barometer of morality. You show through your own arrogant questioning of Peter that especially in the case of religion, giving is simply another weapon used to divide us.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      @falseProphetAbinadi: "Mormons give millions to humanitarian the world over – the largest portion to 3rd world countries who have never heard of our church. I personally made a check out this morning for foreign charitable aid of the church which I do every month. By the way, Peter, how much of YOUR personal income do you give to charitable causes?"

      Mor.mons give to poor countries because poor un.educated people are most suit.able for con.version to a religion.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      @falseProphetAbinadi: "I personally made a check out this morning for foreign charitable aid of the church which I do every month."

      It isn't giving.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      @falseProphetAbinadi: "I personally made a check out this morning for foreign charitable aid of the church which I do every month."

      T.i.t.h.i.n.g is a church's extortion technique. Pay up or be excommunicated.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  18. Jack

    And yet, less than two months before Election Day, he turned to two prominent American talk shows, “Meet the Press” on NBC and “State of the Union” on CNN, to make his case even more urgently to a broader American audience, arguing that Iran was six months away from having “90 percent” of what it needed to make an atomic bomb.

    “You know, they’re in the last 20 yards, and you can’t let them cross that goal line,” Mr. Netanyahu said on “Meet the Press,” displaying his familiarity with American football, another Sunday ritual here. “You can’t let them score a touchdown, because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences for the peace and security of us all, of the world really.”

    Obama is leading us all down a path!

    September 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Also, what is Mitt Romneys opinion of the Mountain Meadows Massacre of Sept 11, 1857, where Mormon terrorists killed 120 men, women, and children traveling in the Baker-Fancher wagon train through Utah? Why does he support Joseph Smiths and Brigham Youngs edict for "blood atonement"? Brigham Youngs personal body guard, Porter Rockwell was known as "the avenging angel", and was reported to have killed over 200 people. His two pistols were referred by him as his "angels of death".

    show more show less

    September 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Abinadi

      You have no right to talk about things that you know nothing about. You speak as if those people in the wagon train were innocent. They were not! They bragged the entire length of the state of Utah that they were the very mobsters who had rap ed, plundered and murdered the mormons in Missouri. They had blood on their hands! My own great, great grandfather, Edmund Durfee was shot in the back while trying to hurd his family to safety in Far West. Then, they began to brag that they were going to meet up with a military force in California and come back and murder all the mormons in Utah! The Saints had to take them seriously. They had already lost many dear ones at these peoples hands! In great alarm they decided to strike first.

      September 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      @abinadi: "You have no right to talk about things that you know nothing about."

      We see the typical hope of religious peoples to deny others of free speech.

      ***
      "You speak as if those people in the wagon train were innocent. They were not! They bragged the entire length of the state of Utah that they were the very mobsters who had rap ed, plundered and murdered the mormons in Missouri."

      They weren't innocent because they bragged? Don't let facts get in the way. Preach on, deluded brother.

      ***
      "They had blood on their hands! My own great, great grandfather, Edmund Durfee was shot in the back while trying to hurd his family to safety in Far West."

      No bias here, it appears.

      ***
      "Then, they began to brag that they were going to meet up with a military force in California and come back and murder all the mormons in Utah! The Saints had to take them seriously."

      So, because some people bragged they were going to take their wagon trains to California and return with any army almost a year later, you felt compelled and justified in slaughtering them?
      http://www.octa-trails.org/learn/trail_facts.php

      ***
      "They had already lost many dear ones at these peoples hands! In great alarm they decided to strike first."

      In great alarm at a verbal threat of something that might happen a year later? Your delusion is strong, young Padawan.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • D. Mama

      Who are the saints that Abinadi speaks of who had to kill all those people. Children rapists I would hope saints were not killers of chilren. If that is the kind of saints they have in the Mormon faith I think Ill pass!!!

      September 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • redzoa

      Abinadi reflects all that is wrong with religion. The murder of children becomes justifiable because of prior transgressions or alleged future transgressions. One could only hope that such morally repugnant positions will engender their own divine judgments. The danger of religious thought is that in believing they are doing "God's work" (always in the arrogance that their "God" requires humans to act on His behalf), they can rationalize any abhorrent and immoral act. Dipping a turd in one's preferred perfume will not remove the stench...

      September 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      @TurdOfaHumanAbinadi: "In great alarm they decided to strike first."

      They struck first by dressing as Native Americans? If the attack was so righteous why did they feel the need to try to have the attack blamed on Native Americans? What is righteous about that?

      September 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  20. Noah

    Just come on home and talk to me ,

    We’ve been lookin for angels ,

    While dancing with undercover devils –

    That’s why I’ve got no expectations ……..

    Waite........where are the devils? Come back!

    September 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Mom

      But the valiant prince

      who always ate his vegetables

      and always brushed his teeth

      rode in

      and saved the day

      the devils melted

      And they all lived happily ever after.

      Good Night, Noah... sweet dreams.

      September 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      Wow. Norman Bates is a Mormon...

      September 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • GOD spoke to me.

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster is real.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • GOD spoke to me.

      And GOD said "I love Spaghetti and Meatballs, the way of the Pastafarian is the ONE and TRUE way!"

      September 16, 2012 at 4:22 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.