Okay, not exactly. But he did say that he feels as if he is Catholic during a campaign stop on Wednesday. He said we all are.
In case you have not already seen the video, Romney said in Ohio:
Religious liberty — our first freedom of those enumerated in the Bill of Rights. And the president and his administration said they are going to usurp your religious freedom by demanding that you provide products to your employees, if you’re the Catholic Church, that violates your own conscience.
And so whether it’s a Catholic businessperson or the Catholic Church itself they’re being told what they have to do that violates their religious conscience. That attack on religious freedom I think is a dangerous and unfortunate precedent.
And I know we’re not all Catholic in this room. Many presumably are. But I feel that we’re all Catholic today. In our battle to preserve religious freedom and tolerance and freedom in this country, it is essential for us to push back against that.
The comments were well received — if you consider a standing ovation a warm reception. It was followed by a “Say it again” from the audience after applause. “I will say it again,” Romney said. “That’s one more good reason to get rid of Obamacare. And I’m going to get that done the first day I’m in office.”
This was not his first comment on the HHS Mandate religious-liberty fight, but his strongest, most spirited yet.
Romney’s “We’re all Catholics” comment on Wednesday could not have been better timed. It was the same day that evangelical Wheaton College joined the Catholic University of America in suing the federal government in Washington D.C. federal district court.
It’s worth pointing out that Romney is not a latter-day defender of religious liberty, having come up against ideological challenges to it while he was governor of Massachusetts. His comments Wednesday serve as a reminder that this election matters in ways that run much deeper than what party is in the White House.
The House of Representatives has been a powerhouse of attention to this issue, with Nebraska Republican Jeff Fortenberry in the lead, with an ecumenical, bipartisan coalition supporting his conscience-rights legislation. Speaker of the House John Boehner has insisted that the “If the president does not reverse the Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must.” That would be a lot more possible to do with a Senate that would support him and a president who would sign conscience protection.
Do we value religious liberty as we have or not? That’s the choice.