The Romney campaign has insinuated for months that President Obama is hostile toward religion, but they appear to be finished with mincing words. A new ad, titled Be Not Afraid, says that Obama has declared a “war on religion” and uses images and words of Pope John Paul II. Watch the ad here.
Obviously Romney is trying to appeal to Catholic voters and those who sympathize with US bishops who feel that religious liberty is under attack. Co-opting images of John Paul II for an American political campaign should be offensive to Catholics of all stripes. Love him or not, John Paul II stood by his convictions and was unafraid to articulate even unpopular positions. Romney, on the other hand, twists and turns to appease whichever base he believes will help him fulfill his ambitions at the moment.
Accusing the president of waging a war on religion is irresponsible and untrue. Perhaps there are some issues that the Obama Administration should work through with Catholic leaders, but hyperbole like Romney’s is disingenuous and offensive. If you want to understand what a war on religion looks like, read John Allen’s piece documenting atrocities around the world committed by government’s on religious people. The Romney campaign should retract the “war on religion” comment if it wants to maintain credibility with Catholic voters, who at the moment favor Obama anyway.