Republican presidential candidates promised to uphold values such as religious liberty and traditional marriage at events in South Carolina, where the next primary election is slated to take place on Jan. 21.
â€œAt every turn, at every issue that would reach my desk, I will stand up for the ability of Americans to worship God as they choose,â€ said Mitt Romney, who currently leads in polls across the state.
Romney vowed to protect Americaâ€™s religious tradition while speaking at a Jan. 14 forum hosted by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
During the event at the Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston, Romney was asked by participants how he would address â€œgrowing anti-Christian sentimentâ€ in America.
The former Massachusetts governor responded that he would not add to what he called the secularization of America, but instead promote all citizens’ rights to practice religion as they see fit.
â€œI think we ought to be able to have manger scenes at Christmastime and menorahs, representing other faiths,â€ he explained.
â€œWe are a believing people,â€ Romney said. â€œThe Declaration of Independence established our rights by saying that they were created not by government, but by the Creator.â€
GOP contender Rick Perry also voiced support for religious freedom.
At a Jan. 16 debate at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the Texas governor defended the principle of â€œministerial exceptionâ€ â€“ recently upheld by the Supreme Court â€“ that allows religious groups to hire and fire individuals on their own terms, without government interference.
Perry also said that the Obama administration â€œis at war against organized religion.â€ He criticized the administration for denying a grant request from the U.S. bishops to run a program aiding human trafficking victims. [More]