Slander From Santorum: Former Senator Once Again Proves That He's No Jack Kennedy
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:42:59 AM EST
I've criticized former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum previously for his poor understanding of church-state separation.

Santorum believes President John F. Kennedy was wrong when, in a famous 1960 speech, Kennedy vowed to be the president of all people and make his policy decisions not on the basis of what his Roman Catholic faith demanded but on the grounds of what was good for the country.

Here in part is what Kennedy said in his Sept. 12, 1960, address in Houston:

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish - where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source - where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials - and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Good stuff, that.

Santorum disagrees. During a recent speech in Newton, Mass., Santorum said he was "frankly appalled" by Kennedy's statement, adding, "That was a radical statement [that did] great damage."

Continued Santorum, "We're seeing how Catholic politicians, following the first Catholic president, have followed his lead, and have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making process. Jefferson is spinning in his grave."

To Santorum, I can only say: Look, it's bad enough that you run around talking trash about Kennedy, but adding Jefferson to your Festival of Ignorance is just too much. Leave the man out of it.  You apparently know nothing about him.

Jefferson spent his entire life opposing government-mandated religion and fought every member of the clergy who supported that foul idea. Here's a famous example: During the election of 1800, presidential candidate Jefferson knew that many New England preachers were yearning to win favoritism for their faith from the federal government. He also knew that they hated him because they realized he would never let that happen. That's why they spread wild tales about Jefferson being a libertine who, if elected, would burn Bibles.

Wrote Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, "The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." (Those words might sound familiar; they're carved on the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington, D.C.)

If anything is causing Jefferson to spin in his grave, it would be the machinations of people like Santorum, who want to mix church and state into a poisonous theocratic gumbo and force-feed it to the American people.

No thanks, Rick. We know all about the theocracies you admire so much. They don't work because they crush human freedom. We found a better way: separation of church and state. Supporting that good old American concept is hardly "radical." In fact, I'd say the real radicals are the ones who want to tear it down.

Believe what you want about religion, Rick. Pray, go to mass and engage in other religious activities of your choosing. But don't think you can turn this country into a modern version of medieval Spain with iPods and Twitter. We won't have it.

In his famous speech, JFK eloquently laid out a vision of freedom of religion for all in a country that did not presume to aid or hinder faith. The choice of whether to take part in a faith community is always yours. Santorum has made his vision clear as well. It's one that crushes freedom under the heavy heel of government-sponsored religion.

I think I know which vision the American people prefer.

I think I know which vision the American people prefer.

I hope you're right, and that they prefer freedom.  So far, everything I've seen (in the last few years) suggests that a majority of the American people prefer that their favorite church gets government support and there is no freedom for anyone else.

They express it in terms of "reducing government and lowering taxes", but when pushed, the reality comes out.  We also see the reality because the end result of the moves being made now will achieve the goals that the dominionists/religious right laid out decades ago.

The sorts of things I've been hearing in the last few months suggest that freedom is being redefined to the public as "freedom to enjoy life at your expense", and if I'm right, this is being done to give freedom a bad name.  The P/D/F churches I attended preached "Freedom in Christ", but you were only free in their eyes when you gave up your freedom and became completely obedient (especially to their preachers).  They've had experience redefining freedom into something totally opposite, and so the idea that they would do it again wouldn't surprise me.

The sad thing is that the people as I perceive them achieve their goal of having freedom for their form of religion only, they will learn to their eventual horror and surprise that they aren't free either.

(I admit that it may be because of the area in which we live, but the moves I read about in other states suggest that this area isn't that much worse than any other.)

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:05:24 AM EST

...  is the idea that burdensome government could be eradicated if society would adhere to biblical principles.  I think Rob Boston is right when he says Americans don't want theocracy, but theocratic libertarianism has become a slickly marketed and appealing package, at least on the surface.

Supposedly there is going to be unprecedented freedom in America when you tear down the bureaucratic structure, eradicate regulation and end social safety nets.  I wonder how many people realize that if you follow the ideology being promoted by the Religious Right to its fruition, the void is then filled with adherence to biblical law?

Whether the Tea Parties acknowledge it or not, the ideology of theocratic libertarianism can also be found throughout their media which is heavily saturated with narratives from: 1) Christian Reconstruction and other variants of Christian Dominionism, 2) the John Birch Society, and 3) the Ludwig von Mises Institute which blends anti-statism with right wing religion.  

No, Americans don't want theocracy, but theocracy camouflaged as freedom from government is currently a bestseller.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 11:25:37 AM EST

-- but Santorum's comments on JFK remind me of a frequent confusion of deities in the popular press. Each of us exists in some relationship with the Universe -- let's call that our individual spirituality. Of that, many of not most of us give particular respect and or devotion to God in some form or function. The means by which we relate to God we often call our religion -- a tool we use to manifest our spirituality. Santorum mistakes the tool for the Deity and condemns JFK for not making the same mistake.

by Khalila RedBird on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 12:14:39 PM EST
-- to cut the rest of us off from our toolboxes?

by Khalila RedBird on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 12:16:57 PM EST

I've never forgotten how Santorum, while a Senator debating additional restrictions on abortion, made the claim that women who are "really" raped secrete a hormone that keeps them from getting pregnant. Thus he didn't think an exception in the case of rape was necessary, because if the woman got pregnant, it proved she wasn't "really" raped. I've tried to find some archive of reporting on this on the internet with no success, so if anyone locates a site, I'd appreciate knowing.

by MLouise on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 01:58:19 PM EST
The Religious Right seems to be trying to come up with any sort of reason whatsoever to totally ban abortions, and it seems that they're coming up with them and 'throwing them against the wall to see if any stick', so to speak.

A bill was recently released in Florida to ban any abortion which is funded even partially by public dollars - essentially eliminating poor women from getting the help they might need. ll-restricting-abortion-access

One of the politicians said that any "health of the woman" provision let an "amorphous exception" where people could get "elective" abortions, so they couldn't have any provisions whatsoever that made an abortion possible.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 12:12:17 PM EST

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