Er… not really. But I think he has realised that there are Atheists in this country since he gave that ever so popular faith speech in which he called secularism a religion.
See, I ditched two periods of school and I went to see him speak today. Not that I really support him, I just wanted to go see him speak because the election is this year, I’m interested in who will be the next leader of the United States, and I want to know who the greater of whatever evils the Republican side and/or the Democrat side will turn out so that I know who I should vehemently campaign against.
So, I piled into an SUV with three other students, and we drove to Freeway Ford where he was holding his political rally.
The mother of one of the students, who was driving us, commented on how Obama and Clinton had gotten an entire auditorium at University of Denver, but Romney had to have his rally in a car dealership. She put forward the theory that the University of Denver was too Liberal to let Romney speak there, but it became clear when Romney began his speech by thanking the owner of the car dealership and talking about how he drives a Ford. It’s a conservative thing to drive American-made cars as opposed to imports, in case you haven’t already noticed.
But, I said I was going to comment on Romney’s interestingly secular(ish) aspects of his speech, so I’m going to cut some of the stuff about the economy which he seems to believe is very important, and just focus on a few sentences which I found interesting.
Of course, my heart sank a little when I saw a sign reading “Mitt is focused on the family”. In case you didn’t get the allusion, there’s a Fundamentalist Christian organisation in Colorado Springs called “Focus on the Family” which lobbies against abortion, and for all sorts of fun, fun, fun Evangelical values.
Indeed, family values did pop up in Mitt Romney’s speech. For the record, I’m not quoting him verbatim here, but he went off on a chain about how the American people are what make this country great, and how the American people must have great family values and…
“We need to teach our kids that if they want to have kids of their own, they need to get married first!”
My heart sank a little lower. I don’t think that he meant that he thought preventing pre-marital sex was the foundation of family values, which were the foundation of the country (though he seems to think that family values are part of the foundation of the country along with the economy), but he seemed to think that preventing pre-marital sex was very important. This begs the question…
Why do politicians care about the sex lives of teenagers?
Furthermore, aren’t families values about more than making your kids uphold 5,000 year old (or 2,000 year old… or in the case of the Book of Mormon 150 year old) religious values?
Right then, now that I’ve gotten the extremely unsecular thing that ticked me off out of the way… on to the stuff that kind of makes Romney secular… kind of.
He’s definitely going for the evangelical vote… likes to talk about values a lot. He shared an anecdote about how when he went down to Memphis, Tennessee, he saw some T-shirts that said “Yankee Governor… Southern Values”. He said that he asked the wearers of the T-shirts what was meant by southern values. I’ve got a cold and my brain has been moving so slow that I can’t remember a single one of them, but as you can imagine, the first southern value I could think of was faith in God. Tennessee is in Bible Belt after all… couldn’t help it. Curiously, he must have listed nine values, but faith was not one of them. One can only wonder if he didn’t purposefully omit it…
Earlier on in the speech (alright, yeah, this is not in chronological order…), he said another very curious thing.
Again, I’m not quoting verbatim here, but…
“The people in this country believe in something. For some people that’s faith. For those who don’t have faith, that’s their ethnicity or their communities…”
Again, I don’t really support Mitt Romney, but I was very surprised to hear him say that. When the secularists got outraged by his faith speech, I think he learned a lesson, and for once, politicians seem to be acknowledging that there are non-believers in this country.
Granted, I didn’t pay much attention to how secular presidential candidates were in the past, and I haven’t heard in full any of the other candidate’s speeches, but after hearing all the Republicans and Democrats take so many opportunities to talk about their faith, it was a (refreshing) surprise to hear one mention that there are people who don’t have faith.
So, I justify the following statement.
Atheism in America=Epic Win