It's a clever turn of phrase, but more than a little disingenuous. The ability to choose one's religious beliefs and practices without pressure from any outside source is heavily reliant upon the freedoms we're granted as US citizens. That much is true. But to suggest that "freedom requires religion" is to suggest that to be free, one must have religion. I think a legion of atheists might care to disagree with Mr. Romney.
The notion isn't entirely surprising, considering its source. Unfortunately, a great number of right-leaning, evangelical Christians, Mormons, Jews, etc., have fallen prey to the misguided notion that religion is essential to leading a good, meaningful life, and that this makes it an essential component of American government. But one thing does not equal the other, and the Framers included separation of church and state for this very reason. You are, and should be, free to choose your own faith or lack thereof. Belief in God alone does not make you a good or bad person.
The funny thing is, many of our most restrictive laws in this country are the result of religious fundamentalists who believe that it's their way or the high way for everyone else. Take, for instance, Wisconsin's extremely dubious ban on gay marriages and civil unions. The effort to get that passed was spearheaded by the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin (now the Wisconsin Family Council), an unabashedly religious/Christian group with far-right leanings. I don't think they're particularly interested in freedom for their fellow citizens.
Thankfully, the effort to overturn said amendment was recently given a boost by the courts. William McConkey, a "married, straight, Christian" political science teacher, filed a legal challenge against the amendment, claiming that it violated the constitutional right of Wisconsin voters not to vote on two or more issues at once. The Dane County circuit judge ruled in his favor, throwing out an objection from the state in the process.
Thank God for people like McConkey, who break stereotypes about what their religion means in terms of their political and social beliefs, and who step up to challenge injustices. He had the freedom to choose his religion, and understands that his religion does not get to choose anyone else's freedom.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Balistreri, who represents the state, filed a motion to dismiss the suit on the grounds that McConkey lacked legal standing to bring the action because he suffered no harm as a result of the amendment. Balistreri said even if McConkey could show his rights as a voter were violated because two questions were wrapped into one, "that's not enough for standing. You have to have harm as a result of the violation," he said.
McConkey, who described himself as a "Christian, straight, married" father of nine and grandfather of seven when he filed the lawsuit, is not directly affected by the ban on gay marriages or the ban on civil unions. But Pines argued that the proposed amendment violated the Wisconsin Constitution because voters had to endorse either both concepts in the question or neither, and therefore were deprived of their rights to oppose one or the other.
McConkey has standing to proceed in the lawsuit, Pines said, because his voting rights were violated.