"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are 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...to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up."
Santorum and others on the far right who think as he does continue to either be painfully ignorant as to the founding of the United States,ignorant about the people who founded it and the principles on which it was founded or they willfully lie to themselves and others.
Given the principles of the Founders, and their true beliefs, the religious views of Santorum and many conservatives on the Christian right are views that are not only un-American and anti-American by the founders standards and definition, their goal of wanting laws that reflect their religious views and social agenda represent exactly the kind of religious fascism that the Founders wanted to insure would never be a part of the United States.
Santorum's biggest problem isn't his religion. He is free to believe in whatever he wants. If he or anyone else believes holding his nose and jumping up and down on one foot will bring him peace and happiness let him do it. Let anyone find whatever way to peace happiness and productivity they wish. But let them remember that's all it is -- their own beliefs and just because they believe it, it doesn't make it so. In fact there is more hard irrefutable evidence that what they believe isn't so as Thomas Jefferson as well as ancient documents point out. The idea of forcing others to accept their beliefs and to make their beliefs part of the law of the land so as to make those beliefs part of everyone's life is what is called fascism and flies in the face of what the Founders envisioned for this country.
In saying that the separation of church and state is "antithetical to the American vision" Santorum shows such an ignorance of the people who founded this country, the principles on which it was founded and their beliefs and what this country stands for all of which are antithetical to Santorum's beliefs and those of people who think as he does that he is unfit to run for public office.
The anti-Americanism of those views and those of many Republicans and those on the Christian right should have been pointed out a long ago by the media and the political oppositon.Unfortunately we live in a time of such extreme political cowardice in both media and among Democrats, both of whom are fearful of stirring up anger and what they are afraid they might lose than in stating the truth, they let the right get away with it.
So let's set the record absolutely irrevocably and irrefutably and inarguably straight -- this country was not only never founded on Christian values, nor by anyone who believed in them, the primary founders of this country did not believe in Christianity at all, and some, like many of the principle founders like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to varying degrees had contempt for the church not respect.
John Adams, in a letter to Jefferson when Jefferson was looking to hire professors for his newly established University of Virginia wrote to him, " whatever you do, do not hire any professors from Europe as they have already been indoctrinated by the church".
The founders wrote the establishment clause of the first amendment to insure that the church would never have an official voice in the government of the United States, an idea in direct opposition to Santorum's ignorance. Unlike what Santorum and others on the christian right believe, the founders of this country wanted to insure there would never be anything in the United States like the Church of England and that the church would never be in a position to exert any official power over the government even though they constantly try.
That what Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders fervently believed was one of the pillars of the United States, one of the founding principles that would set the United States apart from other countries in Europe, that this makes Santorum "want to throw up", makes Santorum and those like him not just un- American and unfit for public office, it puts him at odds with the American idea, its institutions and the very principles on which it was founded.
Santorum, by saying that the separation of church and state is "absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country" shows the kind of ignorance and arrogance that marks Christian conservatives in general who seem to think they know more about the principles this country was founded upon than Thomas Jefferson, John Adams or Thomas Paine.
Just so there is no doubt about what the Founders of this country believed and on what principles the country was based as it relates to religion and to prove that conservatives and the Christian right try to propagate untruths in the service of their agenda, here are some quotes from Thomas Jefferson on the subject and we will see if the separation of church and state, the wall that Santorum said is, "absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision" of the United States is what is true, or if conservatives who are always claiming patriotism will admit that true patriotism is keeping their religious ideas completely out of government.
"I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians" Letter from Jefferson to Richard Price.(Richard Price had written to Jefferson about the harm done by religion and wrote "Would not Society be better without such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?")
"They [the Christian clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion. " Jefferson letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god,that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. " Jefferson letter to Alexander Humboldt.
"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills. " Jefferson letter to John Adams ( note Jefferson's reference to Jesus as "an extraordinary man", which reaffirms Jefferson's belief that Jesus was not a deity).
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." Jefferson letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper.
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. " Jefferson letter to Horatio Spafford.
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus." Jefferson letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kamp.
"Priests dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live." Jefferson letter to Correa de Serra.
"Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being." Jefferson, letter to William Short on his belief that most of the New Testament is fabrication.
"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter." Jefferson letter to John Adams.
"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch.."
Jefferson in "Notes on Virginia".
These are only some of Jefferson's beliefs pertaining to Christianity and the church, most, if not all, shared by the other Founders and should make the meaning and original intent of the founders clear in creating the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Thomas Paine who wrote "Common Sense" the treatise whose ideas inspired the colonists to revolution and was the first to call for active revolution against England, went even further than Jefferson on the subjects of religion and Christianity in his essay "the Age of Reason" where among other things he called the story of the virgin birth a "fairy story" and believed Christianity, like Jefferson, was a form of tyranny over people's minds. And no wonder given that heresy against the church, that is, making statements that opposed or called into question church teachings, were for centuries punishable by death. It should be kept in mind that the Latin root for the word "heresy" is "to think for oneself".
Reading the quotes from Jefferson and understanding his position was held not only by other founders, but by the American people as a whole who ratified the establishment clause, the intent of the First Amendment become even more clear: "Congress shall make no law with respect to the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof".
This was not only to prevent Christianity from ever becoming the official religion of the United States and to keep the church and its beliefs out of the affairs of government, but also to keep the church from interfering with the practice of other religions, an interference the church had a history of doing, and often violently, for more than 1,000 years.
Conservatives are free to believe and worship as they wish, as is everyone, s long as they confine their beliefs to themselves. But their goals to impose their beliefs as Santorum wants to do, on everyone else by passing laws that reflect their religious beliefs is not just unconstitutional, un- American and fly in the face of the country the founders envisioned, it is the hallmark of fascism.
This country was founded by people whose personal beliefs and principles considered the church anathema to liberty and human freedom. And that resulted in the Establishment clause of the first amendment to the constitution, which Santorum says makes him sick.
Santorum has made his beliefs, his feelings towards the author of the Declaration of Independence, the founders of this country, the Constitution itself and the first amendment very clear. Given that he "doesn't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute", which is one of the country's founding principles, he cannot in good conscience ever again put his hand on a bible and swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. It would be the worst kind of lie and betrayal, both to himself, his country and, according to him, his own religious beliefs.
NOTE: on Thursday March 1st, Republicans in the senate are forcing a vote on an amendment by Republican Roy Blunt that will allow employers to refuse to offer contraceptive coverage on "moral" and religous grounds. Both Blunt and at least one Democratic senator, Manchin of West Virginia are supporting the amendment on what they say are first amendment grounds of religious freedom. That there are members of the US Senate like Blunt and Democrat Manchin who are so preposterously ignorant of the First Amendment and what it means is just one more example of why the congress has become so intellectually bankrupt and filled with members so ignorant of the constitution.
Far from Blunts amendment asserting a first amendment right it is violating it. The amendment states in part, " Congress shall make no law with respect to the establishment of a religion". Blunt is proposing that congress do just that -- pass a law that allows an institution that is not exclusively religious, to opt out of a public policy law based on their personal religious beliefs. The proposed law would be a clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment and to hear Blunt and a senator like Manchin call it a protection of the First Amendment is another example that we have constitutional dolts in congress. The amendment wont pass anyway, saving everyone's time in having the Supreme Court rule it unconstitutional but it is a waste of time to put it to a vote and another example of how some conservatives would trash the constitution to further their own religious agenda.