Tonight’s debate was a good one to watch. Romney and Gingrich went at it with the former being more aggressive than in previous debates. Ron Paul seemed to be the comic relief of the night by making comments that brought the audience to laughter. I won’t be surprised if he drops out soon.
Towards the end of the debate, a member of the audience asked what role would religion play in making decisions as President of the United States of America. Here are the replies from the candidates that I liked.
Mitt Romney replied:
ROMNEY: Ron Paul makes very good point. I concur with that. I would also seek the guidance of — of providence in making critical decisions.
And of course, ours is a nation which is based upon Judeo- Christian values and ethics. Our law is based upon those values and ethics. And in some cases, our law doesn’t encompass — encompass all of the issues that we face around the world.
The conviction that the founders, when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, were writing a document that was not just temporary and not just for one small locale but really something which described the relationship between God and man — that’s something which I think a president would carry in his heart.
So when they said, for instance, that the creator had “endowed us with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I would seek to assure that those principles and values remain in America and that we help share them with other people in the world, not by conquering them, but by helping them through our trade, through our various forms of soft power, to help bring people the joy and — and — and opportunity that exists in this great land.
New Gingrich replied:
GINGRICH: I would say that there are three ways in which religion would affect me.
The first is, I agree with Governor Romney. I think anyone who is president is faced with decisions so enormous that they should go to God. They should seek guidance. Because these are decisions beyond the ability of mere mortals to truly decide without some sense of what it is we should be doing.
I would say, second, that we have a real obligation to recognize that, if you’re truly faithful, it’s not just an hour on Sundays or Saturdays or Fridays. It’s in fact something that should suffuse your life, to be a part of who you are. And in that sense, it is inextricably tied in with how you behave.
But I would say, third, one of the reasons I am running is there has been an increasingly aggressive war against religion and in particular against Christianity in this country, largely by…
… largely by a secular elite and the academic news media and judicial areas. And I frankly believe it’s important to have some leadership that stands up and says, enough; we are truly guaranteed the right of religious freedom, not religious suppression by the state.
Rick Santorum replied:
SANTORUM: Faith is a very, very important part of my life, but it’s a very, very important part of this country. The foundational documents of our country — everybody talks about the Constitution, very, very important. But the Constitution is the “how” of America. It’s the operator’s manual.
The “why” of America, who we are as a people, is in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”
The Constitution is there to do one thing: protect God-given rights. That’s what makes America different than every other country in the world. No other country in the world has its rights — rights based in God-given rights, not government-given rights.
And so when you say, well, faith has nothing to do with it, faith has everything to do with it. If rights come…
If our president believes that rights come to us from the state, everything government gives you, it can take away. The role of the government is to protect rights that cannot be taken away.
And so the answer to that question is, I believe in faith and reason and approaching the problems of this country but understand where those rights come from, who we are as Americans and the foundational principles by which we have changed the world.
Romney makes a good point that the American Fathers had a strong religious conviction when formulating the Declaration of Independence. Many Atheists and Secularists deny the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation.
Gingrich also makes a good point that leaders need to go to a higher authority in order to run a nation and make the right decisions. No mere mortal has all the answers and wisdom. He/she needs God for guidance. He also makes excellent points that faith is not just something one does on a day of the week. It is a daily commitment and conversion to God. I’m glad he mentioned the attack religion is getting from secularism which is starting to take hold more visibly in this nation.
Lastly, I think Santorum hit it out of the ball park, so to speak. He says the Constitution is the “how” and the Declaration of Independence is the “why.” He goes on to say that rights are given by God the Creator and not the government. These rights are not negotiable.