Religious muddling

Mitt Romney's speech on religion was inspiring and confusing ("Church and state: Enlightening views," Dec. 11). His message about the commonality of belief was lofty and stirring, and I applaud him for it. But he coupled that message with a claim that religion should have a place in public life, and that he endeavors to live by, and will be true to, his beliefs.

If Romney is going to be true to his faith, and if religion should play a role in public affairs, then how, at the same time, can he tell us that his faith will be distinct from his presidential decision-making? Faith should play a vital role in a person's conduct. Mine does. The separation of church and state prevents the imposition of religion, but it does not, and should not, prevent public servants from relying on their religious views for guidance.

A candidate's adherence to Mormonism or any other religion, in itself, should never matter. But the way that religious heritage, any heritage, informs a candidate's views does matter.

Guy S. Michael

Cherry Hill

Secular baiting

The last vestige of publicly sanctioned bigotry in the United States was exemplified by Mitt Romney in his speech in Texas (Inquirer, Dec. 11) when he railed against the "secularists" and everyone cheered. Just substitute blacks, Jews, gays, Catholics, Muslims, women, you name it, for secularists and see if everyone is still as enthusiastic about it.

Benjamin Weiss

Wynnewood

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Tolerance-impaired

Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" address rightly emphasized our American ideal of tolerance for all religions (Inquirer, Dec. 11). It is unfortunate, however, that he didn't acknowledge that freedom of religion in our country also extends to those who are agnostics or atheists.

Romney states, "Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God." Yet, to many of us, such statements ring hollow. To us, there is not, or may not be, any God on the other side of that window.

Atheists and agnostics can live with that absence and still be moral, patriotic, and tolerant Americans. It is too bad that to Romney - and many of the other candidates - we seem to be invisible.

Bill Dingfelder

Bala Cynwyd

Camp Huckabee

Mike Huckabee, the new darling of the so-called Christian conservatives, advocated quarantining HIV-infected individuals in the early 1990s, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the disease was not spread by casual contact ("Huckabee stands by AIDS statement," Dec. 10).

Rather than exemplifying the core Christian value of compassion, Huckabee's position is disturbingly similar to fascism's use of concentration camps to isolate those they believed "infected" the purity of their society.

It is shocking enough that a candidate for the presidency can endorse such ideas, but it is perhaps equally shocking that none of Huckabee's opponents rushed to condemn this position.

Joseph A. Micucci

Gulph Mills

Hatin' on Democrats

Why can't media give the Democrats a break ("Congress: Nothing, or worse," Dec. 7)? The Dems have come up with a number of pieces of legislation only to have them knocked down by a Congress loaded with Republicans or vetoed by President Bush. What are the Dems supposed to do?

Earl Allebach

Souderton