It’s been a while ago now, but we’ve added to our features a list of strong defenses of Mitt Romney published in the national press, seen at the bottom of this page.  By defenses, I don’t mean people advocating for Mitt Romney on the basis of his religion.  Rather, these are articles speaking out against judging Romney based solely on his religion, and advocating greater tolerance regarding such things.  Strong editorials by John Fund and Jeff Jacoby anchor that list so far.

And it’s a good day to point to the defense section, because it will gain two new, and very good, entries today.

The first is this wise column that appeared in the Denver Post a few days ago, by recent college graduate Chris Rawlings. Rawlings laments the opportunity for serious coverage of Romney’s candidacy that his hometown paper lost when it punctuated Romney’s visit to Colorado with a three page article detailing the various peculiar points of Mormon belief and history.  He states in closing that if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, “it will neither be in spite of, nor because of, his Mormon faith.”  Just as it should be.

The second is this Washington Post editorial by Michael Gerson.  Gerson’s categorization of religious beliefs is quite helpful in evaluating what kinds of faith-based truths can and should affect policy decisions.  He draws a line between soteriology (beliefs about how souls gain salvation) and eschatology (beliefs about how the world will end) on the one hand, and anthropology (beliefs about the nature and value of human life) on the other.  While he places the former two categories out of bounds, as have nearly all American politicians, he believes that the latter category is ripe with possibility for influencing public dialogue in a good way.  Lest any critics find this claim too sweeping or ominous, Gerson correctly points out that religious beliefs about humanity and its dignity have driven a huge part of the progress toward equality that is already in our history.  This is undoubtedly true.

It’s nice to see  a bit of enlightenment being spread around, especially in a week that was also notable for its bigotry.  We will bring other defenses to your attention as we see them.