Rick Santorum hates religion but he hates puppies even more

What a silly over-the-top thing to say. It’s the sort of rhetoric that is ruining this country, damnit, and this is the greatest country on earth.

Why, it’s a little bit like saying that the whole separation of Church and State thing we have baked into our constitution is out-dated, like Rick Santorum said on This Week:

I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute. 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 visions of our country.

This is stupid on so many levels.

Obviously the church is just one of many special interest groups that really does have some say over matters of state. That’s simply a reality of representative government, whether we like it or not. But more importantly I really don’t think that Rick Santorum understands what he’s saying here, and the implications for freedom of religion.

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.

Fast-forward a few hundred years and you have guys like Santorum who apparently don’t understand the first thing about the point of keeping the two institutions a healthy distance apart from one another. This is either straight-up opportunism dressed in religious drag or it’s one of the dumbest things to have fled a politician’s mouth in, well, days.

cross-posted






40 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    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.

    Almost?

  2. 2
    el donaldo says:

    Well, in truth Jefferson was lobbying hard because he was a cosmopolitan liberal. He and Madison found they had common cause with the Baptists and other dissenters from Anglican faith, but not a common rationale.

  3. 3
    scav says:

    Saving up plate-mail and popcorn for when they get to the gritty bit of deciding among themselves exactly which is the church.

  4. 4
    Erik Kain says:

    Well Jefferson was a radical but he was only sort of a liberal. Mixed bag.

  5. 5
    gbear says:

    I don’t want this guy to be the republican candidate. I don’t want to find out how many people think we should have a christianist president. I’m afraid that we may be that stupid.

  6. 6
    FedSec says:

    I think you give Santorum too much credit. I believe he knows exactly what he is saying. After all, this isn’t a one-off; he’s been singing this tune for many years. And I applaud him for saying it. Perhaps now people will finally recognize him for the religious nutcase he truly is.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    It seems like this yesterday, that everyone was afraid of Sharia Law. Little Ricky better rethink his position.

  8. 8
    russell says:

    I’d like Santorum to spell out exactly what he has in mind when he talks about the church being involved in the operation of the state.

    He could start by explaining which church he’s talking about. And, do all the religions get to play?

    What aspects of the “operation” of the state do they get to be involved in?

    This guy has no business holding any public elective office.

  9. 9
    Svensker says:

    This is either straight-up opportunism dressed in religious drag or it’s one of the dumbest things to have fled a politician’s mouth in, well, days.

    Why the either or?

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    Of course ol frothy has to pretend that the objection of liberals is objection to the whole idea of any religious feelings having any place in politics. Its the ONLY way his side can win on the issue. If the issue is defined as neither church nor state pushing the other they lose.

  11. 11
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Svensker: ah, good point. Okay, it’s both. Both for sure.

  12. 12
    el donaldo says:

    @Erik D. Context is everything, even when contextualizing. In that liberal might be a useful label for any eighteenth century figure, it fits Jefferson nearly as well as Hutcheson or Smith. But certainly with Jefferson’s notions of religion and government. Effete might even fit him too.

  13. 13
    JGabriel says:

    @slag:

    Almost?

    It’s called irony.

    .

  14. 14
    Anya says:

    To quote Brad DeLong: Why oh why can’t we have a better press corps? If we did, they would explore this whole seperation of church and state and ask these assholes, which church should set public policies? Would they want Sanatorium’s church or Mitten’s Church? Or better yet, Sharia?

  15. 15
    suzanne says:

    @russell:

    This guy has no business holding any public elective officeleaving the house without “supervision”.

    Fixed.

  16. 16
    JGabriel says:

    @JPL:

    It seems like this yesterday, that everyone was afraid of Sharia Law.

    That’s so unfair! Christians are nothing like Muslims. For instance, Christians call their holy Middle-Eastern Abrahamic prophet Jesus and Muslims call their holy Middle-Eastern Abrahamic prophet Muhammed.

    So you see it’s just completely different.

    .

  17. 17
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @scav:

    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said “Stop! Don’t do it!”
    __
    “Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
    __
    I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
    __
    “Like what?”
    __
    “Well … are you religious or atheist?”
    __
    “Religious.”
    __
    “Me too! Are you Christian, Jewish or another religion?”
    __
    “Christian.”
    __
    “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
    __
    “Protestant.”
    __
    “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
    __
    “Baptist.”
    __
    “Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”
    __
    “Baptist Church of God.”
    __
    “Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
    __
    “Reformed Baptist Church of God.”
    __
    “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”
    __
    “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!”
    __
    To which I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

  18. 18
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @scav: When you run into someone like this, ask them which church.

  19. 19
    scav says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Especially since the Holy Rickster Sanctimoniousorum is probably jonesing for a chance to talk at Ratzi and bring him back to the Holy Fold of Righteousness.

  20. 20
    samara morgan says:

    /yawn

    another in the endless series of dude-conservatives-sukk formula posts by Kain.
    is Sully going to link this one too?

  21. 21
    toujoursdan says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The problem is that most right-wing evangelicals and right-wing Catholics stopped hating each other in the 1980s when they realized that they had common ground wrt abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, etc. The strongest support for Santorum’s contraception comments aren’t coming from Catholics. They are coming from evangelicals and Mormons.

    The truth is there are essentially two religions in the U.S. nowadays:

    The liberal religion consisting mostly of: mainline Protestants (Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, UCC, Quakers, etc.) as well as Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, liberal-minded Muslims, pagans, New Age religions, liberal evangelicals and Catholics, etc. These people embrace pluralism, are pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-economic fairness, environmental and peace oriented, against corporatism, etc. and are comfortable with secular and atheist people.

    And then there is the conservative religion consisting of the Catholic hierarchy and right-wing Catholics, Mormons, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Pentacostals and conservative evangelicals. They are the backers of Gingrich and Santorum.

    The differences inside these two religions are far less important to those inside each group than the differences between them. On each side, if there is a perception that one sub-group is being attacked, the rest have their back.

    The sooner everyone realized this, the better.

  22. 22
    samara morgan says:

    oh i seeeeeeeeeeeee.
    this is just a copy of Sullivan’s post.
    plagiarist.

  23. 23
    wrb says:

    @toujoursdan:
    exactly right, with a minor edit

    And then there is the conservative religion consisting of the Catholic hierarchy and right-wing Catholics, Mormons, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Pentacostals (excepting some Black Pentacostals), the Southern Baptist Convention,and conservative evangelicals. They are the backers of Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Caine, Bachman and Santorum.

  24. 24
    Palli says:

    Somehow I suspect Mr. Santorum would change his religious tune if he was conversing with the American heros Daniel Berrigan, Josephite priest Philip Berrigan, and the monk Thomas Merton who led a popular coalition of the faiths against the Vietnam War.

  25. 25
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @samara morgan: Samara, if you promise to stop commenting in Kain’s posts, I promise to stop commenting in yours. Seriously.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @toujoursdan: They might initially agree with each other, but when you make them choose one, it’ll get ugly real quick.

  27. 27
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    Shorter Ricky: All heil the mighty pope in Avignon. Burn the Cathars!

  28. 28
    Barney says:

    The test for Santorum ought to be to say, as well:

    “I don’t believe in an America where the separation between mosque and state is absolute. The idea that Islam can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and visions of our country.”

    And then see if he gets more than 1% in the next Republican primary. Then he might realise how prejudiced he is.

  29. 29
    Monkey Business says:

    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.

    You know, I’m actually pretty happy with the first definition. We got the stodgy Puritans who the English kicked out for being too conservative. Personally, if we had gotten the Italian or French Sex Party Boat instead, I think we’d be much, much less uptight as a country.

  30. 30
    samara morgan says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): im not a front pager.
    and my offer stands.
    ill quit BJ if Kains posts get zero comments.

    he is just here to switch horses cuz O is gunna win.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @samara morgan:

    plagiarist

    I don’t believe that word means what you seem to think it means.

  32. 32

    Trying to do this in less than book length leads to some weaknesses, but I tried.

    Sure, it’s blogwhoring – but then I don’t make anything off it…

  33. 33
    cmorenc says:

    @Barney:

    “I don’t believe in an America where the separation between mosque and state is absolute. The idea that Islam can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and visions of our country.” And then see if he gets more than 1% in the next Republican primary. Then he might realise how prejudiced he is.

    Unfortunately, far too many of the Christian evangelicals would reject the validity of this argument out of hand, since in their view the United States was founded on a Christian foundation, and that Islamic religion only has standing to be tolerated under the general concept of allowing religious freedom, but that it has no standing for recognition in this country otherwise. About as far as these evangelicals go toward ecumenical thinking is to allow, after a pause where they realize they shouldn’t inadvertently diss the Jewish and Israel, revise their statement and say the United States was founded on a Judeo-Christian foundation. Others are free to worship, but as far as implanting any of their notions in government, they can go pound sand (or pound rocks if they are too subversive and uppity about it).

    Look: the GOP folks whose minds are open to the point you make are already voting for anyone but Santorum. The folks who are already voting for Santorum aren’t going to be open to your logic at all, for the reasons stated. That is a frightening thought.

  34. 34
    toujoursdan says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): From a policy standpoint, the differences aren’t major, so it wouldn’t come to that any time soon (and they know that.)

  35. 35
    g says:

    This is either straight-up opportunism dressed in religious drag or it’s one of the dumbest things to have fled a politician’s mouth in, well, days

    Can’t it be both?

  36. 36
    samara morgan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: well i think you have the IQ of a hay bale if you are gunna fall for EDK, the Sully Clone, Season II.

  37. 37
    Interrobang says:

    The most Judeo-Christian thing in existence is Islam, which is basically a syncretism of Judaism, Christianity, and pre-Islamic regional religions. It’s all there in the Qu’ran if you care to look.

  38. 38
    RalfW says:

    I’d go with that last option:

    it’s one of the dumbest things to have fled a politician’s mouth

    Yes. Indeed.

    Lil’ Ricky ain’t so smart.

  39. 39
    samara morgan says:

    @Erik Kain:

    Well Jefferson was a radical but he was only sort of a liberal. Mixed bag.

    wallah.
    i missed this. Incredible idiocy worthy of a whole counter-post on its own.
    Sullivan needs to see this.
    Kain sets so much store on fuckwit buzzwords. BJ has now seen him as a liberaltarian, a neo-liberal, a “bleeding heart” libertarian…i think those are all weasel words for “inherently conservative”.

  40. 40
    samara morgan says:

    @Interrobang: yup, zactly right. you get a gold star.
    still…. the thing that defines xianity, the jesus godhead, is wholly rejected by both jews and muslims.

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