PRESS RELEASE from Americans United

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Romney Speech Reflects Inaccurate Understanding Of Church-State Relations, Says Americans United

Those Who Don't Follow Any Particular Religion Are Good Americans Too, Says AU's Lynn

Today’s speech by Mitt Romney on the role of religion in American politics reflects an inaccurate understanding of the constitutional relationship between church and state, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“I was disappointed in Romney’s statement,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “The founders of our Constitution meant for religion and government to be completely separate. Romney is wrong when he says we are in danger of taking separation too far or at risk of establishing a religion of secularism.

“I was particularly outraged that Romney thinks that the Constitution is somehow based on faith and that judges should rule accordingly, “ Lynn said. “That’s a gross misunderstanding of the framework of our constitutional system.

“I think it is telling that Romney quoted John Adams instead of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison,” Lynn continued. “Jefferson and Madison are the towering figures who gave us religious liberty and church-state separation.

“I was also disappointed that Romney doesn’t seem to recognize that many Americans are non-believers,” Lynn continued. “Polls repeatedly show that millions of people have chosen to follow no spiritual path at all. They’re good Americans too, and Romney ought to have recognized that fact.

“I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and I believe in my faith,” Lynn added. “But I believe just as strongly that non-believers are good Americans too. I wish Romney had said that.”

Americans United is a nonpartisan organization that takes no position on candidates for any elective office. Lynn said he is responding solely to constitutional inaccuracies in Romney’s remarks, not taking a stand on his candidacy.