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The president believes religion should be an individual’s choice, and isn’t going to offer a critique on the “faith” speech given by GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was responding to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House.

He asked: “The president has seen or listened to or seen news coverage of Gov. Romney’s speech yesterday on church and state, hasn’t he?”

“I do not – no, I don’t – I don’t know. He maybe saw news coverage this morning,” Perino said.

“Does he believe that this speech yesterday will have the same desired effect as a similar speech by Sen. John F. Kennedy, also of Massachusetts?” Kinsolving asked.

“I don’t know about that. I do know that the president thinks that everyone should be able to describe their religion for themselves,” she said.

Romney’s speech was intended to satisfy those who are concerned about his Mormon beliefs, just as Kennedy’s speech was intended to respond to concerns about the fact that until that election, the United States never had had a Catholic president.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported Romney’s speech was “almost universally applauded” by Mormons.

The newspaper reported: “I was absolutely thrilled,” gushed LDS historian Richard Bushman, who is doing research at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles. “Mitt distinguished himself with this speech. I though he would say more about his Mormonism, but he wisely didn’t”

James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, called the address a “magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy.”

However, Rev. Gregory Johnson, leader of a Salt Lake City-based group of evangelical Christians, told the newspaper he was not certain it would satisfy those “who think Mormonism is a cult.”

WND founder and editor Joseph Farah noted in an analysis that he agrees with Romney’s statements that “one’s faith should be no barrier to the right to vote, the right to run for office, nor the right to hold office.”

But he could not agree with other statements.

“Here’s where I disagree – strongly,” he wrote. “Romney said: ‘I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God.’

“That may be his belief, but it is simply not true.”

“Everyone has a religion – even atheists. A religion is what a person believes about God. Everyone has beliefs – even if it is a belief that there is no God, or that there are many. Romney himself acknowledged this when he referred disparagingly to ‘the religion of secularism,’” Farah wrote.

“How could it possibly be true that everyone’s beliefs bring them closer to God? How could it be true that everyone’s beliefs bring them closer to a relationship with God? It makes no sense. It sounds nice. It tickles the ears. But it is simply false. It is, in fact, double-talk – frankly, a language Romney has mastered in his political career.”

However, that shouldn’t even be an issue for another reason, he continued.

“Whether or not discerning, Bible-based Christians should vote for a Mormon to be their president is not really a question we have to face this year, because Romney is, as I have pointed out in the past, totally unqualified for the office on his political record,” he wrote.



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