The Spectacle Blog

Advice for the Romney Camp — Hewitt Wing

By on 3.30.07 | 3:01PM

Hugh Hewitt continues to be wrong in his characterization of the Romney religion question. Here's a clip from his latest:

Bottom line: If you want to study up on the Mormons, fine. There is nothing biogted about genuine curioisty, and certainly there is nothing bigoted about a spirited debate between two faiths about which one is right and which one wrong. But Romney isn't the guy to ask for input on that debate, and asking him isn't really curiosity about Mormonism, it is a sneak attack on his candidacy by attacking his faith as different from most Americans and thus of "concern." Attempting also to disqualify Romney because he won't debate theology or answer personal questions about his religious practices is like saying you wouldn't vote for Rudy because he won't tell you when he last went to Confession: Goofy, and yes, bigoted, as in the Webster's definition of the word: "extreme intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion."

Hugh Hewitt is a clever debater and a clever interviewer. He tries to confine the discussion to categories where he has an advantage. Hence, his effort to put his entire discussion with Erick Erickson into the realm of religious bigotry and therefore to keep Erick on the defensive.

But in the end, it's baloney (keeping it clean,) folks and Hugh Hewitt knows it. Unless religion is purely a matter of one's private thoughts and feelings about God, then it is high octane bovine scatology to insist that it is somehow unreasonable to ask Mitt Romney how his faith (and that of his religious community) relates to his political goals and ambitions.

Hewitt tries to warn evangelicals off their natural instincts to be curious by telling them they don't want to be under similar scrutiny. Why, exactly? As an evangelical, I would never answer a question about my religious beliefs with "that's private" or "that's irrelevant." And I certainly wouldn't tell someone to "go study up at a church website." We all stand ready to give an account "for the hope that is within us" and that's not just for Sunday at church.

Bottom line, Hugh: You want to create suspicion and ill will, do what you're doing and insist that Romney shouldn't be the ambassador for his faith that he is. Send all questioners off to the library. The real answer is engagement.

By the way, I find it interesting that religion is private all of a sudden for you. Heaven knows you were interested in whether John Kerry and Terry MacAuliffe have been faithful to the Catholic teachings on abortion.

I guess they should have gotten you on their team to argue they shouldn't have to answer that question, huh, Hugh?

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