January 6, 2008

Media Coverage of Romney's Speech Reveals Attitudes Toward Atheists

As we enter the primaries, analysis of Mitt Romney's Mormon beliefs and whether they are relevant in evaluating his suitability for the American Presidency continue. One noteworthy point which has not been made often enough is what the media's coverage of Romney's faith speech says about public attitudes toward atheists.

The following is from an editorial in the VC Reporter (California):
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," Romney said in his speech. "Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

Those words, Romney’s continued excoriation of secularism, and the media’s collective failure to question this position are a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who look deep within their souls and find no belief in a higher power, those Americans who find all their answers to life’s mysteries in science and those Americans who choose that their faith, their spirituality is so personal that it is theirs and theirs alone and not the provenance of any religion.

Romney’s speech reinforces the flawed argument that atheists, agnostics and other secular individuals are lesser Americans undeserving of the same freedoms afforded to those who believe in a god, however they might define it.
I couldn't have said it better myself. America deserves a leader who will represent all Americans and not simply those who share his or her religious beliefs. The unwillingness of the mainstream media to call out Romney for his anti-atheist bigotry reminds me that we have a long way to go.