Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a complicated history when it comes to addressing his faith. While he gave a well-known speech about his Mormon beliefs back in 2007 during his first run for the White House, in the years following, some have subsequently accused him of holding back on publicly-stating his theological values (read a full history of Romney’s past comments about his faith here).
Despite these critiques, at the Republican National Convention not long ago, Romney opened up candidly about his views on God and his church activities. And last night, at the second presidential debate, the candidate, again, spoke openly about his allegiance to the Mormon faith and the prominent role that his belief in the Almighty plays in both his policies and passion.
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In powerful closing words, the candidate discussed his personal faith and religious views in an effort to showcase their importance in his life — a message he clearly hoped would resonate with the American electorate. Before delving into these sentiments, Romney highlighted his allegiance to helping citizens — and the nation — get back on track.
“I care about 100 percent of the American people,” Romney said, trying to separate himself from his past comments about the 47 percent that caused debate among liberals and conservatives, alike.
From here, Romney connected his LDS membership to his care for the general public, claiming that his devotion is rooted in his faith.
“My passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in God — and I believe we’re all children of the same God,” he said. “I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another.”
Romney went on to highlight his own work within the Mormon church. In addition to serving as a missionary, he was a pastor of his congregation for a decade. Throughout these experiences, the candidate said he helped fellow church members through difficult times.
“I’ve sat across the table from people who were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times,” he said.
Watch Romney’s entire address, below:
Romney’s openness about his faith likely hinges upon an urge to personally connect with voters. Considering that The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently found that the vast majority of Americans — 73 percent — are Christian, with an additional six percent encompassing other faiths, the role of religion in American life is explicit.
It’s too early to tell how this portion of the debate resonated with voters – particularly those with a faith bent — but Romney’s openness on the matter certainly helps to make him more relatable.