Pandering to his religious base in the first presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney claimed, "We're a nation that believes that we're all children of the same god." Romney's claim was inappropriate, unnecessarily divisive and just plain wrong.
The simple reality is that our nation also includes nonbelievers, who far outnumber Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, according to the Pew Research Center ("More Americans losing their religion," Tribune, Oct. 9). Atheists don't consider themselves or anyone else to be children of any god. Yet atheists are some of our nation's finest citizens.
Moreover, even our nation's theists don't believe in the "same god," by any reasonable definition of "same." Elohim is not the same god as Shiva; neither is Jesus Christ. Romney doesn't publicly worship Shiva or other Hindu gods. But many other Americans do.
Likewise, Americans who worship Shiva don't worship any of the Mormon gods.
The Constitution is clear: Citizenship, and even the presidency, has no requirements for religious beliefs. Many Americans don't believe in "the same god" that Romney does, or believe that Romney's god is their own Heavenly Father.
The implication that these people are not real Americans is itself un-American.
Gregory A. Clark
Salt Lake City