Sullivan Opposes Romney’s Religious Test

Add Andrew Sullivan to the list of conservatives who are getting fed up with Mitt Romney. He quotes Romney as responding to a heckler by saying, “We need to have a person of faith lead the country.” Sullivan criticizes Romney for establishing such a “religious test” and argues that Romney is using bigotry to respond to bigotry:

Bush and Rove have built a Republican party on a sectarian base – and Romnney is of the wrong sect. But instead of standing up to this sectarianism, and affirming the right of anyone of any faith or none to be president, Romney panders to religious bias. It seems to me that it is equally bigoted to say that a Mormon should not be president as it is to say that an atheist should not be president. Romney has chosen to fight bigotry with bigotry.

Sullivan deserves credit for standing up for the rights of atheists here considering the degree with which this differs from his personal views, as seen in his debates with Sam Harris (posts here and here). We only have religious freedom when the rights of all to believe, or disbelieve, is respected without regard to one’s personal beliefs.

I do note that Romney made this statement while responding to a heckler and feels the need to explain to Republicans that he is religious, even if coming from the “wrong” religious background. Politics is increasingly being decided like a game of Survivor in which candidates are excluded by a single gaffe which might not reflect their actual views. It is possible Romney misspoke in haste, but in that case I would expect a clarification.

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