Both Marc and David Frum note that for Romney to say that candidates shouldn't have to answer theological questions just moments before declaring "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind" seems like something of a contradiction. I agree. I also agree with Bill Kristol's friend's point (echoed by Mickey Kaus) about the off-keyness of Romney's statement that "in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own," which was followed by a faintly-condescending laundry list of those features ("the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass ... the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals ... the ancient traditions of the Jews ... the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims"). And as I suggested earlier, I agree with JPod that the mere existence of the speech probably moves the political conversation in the wrong direction for Romney.

Allowing those significant caveats, If Romney was going to give a speech about faith and politics, this wasn't a bad one to give - superficially anodyne and pro-separation of church and state enough to earn praise from the mainstream press, but also carefully calibrated to make the crucial "our common enemies are more important than our theological differences" point to evangelical culture warriors, complete with references to Godless Europe and the Islamist Menace. (And whether the absence of a shout-out to agnostics and atheists was intentional or not, I can't imagine that his campaign is all that sorry that "Mitt Romney wants to marginalize nonbelievers" is one of the insta-stories coming out of the speech.)

Anyway, judge for yourself:


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