That's when what had begun as an issue of concern over a variety of intolerant remarks turned into a Mormon issue. Seeing Jeffress' words, Bennett decided to include a passage in his speech addressing the question of bigotry and intolerance. Bennett quoted George Washington's admonition to "despise all forms of racial and religious bigotry," and then offered the crowd an admonition of his own:
Do not give voice to bigotry. Do not give voice to bigotry. I would say to Pastor Jeffress: You stepped on and obscured the words of Perry and Santorum and Cain and Bachmann and everyone else who has spoken here. You did Rick Perry no good, sir, in what you had to say.
Then it was Romney's turn to speak. In a speech that did not touch specifically on religious issues, Romney offered another condemnation. Saying Americans "must continue to welcome faith into the public square and allow it to flourish," Romney added:
Our values ennoble the citizen and strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values, too. One of the speakers who will follow me today has crossed that line. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us -- let no agenda narrow our vision or drive us apart.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Romney's Sister Souljah Moment
At the Value Voters Summit on Friday, Rev. Robert Jeffress introduced Perry, then told reporters that Mormonism is a "cult," that Romney is not a Christian, and that Christians "ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian." Saturday's schedule included Bryan Fischer, who had made harsh remarks about gays and Muslims, among others. Byron York reports on the reactions of William Bennett and Mitt Romney: