Santorum: Separation of Church and State “Makes Me Want to Throw Up”

Rick Santorum - Unravel the Sweater

Santorum on Saturday, from the AP

In just the latest statement proving Santorum is not electable, today Santurom said JFK’s speech about separation of church and state “makes me want to throw up.”

The story was reported at Politico:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the notion of religion not playing role in politics “makes me want to throw up.”

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up. What kind of country do we live in where only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up. And that should make every American [throw up],” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Part of the problem is, of course, that JFK was trying to address a broader question at the time. When JFK made his speech, he was trying to reassure non-Catholics that he would not blindly follow the commands of the Vatican if elected president. What JFK said that Santorum found nauseating was the following (quote below is from JFK):

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 accepts 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.

Rick, on the other hand, says:

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

Now it’s one thing to try and say that there’s a role for faith to shape public discourse, but that wasn’t the point of JFK’s speech, and Santorum’s statement will only stoke the fire surrounding his extreme social conservatism. There’s clearly lots to argue about here, including the proper role of faith in politics (absolutely people of faith must make their voices heard), and what the proper separation is (I don’t agree that morality has no place in politics). But the broader point is this: independents are afraid that Rick Santorum will, despite disputations to the contrary, want to legislate morality from his point of view. Now he’s raised the question that JFK was trying to dismiss: that an adherent of a religion would be subject to taking orders from that religion’s hierarchy. That is bound to make independents very uncomfortable, as it does me, and statements like this will lose him many independent votes, making him, as noted previously, unelectable. See my prior post listing many other points to which this is added making him a terrible GOP candidate for president. Remember, it’s only been a little over a week since Santorum has been in the limelight. A few more weeks of this and he’ll only add to his collection. In my view, his habit of making these sorts of statements makes him unelectable.

UPDATE: Here is Mitt Romney’s statement on faith from the 2008 campaign, as reported in the Washington Post:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, seeking to allay public misgivings about his Mormon faith, pledged here Thursday to serve the common good and no single religion if he is elected president, while also making an impassioned plea for the importance of faith and religion in the public arena.

“Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions,” Romney told an audience at the George Bush Presidential Library. “Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.”

The Republican presidential candidate, in a long-awaited speech that could be critical to his hopes of winning the Republican nomination and the White House, went on to say that, as president, he would serve “no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.”

But he was equally emphatic in defending the idea that there is a place for religion in public life. Arguing that the doctrine of separation of church and state had been carried too far, Romney said some have pushed to remove “any acknowledgement of God” from the public domain.


Please Check Out These Other “Threads” in the #UnravelTheSweater Series:

Unravel The Sweater - Rick Santorum

About Paul Johnson:

Paul Johnson is an attorney for venture capitalists and their portfolio companies by day, husband and father of three teenage boys by night. He’s an avid supporter of Mitt Romney for president and, as a graduate of Brigham Young University, a BYU football and basketball fan. Paul also enjoys competing in triathlons. Because he’s in the “Clydesdale” (over 200 lb.) class, he has even had podium finishes from time to time. Paul also has the distinction of being a big enough U2 fan to be willing to travel to Dublin to see them in their native environment.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn 

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Santorum: Separation of Church and State “Makes Me Want to Throw Up”

  1. Diana_Florida says:

    This man is very scary.

  2. Frozone says:

    Romney and Santorum probably meant to say much the same thing, but Romney did a much better job of it. He’s much more gifted, if you just take the time to sit and listen to what he has to say, and how he says it.

  3. Annette says:

    “What kind of a country do we live in where only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case.” Rick Santorum

    Am I missing something? No one is saying that people of faith can’t govern. A church shouldn’t impose it’s will upon a government or influence decisions of those who govern, but leaders can certainly have a faith.

  4. Mike in LV says:

    Santorum is not too bright He missed the context… even then, JFK really didn’t say anything suggesting and absolute seperation. And we remember from the Cuban Missile Crisis and other events that JFK called upon America to Pray. Santorum is an extremist. He’s a theological jihadist.

  5. Roumiana says:

    OUT OF ALL NORMS OF BEHAVIOR,SANTORUM DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IS HE TALKING.I THINK,IT IS TIME FOR SOMEONE TO CLOSE HIS MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. AfricansforRomney says:

    Why religion is sooooooooooooo important to this wacko now? This guy is a disgusting opportunist. He’s making me puke every time when he open his mouth about religion. Where was he when Catholic church sex crimes committed by the church leaders all over the place?? Don’t tell me dummy, your christiantiy is better than everyone else. STOP dividing the good believers in ALL types of religion. The christian faith is very personal for many of us.
    This guy is destroying individual liberty and making relgion a laughing matter. What an IDIOT! Please, leave religion out of your bullshit politics. I prefer listening Ron Paul’s gospel of liberty and freedom than this sumbag.

    When Dr Paul delivers 4000+ babies, Santorum ( by his own admission) he has been funding baby killer Org.

    Integrity matters!