December 7, 2007
PBS: Pundits on Belief Speech
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly rounds up scholars on Romney's address.
I'm proud of our own coverage of Romney's "Faith in America" speech (here, here, and here). But that doesn't mean I'm not jealous of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly's phenomenal roundup of scholars' reactions over at their election blog.
I don't know how many people the PBS program asked to respond, but they got brief reactions from Allen Hertzke, David Davenport, Steve Monsma, James K.A. Smith, David Gushee, Kimberly H. Conger, Richard Wightman Fox, Ronald C. White, Leo Ribuffo, David O'Brien, Randall Balmer, and Charles T. Mathewes. The Newsweek/Washington Post blog On Faith did a roundup too (with an impressive lineup that included Martin Marty, Stephen Prothero, and Richard Bushman, the world's top Mormon/Mormonism historian). But I found Religion and Ethics Newsweekly's a bit more provocative. Watch out, On Faith. PBS is right behind you!
One of the better observations in the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly lineup, I thought, came from Smith, who focused on the title of Romney's speech, "Faith in America." "From where I sit, it looks like Romney's 'own' faith is faith in America. Americans needn't worry about Romney's Mormonism because, at the end of the day, the faith that trumps all others is 'Americanism,'" he wrote. "If evangelical culture warriors had worries about Romney's faith, his jeremiad today should confirm that he pledges allegiance to the same 'God of liberty' that they do. We're all Americanists now. But I hope Mr. Romney and his culture warrior friends (whether on the right or left) won't be surprised if some of us find it hard to believe in Americanism and its God of liberty."