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My Take: Santorum’s right, JFK wrong on separation of church and state
The author says that President John F. Kennedy got the separation of church and state wrong and that Rick Santorum gets it right.
February 29th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

My Take: Santorum’s right, JFK wrong on separation of church and state

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

Even Rick Santorum’s most ardent detractors have to concede this much - the former senator speaks his mind. Recently, Santorum has been speaking his mind on questions of church and state, and the political left has responded with disbelief and horror.

Over the weekend, Santorum told ABC's "This Week" that reading the text of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association made him physically sick: “I almost threw up.”

As it turns out, Santorum had made similar statements about Kennedy’s speech before. But, as Santorum quickly learned, he had dared to criticize a speech, and an argument, that the left has long considered the equivalent of settled law.

Kennedy addressed the Houston Baptist pastors at a crucial point in his campaign for the presidency. He was facing claims that a Catholic president would be unduly influenced by the Vatican and Catholic authorities, and Kennedy sought to calm those fears. In one sense, the speech was something of a political necessity. In an even greater sense, it established what amounts to a political orthodoxy on the political left.

Explaining what made him almost throw up, Santorum pointed to a statement Kennedy made early in the speech: “I believe in an America where separation of church and state is absolute.”

Santorum retorted, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of 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 vision of our country.”

Santorum should have avoided gastrointestinal references in his comments, and he clearly missed some of the careful nuances of Kennedy’s speech, but his criticism of Kennedy’s argument is both timely and essentially right. Furthermore, it is high time that Americans understand that the ideas Kennedy espoused in that speech have led us to an impasse in current debates.

There can be no “absolute” separation of church and state. Such an absolute separation would, in theory, prevent any conflict or controversy between religious bodies and government. As just about any edition of a major newspaper makes clear, these conflicts occur over and over again.

Much of Kennedy’s speech would be noncontroversial, including his plea for an end to religious intolerance and his assertion of religious liberty. But Kennedy framed his argument with assertions that simply cannot be sustained. The central problem was Kennedy’s insistence that religion is a purely private affair with no public consequences.

Kennedy argued the church he believed in should not be a matter of public concern “for that should be important only to me.” Later in the speech, he said: “I believe in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation, nor imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.”

Those two crucial assertions - Kennedy's insistence that his church “should be important only to me” and his description of a president’s religion as “his own private affair” - create the problem.

The moral and political battles of the last half-century demonstrate that religious convictions cannot be merely a “private affair.” The reason for this is simple: If religious beliefs mean anything, they will affect other beliefs. Human beings are composite creatures, and there is no way that authentic religious beliefs can be safely isolated from an individual’s total worldview.

The potential for cultural conflict increases when religious beliefs are held strongly and when they are deeply integrated into an individual’s thinking. This is why Kennedy sought to affirm that he could serve as president without his Catholicism carrying any real significance at all.

That argument worked for Kennedy in 1960 when he was running for president against anti-Catholic prejudice. It does not work when we have to engage in the hard process of establishing public policy.

Kennedy’s line of argument set the stage for the hugely influential effort of intellectuals such as John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas and Robert Audi. The secular left is deeply committed to their idea that public arguments must be limited to secular reason, with religious beliefs and arguments ruled out of bounds.

This approach has also led to the secularization of vast areas of public life, marginalizing citizens with deep religious convictions. The coercive power of the state has forced the secularization of charitable work, leading to such tragedies as the closing of religious charities that refuse to secularize their ministries.

Santorum is surely right when he spoke of these things as “absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”

The very fact that, in 2012, a presidential candidate from one party can create instant headlines by arguing against a speech made by a presidential candidate of the other party, more than 50 years ago, should be enough to convince any fair-minded American that we still have much work to do as we try to reason with each other about these questions.

As we get about that task, we need to speak to one another with care, courtesy and full conviction. Massively difficult issues loom before us, but this nation is sufficiently mature so that we can have this conversation without losing our lunch.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Opinion • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (351 Responses)
  1. abcdxyz

    I want to live in a secular state, not a theocracy. It's fine for legislators to have their own religious beliefs, and for their beliefs to influence the way they vote on things, but not for religious organizations to refuse to comply with laws because "it's against their conscience." I believe that the first amendment is sketchy on the whole church-state thing and that we should have a new amendment to clarify that this is a secular country with a secular government and that the churches and religious organizations have to comply with the law, i.e., the church is NOT above the law, but vice versa.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I have no problem that the church follows their own doctrine, but that is only within the church themselves. Once the church affiliates itself with a public inst.itution (i.e. universities, hospitals, etc.) that should no longer apply. The church is now in the public service area, and needs to comply with the laws of the land.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  2. lweba

    The Founding Fathers and Mothers of your nation knew from experience the dangers of mixing religion and state. So now Mr. Sontarum suppose a Protestant becomes President and uses his Protestant beliefs to govern, you being a Catholic, I wonder whether you will still be living comfortably in your America

    March 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  3. Adam C

    I think the only part of the entire article I agreed with was "we need to speak to one another with care, courtesy and full conviction."

    In all matters of law, state trumps church every time.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  4. GTA

    If religious organizations want to be politically active, fine. But, let them first forego their tax-exempt status. After that they can preach to their congregations about political issues as well as endorse candidates as much as they wish. However, until that time, let them stick to the spiritual concerns and leave the political concerns to those who actually pay taxes.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  5. PBEL

    BTW – To even mention Santorum in the same sentence as Pres. John Kennedy is tantamount to blasphemy!

    March 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Roman Tenate

      Can you please explain that statement?

      March 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • PBEL

      Hello Roman T. – It was kind of a tongue-in-cheek remark; I considered JFK to have been a good (not perfect) president; and was deeply touched by his tragic death. But, I whole-heartedly agreed with his statements of separation of church and state, and consider it a bedrock of our democracy. Santorum, in belittling JFK and remarking on how he "...threw up" only shows his crass, undignified side. I believe these two are polar opposites; and any attempt to equate these two are, in my humble opinion "blasphamous". Not in a religious sense, but in a sense of outrage. Hope that explains it...

      March 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • irishsmile

      I've never considered either Kennedy or Santorum as 'God'. Human beings all have feet of clay.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  6. Mr. Izz

    Santorum was right, the Government has no right to tell the Church how to run... BUT, the Church has no business telling the Government how to run either. The day that Santorum tries to force his phony theology on me, is the day I start looking at moving to another country. At that point, the system will have been ruined, and the country would be on the verge of destruction.

    If you want your religious, or non-religious, views to stay intact, then vote against Santorum. I don't care who you vote for beyond that, I'm not here advertising anyone; but American needs to open their eyes and see how scary many of his remarks are. If he is saying these things now, how quickly would things be absolutely terrible if he were President?

    March 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Cal Coolidge

      We have to realize that if the church moves into the governing of our country, the government will move into the church. Should the U.S. Congress decide which is the true god? The Supreme Court annoint one church as the real Christian church? Please keep your government out of my church, and keep your church out of my government.

      March 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  7. Reality

    There are times when the state must intervene at religious and educational establisments.

    To wit:

    The "vomit inducing" pedophilia situations at Penn State, the Boy Scouts of America, the RCC, the Southern Baptist Convention, Seventh Day Adventists, Judaism, the Citadel et al.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  8. Peacemaker

    I am deeply offended by this Conservative's judgement of the "secular left"! WHO died and made this man ......God??????

    I am a Liberal, and a Christian!

    March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Roman Tenate

      The author of this story did not say that all left-leaning people are secular. He implied that a portion of those that lean to the political left display a worldview that is dominated by secular thought.

      March 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  9. boots

    If you want to hold the highest civic office, then you want to represent all the citizens. If you want to represent all the citizens, you need to check your faith at the door.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      So, if I, as a Christian, must check my faith at th door, in order to better represent the people., would it be fair to say an Atheist elected to the presidency should check his Atheism at the door in order to better represent the MILLIONS of Christians who have citizenship here in America?

      March 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • umm...

      Yes.

      March 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Joansie

      Fact: We're all born atheists.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Adam C

      Missouri Boy,

      How do you imagine an atheist would use his/her non-belief as president? What would you want him/her to check at the door, exactly?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  10. Think for yourself

    I just don't understand how people, such as the author of this article, fail to make the connection between a secular government and religious freedom. Does he not understand that with a secular government, you are FREE to practice your religion how YOU SEE FIT?

    March 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • rabbi2411

      The First Amendment has both freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion. The religious right always forgets the second part and wants to shove their religion down my and your throats.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  11. Joey

    Santorum could care less abut religion or anything else he speaks about. He wants to be elected and he thinks he can use his religion to do that. He is a lawyer and he knows the truth about our government and the way it was founded. He knows the truth about the first amendment. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Rick Santorum will never be the president. Mitt Romney will get the Republican nomination due to his stance on money which is really more important to the Santorum type. And Romney will leads us all to the Mormon Tabernacle where we will become followers of Smith. Now there is a common name we can all pronounce.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  12. Eleni Rigual

    Replyin to BRC,

    I disagree with you of course but the point I was making to the previous poster was that the biggest threat to our freedom in this country is Statism, not religion, and most especially not biblical Christianity.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • BRC

      @Eleni,
      While I've never heard it before, I think I understand your term, but how could Statism be a threat to Freedom, if the foundations of the State are based on freedom? I do not believe in the Christian "God", and I do not agree with the Christian prescribed way of life in many instances. I do believe in and agree with eh founding principles of our nation. So for me, Statism is not a threat to freedom, but biblical Christianity is very much one. And that is the issue, not everyone believes in Christianity, so it cannot be allowed to determine what is right and wrong if freedom is to be preserved.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Dirk Boldiszar

    I live in the same town as this clown, and I can tell you that the majority of us don't support his views. He runs his fiefdom over on Lexington Road and periodically issue decrees like this. All that aside, Mohler's position is arbitrary and absolutist. Santorum and his position work for Mohler because he happens to also be Christian. Were Santorum a Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Mormon, Scientologist, Hindu, etc, he would not even have bothered to send a response. Mohler is always looking for an opening to espouse his reactionary views, and Santorum gave him an opening Here's Mohler in his own words:" Well, I would have to say as a Christian that I believe any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of satanic power."

    I'm surprised that Rick Santorum has not called Albert Mohler a Nazi.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  14. Dana

    I think the author of this article, with nuance, is just asking people to really think about their own individual priorities and basis of those beliefs. Most people do not realize how deep seeded the ten commandments actually are in our culture. The ten commandments is in fact the basic ethical code for the christian and jewish faith. For instance, consider the commandment honor thy father and mother. I suppose the notion of respect your elders (most might agree to this precept) is biblical in nature. I suppose if you accept that – the notion of social security and medicare are based (in essence) on a commandment. Santorum may be trying to ask republicans and democrats alike, what it is they really believe in. I do not think this article is really about the separation of church and state – but the recognition of human and social principals (ageless and classic) and how they actually influence government and its laws and policies. Although it is easy to believe that our law makers are amoral ;)- I am not sure if we (people in general) would really want this to be true. Morals and principles arrive in our psychological make-up based in part upon natural evolution (family principles, social rules). Most believers think that this part of our selves is the divine nature (imago dei, for catholics). Those who do not believe in the concept of the ultimate good/divine, might call these things evolved survival instincts. Either way, the point is – we cannot separate our laws from our beliefs. I am sure that the average thinking person would BELIEVE that lawlessness is not an option.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Momof3

      YOU: I think the author of this article, with nuance, is just asking people to really think about their own individual priorities and basis of those beliefs. Most people do not realize how deep seeded the ten commandments actually are in our culture. The ten commandments is in fact the basic ethical code for the christian and jewish faith. For instance, consider the commandment honor thy father and mother. I suppose the notion of respect your elders (most might agree to this precept) is biblical in nature.
      ME: There were civilizations that existed thousands of years before the ten commandments were written in the Torah. They were not lawless, nor uncivil. Civilizations did not begin with "Let there be light..."

      YOU: I suppose if you accept that – the notion of social security and medicare are based (in essence) on a commandment.
      ME: SS was set up in 1935 under Roosevelt's New Deal and also included unemployment, at the time. Nothing to do with honoring thy father and mother.

      YOU: Santorum may be trying to ask republicans and democrats alike, what it is they really believe in.
      ME: Santorum has no right to ask what I truly believe. It's truly none of his business.

      YOU:I do not think this article is really about the separation of church and state – but the recognition of human and social principals (ageless and classic) and how they actually influence government and its laws and policies.
      ME: You should re-read the article.

      YOU: Although it is easy to believe that our law makers are amoral
      ME: They usually are...and immoral, too. It would be hard to feel that the leaders today are ‘amoral’ when most of them wear their religions like a badge of honor.

      YOU: – I am not sure if we (people in general) would really want this to be true.
      ME: I have no comment for this other than "no kidding"...

      YOU: Morals and principles arrive in our psychological make-up based in part upon natural evolution (family principles, social rules).
      ME: Evolution has nothing to do with the morals and principles of a society. Societies 'evolve', or change, but the morals and principles change before the society does, the evolution is a secondary step.

      YOU: Most believers think that this part of our selves is the divine nature (imago dei, for catholics). Those who do not believe in the concept of the ultimate good/divine, might call these things evolved survival instincts.
      ME: All animals have survival instincts, and humans are indeed animals. Your calling it 'divine nature' is just lipstick on a pig.

      YOU: Either way, the point is – we cannot separate our laws from our beliefs.
      ME: If you can't be separated from you religious beliefs, then you should be separated from making laws.

      YOU: I am sure that the average thinking person would BELIEVE that lawlessness is not an option.
      ME: You're arrogant in your supposition that average people think when they clearly do not, hence, Rick Santorum running for the POTUS. The thinly veiled attempt at an insult against non-believers is pathetic.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  15. Eleni Rigual

    Responding to Mike K – The truth is that a theocracy already exists, the question is: which god? Secularists have as their one and only potentate, the State! True Christians throughout history have never bowed the knee to that false god nor we will do so today. There have been more atrocities committed against humanity in the name of Statism than religion. Just look at the ideologies of Karl Marx and Stalin whcih led to slaughter of countless human life for the sake of the State. Look at Hitler, a demon possessed man, whose perverted understanding of Scripture, led to the slaugher of millions of Jews. Historical conflicts that are attributed to Christianity were not supported by nor carried out by True, biblical, Christians but rather by apostate Roman Popes such as those responsible for the inquisition and the crusades. True, biblical Christianity is a reconciling faith that brings peace with God and with our neighbor. Jesus Christ is Lord!!

    March 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • BRC

      @Eleni,
      Couple things. First, Karl Marx never killed anyone, nor would his philospohies. Socialism works fine, people are just incapable of actually doing it. Stalin was a twisted individual who desires power had the ability to gain it, and then killed millions keeping it. his attrocities are no more an inditement of Marx's theories than the deviant popes are of the philosphies of Jesus (I actually posit that he was a good man, with some good advice on how to live, though I don't believe he was in any way divine).

      Second, you believe Jesus is lord, and that's all good and well, but I don't. And this Nation (presuming you live in the US) doesn't have lords, or kings. We have elected officials, who lead when selected by the populace; so unless Jesus can run for election, and the majority of the population votes for him, he doesn't get to be in charge of anything.

      March 1, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • midwstrngrl

      ideology is the real problem. whether religious or political.

      March 1, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Mike K

      If you are denying that Protestants forbade Catholicism and killed them, and did so in the name of Christ, that only Catholics were aspostate you're mistaken. English manor houses often contained "Priest-holes" where Catholic priests hid from the Protestant King's soldiers.

      Because Josef Stalin killed millions is no justification for the stake-burnings, beheadings, drawing-and-quartering, hanging, and other atrocities done in the name of Christ and sanctioned by church leaders, whether Catholic, Protestant, or the Anglican variant. They all did those things. If your response to this statement is that such people were not true Christians, they would take issue with you, for they certainly believed they were, and who are we to say they weren't - and why? To escape inconvenient truths about the nature of religion?

      The United States is no theocracy. I detest Christians who call secular government or secularism a "god." A god by is something no one can sense in any way, not by any sort of measurement. A secular government is an organization of human beings to make and administrate laws. It and religion are mutually exclusive. No one "worships" secular government. What a silly idea.

      Secular government, as said elsewhere in this thread, protects your right to worship as you see fit. It protects you from people of other Christian denominations., sects, and cults from taking over the government and telling YOU how YOU will worship. No secular government has the slightest interest in that, and you should thank God for it.

      March 1, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • agnostrick

      BRC, your statement that socialism "works fine" is chilling and, more importantly, completely lacking in convincing evidence. Where is the country where socialism is doing "fine"?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Dave

      @BRC – you can't say socialism works and qualify that it's not working only because people don't know how to work it. It's either not working because it's broken, or it's too complex of a system to be effective.

      March 2, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  16. Dwight

    “...he clearly missed some of the careful nuances of Kennedy’s speech…”

    Which is why he is wrong. Flat. Out. Wrong. The ’nuances’, or better known as the ‘full explanation’, makes all the difference.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    prayer changes things .

    March 1, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Mike K

      A man I knew was told he'd been healed of diabetes. He went off the drugs keeping him alive, and his heart exploded while he was driving. His daughter managed to stop the car. He was 34. There is a group of people in the Midwest who believe that going to doctors is a denial of faith, and they regularly lose their children to easily-treatable disease.

      In controlled studies in hospitals, groups of patients have been prayed for. One group knew it was being prayed for, another did not, and a third group was not prayed for, as a control. There were no significant difference in the outcomes for any of the three groups. This is flatly impossible if God exists, loves us, and hews to his promises in the Bible regarding prayer, such as having church elders pray for a sick person. The Bible declares that such a person will be healed. There are no conditions. There's no "...will be healed if the person's faith is strong enough..."

      People followed up on after being 'healed' by prayer either get worse because they discontinue medical treatment, or are found never to have had the condition from which they were 'healed.'

      March 1, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs. ...

      March 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • just sayin

      To it who takes the Lords name in vain, you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
      Don't study studies, studies are deliberately misleading, Study God

      March 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven !

      March 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  18. Rev. Rick

    @ God's People said, "If that's how both of you feel, then NEITHER of you are real Christians. A responsible leader would HAVE to be guided by his conscience, which SHOULD be ruled and fueled by his faith."

    Fortuntately, you are not judge and jury when it comes to deciding who is, and who is not, a Christian, nor one who is qualified to examine my conscience or my faith. If you feel you are qualified to do so, you have tripped and fallen over your own ego.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  19. Q

    Ok...Poe's law...

    March 1, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Q

      Oops. Above in response to Olde English below...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Olde English D

      Hadn't head of that before. Here's what I found on wiki:

      "Poe's law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an internet adage reflecting the fact that without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism."

      So you doubt my sincerity. It really is a sad sign of the times when someone who wants to bring this great nation into a closer relationship with our creator is seen as so extreme. It is often difficult, when faced with such derision, to have hope – but at least I can look to someone like Rick Santorum and have faith. I'm encouraged that there are still people who are willing to stand up and fight for what is right, not matter how much they might be scorned and mocked.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Q

      Ok...Poe with a narcissistic martyr-complex...well played sir...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Olde English D

      I shouldn't really be surprised that you're blind to the truth.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Q

      Ok...A delusion of grandeur Poe presenting with projection tendencies...you're very good at this...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Mike K

      English, for God's sake read history. The men who founded this country came here precisely to escape nations where church and state were identical, where if one's belief were different from the state's religion - heresy, iow - it was also treason. England tilted back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism. When a Protestant ruler sat the throne, Catholics were hunted down and killed. When Catholics ruled, Protestants were treated likewise.

      Anyone who believes that a church-run state actually adheres to Christian principles is dangerously mistaken. Religion has always been used as a tool for repression and the maintaining of power by a dominant group. There is no freedom to dissent. There is nothing more dangerous than religion given free rein. Only within a secular state are people free to practice their respective faiths. Give political power to any Christian faith and its adherents promptly move to outlaw every other faith, with discrimination, imprisonment, and worse the penalties for the free exercise of one's conscience. God help us should people who believe as Mr. Santorum does gain power. The really frightening thing is that I don't believe he knows any of this.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  20. tallulah13

    What a wretched article. This author is basically spitting on the Const.itution and on the nation that gave him the freedom to worship as he pleases. This is the sort of mentality that proves that Santorum, as well as any other person who chooses their religion over this country, is unfit to be President of the United States.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Mike

      Tallulah13, well said. I completely agree with you.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Olde English D

      The Constitution is a living document – and it's greatness lies in that fact. We have the opportunity to allow this country to achieve true greatness by more closely aligning that living document with Jesus. Rick Santorum will lead this nation to God and greatness!

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Q

      @Olde English D – Wouldn't the more "Christian" way be to align people's hearts and minds with Jesus, i.e. allow Christianity to compete for and win hearts and minds in the free market place of theological thought? Sounds like you're advocating spiritual government regulation...

      March 1, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Olde English D

      @Q, no. Satan should not receive a level playing field.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      So in other words, English, you wish to destroy the very foundation upon which this nation was built so that you can create a theocracy in the image of your god. People like you make me sick. You are worse than any terrorist.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Olde English D

      @tallulah – this nation was built on the idea that the founding fathers were not perfect. This nation is founded on democracy. We were not founded on a separation of church and state any more than we were founded on the idea that blacks were property and only a fraction of a person.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      English – church and state are separate ent.ities for a very good purpose - so that one religion cannot hold dominion over others. You don't seem to understand that this protects you and your religion as well. This nation was founded on the the desire for freedom. Our founding fathers had only to look at Europe to understand how religion corrupts government and destroys that freedom.

      The truth is, the men who created our government had very little use for religion. If you would like to read what they had to say about it, in their own words, here is a site with quotes and references:
      http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

      This nation was built from many traditions, by many people of many religions. Your desire for Santorum to "lead this nation to God and greatness!" is no different than the desire of radical muslims, who force their own god into the politics of their own nations. Iran is your perfect example of a state ruled by church.

      I am grateful that our founding fathers were wise enough to know that religion has no place in a free government. It's a shame that you are too blinded by your own selfish desires to understand that wisdom.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • JohnR

      Xtians themselves will rue the day they get their theocracy, as theocrats will happily jail and execute each other for belonging to the wrong sect, or faction within a sect. There won't be any happy dance involving both CAtholics and Evangelicals. They'll be killing each other just like they did in the old days before the rise of the secularist philosophy that they denounce, but which in fact protects them from each other. It's one thing to be a witless noob. It's quite another to ignore the historical facts on the ground: religion itself is protected by the secular state.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Mike K

      There is no one more frightening than a person who backs up his political beliefs with religion. When one's source is something that cannot be seen or heard, that source is used to quite conveniently support what the individual already believes and wishes to be true. Anything can be justified - lying, cheating, murder.

      I am thunderstruck that people who want a theocracy here do not look to other parts of the world, where theocracies result in all manner of horror, real horror, where there is no individual freedom, where being of a different belief than that sanctioned by the State regularly gets people killed.

      Who here knows about the Christian Dominionest movement, which seeks to abolish all American law and replace it with law based solely on what its adherents believe to be Biblical law? They are ignorant of the ironclad dictum that when one group is denied freedom, no group is free. They think 'their' group will be making the laws and they will be safe under those laws. Such thinking is frightening beyond measure. How quickly we forget the lessons of the past. How blind we are to the murderous excesses of religious zealotry that exist right in front of our faces.

      If one thinks the above applies to someone else's religion but surely not one's own, he is even more naive.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics."

      – Robert Heinlein

      The protections against such a theocracy put in place by America's Founding Fathers should be lauded and heeded!

      March 1, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • frespech

      You actually have to understand that the bible says we should be no part of this world, not involved in it's governments for certain. Even the followers of Christ were upset that he had no intentions of becomming involved with the politics of his time as they wanted to make him a King. Santorum and the originator of this blog are both in error.

      March 1, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • lweba

      Render to Caesar.............., is the statement on separation of power between State and Religion!

      March 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.