Home / News / Santorum is sick: says that JFK's separation of church and state speech and the thought of a secular society makes him want to puke
Santorum is sick: says that JFK's separation of church and state speech and the thought of a secular society makes him want to puke

Santorum is sick: says that JFK's separation of church and state speech and the thought of a secular society makes him want to puke

Apparently Rick Santorum hasn't been feeling well of late, and that the American secular democracy makes him want to puke.   The Washington Post and many other Internet sites report that  not only does the thought of secular society as we have it now where people of all faiths contribute to government makes Santorum physically sick, when Santorum read JFK's 1960 Houston address on separation of church and state that "he almost threw up."  Kennedy was addressing concerns that his Catholic faith would dictate how he governed as president:

“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,” Kennedy said.

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”

Other blogs are catching on to the fact that Santorum is deliberately twisting what JFK said. Death and TaxesMag.com remarked:

Santorum of course is trying to skew the church/state debate by making it seem as if Kennedy, and by proxy President Obama, believed people of faith should be banned from politics. That is not the case. The late president was saying that people’s religious beliefs should not impact their political dealings.

To Santorum and his supporters, though, that is a cardinal sin, because they believe that their religious beliefs — key word: their — should shape the United States. They essentially believe in a theocracy, just like the mullahs in Iran, an idea that would make our Founding Fathers want to puke.

 

Santorum is also leading his right wing evangelical followers to believe that "somebody" is saying religious people have "no role" in the public square.  Who is saying this?  Nobody really knows.  Alternet weighed in:

But Santorum evades these troublesome questions by misrepresenting the issue, as he did on ABC:

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square?  You bet that makes you throw up.  What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said.

“That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square,” he said.

Of course, no one has ever suggested such nonsense.  There is nothing in the Constitution or in the views of any prominent politician that even remotely suggests that people who have religious beliefs shouldn’t hold office or participate in the public discourse.  Santorum is either lying or being disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

The Constitution’s wisdom is that true religious and political liberty depend first on guarding against the view that anyone’s personal religious beliefs, no matter how strongly held, justify using the power of the state to impose those religious beliefs on everyone else. When Santorum tells us this wisdom makes him want to throw up, he’s implying he’s fine with using the power of government to do just that, but of course he assumes only his belief system will be used in that manner.

The people of Afghanistan have a different belief system, but many of them, like Rick Santorum, are more than willing to remove any separation between church and state.  Mere statements against a religious belief or icon, or any disrespect of the holy writ are not merely sins within the religious sphere; they require punishment sanctioned though the power of the state, even to the point of killing the offender.  In this framework, it then follows that any defiling of your sacred books warrants death, either officially or implicitly sanctioned by the state.

Lest anyone think such views are somehow unique to some “primitive society,” try wading through the hate-filled comments at right wing sites reacting to today’s stories from Afghanistan.

The tragic killing and wounding of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in response to the Koran burning shows us why the first phrase in the Bill of Rights is at least as important as the clause about freedom of exercise.  The tolerance and forbearance required by the establishment and exercise clauses require a separation of church and state to make sure religious zealots don’t use religious affronts as an excuse to kill each other and the rest of us, too.

So when Rick Santorum tells you this church/state separation concept makes him want to throw up, the American people should tell him to take it outside . . . and then get a good public education.

Santorum has picked up and ran with the current Republican ideology forwarded by pseudo-historians like David Barton that the First Amendment Establishment Clause doesn't really say what it says.   TheocracyWatch.org notes the history of this type of mythmaking:

Foes of Church-State Separation

The Texas Republican Party Platform, 2002:

"Our Party pledges to do everything within its power to dispel the mythof separation of church and state."

Christian Coalition: Speakers at the Road To Victory rally sponsored by Christian Coalition just before the 2002 elections,

"seemed to compete with each other to say the worst things they could about this concept." Coalition founder Pat Robertson who described church-state separation as "a lie" and "a distortion foisted on us over the past few years by left- wingers." Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore termed separation "a fable" and insisted that the phrase "has so warped our society it's unbelievable." Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) upped the ante, calling concerns about church and state "the phoniest argument there is."

But the award for the most vicious attack goes to Joyce Meyer, the TV preacher who cosponsored the Coalition's national meeting. Meyer lambasted the constitutional concept as "really a deception from "Satan."

William Pryor, President Bush's stealth appointment for the 11th circuit court of appeals said in a speech that the First Amendment does not mandate "a strict separation of church and state."

Tom DeLay, former House Majority leader, speaking at a luncheon for Congressional staff in July, 2001 called the Faith Based Initiative a way of:

"standing up and rebuking this notion of separation of church and state that has been imposed upon us over the last 40 or 50 years."

DeLay's history is a bit confused. The principle was articulated by Roger Williams, founder of the settlement in Rhode Island, in the 1600s. The framers of the US Constitution adopted the principle. It has been upheld by every Supreme Court since 1879 – that is until the year 2002 when the court approved school vouchers. DeLay went on to say "You see, I don't believe there is a separation of church and state."

David Barton

"Who Is David Barton , And Why Is He Saying Such Awful Things About Separation Of Church And State?"

David Barton and the "Myth" of Church-State SeparationBeliefnet (a web site of faith and spirituality)

As a "Christian" nation activist, David Barton, Vice Chair of the Republican Party, was once considered so extreme he was not taken seriously. Now he is listed by Time magazine as one of the nation's 25 most influential evangelicals.

He was also featured on the front page of The New York Times Week in Review, February 27, 2005: Putting God Back Into American History.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia

On January 12, 2003, Supreme Court Justice Scalia speaking at an event called Religious Freedom Day, publicly attacked the separation of church and state signaling the problems this important principle would have under a Supreme Court with a Scalia majority.

He went on to note that the First Amendment “says the free exercise of religion — that means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square.”

 Is Santorum saying a vote for him is a vote for theocracy?  Santorum also believes that giving everyone a chance to go to college is no longer the American dream, because not everybody wants to go to college and become "indoctrinated" in liberal values.  Santorum's "puking" comment comes at 17:05.

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About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    I read that this morning and I wondered if he ever once thought that his religious beliefs make others literally sick and throw up? Such views as his cause me migraines from hell and a stomach that wants to bring up hell.

    If he gets his way with education, then nobody will be educated and we'll be in the Dark Ages. He does not support the basic principles of this country. He does support the basic principles of Fundamngelicalism.

  • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

    I've been reporting on this for over a year on GodDiscussion — glad the mainstream is now paying attention. Right Wing Watch was, too.

    Here's a September, 2010 article where JFK and Santorum's speeches are compared:

    http://www.goddiscussion.com/31407/separation-of-church-and-state-on-september-12-1960/

    Deborah

  • sheldon

    Education plays a key role here. I mean education in general. The goal is about ensuring we have an ample supply of quasi-educated serfs who never break the rules and always pay their taxes. When your goal is to produce good little tax-payers rather than enlightened, critical thinkers, you end up with a working class that is concerned with little else other than what they have been engineered to care about… that the size of their bank accounts and whether they're saving enough for retirement is of paramount importance and then, you make sure they have to work 60 plus hours a week to try and achieve that.

    Top that off with zenophobic, religious indoctrination and you have a recipe for disaster.

    People like Santorum, Robertson and Barton are frightening. It is their kind of thinking that led to the infamous witch-hunts; a most brutal campaign against women and young girls directed by a misogynist and misanthropic organization called the church, and the creation of what is commonly regarded as the most terrifying document in human history, "The Hammer Of Witches". With that document in hand, once you were accused of witch-craft, your torture and death were imminent. There was no escape… once you were accused, it was over.

    It is quite easy to see the parallels between the thinking that caused the inquisition and the thinking coming from people like Santorum, Robertson and Barton, who are, clearly, on a quest to convince as many people as possible that the rest of us are god-hating heathens who deserve no more than to burn in the fires of hell… suitable methods of punishment to be devised as necessary.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Cullen Murphy's book, God's Jury, gets into that and states it eloquently. He was a guest on our last show and warned about the dangers of another inquisition, whether a secular one (i.e., all the cameras everywhere and surveillance) and/or religious (today's religious right).

      I, too, am disturbed about what I am hearing Santorum and others say.

      Deborah

  • thomas mc

    I'm so sick of Santorum trying to shove his pedophile religion down the throats of our youth!

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