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Santorum's Church And State Problem
by Jeffrey Guillot

On the evening he lost a squeaker of a primary to Mitt Romney in Romney’s home state, Rick Santorum was all smiles as he delivered a speech to his supporters.

In his address, he hammered home his core message of conservative family values, and then moved onto revealing an energy plan that would essentially lay waste to a century of Environmental Conservation policy. But, in the end, he pivoted back to his core vision of an Ultra-Conservative social agenda for America.

This agenda includes, among other things, a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, and a complete ban on Federal funding for contraception. These measures, contrary to the assertions of some, are not rooted in bigotry, intolerance of fear. Santorum stands by this platform because he believes that we need to revert back to an antiquated version of the American Family that is rooted in religious teachings and robust family values.

Speaking of religion, notably absent from Santorum’s remarks post-Michigan was any reference to his recent comments about the separation between church and state- and notably that when he first saw President John F. Kennedy give a speech on the importance of this separation, he nearly vomited.

This is yet another example of why Santorum’s social positions are backwards and dangerous. While one cannot avoid countless references to God and the Creator in formal government parlance, it’s critical to see the distinction between “So help me God” and “God, please be the driving force behind my policy making decisions, notably whether or not I invade Iran.” Santorum’s position is that is Christian values will be the guiding force in everything he will do as Chief Executive.

In 1960, Americans were concerned that John Kennedy,- who became the first Roman Catholic (and the only once since) to become President- would follow the Pope, and not the American people who elected him. His remarks that sparked Santorum’s gag reflex served as testament that he wouldn’t let his faith influence his decision making, and that he would weigh tangible factors rather than await guidance from heaven.

In Kennedy’s day, political discourse was measured by good ideas versus bad ideas. Politicians have been disagreeing since the days of the Roman Senate- but that was never a reason for personal disdain. However, when you inject religious undertones into the argument, the discourse becomes good versus evil. The Tea Party has buttered it’s bread using this notion. Liberals, instead of the respected opposition have become the evil enemies of freedom. If you want the singular reason why Congress sits in eternal gridlock, look no further than this.

Rick Santorum wants to take this archaic, hazardous philosophy into the Oval Office at a time we can least afford to do so. Slapping the ‘evil’ tag upon those who fight for social equality, environmental justice and a diplomatic approach to Middle Eastern affairs could have generational ramifications. There is a reason why the first amendment separates church and state. In 1789, our founding fathers saw theocracies that crushed the rights of people around the globe and enacted provisions that would ensure that America never became one. Someone send that memo to Rick Santorum.

Published: Feb 29,2012 14:48
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