The Becket Fund has filed the first legal challenge to the Obama administration’s regulations requiring insurers and employers to cover reproductive health care services — including contraception — without additional cost sharing. The group has extensive ties to the anti-gay industry and is supported by GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney, who, incidentally has also attacked President Obama for waging a war against religion and allegedly undermining the conscience protections of religious organizations.
On May 8, 2008 — upon suspending his first campaign for the White House — Romney received the Fund’s prestigious Canterbury Medal for “Courage in the Defense of Religious Liberty” and delivered a speech titled, “Freedom Requires Religion.” He began his talk by joking about his Mormon faith and questioning his own religious convictions:
ROMNEY: I can tell you, I’m not an enormously religious person. I try to be a religious person and I’m a lot more religious by virtue of having married her, she keeps me on the straight and narrow. And any reward I get in regards to religious liberty is associated of her having taught me the power of faith in my life and the lives of my sons and daughters and law and grandchildren. [...]
Mormonism says you can’t drink, you can’t smoke, you can’t have coffee and you can’t have sex outside of marriage and they tell us that that gives us a longer life. I don’t believe it. It just makes it feel like it’s a longer life.
The clip reveals the depths of Romney’s connection to the Fund — to which he subsequently donated at least $25,000 — its efforts to defend those who wish to discriminate against gays and lesbians and the questionable foundations that continue to fund it.
But his comments about his faith undermine his biographical details. Romney, after all, presents himself as a religious man who spent part of his youth in France as a missionary and served as a Mormon stake president for eight years. Since entering public life, Romney has stated that he still believes in and lives by Mormon doctrine. His wife Ann, meanwhile, was converted into Mormonism by George Romney.