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. JesusChrist

    Abinadi, you are not a Christian. Stop telling people you believe in me. You worship Joseph Smith and you believe you will become a GOD, even over me.

    September 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • 2Sliqq

      JC – As a former Mormon I assure you they do NOT worship Joseph Smith, but they ABSOUTELY believe they will be gods and goddesses (married and in a constant state of copulation to produce the billions of little spirits they believe they will rule) of their very own universes. The great Satanic promise is that they have bought into is that they will one day be worthy of being worshipped just as the Judeo-Christian God is worthy of being worshipped now.They great giveaway to the soursce and nature of this promise is that it goes directly to the core of human pride. Where have we heard this promise before? I picture a garden,a fruit of some kind and a Sepent. It is LITERALLY the oldest trick in THE BOOK!

      September 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Abinadi

      I don't need any advice from a blasphemer!

      September 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  2. Jack

    Netanyahu disagrees, estimating that Iran is about six months away from having most of the enriched uranium it needs and warning that letting them reach the "goal line" would have disastrous consequences.

    Obama is leading us all down a path. He is going to give the bomb to Iran!

    September 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • JesusChrist

      How do you know what President Obama is doing Jack? What path is he leading us on? How about Romney and his corporate gits? You think they don't want to go to war??? You're pretty dense, to believe that. War MAKES money and republitards want MONEY.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Jack

      Obama is not an American. I have known Muslims. They think it is perfectly ok to lie and decieve. Obama is going to give the bomb to Iran!

      September 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  3. James "Swampman" Williams

    I've found and beleive, that many of us Americans don't beleive in God. Well let's just say for the sake of it, God is real. Where do that leave you? I'm cool. I'm proud of Mitt Romney for that and I'm a Blackman.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Athy

      And you can't even spell "believe". Typical characteristic of a bible babbler.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Athy

      And you can't even spell "believe". So typical of a bible babbler.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  4. louiske

    again cnn reporting neutral bullcrap.
    Objective news someday? checking romneys past speeches/comments on god?
    any journalism ?
    just little demoss who licks romneys falling saliva.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  5. george wheeldon

    Will Romney denounce the book of mormon?.. that will tell if he is really a Christian.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Why should he?

      September 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Jack in Texas

      Yes, why should he? Who do you think you are?

      September 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Cynthia

      I think George thinks he is King George. He thinks he gets to decide who is a Christian lol.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Abinadi

      3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 29)

      September 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jonah

      Cynthia says: I think George thinks he is King George. He thinks he gets to decide who is a Christian lol.

      Sorry, Cindy, but it's evangelical Christians who have co-opted Christianity, who think they speak for God in deciding who is a Christian and who is not.

      What's the difference between the Taliban who want a nation under the law of the Koran and the evangelicals who want a nation under the law of the Christian Bible? Absolutely nothing.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  6. Robairdo

    And here comes the "Etch a Sketch" Again!

    September 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Reality

    Only for the newcomers:-–>>>>>>>>


    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • ....


      September 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • ....


      September 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Robairdo

      I am Christian, but I believe in the separation of church and state, that is the only way to peacefully govern such a large diverse nation. You may be religious as a private matter, but the State must be Secular!

      September 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Separation of church and state means we will not have a state religion such as Pakistan or Iran. There is no such thing in the United States nor will there ever be. This is a total non-issue.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  8. Kent

    One less vote for Romney here. "Separation of church and state." Remember?

    September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Good for you. I think this god thing is going to backfire on him. Even the religios folks are able to see through it.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well now that Obama has started "Faith for Obama" what will you do?

      September 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Robairdo

      I am Christian, but I believe in the separation of church and state, that is the only way to peacefully govern such a large diverse nation. You may be religious as a private matter, but the State must be Secular!

      As for faith for Obama goes, Obama isn't suggesting that faith be pushed into the public square, only that people of faith can be comfortable with him as their president. As a person of faith I am very comfortable with president Obama for four more years.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Separation of church and state means we will not have a state religion such as Pakistan or Iran. There is no such thing in the United States nor will there ever be. This is a total non-issue. What in the world are you people complaining about?

      September 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • divadame

      Oh, if it were only possible to separate Religion and State. Not everyone has the need to have a god to watch over them to do the right thing, some of us are just good.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  9. AvdBerg

    The above subject story is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals, Christianity and Islam and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Mormons, Israelites, Evangelicals and Muslims and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Mormonism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama's faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, 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.

    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 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • KJohnson

      Hi there. Thank you for your concern for the public. However, the same that you accuse the media of perpetrating, you yourself are proliferating. Whether its news media, twitter or blogs, it is up to the individual go beyond what he or she reads to solidify the veracity of information. Want to know more about religion, read the bible, the quran and the doctrines of buddhism or whatever brings you, the individual the enlightenment needed. Need knowledge of government, read up on democracy, communism, dictatorship and autocracies. Please do not falsely present yourself as a innocent beacon of knowledge and still slither across the web covered in sheep's cloaking.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

      This poster is a well known lying TROLL on this site. Don't bother checking out their site which is full of lies so can sell their book to support their cult

      September 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  10. tuvia suks

    Hmmm, Liberty University? Is that a 'real' university, or just a diploma mill type, faith based place? I know a guy who graduated from there. Dumb as a rock. Ignorant as well. Pity.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Athy

      And your friend probably graduated with honors!

      September 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  11. Peter Wolfe

    The signing of the Gatt, NATO, membership in UN;WTO;WHO and also with free trade like NAFTA or APEC and countless other groups that we're already one nation anyways. Really there isn't much distinction between U.S, Canada and Mexico especially on trade policies anymore.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  12. Peter Wolfe

    Dear Dick, Take away what right or percieved rights you think you have? What is so scary of a world government because no sovereign nation can solve global warming, over population, space exploration, financial disputes, terrorism, organized crime and etc onto themselves and I do believe in H.G Well's version of world government. Down with individual nations just let people live in unity together in one nation under shared respect and aligned interest!!!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  13. Pat

    Mr. Romney, Is an atheist just as good a citizen as a believer? A simple yes or no, please.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Mitt Romney

      Pat, first off, I would like to thak you for your thoughtful question. In America, we have the right to ask thoughtful questions. Asking thoughtful questions is the first step in finding meaningful answers. These meaningful answers should in turn lead to more thoughtful questions, and this is how we learn interesting things.

      To sum up then: thoughtful questions, meaningful answers, interesting things.

      Next question.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Amniculi


      September 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  14. Larry

    I'm surprised they let the "students" at Liberty University vote.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Athy

      Students? Those sheep are called "students"? Man that's a perversion of the term if there ever was one.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Athy

      Two new exhibits have been added to the Liberty University's museum this year. One is a “mourning room” with period furniture and decorations, including, get this, a cross made from the woven hair of dead Confederate soldiers. Seems a bit "cultish", doesn't it?

      September 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  15. steve armstrong

    ask him about jesus, ask him about Jesus, ASK HIM ABOUT JESUS!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon


      September 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Pat

    Mr. Romney, As an athiest, should I vote against you and the Republican Party because of this very point, or should I consider other aspects of your platform before making a decision?

    September 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Athy

      There doesn't seem to be many other points in his platform.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Mitt Romney

      As I said earlier, I do not have any good arguments to make as to why I should be your President. However, here is what seems to work for the Republican base:

      1. I am white.
      2 I am rich.
      3. I am not black.
      4. God, god, GOD.

      I'll have to get back to you on that atheist thing.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  17. Mitt Romney

    I really have no good arguments to make for why I want to be President, but if I use the word "God" often enough, I'll get the rubes to vote for me. That's the thing about rubes: they can be manipulated so easily. And there's no shortage of rubes in America.

    I love America.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • dick

      and the DEMS, well, they're just RUBES, who don't 'really' believe in God, and the rich ones make the poor ones think they are all in this together, but if you're the president or in Congress you're exempt from the new healthcare plan and other policies, and you are willing to allow the middle class to fund your empirical shadow gov't, while paying yourself & your rich friends, and slowly taking away our rights in prep for the U.N. run, one world gov't......

      September 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Mitt Romney

      Thank you, dick.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Athy

      Geez, Dickie. Thanks for the run-on sentence. Ever heard of a period?

      September 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  18. Peter Wolfe

    John, those right dear are something to eat with a preacher about just before voting! Praise Lord Jesus Christ is his Mohammud's image be peace upon him and pass me some of those cash backs for my vote! I'll get those dumb cows over in the bern to vote for ya and say you get grass and I get steaks when you die!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  19. John

    God, Jesus, Freedom, Terrorists. Have the hillbillies voted for me yet?

    September 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  20. sally

    Romney ratchets ups . . .?? What the heck is with this ti'tle?

    September 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Athy

      A lot of CNN's titles are a bit perplexing.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:31 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.