Romney: No Jack Kennedy

Mitt Romney's speech has been widely compared to one made 47 years ago by John F. Kennedy during his presidential run. Here are bits from the two. You decide which is more likely to raise a politician to greatness.

Romney said, "In recent years the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life."

We must live in different nations. With federal funding for faith-based organizations heading toward the billion-dollar mark, certainly in my lifetime the wall between church and state has never had more holes.

Kennedy said, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote." No candidate in the '08 presidential run could or would make such a statement for fear of being laughed out of the race. It's a sad commentary on how far backward this country has moved since 1960.

Romney said, "Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world." Funny words coming from someone who's gone back and forth on that most important of issues to evangelical voters: legalized abortion.

Kennedy said, "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish--where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source--where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials--and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Romney said, "Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

Kennedy put it much more eloquently. Mitt Romney, you're no Jack Kennedy. You're not even Mike Huckabee as far as conservative Christians are concerned. And this speech is unlikely to do anything to convince those voters otherwise.

By Bonnie Erbe