12/07/2007 08:37 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

My Father, Mitt Romney, God and Me

I wonder how long ago it was when, for the first time, someone or other said "let us bow our heads in prayer" and I didn't.

I had been so inculcated in the notion that God, while observing my non observance took note of it, and that one day after my death HE would confront me, book in hand, read me my rights, and condemn me to burn in eternal hell for not bowing my head, and other minor or major transgressions.

I expect that when I was a fifteen year old, and a more or less Orthodox Jew, I told my Father that I would no longer do the "Jewish" stuff, he was not thrilled by my position yet he more or less accepted it.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of my beloved cousin Norma. One of her seventy something year old friends, spoke to me as we were leaving her graveside following the services, and he asked me if I thought that I had "paid Norma the proper respect," and I nicely responded that "it was not up for critical review, but was an issue between Norma and me."

I have always wondered why it is so important to so many that everyone pays homage to "their god" in general, and in accordance with their own specific beliefs.

As though we all do not have enough to worry about anyway, along comes Mitt Romney to somehow try and dispel the notion that his being a Mormon would disqualify him from the Presidency. He commanded an incredible amount of media space delivering a speech that perhaps others had written, but I digress in that statement.

I thought that no one could scare me as much as Vice President Cheney, but I was wrong.
For me there were many frightening things in his remarks. After all I am a secular person who will not bow his head in prayer.

In his book, "American Gospel," Jon Meacham quotes James Madison as saying that law was "meant to comprehend, with the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination." He went on to say that "many if not most believed, yet none must."

Mr. Romney, why exactly must "I believe?"

If it was acceptable to my Mother and Father that I was an atheist, it should not matter to a man running for the Presidency of our once great nation.

Being unable to resist an afterthought, exactly when did God ask that "In God we trust" be on our currency, or that the Ten Commandments be displayed in Government spaces, or that we should pray in school?

I wish someone would ask Romney if he thought that I would be required to bow my head at a religious ceremony if I chose not to.

Norman Horowitz