Santorum Tells a Familiar Old Lie

When I was 17 or 18 years old, my Pentecostal stepmother told me that “separation of church and state is not in the Constitution, it’s in the Communist Manifesto.” I showed her a copy of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists and the Communist Manifesto to show that she was wrong. Rick Santorum is now repeating this ridiculous lie, replacing the Communist Manifesto with the Soviet constitution:

A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.” The likely presidential candidate replied that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

This claim that “the words” separation of church and state aren’t in the Constitution and thus the concept isn’t there is just so monumentally stupid. You won’t find “separation of powers” or “checks and balances” there either, but who in their right mind would deny that those phrases describe the intent and meaning of various provisions in the Constitution? The phrase “separation of church and state” was used by Jefferson and Madison to describe the intent and meaning of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. And the Soviet constitution was written nearly a century and a half after ours was written. They borrowed that idea from us.

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POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • NitricAcid

    An article about something that Santorum has spewed without the word “froth” slipping in there? Is that allowed?

  • abb3w

    The phrase “limited government” seems another notable omission.

    Additionally, almost half a century before separation of church and state was included in the Soviet constitution, in the United States it was “very comfortably” included in the official party platforms of both the Democratic party and the Republican party. (Hell, it was recognized in the GOP platform as recently as 1964 and 1972.)

  • raven

    The word “Trinity” isn’t found in the bible either. As well as much of what xians today believe.

  • gshelley

    If we’re being really pedantic, the phrase “freedom of religion” is not in there either

  • Kevin Kehres

    @3 raven…

    I think the entire Nicene Creed is basically about stuff you won’t find in the bible. But, boy oh boy, try telling a Christian that.

    I can still recite the thing from memory — and it’s been decades. …”begotten, not made”…took me years to figure out what the hell that meant.

  • hunter

    That tactic is basic to the religious right’s method of “argument” — although their use of it is as opportunistic as anything else they do: just try quoting the Bible at them in contradiction of something they’ve maintained is “Biblical,” and they’ll come back with “But the real meaning is. . . .”

  • Sastra

    Is the phrase “separation of church and state” in the Soviet constitution?

    If so, they certainly didn’t follow it — unless you think ‘separation’ entails ‘elimination.’

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Yeah! Go Santorum! “No separation of Church and State”! Take that, Vatican II!

     

    I’m waiting for the day when conservative Roman Catholics look the mirror and realize they’ve gone conservative Southern Baptist.

  • colnago80

    Authorization to establish a separate airforce isn’t in the constitution either. The language authorizes the establishment of an army and a navy. Airforce ain’t there.

  • matty1

    ^ actually went and looked at the communist manifesto and sure enough it has nothing at all on same sex marriage, as most of us would expect of a 19th century document. It does mention marriage in a passage accusing the bourgeois of hypocrisy for claiming that communists want to share women, while themselves supporting prostitution but that’s as close as it gets. I didn’t check for references to illegal immigrants, voter fraud or porn but I’m willing to bet they aren’t in there either.

  • pacal

    A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.”

    What is very interesting is the large number of lies / bullshit in what this listener uttered. Thus we get the bullshit lie that the Democratic party is “far left”. An idea so stupid that it should float away like other fart gasses. As for the alleged tenets of The Communist Manifesto, all bullshit lies from someone who obviously has never read it and has no idea what it says but feels perectly free to bullshit lie about its content.

  • peterh

    If we were to amend the Constitution to require any candidate for Congress or President to pass a junior-high civics exam . . . . . .

  • Childermass

    To add to what Sastra’s comment @ 7 that the Soviets did not practice Separation of Church and State, here is what the 1936 Soviet Constitution actually said:

    “ARTICLE 124. In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens. ”

    Yep. Clearly this was not even remotely obeyed as worship was often suppressed and “freedom of conscience” was utterly nonexistent in 1936.

  • Alverant

    So they’re back to the red scare. If the USSR used it then it MUST be bad. I hear Stalin also liked dogs, I guess we should use that against dog owners too.

  • erichoug

    “So they’re back to the red scare”

    What they left it? I’m actually starting to think Communism might be a good system of Government, based solely on the fact that conservatives are so against it.

  • pixiedust

    IIRC, the Communist Manifesto calls for universal public education. So right there you that’s evil.

  • colnago80

    Re Alverant @ #14

    You know who else like dogs? Hister.

  • peterh

    @ #3 & #5:

    The Nicene Creed is basically a political document (couched in that vague and wispy god-stuff that no one can really pin down to anything). Constantine wanted to get those squabbling bishops together in one place to hammer out one “absolute” dogma/doctrine so’s he could get on with running an empire without all those pesky sects, schisms and ideologues mucking up the works. 1689 years later nobody’s got it right yet – nor is likely to.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    IIRC, the Communist Manifesto calls for universal public education. So right there you that’s evil.

    You think you’re joking, but right-wing Christians and various nutball libertarians have made arguments on precisely that point.

  • NitricAcid

    @17- whenever I hear someone start the question, “Do you know who also liked dogs?”, I expect them to finish with an ethnic cuisine joke.

  • jnorris

    So “separation of church and state” is in the extinct Soviet constitution and is therefore evil. I bet Soviet law punished murder too.