Religion reared its head just once in last night's presidential debate, in Mitt Romney's two-point riff on the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Point one focused on the government's responsibility for the protection of life and liberty--militarily, with no suggestion that "life" has to do with abortion. Then came :
Second, in 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.
We're a nation that believes that we're all children of the same god and we care for those that have difficulties, those that are elderly and have problems and challenges, those that are disabled. We care for them. And we -- we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the American heart to provide the pursuit of happiness for our citizens.
That the right to pursue happiness should require the government to protect religious liberty is plausible enough, but the idea that it entails a governmental obligation to help the poor, the elderly, and the disabled has got to be a novelty. It's the kind of claim that, if a Democrat said it, would elicit howls of socialism.
So much for Reaganesque--or (Paul) Ryanesque--claims that the government is best that governs least. Romney was clearly making his pitch to get back some of the 47 percent. Ayn Rand is turning over in her grave.