Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Sunday defended a statement he made last October in which he said that he “almost threw up” when he read John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Houston address on the role of religion in public life.
The statement by Santorum marks the GOP contender’s latest defense of his long-held views on the separation of church and state, although in his Sunday appearance he doubled down on the colorful language he employed in his October speech at a New Hampshire college.
In remarks last year at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., Santorum had told the crowd of J.F.K.’s famous 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”
Now just what kind of things did Rick Santorum find so objectionable in Kennedy's speech? Things like this:
"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."
Full JFK speech that made Rick Santorum almost throw up:
Now here's the money quote from that WaPo article above:
On Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Santorum whether he stood by his statement last year, noting that Santorum’s rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), delivered an address on religion during the 2008 campaign that garnered comparisons to Kennedy’s address.
Santorum defended his remarks, telling Stephanopoulos that “the first line, first substantive line in the speech, says, ‘I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute.’”
“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said. “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.”
Aren't we fighting multiple open-ended wars and engaging in open-ended nation-building operations overseas right now because conservatives believe that religious fundamentalists from the Middle East want to force their religion on us? Maybe while we're going to such great lengths, we could also do something about religious fundamentalists from Pennsylvania trying to force theirs on us too... like not vote for them.
Editor in Chief, THL
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