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Dec 13 2007
Romney quote and non-religion stats in Economist article

A new article in the Economist quotes Mitt Romney as saying:

“freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom…freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

The same article also notes that this is a disturbing thought to those of us who consider ourselves to be free Americans without religion. Certainly, freedom ALLOWS religion, but I'm troubled by his suggestion that it REQUIRES it.

Interestingly, the article goes on to present figures for the number of people who might be offended by this suggestion:

According to figures compiled by the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), almost 30m people claimed “no religion” in 2001, a doubling from 1991. This dwarfs America’s 2.8m who describe themselves as Jews according to the same survey (although other estimates suggest that the Jewish population is much larger, at about 6m). Catholicism, the country’s largest Christian denomination, boasts 51m followers. In other words, irreligion claims a surprisingly large number of adherents.

The article also has a suggestion for us, that maybe we should take to heart:

Keeping the Ten Commandments out of an Alabama courthouse is one thing. But attacking a Christmas nativity scene on public property does more harm than good. Such secular crusades allow Christians—after all, the overwhelming majority of the country—to feel under attack, and even to declare that they are on the defensive in a “War on Christmas”. When a liberal federal court in California struck the words “under God” from the pledge of allegiance, religious conservatives rallied. Atheists might be tactically wise to accept the overwhelming majority’s comfort with such “ceremonial deism”.

You can read the article online at

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