When Mitt Romney mentioned the “Creator” in the debate Wednesday, he owned it. “We’re all children of the same God,” he said.
That’s about 85 percent of the country he was talking to. That should have been President Obama’s constituency but he let Romney have it as he let Romney have the debate.
Citing the Declaration of Independence, Romney said: “Second, is that line that says we are endowed by our Creator with our rights, I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. That statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can’t care for themselves are cared by -- by one another.”
This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.
An atheist could never get elected dog catcher, much less president. (Democratic Rep. Pete Stark of California is a nontheist but doesn’t talk much about it).
Up until now, the idea of being American and believing in God were synonymous.
When the Republicans tried to take away the flag it took a long time for the Democrats to realize they had been hijacked. For years, Democrats were wary of wearing flag pins for fear of seeming to pander. They finally got the message.
Now it’s God. The Republicans have claimed God as their own this entire campaign, each candidate trying to out-Christian the other. Even Obama, though 17 percent of registered voters think he is a Muslim, has talked about being a Christian as often as he can.
Still, none of Obama’s references have been in a debate. And there was Obama-- grim faced, nervous, fumbling his words and wearing his American flag pin -- letting Romney, confident and aggressive and in control, roll right over him at every turn.
But the God thing clinched it. If Obama wants to win the next debate, he needs to wear God, as much as it offends him to do so, the same way he captured the flag for this one.