Santorum on Kennedy speech: “That makes me throw up”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. 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.

This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. (John) Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate. Go on and read the speech. I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith. It was an absolutist doctrine that was abhorrent (ph) at the time of 1960. And I went down to Houston, Texas 50 years almost to the day, and gave a speech and talked about how important it is for everybody to feel welcome in the public square. People of faith, people of no faith, and be able to bring their ideas, to bring their passions into the public square and have it out…

…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? 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.”

– Rick Santorum, on JFK’s 1960 speech on separation of church and state

Read the whole interview

Comments

  1. Santorum’s mix of church and state is using the Catholic religion in the mix.

    Many Protestants that now support him will probably distance themselves real fast. He is already on record stating his belief that much of protestantism isn’t Christian anyway, intimating that they left Christianity when they split from Catholicism.

    Evangelical Christians generally have, at the very least, a deep abiding suspicion of Catholicism, and, at the most, a loathing of it.

    I think his campaign is likely in serious trouble, and it’s his fault.

  2. High time another Catholic said this. An “absolute” separation of religion and state disaster for all involved. And we can see it happening now with this HHS mandate. Religion is relegated to the role of underground bridge club, and Caesar dominates everything else.

  3. Constantianism, the idea that the church should transform society from the top-down through the avenues of power, is precisely the kind of idea that Jesus explicitly rejected when he rejected the three temptations in the garden. Rick Santorum keeps saying more ridiculous things everyday. Let the church be the church! Let the state be the state! And the twain should not meet.

  4. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    I was involved in politics in the 1960′s and 1970′s here in Ma. And the worst thing that happened then to Catholics– and all sincere Christians –was the rise to power of the Kennedy Clan. It is now absolutely clear that JFK’s Houston speech was a tour de force of self-serving attacks on the First Amendment.
    Things haven’t changed much. I just saw that Patrick Kennedy is now attacking our U.S. Senator Scott Brown for defending the First Amendment and for being in favor of conscience protection for all religious believers (as he says Sen. Ted was in favor of.) However, P.K. claims, in essence, that his father Sen. Ted was never really in favor of conscience protection for Catholics and other Christians.
    Now another Kennedy is being given the red carpet treatment here in Ma. Like with wealthy Harvard prof E. Warren, the Dem Party Establishment here is strong-arming and bludgeoning non-elite , less financially endowed candidates to drop out.
    Why is it we always hear so much about Republicans with money when the Democrats are such masters at controlling and manipulating politics with their bankrolls???

  5. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Sorry Jake–things aren’t as the media has portrayed them (surprise!)
    In clear context, Santorum was referring to the mainstream Protestant churches (not all Protestant churches) which have been endorsing things like Gay marriage, “married gay clergy” (and bishops), abortion, etc.
    On the other hand many evangelicals are the ones who have been fleeing the mainstream Protestant churches in droves. And if blogs, etc. are any indication, many, many evangelicals agree with Santorum’s observations about the “mainstream” they ran away from.

  6. Mr. Santorum is, of course, twisting everything Mr. Kennedy said. No one ever said people of faith cannot be involved in government. However, that doesn’t mean the Church should be involved in government. As a Catholic, I certainly don’t want the Southern Baptists or the Lutherans or the Muslims or the Universalists or the Druids, etc, as a Church, influencing policy (or the Pope, for that matter.) People of faith who believe in fairness and justice and love of neighbor will be able to pass laws that insure these sorts of things without bringing in the official Church. They should be able to pass these laws on their own merits, without bringing God into the equation. Mr. Santorum, in his shortsightedness and religious bigotry, is speaking of involving the Christian/Catholic Church in government policy. He’d be the first to howl to high heaven if Muslims or Jews or some other faith were trying to impose their religious beliefs on us. (He would also, of course, make the false argument that we are a “Christian” nation….I’m not sure that Jesus would buy into that notion!) He’s a dangerous man…he believes and is confident he has God on his side…what sort of evil has been perpetrated in the past by people who have believed that?

  7. Doug Indeap says:

    Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

    Separation of church and state is hardly “absolute”–at least not in the sense that Santorum supposes that President Kennedy meant in his 1960 speech. Kennedy did not remotely suggest that faith is not allowed in the public square. In asserting otherwise, Santorum indulges in shallow “straw man” rhetoric.

    It is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    Nor does the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

    The Constitution, including particularly the First Amendment, embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

    Wake Forest University has published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

  8. If the gentleman from Pennsylvania has such a delicate constitution that a half-century old Kennedy speech will cost him his lunch, perhaps he ought to look for a less stressful job than president. Santorum, not Kennedy, is the absolutist on this issue. In word and deed he envisions a system with no boundaries between government and faith, a functional if not literal theocracy. This is the false dichotomy of the religious right these days. If the government is not allowed to enforce religious doctrine in all matters, then Christians are “oppressed” and “faith is not allowed in the public square.” Santorum’s absurdity is further deepened by the fact that he wants to use government to enforce his own personal theology, which is often deeply at odds with the official doctrine of his professed religion. And even cuter, he has made himself his own Magisterium competent to adjudge Obama as being “not a real Christian.”
    All JFK said was that he owed his first allegiance to the Constitution and not to any foreign power or his own religion’s doctrines. His affirmation of that principle dispelled a long-held suspicion that perhaps Catholicism was fundamentally incompatible with democracy. Men like Santorum and openly partisan machinations by the bishops have caused many Americans to re-open that issue. In the meantime, I do hope candidate Santorum’s stomach bears up under it all. To show him that action can follow from one’s personal convictions, I may send his office some antiemetics and a large sack of sawdust to sustain him for his new career in the private sector!

  9. My comment is based only partly on the media’s portrayal of the situation. In the majority my comments are based on living in the deep (deep!) south bible belt.

    I live near, socialize with, and, before retirement, worked with both mainline protestants and evangelical Christians that dominate the bible belt. I suspect the evangelical bloggers are far from the majority of their group, though probably among the more vocal.

  10. Sue from Buffalo says:

    I’ve been reading some of these comments and I’m very disappointed. Twist a little harder, will ya? I mean, why not try to REALLY demonize Santorum.

    Oh, and separation of church and state? Come on. You can do better than that. That was strictly to keep any religion from being the official religion of a state, etc.

    Twist a little harder, folks. Your ignorance is showing.

  11. Doug,
    There is no clause saying separation of church and state. It was an invention of the supreme court in 1947 with disasterous results. The first congress after ratification took up the bill or rights as promised during the ratification process. They are still there for anyone interested to read. They are almost startling in their clarity detailing the importance of religion to the government they had created. Two things were essential. That the government could not select a specific religion like Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish and make it the state religion. They would of course have not discussed secular humanism or atheism because all of the discussion are around the fact that this is a Christian nation. Therefore the words detailed that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. If one understands history at the time, you would know that those who came here to found this country came to escape from a government with a state religion and that the wars in Europe had been between states saying everyone had to become a specific denomination of faith. So government could not establish any including secular humanist or atheist. Both of these have been delcared a religion by the supreme court long before 1947 error. They are a belief which the followers want everyone else to follow. Zero, Nada, none of the founders would have even considered a government without God as central since they accepted that all our rights came from God, not government.
    The other thing the first congress established firmly into the first amendment was to “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” of ones chosen religion.” From the ratification of the bill or rights up to 1947, the courts ruled over and over against anything that would take away or allow government to try to mess with religious liberty. They often listed as is standard with court rulings, multiple court precidents and the bill of rights language itself as justification. One ruling had 92 precidents. Yet the court in 1947 through everything out the window and with their ruling changing the constitution, they had zero precidents becuase every one before them would have demanded ruling the other way.

    It was a big lie and they have repeated over and over as often happens with big lies until many uneducated here believe that it is fact. It was in fact one of the opening salvo’s on religious freedom in this country and with it we began to surrender our liberty. The court used the same tactic with Roe by inventing words not there. The list since 1947 in long on distortion of the constituion by legislating unelected Judges. What it allows of course is for the government to establish a secular humanist state religion that demands religion be put in a box and have no role in public life.

    So those that say if you allow religion to play a part in government are in total disagreement with the founders and the actual debates and record of congress to establish the bill or rights. Since these attacks started, we have had many warning signs that have occured in our culture and all are negative. As John Adams said about religion:
    We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.

    You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.

    Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected, in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. Had that bond not been there and indissouluble, we would not have prevailed for few would have fought for liberty with God.

    There are many more including those from Thomas Jefferson whose letter to the Baptist Church was butchered to pull out one pharase for the lie.

    That is why we need to have justices on the court who read the text and live up to their oath to preserve and protect the constitution. The atheist and secualar humanist will not stop until we have a socialist state where we have lost all our liberties, not just religious liberty. Many are getting a solid education about this because of the massive overstep by Obama revealing the ongoing attack on religious and other liberty for many to see for the first time.

  12. Doug Indeap says:

    That the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

    To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation–in those very words–of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Some try to pass off the Supreme Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education as simply a misreading of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists–as if that were the only basis of the Court’s decision. Instructive as that letter is, it played but a small part in the Court’s decision. Perhaps even more than Jefferson, James Madison influenced the Court’s view. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

    During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a recent invention of the courts.

    It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement largely coincided with another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

    This sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . I questioned the members of all the different sects. . . . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

  13. Kenneth “If the government is not allowed to enforce religious doctrine in all matters” is exactly what the bill of rights on religious liberty says they cannot do. Show me where the bill or fights or any other founding document says they are allowed to do anything to religious liberty. show me where they can establish secular humanist religion as the state religion.

    There are a lot of people who are awakening the the massive overreach of government into every facet of our lives as if it believes it is god. We should all be sick at what has been done to our country by those who seem to want god in a box that never sees the light of day. Everyone in this country senses that our country is headed in the wrong direction and yet they have been educated in the lie so many do not know the actual root cause of the problem. The secular crowd have destoryed anything which leads to the truth about the founders and their strong belief that what they were forming as a government was predicated on the fact that religion was central to life and the government. When the war for independence was won, remember that every state had to form their new government and establish their own constitution. The model from Philadelphia was used, but many of the states went much further to protect religion from government action in any way and demanded that those who held office were religious. You might want to check out the consititutions of each of the original 13 colony states.

    We do not create anything of value when we allow outright lies to be used for our laws. In the end, as we have seen since 1947, if you remove religious liberty from being firmly connected to the government, it will become a government with no moral fibre and one that has no qualms about removal of human freedom and liberty. The next thing you know they are saying that babies in the womg can be slaughtered, that death camps can be established, or that gulags and millions kill are all legal.

  14. Doug Indeap says:

    While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.

  15. That’s exactly right. The government is not supposed to exert favoritism of any sort for or against any religion. To the religious right however, the government is either the proper enforcement arm of its vision of Christianity, or else it is “establishing secular humanism” or atheism as the official state religion.

  16. Sue, I hope that it is just ignorance, but fear it is a profound belief that a socialist godless state is better than that which made America great. This is a good time to provide education to those willing to learn and to those who have not become part of the godless religion.

    We are having several speakers come in to present the facts around the constitution. we are urging each who knows the facts to bring someone who shows an interest in learning. Our church site is linking to several of the sites which offer the ability to see the original documents and see the original quotes of the founders and rulings by the courts upholding those documents until the big lie court started the mess we see today. Want to find out why your political hacks have no morals or honesty? Separation of church and state lie. It was used to force the removal of God from playing any part in our schools which had far reaching impact because it forced our history to be eliminated from the curriculum and what was provided was distorted to protect the lie. All one has to do is read the actul text of Washington’s fairwell address somewhere it has not been edited and distorted and compare it to that now found if at all in today’s textbooks. It openly exposes the lie about the 1947 ruling that said the original founders real intent was to form a godless government protected from religion. Thomas Jefferson letter in fact was assuring the Baptist Church that their religious freedom was solidly protected from any government interference by the separation placed in the constitution. The entire context was changed and the few words pulled out to change the constitution by a few judges. If you know all the facts, start spreading the word. If you need more help, it is out there and easy to find.

  17. What is the milestone or significance of 1947 that you reference? The Constitution in theory and in practice affords a great degree of protection to free exercise of religion. The courts have consistently forced the government to tread lightly to make sure things like zoning laws and other regulations do not excessively impair worship activities or do so only with a compelling interest than cannot be done by less obtrusive means. Many religious people have the idea that “free exercise” should mean that government can never regulate anything in a way that conflicts with their doctrine or conscience. That was never contemplated by the Constitution, nor is it even realistic to do so.

  18. pagansister says:

    Guess Mr. Santorum should not read JFK’s speech before any of his meals! Everytime Santorum opens his mouth, I know why I’m a registered Independent! Good Grief!

  19. “So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”” ~Mark 12:17

    sounds like a pretty clear instruction on separation of church and state – just sayin’

    I feel nauseous whenever I hear what Santorum has to say

  20. Here, Here!!

  21. Sue from Buffalo says:

    Whenever you folks make fun of Santorum’s phrase. you sound dumb. You know what he meant and, honestly, you sound like a bunch of spoiled young kids. You’re supposed to be adults.

  22. Sue from Buffalo says:

    Mark, thank you.

  23. I think you might be thinking of the three temptations in the desert? (Mt 4:1-11, Lk 4:1-13)

  24. Doug Indeap says:

    I agree with you that this is a good time to provide education to those willing to learn. The rest, not so much. Contrary to what you assert, the principle of separation of church and state did not spring forth from the pens of judges in 1947. It just didn’t, notwithstanding whatever you’ve seen on some Bartonesque website. Chris Rodda does a good job setting the common misconceptions you find on such sites straight in Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History (2006) (available free on line http://www.liarsforjesus.com/); yeah, you have to get past the title, which puts off some, but it’s worth it.

  25. No, actually, it’s not. N.T. Wright is a good guy to listen to on this.

    You have to read the bible in context, and in the context of first century Judaism, no Messianic movement would make the claim that one should accept the evil of of the Roman empire and get on with one’s life.

  26. In a presidential election that is a desperate job search for someone qualified to lead us into the 21st Century, the GOP is narrowing its own field to men who are pushing for a (fantasy) vision of the 19th Century (or in some cases, pre-Enlightenment Europe). For Obama, guys like Santorum are the gift that just keeps giving. If he had any sense, Obama would open a super pac to help fund Santorum over Romney. He could call the pac “Pennies from Heaven”! :)

  27. Bill McGeveran says:

    I agree with Santorum on a few things (e.g. opposition to the health insurance mandate for religious institutions), and he doesnt nauseate me. But I think he is barking up the wrong tree with his rhetoric on religion and politics and the Kennedy speech. Principles matter and politicians are allowed to have principles. I’d say leave it at that.

  28. He’s likely referring to the Everson v. Bd. of Educ decision by the S.Ct that year, 330 U.S. 1, in which both opinion and dissent quoted Jefferson’s phrase in interpreting the 1st amendment. The Everson decision was the first to apply, via the 14th amendment, the 1st amendment to the states. However, the actual decision upheld a parochial tuition assistance bill.

  29. How do we construct just laws if we don’t use “the 10 commandments?” Our religious beliefs have to inform us as a nation or we turn into chaos.

  30. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Archbishop Chaput work.

  31. Fiergenholt says:

    Jane and others:

    If you push some Bible-belt Christian Fundamentalists hard enough, they get very fussy about “God’s Word” versus “human invention.” Just last week, I witnessed a heated (at least on one side) debate between my favorite Catholic deacon and a hard-core Baptist/fundamentalist. The latter was insisting that the King James Bible was “God’s Word” and that the Catholic Church was a “cult” (exactly his words) — a human invention.

    The reason why this is important to Jane is that our very understanding of the “Ten Commandments” relies on “human invention.” Forget what you learned in Sunday School or even in Catholic CCD programs/parish schools because those documents you learned the commandments from in those settings actually list ten DIFFERENT commandments as the sacred ones. Go straight to any printed copy of the “TaNaKh” (the name given buy the Jewish Community for their own Sacred Text) and find the passages in both Deuteronomy and Exodus where the Mosaic commandments are listed. No TEN are so identified. In fact, some folks have counted in the raw text from the “TaNaKh” and claim to have identified FOURTEEN. Listing and memorizing TEN, however, has a human cultural component about it that goes back well over 1,000 years.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. The Mosiac Commandments remain a critical moral document for all the “Religions of the Book”: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. By citing the “Ten Commandments,” especially in the southern or even central part of the United States where Roman Catholicism is not predominant (like it is in Massachusetts) you are walking into a minefield of your own creation.

    Now as for Santorum: I still think Jake (posting #1) hit it right on the head:
    “I think his campaign is likely in serious trouble, and it’s his fault”

  32. The Founders’ primary concern was to avoid a European-style government which had an official state religion. That is why the phrase “establishment of a religion” is in the First Amendment. But to jump from that to say that one’s religion can and will have no impact whatsoever on the performance of one’s public duties is just silly. I would oppose laws seeking to approve polygamy for example, primarily because it is counter to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, even if common sense might also inform my opposition. Would I then be violating the “absolute” separation of Church and state? The Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence, as Justice Scalia has noted, has become a total mess primarily because no one understands that it was adopted in the context of official state religions being the order of the day.

  33. Sam Osborne says:

    Rick Santorum, you are not worthy to clean up JFK’s puke.

    Another president of historic renown, Thomas Jefferson, in support of the separation of church and state proposed that Virginal disestablish the Anglican Church as its official religion. When such legislation finally came to be it went beyond protecting those of other Christian belief but also desists, skeptics and those with no religion at all. Later Jefferson viewed his contribution to the statute his greatest effort to protect individual freedom.

    Rev. William Linn, a Santorum like fanatic of Jefferson’s time, proclaimed in a political pamphlet: “the election of any man avowing the principles of Mr. Jefferson would destroy religion, introduce immorality and loosen all the bonds of society.”

    A tolerant Jefferson maintained: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my legs.”

    One can be assured that Jefferson’s respect for the religious views of others would also make Santorum want to throw up.

  34. Deacon Norb says:

    Kevin:

    “I would oppose laws seeking to approve polygamy for example, primarily because it is counter to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.”

    And you might just get an argument from folks who are Biblical-Literalists since polygamy (like slavery) was a social practice commonly described in the Old Testament.

    My argument against polygamy would be based upon Natural Law: (1) Using universal data among cultures and chronology and ages, men and women are statistically equal in number — so raw human population does not support polygamy; (2) Human regeneration requires only one participant from each of the two sexes — so raw human genetics does not support polygamy either.

  35. The problem with JFK’s approach (and Santorum could have said in a less extreme/dorky fashion) is that it represents a de facto government restriction on the free exercise of religion – - exactly what is forbidden in the First Amendment. To go with JFK’s approach (and even he in Houston made it clear that he would resign his office rather than violate his conscience where religion is concerned (can any of current crop of catholic legislators honestly say that?)), Christians must check their religion at the door of their office and are forbidden from practicing it at all in the scope of their governmental duties. This is the erection of secularism as the official state religion. It’s really very simple.

  36. Fiergenholt says:

    Kevin:

    “Christians must check their religion at the door of their office and are forbidden from practicing it at all in the scope of their governmental duties.”

    A few observations:

    –There are plenty of photos of President Kennedy and his family attending Sunday Mass by walking to St. Matthew Cathedral a few short blocks north of the White House or having family friends who are priests say Mass at the Kennedy complex at Hyannisport.

    –It is widely known that President Jimmy Carter actually taught Sunday School a small Baptist church within walking distance to the White House while he was in office.

    –And don’t get me off on the hypocrisy of a nominal Disciple of Christ presidential candidate named Ronald Reagan taking the “Believers’ Pledge” in the presence of Rev Jerry Falwell so that the Moral Majority would support his candidacy for President.

    –Finally, I’m not sure I have the energy to do this but I have seen a fair number of photos of the Obama family attending Sunday Services somewhere (albeit not every Sunday) but do not recall ever seeing “Dubya” and Laura Bush attending similar services — although I am sure photos are out there. A lot of folks in the public forum claim the Bush family to be far more Christian than the Obama one.

  37. I think your first sentence is a bit over the top.

  38. Those are all examples of private worship. The issue is whether one can practice one’s religion in the context of one’s public duties, e.g., the HHS Mandate. Is it now legitimate to restrain the free exercise of religion of Catholic hospitals when it comes to things like abortion, contraceptives, etc., because the state says so?

  39. Indeed! Thanks for noticing the typo.

  40. You quote all the lables and come up with the wrong end conclusion. Until Emerson in 47, it was indeed clear that the state was barred from establishing a state religion. After Emerson reversed the first amendment, it opened the door for the state to establish a state religion based on secular humanism and atheism. Those who believe and practice that secular humanist aethism religion soon used that opening to force what had long been considered protected, the free excercise of their religion such as prayer in any setting, to be denied. Madison fought for this or any other religion to become the state religion. He like the rest of the founders and those who ratified the bill of rights would have never approved it with the understanding the state could force any o of the free people from expressing their faith openly and without government stopping them. Without Emerson ruling, the state under the wording and intent of the constitution would not have even thought of banning school children from prayer as long as it was not specifically a Catholic or Babtist prayer. All the founders understood that the country was a Christian country Under God. The prayers now said in Congress each day are prayers that any Christian denomination would find acceptable. The founders would have fought any attempt by anyone to force someone to pray. Thus a child in a class who chose not to pray would be protected from praying. The government coming down on the people and saying prayers are not allowed, no mention of God is allowed, imposes the atheist religion on everyone. We have paid a terrible price for that removal. the quotes I provided show that the founders knew by the act of putting the religious liberty right before free speech that what Alexis de Tocqueville discovered different about America had to remain protected for the government they establised to function. Alexis de Tocqueville and the founders would have said that the Emerson mistaken ruling turning religious liberty on its head would have disasterous consequences. It might even lead to a president telling religious organizations that they have to support that which is in direct violations of their religious conscience as Cardinal Dolan pointed out so well supported by the entire USCCB and supported by many other churchs around the country.

  41. Kenneth, “Many religious people have the idea that “free exercise” should mean that government can never regulate anything in a way that conflicts with their doctrine or conscience. That was never contemplated by the Constitution, nor is it even realistic to do so.”

    It was ruled that way in one court decision after another until the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education ruling which sited zero precedent. Case after case came down in favor of the protection of free excercise of religion. What this ruling did was to make secual humanism athism the state religion. If that was desired by the people, then there should have been a constittuional amendment passed and ratified changing the first amendment. Same is true for much of what followed like Roe and the banning of prayer cases in 62-63 which used Everson as their precedent. The Constitution was wise in that it set up barriers for changes like this without solid approval needed to ratify change. What this latest attack on religious liberty has demonstrated was the idiocy of the Everson ruling and has given us the chance to try to educate people on the lie and overreach of Everson ruling.

    Since that ruling, we now have a country that is no one nation under God with the clear understanding that all our Unalienable Rights come from God and not government. Obama believes he is god and thus in charge of what religious groups have to do as if all their rights come from him. When you have this, we all lose in the end for with a simple change in administration, your rights could change tomorrow. Having the Churches free to teach, to be involved, to preach openly about issues like slavery and abortion, for schools to teach the actual truth about the founding documents after they finish prayer leads us to the disasters we face today. Government takes from one and chooses how to spend it often sending the money off to cronies. The give entitlements which seem to have in our new godless world more unalienable protection than those given to us by our Creator.

    Wake up folks, if with a change in administration, you are giving them the power to take away that which is most precious, liberty. Cardinal Dolan is no raving right wing fanatic and he sees that there is too much at stake to not put a stop to this right now. There has to be a line in the sand stoping the state religion of a godless secular humanism and a return to the actual protections of our founding documents.

  42. You quote a Madison veto and congress not overriding it as if this sets sort of legal precedent. If that were true, we would have a lot of crazy laws and new rights that are seen as entitlements as if congress were god. Only if you changed the law to make government god and block any thought that we get all our rights from the creator would your argument make sense. Thus the idiocy of the Everson court ruling is exposed as a lie and distortion. It established that the government did indeed have the right to establish a religion as long as it was godless. Those who had been fighting to get religious liberty out of the way jumped in to make godless secular humanism the established government religion thus in line with Everson ruling. Finally, the Creator could be shoved aside and everything established in this country prior to everson 1947 ruling created by the understanding our rights came from God could be legally attacked. The schools which up until Everson had religious influence throughout were attacked and god removed even to the point of removing or editing anything that would show the lie of Everson. George Washington farewell address was eliminated or edited where it exposed the lie of Everson. Any reference to the Bible was removed which meant a secular godless edit of every text book. After all, the schools nationally were founded on teaching kids to read with each letter refering to a bible passage for what better thing to use to learn to read. those who have been educated in this system under the big lie know nothing of life before Everson or of the actual text and hundred of court rulings 180 degrees opposite of Everson each with hundreds of precedents and extenisve use of the founders writing clearly showing the intent to protect religion from being established by government such as secular humanism and atheism. By the way, both of these were declared religious be the courts and thus banned from being pushed by the government. If there is any doubt we live in a land where this lie has distorted our understanding of the Constitution, just look at what is posted here by those who attack Cardinal Dolan and the USCCB fight for religious liberty.

  43. Doug, if you go to some sites where you can find the actual writings of the founders that have not been edited by the secular humanist, you will find truth. It is similar to reading the early documents of the founders of the Catholic faith which so surprise many in raised in protestant Catholic bashing churches leading them to convert to the Catholic faith.

    I think it is amazing how much we have been taught the big lie and are blind to the fact that government has mandated an atheist secular state religion that always leads to totalitarin states that remove all our other rights. Ever wonder why every socialist state like China, Russia, and Nazi Germany fought to remove religious liberty and to try to eliminate religion? With that God thinking out of the way, you can then begin to educate that the state is the answer to every problem and where all rights come from. Ever wonder why America up until 1947 Everson was a country with more freedom than any other in world history? Because if was founded as a Christian nation, but with liberty to be an atheist, or to choose any other belief you wanted and to practice if freely with protection of both religious liberty and free speech. Now note the change. Secualar humanist state religion demanded God exit to be limited to a box people can do into to pray, as long as it is not in the public or having any influence on the standards and values we hold political leaders to. Why did they have to get God out of everything in schools including removal of any teaching on God in our history or what the founders had to say? Now you can start to see what has been going on leading right up to this latest battle against a united USCCB and everyone who has been attacked by this secular state godless religion.

  44. Do not think Jesus was talking about who to vote for in America, but the fact that those who follow him have to give to God what is Gods. What is that? to love God with 100% of our heart, soul, and mind with all our strength. Only then can we beging to lover others as we wish to be loved, even our enemies. Since most of us fail on loving God as needed, we fail at the second one as well. When we have done both of these well, we can then give to Caesar anything left.

    One thing Jesus did not preach was to create a godless government and turn over to it what should be given to God. He would vomit at a godless state that determined that it gave us rights and took them away; it would determine who to take money away from by force to tie the poor to godless government programs; to government that would demand religious organizations throw away their conscience; to government that banned school from our schools; and on and on and on. Jesus would be crying for the people under this godless state as its leaders led them off a cliff to their own doom. He would be calling out to its religious leaders to stand up to this godless state even unto persecution. As Cardinal Dolan said in his return, the red of the Cardinal demands they stand up and shed blood to fight for Christ and His people even to shedding blood. Jesus certainly would not support a godless state that had legally killed 54 million of the very babies He had created in the mothers womb or a leader of that country who was a Partner of those killing abortion mills. He did not support this same party when their leaders were fighting with the same unrelenting hatred to protect slavery or lynching blacks. Note that from its founding, the Democrats were the slavers, the KKK, the anti civil rights, the pro abortion, and now the party to remove all religious liberty. How much more evidence is needed for people see this party is in league with that opposed by anyone with a moral fibre. I would say that it is time to say no to that party and yes to those who want to put it out of power forever. Everything they touch is tainted with this evil as we find out each day with as the rock of obamacare is exposed and the worms crawl out. I laugh when they argue that the party of slavery was not the party of the KKK or the Bull Connors dogs and fire hoses and sticks beating the freedom riders. No, they have changed and seen the light, trust us. Now they are the party of abortion mills and 54 million babies dead and the party fighting to protect the godless state where all the rights come from the government and God must be forgotten and our conscience put aside.

  45. I would think we would all fight for the right of those who believe what they believe rather than mock their religious beliefs. the way the country was established would mean they could carry their beliefs and faith, but that we respected the vote. We lived in a land of religious freedom for a very long time before the state decided that godless state forced belief is the law of the land. We did pretty good and we have many different people believing many different tenets of faith or no faith at all. They were protected, they could pronounce their beliefs. Yes, sometimes we got it wrong, but becasue we had strong religious freedom, we could work things out and frankly because we were a Christian nation, we tended to found orgainizations to help the poor and bring them the word of God to help them stay on the right path. we formed governments based on the laws of God and teaching of Christ. we said we need our kids educated and by the very founding principles never thought education could exclude prayer and the solid teaching of our founders and their ties of faith within government like two pillars that if one was removed the other would collapse.

    Why do we now 65 years after the ruling which allowed all this to change, to be attacked, does the American people feel so lost, so helpless, so isolated? The godless state has been working on ths nation and the people for most of these years with that big lie. It is not turning the clock back to 1947 that is the answer, but turning it back to the very principles upon which our government was based and that is that faith and government are two seperate pillars but if one is removed, the other will fall. Everson ruling in 1947 allowed the one pillar to knock over the essentail partner pillar and the roof has, as predicted by the founders including our first president, is collapsing all around us. If you feel the roof is collapsing on this nation founded on religious principles is collapsing, you know the source of this evil is the Democratic Party and as you open your eyes to this truth, its entire history of evil is exposed. Truth that the Republican Party was largely formed by religious people who saw the every of slavery and said no more and elected Lincoln to lead the war that was on the way where slavery would be decided one way or the other has fought for judges who would interpret the constitution as written including the religious liberty clause and reverse the legal murder of 54 million babies. If someone running for office to represent this party was not sick over what he sees in this godless state with abortion mills killing 4,000 babies a day, they should not be trying to repesent the party most closely tied to its founders and so profoundly against the evil party with such a track record of evil since their founding.

  46. I find your logic somewhat dyslectic. You use words to try to prove a point that in fact proves the opposite. Certainly Jefferson would fight against the state backing of Anglican as state religion. The battle was that the state could not chose Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Buddism, secular humanist, aethism, or any other religion. Santorum and you would both be in full agreement. But you seem to think this proves that he would support a state religion of athiest secular humanist belief.

    My Lynn was quoting the concern many had that Jefferson was not a person of Christian faith which was the founding faith of this nation. If atheist or diest as some feared, the concern in these early days of our government that he would distort the agreed protection of our rights which came from our creator. The letter to the Baptist Church often used for the big lie was in fact a document created by Jefferson as part of his battle to prove he was not some dogmatic atheist who would strike out at our protections or lead the country in some godless direction. Because of the religous liberty and protections, those of faith were always able to mount a strong defense against those who would take our country away from God. That is why those who want a secular godless state needed to have that pillar of our countries founding knocked down. We have paid a terrible price for that being knocked down and a athist godless state arise that used the big lie to go after prayer in schools and anywhere else God could be removed. Those who have bought into the lie and whose faith means nothing to them are not surprisingly against the Bishops fighting for religious liberty. But Jefferson without a doubt would have been fighting with the Bishops and against the party of evil he would not longer want to be associated with today. Reading all of Jefferson would lead anyone with an open mind not hamperedy by dyslectic issues to that same conclusion.

  47. Exactly the point Kevin. That is why they use the term freedom to worship as they see this is the only place that it has a role in our lives and grant that reluctanly. In every socialist state, that right to worship often comes as their next target. We had the right to pray in public places and our schools curriculum were filled with references to our founders quotes about the essential of the first amendment to our freedom and our govenment. Many here have never heard the truth and have bought into the lie. Like the demand of the Church to have a “well formed” conscience that is formed by the non negoatiable teaching as a core basis of the faith, they have bought into the state godless government dictating when and where we are allowed to excecise religious liberty. Fiergenholt thus proudly proclaims the exact point that the state still allows us to practice that liberty in a box and outside the box must adhere to their godless secular humanist religion or face their rath. Next comes it no longer allows those boxes where we once worshiped our funny gods.

  48. Your solution to this no doubt it to create a confessional state with semi-sectarian Christianity as its official religion, so that the state could help the rest of us worship in the “correct” boxes. Thanks, but no. I have no desire for the government’s “help” in forming my conscience, and any religion which needs government power to validate it is not worth my time anyway.

  49. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The big trouble here is that as any government bloats and grows in power, strength, and reach, it automatically becomes a crusher and destroyer of individual rights or the rights of non-governmental groups in many ways–some blatant, some quietly insidious.
    Unfortunately, since the 1930′s we have been brought up to believe in the basic benevolence of Big Brother government in America. This happened in spite of the 20th Century’s lessons of how blood-thirsty almost all power glutted governments become.
    Sorry–there is no such thing as “American Exceptionalism” in the sense we are immune to the totalitarian disease that swept the world in the last century. In spite of our great Constitution and Bill of Rights there is no reason an all-powerful American government lusting for even more power can’t morph into Lenin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

  50. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Note: For a government to be able to force Christian churches to slavishly obey the state’s version of morality or they must close their hospitals,
    close their universities, close their adoption agencies, is TYRANNY pure and simple.

  51. Jake,

  52. Jake,

    You have a right to your view about Rick Santorum, but, as a Catholic, I must say that you are reading way to much into his supposed views on Protestantism. I you would actually take the time to read his comments, instead of others’ comments about his speeches, you would see that he was saying that most of the mainline Protestant Churches have lost their path when it comes to holding onto the core doctrine found in Holy Scripture. Just look at how many protestant churchs are open to divorce, contraception, gay marriage, women priests, new age claptrap. I would go so far as to say that Evangelical Christians have far more in common with Rick Santorum than they do with Mainline Protestantism.

  53. Rob Federle says:

    Doug, actually it was Thomas Jefferson who coined the phrase “separation of Church and State”, in reference to some court case in the late 18th Century or early 19th Century, regarding a dispute between the Baptist Church and the US. While Jefferson was the President of this country, Protestant Sunday services were routinely held in the US Capitol Building. That alone should convince thinking people about Thomas Jefferson’s and the US Government’s belief regard the Free Exercise of Religion, and not the narrow freedom of private worship, as our current president is trying force us to accept.

  54. Santorum has a problem: He doesn’t articulate ideas precisely and winsomely, and doesn’t make any kind of effort to avoid making the wrong impression.

    I say this because, when one delivers a public speech, one is under an obligation to avoid the appearance of evil…and that appearance depends on the listeners’ interpretations of your words, which can vary from one audience member to the next, according to their inclinations and life experiences.

    There are always supporters who will interpret your words in the kindliest possible way, like those leftist oikophobes who hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describe Israel as a “one bomb state, which will be a distant memory only a few years from now” and insist that the Iranians would never, ever have a nuclear program with offensive intent. (I wonder what the Farsi is for “useful idiots?”)

    There are, likewise, always opponents who are willfully beyond rational dialogue, who will interpret anything you say in the least-friendly and most paranoid light possible. Anti-Catholics like James White, James McCarthy, and John MacArthur, while decent fellows in other ways, fall into that category when interpreting Catholic sources about Catholic doctrine and practice: You can count on them to pull a Philip Pullman every time.

    But inbetween those two extremes, there are folks who are open to persuasion, who are leaning-friendly or leaning-unfriendly, but who can, according to how cautiously and winsomely you make your case, be swayed one way or another.

    For the sake of these people, Santorum has a moral obligation as a public figure to make an effort to be winsome rather than scary. And in public speeches touching on matters of policy and religion, the man regularly shows no such effort.

    Take the above quote. Everybody knows that, of the people who don’t support Santorum, most of them are concerned he’ll be some kind of theocrat. Does Santorum make any effort at all to clarify that he isn’t?

    No, he doesn’t.

    He does, to a degree, articulate the principle that each person’s values are relevant in public discussions and ought to be brought to bear in the public square whether or not they are religious in origin. He does at least say that, although not as precisely as I did in the preceding sentence. (Which, since it’s the main point he’s making, is singularly unfortunate. If there’s anything one ought to be careful to articulate clearly, surely one’s main point is that thing?)

    But let us give him partial credit for articulating his main point, however unprecisely. What we cannot give him any credit for, because he does not bother to do it at all, is anticipating the popular and obvious misunderstanding of what he’s saying, and drawing a distinction between that misunderstanding and his actual meaning.

    Suppose for a moment that I’m open minded and willing to give Santorum the benefit of the doubt, but that I know nothing about Santorum except that all my friends are afraid he’s going to pass laws against doing things that his religion objects to, even when those things don’t violate anyone’s rights. Suppose I then read this speech, hoping to see something to alleviate the concerns of my friends.

    Santorum gives me no help at all.

    He could have said something like this: “We must remember that the role of government is first and foremost to defend the life, liberty, and property of every American. Part of our neighbor’s liberty is his liberty to believe, say, and do things with which we disagree so long as no-one’s rights are thereby violated; and likewise to abstain from saying and doing things which contradict his beliefs, provided no-one’s rights are thereby violated. Under a Santorum administration, there would of course be no laws against the purchase of condoms, for while I hold such things immoral, no-one’s rights are violated by it. Likewise there would be no laws against abstaining from offering contraception coverage for employees, because no-one’s rights are violated by that abstention. It is precisely this liberty, which is regularly trampled by unlimited government but flourishes under limited government, that makes it safe for persons of all faiths, from Atheism to Zoroastrianism, to participate in public life in a way that is informed and enriched by their beliefs.”

    How hard was that?

    Since Santorum doesn’t bother to do that, it is impossible to know (unless you already know it) whether he is a sort of anti-liberty Theocrat or an advocate of liberty who is merely opposing an oppressive Atheocracy (if that’s a word).

    Now, Santorum justly decries JFK for going too far. JFK supposed a sort of double-mindedness, a schizophrenic approach wherein the elected official is a Catholic when not performing his office, but is an agnostic when exercising his office, thereby prohibiting, as much as possible, his faith from informing him about what is right or wrong, or what is true or false. It is Siger of Brabant all over again.

    Fine, criticize JFK for that. JFK richly deserves it. (And, besides that, it’s not as if JFK was much of a Catholic when not performing his office; if anything, he seems to have taken philandering as his formal avocation.)

    But many folk are confused about what the alternative to JFK’s view is. They think that it’s a binary choice between JFK-ism and Rule By Ayatollahs. Many of them are open-minded, and willing to learn that there is a third option between these two.

    But ya’ gotta actually tell them about it, or they’ll never learn it, and won’t know you’re associated with it.

    As for me, I’m a friendly audience for Santorum, and even I am not entirely certain he isn’t a sort unprincipled theocrat whose intent is not so much to prevent government from oppressing all faiths as to make sure that his faith is the only one immune.

    If I’m not certain, what does that say about less-friendly audiences?

  55. Fair points. He needs a little more polish. I can’t say Romney is any less prone to gaffes, however, which you would think he would be given his advantage in years.

  56. There’s a world of difference between our situation and those of Stalinist, Maoist or Nazi regimes, despite your breathless conspiracy theories which try to equate any policy setback you don’t like with genocidal tyranny. You seem to discount the Constitution and Bill of Rights as if they were just mere pieces of paper. They are symptoms as well as the causes of the culture of liberty and laws we have.
    Are we somehow qualitatively immune to tyranny because we are American or Western or 21st Century? Of course not. But let’s not lose our heads. You’re trying to gloss over some enormously important social, political and economic differences between us and the despotic regimes in question. In Russia, you had a nation of literal serfs under the heel of an absolute monarchy, one of the most vicious secret police organizations in the world, and the lure of a promising but untested ideology for changing all that.
    China was a nation of peasants who were finding a sense of nationalism again after centuries of colonial rule. In Cambodia, you literally had a stone age agrarian society pushed into Maoism by a gang of teenagers with machine guns who descended into “Lord of the Flies” type madness. Germany, somewhat different. A highly educated and urbanized society, but one seething with resentment in desperate economic conditions and with no real history of democracy or a proper rule of law.
    We have a LOT of things these places didn’t have. A centuries old English tradition of the rule of law and checks and balances. An educated middle class and functional economy. A tradition of civic engagement by ordinary people. Strong institutions with a minimum of overt corruption. An idependent judiciary.
    It is true that any or all of these things can rot and fail us if we allow them to do so. But one unpopular decision on contraception, and one that still has many avenues of legitimate redress, does not put us in immanent threat of real tyranny. The narrative which says it does is a fear tactic designed to manipulate loyalty among one’s own base and to play the victimhood card to the wider society.

  57. Then you would support the branch of the Mormon Church that believes that polygamy is not only permitted but desired? And of course those people in churches that believe that such things as blood transfusions are immoral? And would oppose the charging of child abuse when parents of these churches have children that died because of these beliefs? Or is it that you only believe in freedom for your own beliefs and not of others?

  58. Don from NH says:

    I thought Santourm and all republicans were for going back to the constitution. The constitution calls for a separation of church and state and the freedom of religious liberty for all.

    So as the republicans complain about freedom of religion through the HHS mandate we have the PA Clown interjecting his so called religious freedom.

    So much for the constitution, which Santourm really only wished to use for his purpose.

    He is a sham

  59. Santorum and most modern conservatives apart from libertarians have no interest in small government. They want a government which never challenges their own free exercise, but one which also has the efficiency and reach of a police state to help them enforce those sectarian beliefs on the rest of us. One phrase I’ve heard before, and which is reasonably accurate, is that they want a government “small enough to fit into our bedrooms.”

  60. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Interesting, Kenneth. After admitting that “It Could Happen Here!” you then seem to embrace the idea that “It Can’t Happen here!” And then ridicule people who have a genuine and rational concern about the Leviathan state. Just the attitude of the Obama Admin. that” Oh! We compromised. We gave you a year to choose whether to crush your conscience or go out of the health and education ministries.” is typical of the attitude of all powerful government officials enamored of their power.
    Indeed, Government has already driven many adoption agencies into closing down rather than sell their souls.
    There was a popular novel published in 1935 that was a prophetic attempt to warn people of the dangers of burgeoning, balooning, ever-expanding Big Government and the power it gives such a government’s leaders (as in the sweeping power Obamacare clearly gives to Washington bureaucrats and politicicians).
    The book is by Sinclair Lewis and is titled “It Can’t Happen Here!”
    Our Founding Fathers were geniuses. Part of their “genius” was their fear of an all-powerful government. And you seem to recognize this in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and look to them to protect us. Yet some liberal members of the Supreme Court have said some insulting and disparaging remarks about the Constitution recently. And P. Obama himself has said some derogatory things about the Constitution. So how can the Constitution protect us if those sworn to uphold it deride and attack it. It is not me who is disparaging the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as just “pieces of paper” but those with power in Washington today.

  61. To the extent I ridicule, it is because people’s concerns for a Leviathan state go WAY beyond what is reasonable and rational. Since Bill Clinton first took office, the religious right has characterized every single policy setback, everything that didn’t go 100% their way, as tyranny and illegitimate abuse of power. It is grossly out of proportion to reality and to the realities of real totalitarianism.
    Many conservative Christians are bleating as loudly as if they were living in Nero’s Rome or Homs in Syria. It’s absurd and it’s unbecoming. It also ironically helps foster the same sort of atmosphere which will help make real tyranny a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    One of the factors underlying the rise of all true totalitarian states was a narrative much like the one you’re selling. A group of relatively powerful people would cast themselves as an oppressed minority, and then declared the legitimacy of government itself contingent on their will. Any decision that didn’t give them their way in all matters was “evil” and “tyranny” and against “the true will of the people.” The object was to make the state illegitimate and ungovernable, so that when it finally imploded, they would be ready to run things in a more “virtuous” manner.
    It is also clear that the coalition of people fighting the contraception mandate have no underlying qualms about the vast use of state power. Many of them are lobbying to outlaw virtually all contraception. Many were, until a few days ago, pressing for a bill in Virginia which would have subjected women to state-mandated rape in the guise of a medical exam to deter abortions.
    The vast reach of government power is only “tyranny” when it inconveniences YOUR free exercise.

  62. Doug, thank you for a well researched and spot on post.
    Of our first 3 presidents, Washington went to Anglican services, but then left at Communion. When his pastor wrote a letter to him calling him on it, he simply stopped going and never went back. He no idea if there was an afterlife. Adams in public was very “reilgious” because, according to his PRIVATE correspondence, he beleived that the country needed a “civil reilgion” to keep the populous in line. His REAL views were quite similiar to Jeffersons.
    Jefferson was probably a Unitarian. Interestingly, the few Catholics in the US during this period were Jeffersonians BECAUSE of his stand on seperation. It protected them. Remember, until sometime in the 1800′s taxpayers in New England paid the salaries of Congregationalist ministers.
    The Catholic school system was set up to circumvent the public schools because they were set up to make good Americans i.e assimiliate children from all backgrounds and in the 19th century that meant becoming WASPS. It’s there was mandatory prayer of reading from the King James Bible.
    By the way, the LAST prayer cases that “I” know of were from Alabama and brought in case by a Lutheran family and in another by a Catholic family. In both cases, their high school age children were harrassed for not participating in a “voluntary” prayer program.
    Finally, I grew up in Indianapolis in the 50′s where there factories that posted signs saying NO Irish or Catholics need apply. I remember the relatives who told me of Klansmen harrassing them and “I” remember living as a minority in a Protestant neighborhood despite being 3 blcoks ffrom church and school. I’ll take separation anytime.

  63. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    kenneth. You seem to forget that the Church was just minding its own ministries from healing the sick, to education, to taking care of orphans and the elderly when the government announced that the Church through its ministries must sterilize people, give out abortion causing pills etc. or give up ministries that the Church has pioneered in for 2,000 years.
    That you apparently think this is no big deal–even that the people defending themselves from government attack and defending the First Amendment are somehow the instigators is to twist all out of shape how this controversy started and who started it. (The Catholic bishops have even supported national health care programs in the past.) Unless to defend one’s moral convictions when they are under attack is somehow illegitemate.
    But I agree–there is a role for limited government to play–and that is the protection of human life—not its destruction–which Obamacare is in the process of coercing churches to participate in.
    There is no reason that Catholic facilities and institutions can’t be given a “pass” for they are already doing that for groups they don’t dare attack or are in the sack for Obama–like the unions getting waivers that will probably continue forever ( or like the Moslems and the Amish).

  64. Kenneth,
    “I have no desire for the government’s “help” in forming my conscience, and any religion which needs government power to validate it is not worth my time anyway.”

    Exactly, neither does anyone else. So lets get the error corrected and stop forcing secular atheism on the entire country. This would mean if you are an atheist or diest or whatever, you can practice your religion anywhere you want. Same is true of Luteran, Catholic, Jew, Buddhist, or anything else. This would mean the governt could not come into local schools and say you can’t pray a non deominational prayer or have God referenced in any of your text books or force anyone who does not want to pray the prayer to do so. It would allow the textbooks to teach accurate history of the founding of this country. It would not allow judges to do what should only be done by ratifying the constitution which means they have to convince a majority of people that it is the right thing to do. I find it amazing that the courts found the 14th amendment did not apply to allow women the right to vote and that to gain that right, they had to have an amendment. That is the way the government was established so that we would not have unelected judges taking over the role of the legislatures which represent the people.

    Keep in mind that by allowing the state to dictate secular humanist atheism on the country, the state also then has the right to dictate at some future time a different religion on everyone. Only a blind man cannot see that the court distorted the wording and intent of the bill of rights and in many other areas. We are a democatic republic, not a state ruled by judges doing whatever they want who are not elected and in for life. So now the state based on this idiotic distortion of the constitution is trying to mandate everyone buy a product or service and that the product or service has to include whatever the HHS says it should include even if it directly violates the religious liberty of the people.

    Kenneth, you really need to read Bonhoeffer on what happened in Germany or review what happened under Stalin with state sponsered attacks or religious liberty.

  65. Deacon John, you have to understand that Kenneth has a deep hatred for the Catholic Church and comes here to pass along his hatred of the Church. He cannot see the obvious because he is joyful every time the state attacks religion and especially the Catholic Church. He is about where Iran is in regard to Israel wanting the Catholic Church out of America along with anyone who takes their faith seriously. He is comfortable with giving the state the full power therefore to impose any and all restrictions that lead to a pure secular humanist state where God is in the box and not allowed to do anything that upsets that secular world. The fact that the entire USCCB has tried to work with Obama and he has given them the middle finger is not something that upsets Kenneth at all.

  66. R.C. Agree with you fully. We have to vote here in Ohio Primary soon. Of all the candidates, I fear Romney the most. this of course does not count Obama who is out from the start no matter who runs on the Republican side. Paul is the second one I fear. So for me it is santorum or Newt. there are two questions, which one can beat Obama which is the most important issue, and which one can move in day one and start undoing the Obama mess. On these I would have to pick Newt. when I see Newt and Santorum, I always get the feeling that Santorum is a little intimidated by Newt full grasp of every issue and the ideas he has created that would really be game changers for this country. so leaning to Newt, but would feel comfortable with Santorum, and would support a vegatable over Obama who is dangerous to the survival of this country.

  67. Big lies told over and over are still lies. There is no distance between what the constitution actually says, what Santorum is saying, what the entire USCCB is saying, what Newt is saying on the subject, what Romney is saying on the subject of religious liberties and what Ron Paul is saying. The religious clause prohibits exactly what the state has been doing since 1947. What we have today is simply one more attack on relgious freedom and many are finally waking up to the big lie and where it has led us.

  68. Kenneth, you have the wrong name and party. it is Obama and the liberal democarats who are in favor of a police state to help them enforce those “secular humanist atheism” beliefs on the rest of us. Obamacare has a clause to massively increase the size and scope of the IRS which is their police force within the government and union thugs, acorn remnants, and Occupy outside police force.

  69. Wouldn’t it be nice if life, law, history, etc., were so simple that something like “that alone” sufficed to resolve important issues. Thinking people, though, interested in understanding reality tend to want to see the whole picture in coming to a conclusion. (Certainly, Jefferson attended services in the Capitol–begun at a time when there were no other buildings suitable for such gatherings in the District–which were as much social as religious. He also refused to issue Presidential thanksgiving proclamations because he considered them contrary to the First Amendment. Oh, oh. There’s that proverbial mixed bag that messes up wishful thinking about simple answers.)

    I hear some work themselves into a lather over this supposed distinction between “freedom of religion” and “freedom of worship.” While I have heard some casually use the terms seemingly as equivalents and have heard others condemn the latter as encompassing much less than the former, I have NEVER heard anyone actually suggest, much less advocate, that the First Amendment should or does only protect the latter. Sounds to me like a made-up bogeyman. Can you show me any evidence of someone, anyone even once championing the narrow freedom of worship you claim President Obama is trying to force you to accept?

  70. Doug Indeap says:

    1. Everson actually concerned the First Amendment’s establishment clause, not its free exercise clause. The case has little, if anything, to do with the point Kenneth made.

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues, and the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but allows the government to enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, negligence, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/872/case.html http://www.aafcp.org/cplm/files/12.pdf.)

    2. Contrary to your odd assertion, Everson cited many cases in support of its reasoning and conclusion. It also discussed at some length the historical context of the adoption of the First Amendment. It did not, as some seem to suppose, rest its decision on Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists; it referred to that letter at the end of its analysis largely to embrace its handy metaphor.

    3. It should not be supposed that keeping government and religion separate somehow means the government endorses atheism or secular humanism. There is a difference between the government (1) remaining neutral in matters of religion and leaving individuals free to choose, exercise, and express their religious views without government intrusion and (2) taking sides in matters of religion and promoting one view (whether theism [in one, any, or all its various forms], atheism, or whatever) to the detriment of others. It is one thing for the government to endorse the idea that god(s) exist or, alternatively, endorse the idea that god(s) do not exist; it is quite another for the government to take no position on the matter and respect the right of each individual to freely decide for himself.

  71. Doug Indeap says:

    I think you are operating under fundamental misconceptions about how the law of separation of government and religion actually works in the courts.

    As I noted above, it is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    Nor does the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

    Wake Forest University has published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

  72. Doug Indeap says:

    Kenneth,

    Good point powerfully put.

  73. Doug Indeap says:

    Deacon John,

    Arguments for a “religious employer” exemption seem to have gone from wrong to ridiculous. Those demanding such an exemption initially worked themselves into a lather with the false claim that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved–except perhaps for an employer who really desires not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather wants to retain control of his employees’ health plans, limit their choices to conform to the employer’s religious beliefs, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some continued clamoring for just such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments they would be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    In any event, those wanting an exemption put up enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    But yet the claims escalate. Now I hear of a government “war on religion.” What gives?

  74. Doug Indeap says:

    Mark,

    Believe me, I have read lots of original source documents. Rodda, by the way, cites many, many such documents and provides links to complete, unedited copies of them. Indeed, in her book, she discloses how Barton and others of his ilk edit, omit, and flat out misrepresent historical evidence in an effort to push their story lines. The irony is that, by knowingly resorting to lies, Barton and other would-be champions of a religious right version of history reveal their fears that the real facts fall short of making their case.

  75. Actually it’s not the Church I hate. It’s theocracy. And it’s not only a Catholic thing. I don’t want to live under an Evangelical or Muslim theocracy either.

  76. Just how does that play out? The state can do whatever it wants, imprison people for no reason, deport people for no reason, murder, steal, cheat, lie, and do whatever it wants, and you say the church should not have any input in this? The church should be quiet? The Church should not speak out against the Hitlers of the world? The Church has no advice to give? Your comment is confusing?

  77. I recommend all read or watch Archbishop Chaput’s talk on the Kennedy speech. He too thinks Kennedy went too far. The link to the Diocese of Denver and the video or text of his talk last year: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3489

  78. Joe Mc. Faul says:

    Santorum wants his words back and recognizes he was over the top. It cost him Michigan to learn to think before he speaks.

  79. How do you twist the “absolute” seperation? He denied his faith when did this. My father, fellow WWII regreted voting for him the rest of his life. The Kennedys are part of an anti-church. It is no longer Catholic. They care more about politics than Truth.

  80. So we shouldn’t have tried to have any influence on Hitler? Just let bad people influence the debate? You can’t have it both ways. The seperation is protect Religion, not government. We have no state religion. That’s where it ends. Other than that all views are allowed to be put forth.

  81. Archbishop Chaput thinks Kennedy was misguided. And this is from someone who was a fan of Bobby Kennedy.

  82. Mark is correct. Who took the so called freedom of choice away, and now made it a law, you will have abortion, you will have contracepion? What was choice is now mandatory.

  83. Be careful you wish for. The predident has said in the past he does not like the Bill of Rights. He did a radio interview once where he said we need something new. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said our Constitution is out of date, and old. We are heading toward a dictatorship of relativism, wherein the leaders decide what rights we have, and who has rights, who doesn’t, and for how long. It will all be what a few people think, and it will be vague. When things are vague they can change when it suits them.

    We get what we deserve, when all we hold dear is rapped up in 3 letters, sex.

  84. Archbishop Charles Chaput on the Kennedy Speech:
    http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3489

  85. pagansister says:

    pol, thank you for that post! Well written. Having raised our children in the Unitarian faith, I appreciate the mention of Jefferson. Good man, ahead of his time. I’ll take separation anytime also—–

  86. pagansister says:

    President Obama did an interview “once”? He said he doesn’t need the Bill of When was “once”, taad?

  87. robert rully says:

    Deacon, brothers, sisters, most respectfully-

    John Kennedy was our fellow Roman Catholic, and my Brother in the Knights of Columbus. Who can seriously doubt that he understood, revered, and fought bravely for the principles enshrined in our Constitution. Or that he was true to both his faith and his country. I have serious problems with the idea of Mr. Santorum as our chief executive, as a practical Catholic man, a student of our Lord Jesus Christ to whose ideal I aspire, and as an American. From my perspective, while the gospels teach that homosexuality is sinful, and that the kingdom of heaven may only be reached by believing in and adhering to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, they also clearly teach us that ours is not to judge, but to love our fellow human beings. We are, ALL OF US, without exception, sinners. I submit to you that while Mr. Santorum preaches and encourages intolerance for views other than his own, and is full of harsh criticism for the sinful behavior of others, St. Paul asks: “why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

    “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
    ‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

    So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

    Is this what we hear coming Mr. Santorum?

    St. Paul teaches us to “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
    Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    Does what Mr. Santorum says publically, say to you that he believes that all of the commandments are “summed up in th[e] one command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself?’” REALLY ?

    Does the following ring a bell ?

    “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.’ ”
    So, if, hypothetically we substitute the woman caught in the act of adultery in this story with a man or woman caught in a homosexual act, is the result different ?
    If not then, should Mr. Santorum encourage such condemnation ? Would Christ have treated him differently from those men ready to stone Mary Magdalene ?
    Christ teaches in Matthew, Chapter 7:“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. ” To ME, this means that the only reward that one can hope to acheive from public displays of their alleged virtue would be whatever paltry public acclaim resulted from such a display, and that God sees is able to see it as false.
    Finally, I would submit to you that President Kennedy’s views on the separation of church and state were not his personal invention, but rather the product of almost 200 years of American jurisprudence. Thomas Jefferson, among many others, clearly agreed with President Kennedy. Jefferson said “that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions,” and that he “contemplate[d] with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. We, as Catholics, share this nation with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Agnostics and Atheists. The framers of our Constitution, having lived under the yoke of a government which mandated that its citizens adhere to the established state religion, guaranteed the religious freedom of all Americans by ensuring for future generations that “Congress [would] make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” thus freeing all Americans from the tyranny of government imposed religion. Our courts have upheld this separation by insisting that our state institutions and laws should be free from inferences of preference for or endorsement of a particular religious beliefs. If we, as Americans believe in religious tolerance and separation of church and state, then we must do more than talk, we must “walk the walk.” We must take the bitter with the sweet of guaranteed religious tolerance, and recognize that while we are all unequivocally guaranteed the right to worship and believe as we please from Catholics to the Church of Babalu Aye, we are, accordingly, all guaranteed, even those Americans who don’t believe in God at all, the right to be free from state endorsement of a particular religious belief, to the exclusion of others. Thomas Jefferson, President Kennedy, generations of Judges and Justices have upheld this guarantee for the benefit of all Americans. I would encourage you all not to be duped by demogoguery demonstrated by some of the candidates currently battling in the politcal arena, to abandon the principles of our faith and our nation.

  88. pagansister says:

    taad? We now have mandatory abortion and contraception? Must have missed that law. No one, absolutely NO ONE is requiring any woman to do either. Good Grief, Man. BTW, I asked you when President Obama said he didn’t like the Bill of Rights—you mentioned he said “once” that he didn’t like it. I ask again—when? And to whom?

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