Santorum gets nausea over separation of church and state; gets JFK wrong

The repetition of the throw up line is strange to me. Maybe it was something in his breakfast coming back on him.

On ABC News This Week program with George Stephanopoulis, Santorum said he wanted to throw up frequently.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have also spoken out about the issue of religion in politics, and early in the campaign, you talked about John F. Kennedy’s famous speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston back in 1960. Here is what you had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Earlier (ph) in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: That speech has been read, as you know, by millions of Americans. Its themes were echoed in part by Mitt Romney in the last campaign. Why did it make you throw up?

The Kennedy speech assured the Baptists that Kennedy would not take orders from Rome on public policy. Now, I think many Baptists would like Santorum to take his cue from Rome.

More nausea…

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think you wanted to throw up?

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: — the perfect remedy. Well, yes, absolutely, 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…

To be fair, Santorum said he believes people of no faith have a voice:

SANTORUM: Yes, I just said. I mean, that’s the whole point that upset me about Kennedy’s speech. Come into the public square. I want, you know, there are people I disagree with. Come to my town hall meetings, as people have done, and disagree with me and let’s have a discussion. Let’s air your ideas, let’s bring them in, let’s explain why you believe what you believe and what you think is best for the country. People of faith, people of no faith, people of different faith, that’s what America is all about, it’s bringing that diversity into and challenge of the different ideas that motivate people in our country. That’s what makes America work. And what we’re seeing, what we saw in Kennedy’s speech is just the opposite, and that’s what was upsetting about it.

However, Santorum is off target about what Kennedy advocated. Here is the lion’s share of Kennedy’s speech:

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

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

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been — and may someday be again — a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice, where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind, and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe, a great office that must be neither humbled by making it the instrument of any religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding it — its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation, nor imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendment’s guarantees of religious liberty; nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so. And neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test, even by indirection. For if they disagree with that safeguard, they should be openly working to repeal it.

I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all and obligated to none, who can attend any ceremony, service, or dinner his office may appropriately require of him to fulfill; and whose fulfillment of his Presidential office is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual, or obligation.

This is the kind of America I believe in — and this is the kind of America I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we might have a divided loyalty, that we did not believe in liberty, or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened — I quote — “the freedoms for which our forefathers died.”

And in fact this is the kind of America for which our forefathers did die when they fled here to escape religious test oaths that denied office to members of less favored churches — when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom — and when they fought at the shrine I visited today, the Alamo. For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died Fuentes, and McCafferty, and Bailey, and Badillo, and Carey — but no one knows whether they were Catholics or not. For there was no religious test there.

I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition — to judge me on the basis of 14 years in the Congress, on my declared stands against an Ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools — which I attended myself. And instead of doing this, do not judge me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and rarely relevant to any situation here. And always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948 which strongly endorsed Church-State separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic.

I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts. Why should you?

But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the State being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or prosecute the free exercise of any other religion. And that goes for any persecution, at any time, by anyone, in any country. And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny their Presidency to Protestants, and those which deny it to Catholics. And rather than cite the misdeeds of those who differ, I would also cite the record of the Catholic Church in such nations as France and Ireland, and the independence of such statesmen as De Gaulle and Adenauer.

But let me stress again that these are my views.

For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President.

I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic.

I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views — in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise.

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith; nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.

If I should lose on the real issues, I shall return to my seat in the Senate, satisfied that I’d tried my best and was fairly judged.

But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser, in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people.

But if, on the other hand, I should win this election, then I shall devote every effort of mind and spirit to fulfilling the oath of the Presidency — practically identical, I might add, with the oath I have taken for 14 years in the Congress. For without reservation, I can, “solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — so help me God.

I ask Sen. Santorum or any of his supporters – What would you do differently? President Kennedy did not close the door of the public square to anyone, in fact, he wanted it to be as open as possible, to those of all faiths or no faith. Perhaps Sen. Santorum is counting o his audience being unwilling to look up exactly what Kennedy said the the Houston Ministers.

My stomach feels just fine.

On the reaction of the Houston Ministers, you can read this Q&A after Kennedy’s speech. I think it is extremely interesting how cautious the Protestant ministers are when it comes to church and state. They wanted assurances that Kennedy believed in this doctrine – the same doctrine that many Protestants now criticize and which fills Santorum with nausea.

  • Carol A Ranney

    @Gregory Brown, well said. I am a Christian and these people give me the creeps. I noticed this trend long ago when my son was small and I was homeschooling. The Christian home school curricula took liberties to rewrite American history, omitting any references to Blacks, Chinese, Native Americans (except token whitewashed individuals such as George Washington Carver etc) and painted the founders of the US as evangelical Christians. And this was back in 1988. They’ve been cooking this up a long time and the saddest thing is how ANTI Christian it is. All based on lies and half-truths–this is NOT what Jesus taught, even remotely. These people are the Pharisees that Jesus condemned, whitewashed on the outside but dead bones on the inside.

  • Carol A Ranney

    ?? I could swear I just read a comment by Gregory Brown?? lol

  • StraightGrandmother

    Carol, comments have disappeared on this topic. Prolly has to do with migrating to a new server.

  • Maazi NCO

    Santorum gets nausea over separation of church and state; gets JFK wrong

    From what I know of United States, JFK’s speech should be placed in the historical context of a United States that was suspicious of Jews and Roman Catholics. JFK being Catholic was a big deal back then and he had to make his speech to allay the fears of the largely protestant population used to electing protestant white men to the American presidency.

    Not that I want a GOP victory

    I will be glad to see the back of the gayism-obsessed Obama administration and its contemptuous meddlesome behaviour in Africa. However, international media reports gives me the impression that Obama is likely to defeat any challenger from the Republican party camp in the presidential elections

  • Richard Willmer

    Unfortunately for you, ‘Maazi’, I suspect that the choice is not, from your point of view, a very apetizing one. You will have something along the lines of either ‘general budget support on condition of respect for human rights’ (centrist candidates) or ‘aid cuts regardless’ (extreme right candidates).

    My feeling is that Obama will be reelected. What will happen in Congress (especially the Senate) is perhaps rather more difficult to predict.

  • Michael Bussee

    I noticed my quote from Ronald Reagan disappeared. Here it is again:

    “We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.

    All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to to speak of and act on their belief.

    At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.”

  • StraightGrandmother

    God D*mn the Catholics, they are like the sneaky evil hand with world wide reach.

    India-

    Appearing before a bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya, they contended that homosexual behaviour is a disease, which should be cured through counselling and rehabilitation.

    “It would be a horrendous situation in Indian society if it is allowed. The organisations (fighting for gay rights) should try to bring such people to national mainstream by providing counselling them,” said senior advocate Radha Krishana, appearing for a Catholic organisation.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/gaysex-horrendous-socioreligious-bodies-tell-sc/234918-3.html

  • Richard Willmer

    Is it true that Santorum has compared same-sex unions to 9/11 and bestiality?

    That would be ‘pushing the boundaries’ … :-(

    (He is doing worryingly well in the polls at the moment … level with Romney in a head-to-head with Obama, who currently leads both by 5%.)


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