Rick Santorum is such a nutbag that actual bags of nuts see him and are like, “Wha?!”
On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Santorum said that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Baptist Ministers made him want to “throw up,” and that the separation of church and state likewise makes him want to throw up. No seriously. He said that.
Let’s take a look at what JFK said back in 1960 as he made his case that as a Catholic, he would not go off the religious deep-end and unleash some sort of papal theocracy:
“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 parishoners 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.”
“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 helped lead 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 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 equal–where every man has the same right to attend or not 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 pastoral level, 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.”
Now here’s what Santorum thinks Kennedy said:
“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 and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square.”
“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. This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960.”
At the outset, let me say that I have very little idea what the hell Santorum is rambling about. Most of his statement makes not one iota of sense to me. I’m beginning to think Santorum is taking the whole “Soylent Corporations are People” business a bit too far, since he seems to think that “free exercise of religion” is a principle that applies to churches as institutions (and not to citizens who attend those churches), and that any government policy that does not permit the Catholic Church to run roughshod over the rights of Americans — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — constitutes a “war on religion” or the secularization of America.
But I digress.
My point is this: Rick Santorum’s tiny mental Jesus is telling him lies.
Kennedy did not say that “people of faith have no role in the public square,” nor did he say that “faith is not allowed in the public square.” Not even close. Kennedy said that all people and churches should be created equal. That’s it. It’s a simple concept, really — one that Republicans, the self-styled masters of the Constitution, should have grasped by now. Frankly, I can’t even begin to understand what Santorum’s Brain was thinking when it interpreted Kennedy’s speech as some sort of attack on faith and the First Amendment. It is nutbaggery most foul, and I simply do not get it.
I can certainly understand why Santorum’s Brain would want to misinterpret Kennedy’s speech. After all, Santorum very well may be the first Republican Catholic candidate for the presidency, and being the staunch theocratic wackaloon that Santorum is, his brain would necessarily have to rewrite Kennedy’s speech or risk explosion brought on by cognitive dissonance.
Santorum’s view of religion’s role of government is, to put it mildly, warped. Santorum thinks that religion and government go together lox and bagels. He is, of course, wrong. Absolutely 100 percent, in-your-face, spit-on-your-neck wrong. In fact, white dudes from Jefferson on up to Reagan have stated and restated the foundation upon which this country was built, and it isn’t religion (or rock and roll) — it’s separation of church and state.
Santorum also thinks that President Obama is trying to secularize everyone and everything, all the while kicking Catholics in the rosaries. Santorum is wrong about that, too. And, what’s maddening is that Santorum seeks to do what he claims President Obama is trying to do — impose his values directly on the general populace. Values such as the following:
- no birth controls for you;
- contraception is killing America — just ask this racist guy!;
- no medical care that contradicts personal and religious morals;
- healing the sick is for suckers;
- hey gals! put an aspirin between your knees;
- The Netherlands is full of euthanizers (and potheads);
- no out-of-wedlock children or single moms;
- hey lady! keep that rape baby!;
- education is stupid;
- the environment is stupid;
- no broads in the military;
- college is for snobs;
- no gays in the military — or anywhere, really… just go ahead and stop being gay altogether (and you probably shouldn’t even vote for me if you are);
- stop all that masturbating;
- missionary position only;
- don’t wear that;
- don’t put that there; and so on.
No, Rick. You are correct that free exercise of religion means bringing people of faith and no faith into the public square. More importantly, however, it means that once in the public square, the people of faith and no faith stand on equal ground. People of a certain faith are not permitted to force the rest of the nation to adhere to a particular set of principles. It’s that last part that you don’t quite understand, and I can only hope to Blog that you will never be able to inflict your America on me.
Kennedy’s America echoes the founders’ version of America:
“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 neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or 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 it. If they disagree with that safeguard they should be out openly working to repeal it.”
“I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none–who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require of him–and whose fulfillment of his Presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation.”
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–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 the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.”
Santorum’s America is a bland (or, “blah,” if you will), joyless, orgasm-free hellscape in which Satan lurks around every corner.
This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America’s preeminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers.
He didn’t have much success in the early days. Our foundation was very strong, in fact, is very strong. But over time, that great, acidic quality of time corrodes even the strongest foundations. And Satan has done so by attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.
He was successful. He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions. The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia, a long time ago, fell.
And you say “what could be the impact of academia falling?” Well, I would have the argument that the other structures that I’m going to talk about here had root of their destruction because of academia. Because what academia does is educate the elites in our society, educates the leaders in our society, particularly at the college level. And they were the first to fall.
And so what we saw this domino effect, once the colleges fell and those who were being education in our institutions, the next was the church. Now you’d say, ‘wait, the Catholic Church’? No. 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. So they attacked mainline Protestantism, they attacked the Church, and what better way to go after smart people who also believe they’re pious to use both vanity and pride to also go after the Church.
After that, you start destroying the Church and you start destroying academia, the culture is where their next success was and I need not even go into the state of the popular culture today. Whether its sensuality of vanity of the famous in America, they are peacocks on display and they have taken their poor behavior and made it fashionable. The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a rock concert or whether it’s on a movie set.
The fourth, and this was harder, now I know you’re going to challenge me on this one, but politics and government was the next to fall. You say, ‘you would think they would be the first to fall, as fallible as we are in politics,’ but people in political life get elected by ordinary folks from lots of places all over the country where the foundations of this country are still strong. So while we may certainly have had examples, the body politic held up fairly well up until the last couple of decades, but it is falling too.
In a word, it sucks. I much prefer Kennedy’s America. Don’t you? Santorum’s America makes my brain’s stomach hurt.
(h/t The Reid Report)[cross-posted at ABLC]