GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s rant that the idea of separation of church and state, as enunciated by the late John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, as Santorum, makes him “throw up” is an indication of why one cannot really take the man seriously.
(Kennedy wound up being the first Catholic elected to the presidency — it was a major breakthrough at the time, almost as big as finally having an African-American president, haven’t had a Jewish one yet — hey what about a declared atheist or a Muslim? No Obama is not a closet Muslim, as far as I know).
Santorum put that out there apparently as red meat for the religious right or evangelicals, but he has reportedly seen fit to back-track just a little, now saying he believes in the separation, but he also believes the church (I imagine he means Christians) should be able to have influence on the government and the government has no business telling the church what to do.
While Mitt Romney is having a rough go of it, and while I don’t personally care for him, he seems the only sound candidate the GOP could muster — the rest are not fit or are nut cases. Well I guess there’s really only Ron Paul left — not sure what category he fits into — I like his anti-war stance, though.
The only practical way to guarantee freedom of religion in the nation is to have a complete separation of church and state. I do agree that such does not give the government any right to intrude upon religious practices or how a church runs its affairs. But in the recent brouhaha over the Obama administration’s attempt to force Catholic hospitals to offer birth control services I see a conflict not easily resolved, although I understand there was a compromise reached. But when a church runs a business in the public domain, such as a Catholic hospital, then it must comply with public law. Render unto Caesar what is his and all.
I do think that the separation of church and state goes far into the impractical and unnecessary when there are objections to people praying in school (except of course it would be wrong for the school people to actually lead the prayer or officially authorize it, but people can or should be able to pray on their own), and it is absurd how all of our traditional holidays, Christmas and Easter and such, have to be renamed or have all religion taken out of them at schools or in the public realm — there ought to be some small leeway for tradition.
But the likes of Santorum either are not able to see the wider picture or they just like to demagogue things for political advantage.
Religious people certainly do have a right to voice their opinion and be politically involved. They just don’t have a right to have government help them force others to do things their way. In addition, the government also has no right to impose its will on churches when they are involved in church matters. I don’t see any evidence of the latter.
I have to add that Santorum may be trying to go for the legitimate desire of a lot of people to go back to traditional values of family and marriage and that the government through various social programs, mainly since the Great Society under Johnson in the 60s, has promoted the break up of families and has in fact promoted single-parent families and has allowed the carrying on of a tradition of dependence from generation to generation. It was all done with good intentions and should not be all scrapped, just revised, with an emphasis put on personal responsibility.
If things are not changed, the religious right just might get its way and then we will all be in trouble.
If you think extreme Islam is bad, read the history of extreme Christianity.
Even though it has been a long time since politicians could almost safely say on thing to one audience and then another to a different audience without fear of anyone being the wiser, or giving a different answer depending upon which day it is without wide reporting of the contradiction, apparently as is the case with Santorum — he is against the separation of church and state, he is for it — they still do it. It goes this way, you say one thing to the faction you are trying to court and then another for wider public consumption, with the understood wink, wink, nod, nod, that you meant what you said in the first place, but it is understood you have to tone things down to get the votes from the wider electorate.