Sally Quinn: Romney Speech 'Obliteration' of Church-State Separation

Pat Buchanan was very moved. Chris Matthews "heard greatness this morning." Joe Scarborough said Romney "hit it out the park." But with his speech on faith this morning, Mitt clearly didn't make a believer out of Sally Quinn, doyenne of the DC establishment and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee.

SALLY QUINN: I have to say that I'm really stunned because I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state. He eliminated anybody who was a doubter, an atheist, an agnostic, a seeker. It's like, if you believe in God or Christ, if not, you're not.

View video here.

Which "separation of church and state" did Quinn have in mind? The one that's not in the Constitution? The First Amendment does of course contain an Establishment Clause, prohibiting the establishment of a state religion. But Romney could not have been more explicit in stating that he would not let Mormonism or any other religion dictate his decisions as president.

MITT ROMNEY: Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or any other church for that matter, will ever influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs. And it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution. And of course, I will not do so as president. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.

As a young man, Lincoln described what he called America's political religion, the commitment to defend the rule of law and the Constitution. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I'm fortunate to become president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.

With that statement, Romney entirely fulfilled the mandate of the Establishment Clause. As for non-believers, did Quinn not hear Romney's homage to Lincoln's description of America's "political religion" based on the constitution and not any religion?

As noted at the beginning, Romney did win some rave reviews.

PAT BUCHANAN: I don't know how he could have done it better. I mean, I was very moved.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have to say if he wins the presidency, it started here . . . For the first time in this campaign, and it's been a long campaign, I heard greatness this morning.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: He hit this thing out of the park. It was a great morning for him.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.