Rick Santorum, speaking today on ABC’s This Week:

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are 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. Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”[1] To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

On the one hand, I respect that Rick Santorum has a strong religious conviction, and I’m thrilled for him, if it works for him. Religion is first and foremost an expression of personal commitment, and I have no desire to take his ability to have his own convictions away from him. That said, where Santorum has it utterly wrong is in the notion that as a person of Faith, he has the right to force his personal beliefs onto other persons. That notion, I’m happy to fight tooth and nail with every fiber of my being.¬†Our Constitution guarantees a separation of Church and State in the First Amendment, but it was Thomas Jefferson who articulated this separation as a wall between government and organized religion.¬†Jefferson wrote:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.[1]

Here is where Santorum’s words are most scary as he is a Roman Catholic. Note, he doesn’t
say “a person of Faith…” he uses the phrase “people of Faith.” this may not seem like a big deal, but it is, as the plural of person (people) is the Church, and in the Roman Catholic tradition the Church is the whole Roman Catholic Church which is subservient to the Roman Catholic Pope.

Once before, the American people worried about the influence of the Pope on American politics, when the first Catholic to see the presidency, John Kennedy sought office. His stance was made clear however in Kennedy’s now famous speech from 1960, that Santorum claims, makes him want to “throw up.”

So often, the argument used by others who seek to force their religious views on others, is best summed up as “religious liberty,” where liberty has a individual context. Santorum hasn’t time for the word gems and cuts to the chase, merging government with religion.

Santorum (intentionally?) misinterprets the meaning of a separation of church and state, when he says:

To say that people of faith have no role in the public square?

Note here the word “role” as opposed to the word “right.” persons of faith has a right to voice their opinions and ideas, just like everyone else. This right they already have. But Santorum sees that they must do more than exercise their free speech. They have a role to play,and for him, that role is imposing God’s Will, as he defies it or as the Roman Catholic Church defines it, onto others.

Some have pointed out that Santorum polls better with evangelicals than he does Catholics, and is is no real surprise given that most American Catholics are not in step with the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Santorum’s position doesn’t place all Catholics at odds with the Constitution. He does however place the institution of the Roman Catholic Church as the enemy of the First Amendment.

What worries me most is how many progressives I speak with laugh off Santorum’ and dismiss him as utterly unelectable. But when you place his rhetoric in the current political context where states are limiting a woman’s right to choice; outlawing contraception; and seeking to ban any dialogue about homosexuality, Santorum’s electability doesn’t appear so strange.

Anyone who cares about the Constitution and personal freedoms ought to hear Santorum as he he were the loudest alarm out there.

More on this:

http://republicans4freedom.net/2012/02/26/rick-santorum-admits-he-doesnt-believe-in-separation-of-church-and-state/

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2012/02/rick-santorum-idea-of-separation-of.html

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