Jan. 6, 2012
BOSTON — New Hampshire is not Iowa, and perhaps no other issue reflects their differences than the role of religion in politics. Social conservatives are credited with helping Rick Santorum surge in Iowa and they're standing by to help him again in South Carolina.
But in between is New Hampshire and the Dec. 10 primary. While Mitt Romney may get a one-week reprieve from facing a religious voting block, his Mormon faith is something he's been forced to address, as he did in this 2007 speech.
"When I place my hand on the Bible, and take the oath of office. That oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I’m fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States," he said.
That was then. "This time you can't get a quote out of the Romney campaign about religion. They don't want to deal with it," said professor Mark Silk, who studies the role of faith in politics.
During the last presidential race, Silk said, Romney met with evangelicals and "asserted that like them he accepted Jesus as his lord and savior. It didn't work." That's in part because evangelical Christians consider their religion to be very different from Mormonism. "When you claim to be like them, that gets their hackles up."
So it might not be a bad strategy for Romney to steer clear, Silk said — if he can keep from being forced to address the issue.
More videos on religion in politics:
Candidate Rick Santorum, favored by evangelical Christians, rang notes of faith in his speech the night of the Iowa caucus.
John F. Kennedy gave the grandaddy speech on faith during his presidential run in 1960:
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