WASHINGTON—GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney is at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas to talk about faith in America. But a broad sweep regarding religion is not what is supposed to be offered in the speech; rather, Romney is addressing his Mormon religion. In the GOP primary, some evangelical voters, a critical base vote, have reservations about the Mormon candidate.
The speech just started. " If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the savior and the son of God."
Romney said he will not distance himself from his religion. "I believe in my Mormon faith" and if that hurts his candidacy, so be it.
Romney earlier said it is "appropriate" to ask a candidate about his faith.
He invoked the name of President John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president. "Like him, I am an American running for president." While running for president, Kennedy talked about his faith in a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12, 1960. LINK TO KENNEDY SPEECH
No church authority "will ever exert authority" over a presidential decision," Romney said.
Speech excerpts.... from Romney campaign...
EXCERPTS OF GOVERNOR ROMNEY'S
"FAITH IN AMERICA" ADDRESS
College Station, TX – Speaking at The George Bush Presidential Library, Governor Romney will address the American people about his views on religious liberty, our country's grand tradition of religious tolerance and how faith would inform his Presidency.
Excerpts Of Governor Romney's Remarks (As Prepared For Delivery):
"There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation's founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adam's words: 'We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.'
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
"When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."
"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."
"It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
"We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
"The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God' and in God, we do indeed trust.
"We should acknowledge the Creator as did the founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our Constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'"
"These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements."
"My faith is grounded on these truths. You can witness them in Ann and my marriage and in our family. We are a long way from perfect and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self -same as those from the other faiths that stand upon this common foundation. And these convictions will indeed inform my presidency."
"The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.
"In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion - rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith."