Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Religious Liberty Offers Concession Speech
I would like to thank all of you for supporting me here today. Wow, it's been a good couple of centuries, hasn't it? (wild applause) Thank you, thank you. Well, we fought the good fight, we ran the race. I'd like to tip my hat to my opponent, Secular Pseudo-Tolerance, for winning this particular battle. (boos) Now, now. Let's be honest--because freedom allows us to be honest, and integrity compels it. I think people get used to me being around for them, and take me for granted. I like that, to be fair, when people act like I am an intrinsic right. No need to be showy about it. I'm a backgrounder kind of guy. But being a backgrounder may have hurt us here. People haven't felt the pain when religious liberty is suppressed in a while.
You Catholics in the room? (roar) You know about this. You have the experience of American history on your side. Rhode Island was your experiment, not in creating a Catholic state, but a free state where people could practice whichever religion they wished. You Mormons in the room? (roar) You know what it means to be persecuted, because who else would agree to set up shop in a desert? You Jews in the room? (roar) You know more than most that when religious freedom is dismissed, so is human decency and respect. And it goes downhill, quickly, from there. You Muslims in the room? (roar) You know what's happening in France. Its a sad state of affairs when a country is telling you that you should be wearing less clothing rather than more. You Evangelicals in the room? (little roar) We thank you for standing by the principle of free, adult choice in practicing religion that is at the heart of your theology. You mainline Protestants in the room? (silence) Oh, sorry. Got carried away there.
Maybe we could have made our case better, but its hard when you are used to having human rights to suddenly not having them--and having to voice why a right so embedded within American history needs to be protected within public policy. Friends, this is simply a battle, and we have a new day and new fights for which to prepare. I may be a backgrounder kind of guy, but people do notice when I'm gone. People of good will realize that freedom is more dear than convenience. But you need to continue to stand up for me. You need to take the high ground and recognize this is not about your particular faith or your particular party. You need to remind people that freedom of religion is linked to freedom of speech, thought, and conscience. Indeed, you can always make the right choice, at cost. But you can fight for a nation that makes living according to conscience a high value, and part of what it means to be not only a citizen, but human. (strong applause)
Suddenly: milling around, confusion. A man steps up to the microphone.
"Excuse me, everyone. Where did that guy go?"
and a big hat tip to Jeff Miller for the idea