In at least two of the Presidential debates, Mitt Romney mentioned that he believes that “we are all children of the same God.”
Romney is no stranger to alienating large groups of voters with casual remarks. I mean, there was the video in which he dismisses forty-seven percent of Americans as irresponsible government-dependents who will never vote for him. His history of strong opposition to marriage equality (that’s a view that’s actually remained consistent over the last decade) is dismissive of gay voters, even after the President of the United States has publicly endorsed marriage equality. An estimated one-third of women will have an abortion in their lifetimes; Romney’s stance is strongly opposed to the reproductive rights of those women—and others.
So, in a country where even the most liberal, inclusive politicians say “God bless America,” it comes as no surprise when a politician like Mitt Romney announces: “I believe that we are all children of the same God.”
Because that is not a genuinely inclusive statement, any more than: “pale or tan, we’re all white folks.” And while I am not comparing the life of living as a religious minority to the experiences that one encounters when faced with racism, and while I am not comparing the Abrahamic faiths themselves to “white power” groups, there is one simple parallel: including individuals with minor differences in order to form a more powerful majority that can exclude more significant differences.
Romney faces some difficulties with some evangelical voters who consider Mormonism to be merely an offshoot of Christianity (or, in more extreme cases, “a Satanic cult,” but that’s with the people who believe that about every religion and denomination save their own). Elections are a numbers game, and if you can attract or reassure more voters than you alienate, it’s a “good move.”
This is one of the reasons for which I abhor democracy.
Alienating religious minorities who believe in different Gods or in no Gods at all is a necessary move to court much of the Christian majority. And because Mitt Romney’s line includes Jewish and Muslim adherents, it tries to appear to be inclusive. Members of both parties are guilty of using lines like this, but it is not usually by someone like Mitt Romney who, more than most Presidential candidates, should know what it is like to be ignored or dismissed because of his faith.
It is not inclusive.