Rick Santorum Doesn’t Think You’re a Christian

The Republican candidate for POTUS, who thinks that our president follows and unbiblical theology, thinks that mainliners are not ChristianL

We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it. [via Santorum Excommunicates 45 Million Christians]

Further, he doesn’t believe in a strict separation of church and state:

Santorum also reiterated his statement that a 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy, meant to ease concerns about the then-Democratic presidential candidate’s Catholic faith, made him want to “throw up.”

“I don’t believe in an America where separation of church and state is absolute,” he said. [via LA Times]

Here’s the thing: the rights afforded us by the First Amendment are sacrosanct, at least in a non-religious sense. But, as a religious person, I abdicate some of my rights when I submit to living in a country with laws. If my religion dictates that I smoke weed, or that I sacrifice cats, I don’t get to do that. My religious rights are not absolute — they are relative, because they are judged in the relative weight with the good for society.

But neither are First Amendment rights absolute. You don’t get to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and you don’t get to post kiddie porn on the internet. Again, the good of the society trumps your individual rights.

That’s why Santorum’s views on contraception, for instance, are reckless. He may be personally appalled that men and women use contraceptives, and he can use his bully pulpit to promote those views. But to impose those personal views on the rest of us is the equivalent to Mitt Romney forcing us all to wear sacred undergarments, or Barack Obama making women wear burkas. ;-)

  • Daniel

    ” Barack Obama making women wear burkas.”

    That’s a good line. Do we actually think that Santorum would actually impose his beliefs on the rest of us? I might add, who brought up this whole contraceptive stuff? One of the ABC moderators first posed the question to Romney a couple of weeks before the President used his bully pulpit to impose his views on Catholic hospitals.

    I’m sure there are legitimate reasons a person could vote against Santorum – but to do because of the media induced hype over his contraceptive views isn’t a good reason in my book.

  • Steve Swope

    Even more to the point vis a vis rights: the old saying that “your rights stop at the end of my nose.” (Yes, I am “free” to do anything I want, but not to punch you in the nose without consequence.)

    Santorum can believe anything he wants about abortion or contraception, but he can’t enforce it on those who believe differently.

  • Kenton

    Tony-

    1. For the record, your religious rights ARE First Amendment rights. So that sentence might be better read as “But neither are *other* First Amendment rights absolute.”
    2. The idea of separation of church and state (implied by the first amendment, but not explicitly stated), is meant to keep the political authorities out of the church’s affairs, not the other way around. Churches should have the right under the First Amendment to speak out to the state in a prophetic role. And if a prelate wants to tell a catholic office holder how to govern, it should be protected by the first amendment. That doesn’t mean office holders should be beholden only to their prelates, though. Office holders should be responsible for their own actions independent of their church’s influence, and any efforts to impose any religion on the state should be not be tolerated (on the basis the First Amendment).

    I’m not a big fan of Santorum, but in fairness I think that’s where he was coming from on his “want to throw up” remark. He is no more trying recklessly to take away one’s rubbers, as it were, than the president is trying to make women wear burkas.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Kenton,

      Regarding 1) – I know, but even those rights are limited.

      Regarding 2) – yes, that was the original principle, but it has evolved significantly in case law. Now it’s the other way around.

      • Frank

        Regarding #2… Tony that rights it has changed and we will see it revert back to its original intent both in law and policy as it should.

      • Patrick S

        Tony – how is number 2 now defined the opposite of original intent or “the other way around”?

  • Phil Miller

    My religious rights are not absolute — they are relative, because they are judged in the relative weight with the good for society.

    But who gets to determine what is for the good of society? As long as we’re living in a democratic republic where the citizens have some say in what public policy is, it seems that is always going to be up for debate.

    I’m far from a Santorum fan, but as far as contraceptives, the debate really is being framed in the wrong way. No one is trying to make it illegal for women to have access to contraceptives (unless possibly if you’re including things like the morning after pill in the list of what’s a contraceptive). What the debate is about is whether or not organizations who are against their use should be forced to subsidize them in their insurance plans. As far as I know, anyone is still able to go buy contraceptives on their own.

    It’s funny because this whole debate illustrates why I’m for limiting the scope and reach of the federal government. What the government gives, it can take away. So, yeah, you can’t in one breath say “keep the government out of my bedroom!”, but in the next, “but make sure they tell my boss to pay for what’s in my nightstand!”

    • klint

      Well said. I too think that, collectively, we’re missing the point of this whole debate. It’s not ultimately about beliefs…it’s about the liberty we have in our nation to exercise those beliefs and doing so responsibly.

    • Steve Swope

      Of course, I notice that the contraception discussion is being managed entirely by men, none of whom are advocating for insurance companies to stop paying for Viagra…. Contraception is much more of a “health care” issue than is ED medication; there’s an incredible double standard at work.

      • Frank

        It’s a religious liberty discussion not a contraceptive discussion.

        • Steve Swope

          Fine. Prove why your religion has the power to limit my freedom to do with/for myself what I choose. As I posted on another thread, in a democracy, religious values cannot simply rule because “it’s my religion.” They have to appeal to wider principles accessible to all faiths and no faith. Otherwise, “you” might have freedom of religion, but I don’t.

          • Frank

            No one is stopping you from doing what you want.

    • Brie

      The point of this debate is that a public employer cannot impose their religious views on it’s employees by removal of types of medical coverage that is available to the masses, except as to nonprofit religious organizations that service and employ people of the same faith. Right now most policies cover contraception and 28 states have mandated contraception coverage, of course excepting religious organizations that fit the exemption which is the same one the federal government is using now. The Catholic Church took this to the CA Supreme Court a while back and the court, split evenly with con n lib judges, voted 6 to 1 that the catholic businesses had to comply, and the US supreme court would not hear their appeal, pretty open and shut case. However, this debate started because catholic colleges and hospitals, which are for profit and not religious, and by the way receive federal dollars, cannot impose their beliefs by denying access to any medical treatment/prescription they don’t like. This is not a new debate, it has taken place in the past and been through the courts and yes the churches big opposition has been based on providing birth control. As a woman I might have sympathy for the Catholic church, but since the allow their insurance to cover Viagra, which is generally for older men not looking for sex to result in a baby, the hypocrisy is just too astonishing for me to give them any real sympathy as to their claims sex is only for procreation. Oh, and I don’t want children and live in a state that has mandated maternity so I do pay for what goes on in the bedroom of those who have kids, and those shared costs are way more than the shared costs of providing birth control, which again most of America already does.

  • Jay

    “My religious rights are not absolute — they are relative, because they are judged in the relative weight with the good for society.”

    I am not sure if I can agree with the way you stated this. For example, now but more so a number of years back, gays, at least active ones were consider dangerous to society, therefore their sexual behaviour was deemed criminal. According to the constitution this should not have happened as there was not proof that the private sexual behaviour of two consenting adults was violating that which is well stated in the preamble to the constitution; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The only restriction to the freedom of speech or freedom of religion should be when the practice of that religion violates another’s right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, thus the ban on the dangerous false cry of “fire” in the theatre. Of course in relation to abortion the question becomes complicated because of the different views of whether the fetus has rights. I can’t either see how smoking weed should be against the constitution. If we would respect individual liberty we could avoid a lot of excess government both on the left or right sides.

    • kurt

      Jay, if you live in Minnesota, that is actually how things are here. You can practice any religious practice that you want here unless it violates the safety or security of anyone else or “excuses acts of licentiousness”. Here’s what it says specifically…

      “The enumeration of rights in this constitution shall not deny or impair others retained by and inherent in the people. The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed; [...] nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state”

      http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/rules/mncon/Article1.htm

  • Jonathan

    Phil’s right on this one. If Santorum were trying to ban contraceptives, that part of argument would be relevant. But he isn’t. No one is. This is a complete red herring.

  • Scot Miller

    Santorum is trying to defend the position of the Catholic bishops that their universities and hospitals and agencies shouldn’t have to abide by the rules of the state because of their religious convictions against contraception. So while Santorum isn’t prohibiting contraception, he is arguing that religious freedom means that non-church institutions supported by the Church can assert the same privilege as churches, who have the freedom not to pay for abortions or contraception if it violates their religious beliefs.

    Fortunately, Antonin Scalia helped clarify this notion in the 1990 Supreme Court decision, “Employment Division vs. Smith – 494 U.S. 872:”

    We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.

    Scalia continues,

    When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

    While it’s generous of the government to exempt churches from the requirement to cover contraception in their health care policies, the religious objection to contraception shouldn’t be extended to non-church entities in the name of “religious liberty.” The non-church organizations like hospitals, universities, adoption agencies, etc., which are supported by a church need to play by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to providing healthcare. Religious freedom can become religious tyranny when the organization denies an individual in the organization her legal rights.

    • Kenton

      Puh-leeze!

      Smith and Black were working for a freaking drug rehab when they ingested peyote. Ceremonial/Schmeremonial that’s misconduct in that case.

      Also, there is no” denial of legal rights”, here. Any employee of a catholic hospital is free as Graham Chapman was in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life to go down the road any time he wants, walk into Harry’s and hold his head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, “Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I’ll have a French Tickler. For I am a protestant.”

      But the employer shouldn’t be forced to pay for it (or buy the insurance that includes it) any more than Harry should be forced to carry it.

    • http://getoutfromunderit.blogspot.com Andy Sherwin

      Excellent, Scot. Two thumbs up (and I’ll put a condom on those same thumbs just to keep the gesture relevant to the conversation).

      • Brie

        Thank you Scot! You know the catholic church went to the courts against mandated birth control coverage in CA, and the church lost in a landslide 6 to 1 ruling. Reading your aforementioned case law helps me understand why the us supreme court refused to hear the appeal of the catholic church in California on this.

  • Scot Miller

    If the Affordable Health Care for America Act targeted the Catholic Church and its affiliates because of their religious convictions about contraception, they would have violated their religious freedom.

    Although a State would be “prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” in violation of the Clause if it sought to ban the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts solely because of their religious motivation, the Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a law that incidentally forbids (or requires) the performance of an act that his religious belief requires (or forbids) if the law is not specifically directed to religious practice and is otherwise constitutional as applied to those who engage in the specified act for nonreligious reasons. See, e.g., Reynolds v. United States, 98 U. S. 145, 98 U. S. 166-167. The only decisions in which this Court has held that the First Amendment bars application of a neutral, generally applicable law to religiously motivated action are distinguished on the ground that they involved not the Free Exercise Clause alone, but that Clause in conjunction with other constitutional protections. See, e.g., Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296, 310 U. S. 304-307; Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U. S. 205. Pp. 494 U. S. 876-882.

    Contraception is a right under the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Requiring the affiliated institutions to provide contraception is a matter of justice for the women employees. Denying it would violate their rights.

  • Patrick S

    Good to remember that the separation of Church and State is nowhere in the Constitution. Too bad you didn’t include the rest of what he said because it is highly relevant and provides needed context. The pertinent part:
    “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.”

    The full quote can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/rick-santorum-jfks-1960-speech-made-me-want-to-throw-up/

  • http://getoutfromunderit.blogspot.com Andy Sherwin

    This whole contraception debate wouldn’t be such a complete joke if churches weren’t tax-exempt. Accordingly, play by the rules of the government, which is equal footing.

    In case anybody wants to join up, I’m starting a new denomination that is morally opposed to ridiculous arguments and arbitrary, self-victimizing reframing of issues in order to further one’s one untenable cause, thus keeping an awful lot of you from being able to comment because IT HURT MY RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS :’(

    (oh ps the new denomination will be totally cool with sarcasm, so, you know, think about it)

  • kurt

    Funny that you mention the weed thing because my religion actually does say that I have to smoke cannabis. Minnesota’s religious freedoms are better than the U.S. Constitution’s religious freedoms, so I think that I actually can smoke cannabis under Minnesota state law, but not under federal law. The requirements are that 1) I’m sincerely holding the belief 2) The belief is a central tenet of my religion 3) My religious practice doesn’t threaten Minnesota’s citizen’s safety or security. 4) There is no less restrictive means available for my particular religious practice. Here’s what the court of appeal said about it in 2004:

    “We take this opportunity to note, however, that the state’s sole reliance on the legislature’s enactment of statutes prohibiting the possession of marijuana to defeat a claim under article I, section 16, is plainly inadequate under Hershberger.”

    State v. Pedersen, 679 NW 2d 368 – Minn: Court of Appeals 2004 http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4836114177012476926

    If you are unaware, Hershberger is the case when the Minnesota Supreme Court adopted a different interpretation of religious freedoms based on our state constitution. It was in response to Employment Division v. Smith.

    State v. Hershberger, 462 NW 2d 393 – Minn: Supreme Court 1990 http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5245482823489184294

    Sorry if this is a bit off topic.

  • James

    I’m a Christ- Follower; I believe Jesus is the Son of God and in the life giving power of His resurrection. Jesus said that to love one another was like loving God and that this summed up the rest of the law. Rick Santorum comes across as anything but loving and “Christ -Like”. In his speeches he is neither loving or caring, but rather angry and mean-spirited. It’s no wonder people are turned off by Christianity. Being in the national spot-light as he is, it would have been better for the sake of all true Christians if he had never told anyone that he had “Christian values”. He is doing great damage in name Christ.

    • Brie

      I completely agree James. Personally I take it a little further in that I believe the entire evangelical political movement is harming Christianity in this country. As a person who is very passionate about spreading the good news of the gospel it is very difficult to overcome the negative sentiments of Christianity, a religion that is so non-controversial with a basic message of love your neighbor as yourself. Most people out there harbor negative feelings towards Christians based on outspoken Christians involved in politics that are trying to legislate their morality on those that do not share the same views, and when you try to legislate Christian values on the general public you naturally create negative sentiments in the ones that are trying to be controlled. There is no example in the Bible that Christians are urged to get involved in legislating moral change in secular culture, quite the opposite, and I wish that more Christians would spend their time reaching out to the unsaved in love than trying to condemn and control them, that is not the way to change a persons heart.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Excuse me, but there are plenty of Rastafarians in the US and they seem to smoke “wisdom weed” whenever and wherever they choose. Same with the Santeros and Voodoo priests sacrificing goats and chickens.

  • Nixon is Lord

    And having a state church back in his grandparents’ Italy worked out so well for social order and morals and education.

  • Brie

    Catholics had “some” role in the founding of our country! Does this man just lie or is he really that uneducated. America was founded by Protestants who held very ant-Catholic sentiments, and can you blame them fro the tyrannical history of the Catholic church getting involved in government? Actually during and after the founding Catholics were not even allowed to hold office or even vote in many states, it is sad that they were persecuted like this but it is a fact tat had nothing to do with the founding or governing of our country in any way for a long time. Maybe this is why Santorum didn’t understand JFKs speech, which was given to Protestant ministers in an effort to combat anti-catholic sentiment, a speech that paved the way for the 1st catholic president, a man Santorum should thank for without JFK a catholic would have a very difficult road to the white house. Catholicism has a history of the church running the state which is maybe why Santorum doesn’t like separation of church and state, because separation of church and state was created by Protestants, and this county was mainly founded by Protestants who only knew too well from the catholic church what happens when a church is involved in government hence the pervasive ant-catholic sentiment of early America and it’s founding.


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