Rick Santorum is well-known for his religious viewpoints, but some are starting to wonder if he has gone to far. On ABC’s “This Week”, Santorum said ““I don’t believe that the separation of church and state is absolute. The First Amendment means the free exercise of religion and that means bringing people and their faith into the public square.”
According to this article from Bloomberg, Santorum greatly disagreed with a speech former President John F. Kennedy gave in 1960 about separation of church and state. Santorum is quoted in the Huffington Post saying “ “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…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”
According to this CBS article, Kennedy was a Catholic, which brought concern by some people. He gave a speech explained he was the Democratic candidate for president who happens to be Catholic, not the Catholic candidate for president. Santorum has built his entire campaign on his faith, and this only solidifies that approach even more.
Santorum feels that America is based on diversity and Kennedy’s speech promoted the opposite idea. Santorum expresses a viewpoint that implies that the separation of church and state would actually prohibit individuals from expressing their freedom of religion and would only end up in the government imposing their personal religious viewpoints on the average citizen.
Santorum is attempting to use this to pop some holes in President Barack Obama’s image. In the Huffington Post article, Santorum said “”[Obama believes in] some phony ideal, some phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.” This is not the only complaint Santorum has lodged against Obama. The Los Angeles Times explained that Santorum feels that Obama wants everyone to go to college so society can “impart liberal ideology” on young adults. He also implied it was a slap in the face to all non degree holding adults.
Santorum also expressed anger that Obama apologized for the incident in which U.S. personnel in Afghanistan burned copies of the Koran. Apologizing “shows weakness””, according to the Times article. Santorum felt that Obama could have expressed that the Koran was the Islamic Holy Book without apologizing.
How do you weigh in on this argument? Do you think America should have definite separation of church and state? Or do you think a more flexible definition needs to be afforded to encompass the right of freedom of religion?