Santorum’s Separation Anxiety

Feb 27 2012 @ 12:17pm

A few years ago, the arch-Catholic got nauseous while discussing JFK's religion speech. Yesterday, he doubled down:

 

For the record, 67 percent of Americans believe there should be a clear separation of church and state. E.D. Kain explains why this separation should be embraced by people of faith: 

It’s almost as though social conservatives think that religion and government were kept separate because effete liberal elitists wanted a hedonistic society unfettered by the moral constraints provided by religious institutions. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was the Baptists and Thomas Jefferson who really lobbied hard for the initial cleaving. They saw the political power of the Anglican Church as a real threat to religious freedom and decided that the best way to preserve that freedom was to keep government out of church business, and vice versa.

P.M Carpenter untangles Rick's revisionism:

Kennedy was emphasizing an institutional separation; he never denied that his conscience was influenced by his faith. Indeed, to have done so would have been absurd, thus making Santorum's claim — that Kennedy held the "idea that the church can have no influence" on a chief executive –  "absolutely antithetical" to what Kennedy actually said and to what Santorum grossly misrepresented.

Digby has more historical context:

Evidently, [Santorum] was unaware that in 1960, conservatives thought of Catholics the same way think of Muslims today. He seems under the impression that America was a wonderful religiously tolerant nation until the horrible secularists came along and ruined everything.

Joe Gandelman fumes:

JFK never ever said that persons of faith have no role in politics. He was saying persons of faith have no RIGHT to SHOVE THEIR PARTICULAR FAITH down the throats of Americans and claim that America is more their country than the others.

Even William A. Jacobson thinks Santorum is in the wrong:

Kennedy’s speech in favor of religious freedom was not vomitous, at all.  … Santorum’s hyperbolic rhetoric is one of the reasons "I’d have to think about it" if there is no third surge for Newt and the choice came down to Romney or Santorum.

Ed Kilgore piles on:

[Santorum] is engaged not in a defense of Christian common-sense values against secular-socialist hordes in service to the Father of Lies, but an intra-Christian war in which hyper-traditionalist Catholics and hyper-conservative evangelicals come together to impose their views on believers and unbelievers alike. It’s a strange preoccupation for a professional politician, but then this is a strange year in Republican presidential politics.

My take on Santorum's unsettling kind of Catholicism here.