By Matthew Rothschild on February 27, 2012

Rick Santorum’s true colors are really coming out these days, and they are the colors of the Ayatollah and Savonarola.

On Sunday, Santorum told George Stephanopoulos that JFK’s famous speech delineating the wall between church and state made him want to “throw up” and should make every American want to “throw up.”

Well, here’s what JFK actually said:

“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 parishioners for whom to vote . . .

He added: “I believe in an America . . . 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 that’s precisely where Santorum has a problem with JFK’s statement—and with our Constitutional system.

For Santorum believes that it’s OK for a religious body to try to impose its will upon us, and upon the public acts of its officials.

In fact, he himself wants to impose the Catholic Church’s doctrine upon the rest of us as it relates to abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and sexual pleasure.

Santorum didn’t cop to that, though. Instead, he distorted what Kennedy said, claiming that JFK said “that people of faith have no role in the public square.” He said no such thing. But what he did say was that religion should be private, religious institutions should not endorse candidates, the government shouldn’t establish religion, and that there should be no religious tests for elective office.

That’s also what our Constitution and our laws say. But it’s not what Santorum and other zealots want them to say.

If the race this year ends up between JFK and Rick Santorum, I’ve got a feeling Kennedy is going to win hands down.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Ron Paul Pummels Santorum in Debate."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

Section: 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

BREAKING NEWS: Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson of Bhopal infamy died a fugitive from justice. The Progressive got...

This Halloween movie will scare anyone who cares about news.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter