February 27th, 2012

Religion and public office: Santorum’s nausea

Rick Santorum certainly doesn’t mind saying controversial things. The latest to hit the MSM are these statements, which seem wrong on several levels:

In remarks last year at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., Santorum had told the crowd of J.F.K.’s famous 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”…

On Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Santorum whether he stood by his statement last year…

Santorum defended his remarks, telling Stephanopoulos that “the first line, first substantive line in the speech, says, ‘I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute.’”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said. “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.”…

“Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, ‘No, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech. ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was abhorrent at the time of 1960.”

Later in the interview, Stephanopoulos asked Santorum, “You think you wanted to throw up?”

“Well, yes, absolutely,” Santorum replied. “To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up.”

So Santorum not only said it, but he repeated it.

What’s wrong with Santorum’s statement? The “throw-up” part is not only “unpresidential” in tone—making Santorum sound too emotionally fragile and reactive (imagine, for example, if a woman had said it)—but more importantly, Santorum is misstating Kennedy’s position.

I happen to have already read Kennedy’s speech, and I even wrote about it in 2007 at some length. Nowhere in the speech does Kennedy say or even indicate that “people of faith have no role in the public square.” In fact, he says that he himself is a man of faith:

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith, nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.”

“My church”—it’s pretty explicit, isn’t it?

What Kennedy was saying is something different. He stated that no Church officials would dictate to him how to make decisions. But he never said that his conscience (a word he uses a great deal in the speech, and which has a traditional meaning in Catholicism) is completely devoid of religious sentiment and feeling, or uninformed by his religion in any way.

It’s Santorum’s statement that might make a lot of voters “almost throw up,” especially when he says [emphasis mine]: “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.” If he had replaced the words “the church” with “religion” (or “religious people”) and there would be no problem, except that then he would have been in basic agreement with Kennedy and he wouldn’t have been making the statement in the first place.

[NOTE: But aren't all Catholics bound by what the Pope says? That's not only an extraordinarily complex subject, but one outside of my field of expertise. But I refer readers to this:

The doctrine of Papal Infallibility does not mean the Pope is always right in all his personal teachings. Catholics are quite aware that, despite his great learning, the Pope is very much a human being and therefore liable to commit human error. On some subjects, like sports and manufacturing, his judgment is liable to be very faulty. The doctrine simply means that the Pope is divinely protected from error when, acting in his official capacity as chief shepherd of the Catholic fold, he promulgates a decision which is binding on the conscience of all Catholics throughout the world. In other words, his infallibility is limited to his specialty--the Faith of Jesus Christ.

In order for the Pope to be infallible on a particular statement, however, four conditions must apply: 1) he must be speaking ex cathedra . . . that is, ``from the Chair'' of Peter, or in other words, officially, as head of the entire Church; 2) the decision must be for the whole Church; 3) it must be on a matter of faith or morals; 4) the Pope must have the intention of making a final decision on a teaching of faith or morals, so that it is to be held by all the faithful. It must be interpretive, not originative; the Pope has no authority to originate new doctrine. He is not the author of revelation--only its guardian and expounder. He has no power to distort a single word of Scripture, or change one iota of divine tradition. His infallibility is limited strictly to the province of doctrinal interpretation, and it is used quite rarely. It is used in order to clarify, to ``define,'' some point of the ancient Christian tradition. It is the infallibility of which Christ spoke when He said to Peter, the first Pope: ``I will give (o thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven.'' (Matt. 16:19). Certainly Christ would not have admonished His followers to ``hear the church'' (Matt. 18:17) without somehow making certain that what they heard was the truth--without somehow making the teaching magisterium of His Church infallible.]

103 Responses to “Religion and public office: Santorum’s nausea”

  1. reliapundit Says:

    he turned jfk into a straw man.

    why?

    because his arguments sucks.

    just like obama – whose recent straw man is that all the gop wants to do to lower gasoline prices is dril drill drill.

    that’s only part of what the gop wants.

    obama and santorum just can’t win a fairt argument.

  2. Conrad Says:

    This is another example of Santorum’s going off message every five minutes, getting into a discussion of stuff having nothing to do with the issues people care about in this election.

    Another thing: It annoys me to no end how much critical Santorum hurls at Romney for stuff Rick is at least as guilty of himself. He faults Mitt for a lack of ideological purity, but we find over and over again examples of Santorum’s doing something contrary to the conservative position (e.g., endorsing Specter, supporting NCLB, going along with big spending) out of political expedience. It seems that, when RICK does something un-conservative, then it’s okay, because his motives are pure. When Mitt does it, it’s because he’s really an OWS candidate.

    Similarly, Santorum insisted this election needs to be about Obama, not whoever the GOP candidate is. He’s right about that, but look at what’s happening: Romney is keeping th focus on Obama while Santorum is looking more and more like a cartoonish, moral pedagogue who for some reason feels then need to make head-scratching pronouncements on social issues almost every day.

  3. SteveH Says:

    If you take the landmark speech and acknowledge how it set in motion the whole freedom from religion tsunami since then, i can see how Santorum might get a little queasy reflecting on it.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    SteveH: but that’s a lot softer than what Santorum said. If you take him at his word, he wants “the church” as an institution to have an active involvement and influence in the operation of the state.

  5. T Says:

    This is precisely what bothers me about Santorum; he comes off as puerile and as a man with a trammeled vision. I’ve said before that I don’t think he would try to impose his religious beliefs on the public if he were president, but it testifies to a very narrow corridor of thought, a perspective arrested IMO at the high school level. Having said that, it’s only fair to note that Mormons are also not known for religious perspicacity either.

    Also, Neoneocon, it’s good to have you post information on the entire doctrine of papal infallibility. In speaking ex cathedra, the pope must actually announce he is making such a pronouncement. The concept of infallibility is never assumptive as many people, including many Catholics, presume.

  6. Curtis Says:

    Santorum is playing the game and playing it quite well. He has decided that there are a majority of Americans who would rather err with him than Obama. That’s why he leads Obama in the latest polls. That’s why his support among Republican women is going up. Why should he limit himself to a fair argument with Osama, (Oops, and there I go, that’s hardly fair).

    Pride, not Santorum, is defeating Obama right now. Maybe Santorum knows that and is inciting Obama like bombing Berlin did Hitler. The Luftwaffe bombs London, the RAF bombs Berlin, and because Hitler was so enraged and lost his strategic sense, history is as it is. Maybe Obama assumption of being the Catholic Church’s Pope will be the similar event in our own war.

    Obama is too proud to back down on his mandate to the Catholic Church, too proud to back down on Keystone, too proud to back down on his Islamophile love and these policies are repugnant and, well, worth throwing up over. So, when a presidential candidate says something that resonates with a whole swath of fellow thrower uppers and succinctly and nicely expresses their bitter and vehement opposition, I think that’s quite a presidential event.

  7. Commenter formerly known as roc scssrs Says:

    In Rick’s defense, the universities (Ave Maria and Magdalen) these talks are from are very conservatively Catholic and places where the whoring JFK is not particularly well thought of, and where “Catholic” politicians like Sebelius and Pelosi are loathed. He probably felt at home there and was giving theologically-slanted talks anyway.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: It’s called being a demagogue.

    Fabulous. Just what we need.

  9. T Says:

    Curtis,

    I don’t think Santorum is that clever, but in this case I’d revel in being proven wrong.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    commenter formerly known as roc scssrs: then he shouldn’t have doubled down when asked to explain himself again by Stephanopoulos.

  11. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    The separation of church and state has gotten so mucked up. What has been forgotten is that the church/religion is about the individual’s relationship with God. The state/government is about the relationship of humans to one another. That is why we organize governments – to make rules for our relationship to one another. Those rules for that relationship cannot help but be informed by our religious beliefs. In fact, Judeo/Christian beliefs are the basis for much of the way we organize democracies. The main purpose of the separation of religion and state is to insure that, when making laws, no one religion is favored over another. Not, as so many progressives desire, to eliminate all religion from public view. To try to eliminate all religious expression from the public square is a tyrannical idea.

    We have to remember that from Rome forward, sovereign governments used religion as a tool of control. The Kings (and Queens) were approved by the church and, by extension, God. The church was then in turn adopted by the government as the one true faith. A very cozy relationship that the Founders saw as one of the ways tyranny was established and maintained. There will always be a tension between religion and government because there are many religious tenets (sharia is one, formal confession is another – just two of many) that most people will not want to adopt into secular law. But it will always be a contentious issue because “true believers” will sometimes want their tenets represented in law. That should not be a reason for pushing religion out of public view.

    I see Santorum as being a person who forgets that not everyone shares his deep faith. He can contend that everyone should accept his faith, but that will not gain him points, except among those who share his faith, for election to a secular office.

  12. SteveH Says:

    Santorum’s retort to Stephanopolis should have been…”What i meant point out was that portion of bitter Americans who cling to their handouts and church state seperation”.

  13. foxmarks Says:

    J.J. gets its. Church and state cannot be completely separate; they both reside in each person. To hold that one part of personality will never influence another is silliness.

    The solution is to follow Madison’s Constitution, with a gov’t of limited and defined powers. Then the state cannot intrude much into religion, and the religion within those who govern cannot intrude much into society.

    As to the “throwing up” bein un-Presidential. Why do we insist on some mythologically wise and reserved character? Too many grade-school fables about Washington and Lincoln, or too many Hollywood fabrications?

    Some weeks back we talked here of LBJ’s actual personality being quite different from his public persona. Is it such a horrible thing that a President be sincere and speak like the people? I much prefer a Pres who talks about stuff that “makes him barf” over a slick-talker who erupts on interns’ dresses.

  14. T Says:

    JJ formerly Jimmy J,

    “I see Santorum as being a person who forgets that not everyone shares his deep faith,” or perhaps even “A” deep faith.

    And Neoneocon, my opinion alone, but I don’t think it’s demagoguery on the part of Santorum. My perception (and I repeat it’s my purely my subjective opinion) is that it’s places like Ave Maria College where Santorum feels at home and safe to speak of his belief (not unlike a former liberal friend of mine who couldn’t wait to return to Ann Arbor where, as he stated, “people think the way I do”).

    I must also say that I find the fact that some of this is reverberating outside of this small Catholic circle (as evinced by Santorum’s rise in the polls and in certain demographics such as women) particularly interesting.

  15. Curtis Says:

    Okay, you rational and able lovers of the Republic, if I was willing to vote for Romney, for the team, because only he, supposedly was electable (a semi-truth being shown as such now) then I suppose it’s not too much to ask another person to accept a little distasteful rhetoric if it helps unseat Obama.

    Santorum is leading Obama more than Romney. Does that make any difference to the pro-and-only Romney persons? Will you now turn your allegiance to the most electable? Will you build the momentum for him?

    Although I do not agree with his big government proclivities, I hardly doubt that Santorum is going to turn the country into a theocracy.

    I also do not doubt that the demagogue is truly Obama. I listened yesterday to a small excerpt of Prager on Obama’s speech about drill, drill, drill. EVERY word of Obama’s speech was demagoguery.

    Bombing civilians is pretty damned awful and so is demagoguery. That’s why I used the comparison. But I’m not expecting many rational actors in the undecided ranks, so, well, demagogue. Yes. It’s what’s needed now.

    Many solid conservatives do find Santorum’s remarks distasteful. Agreed. But it’s time for them to take one for the team and promote Santorum. Our very country could be at stake. It’s time for everyone to do their fair share for Santorum. (Oh boy, I’m pushing it with that allusion.)

    That last part was tongue in cheek.

  16. texexec Says:

    I’ve liked Santorum in the past (his appearances on Fox news as an analyst for example) but he’s starting to scare me now for two reasons.

    First, I think he’s putting himself in a position that will preclude him from winning the general election.

    Second, while I am very glad that our country is founded on Judeo-Christian principles, I don’t want any church to be actively involved in governmental policy making and/or administration.

  17. George Pal Says:

    Santorum seems cursed with a tin ear and brass mouth to go along with his nausea. The inability to make a case for the moral argument without sounding like a finger-wagging know-it-all makes him less a candidate and more a scold. As a contender, he seems blessed only in being blessed by Democrats who may vote for him in open primaries in order to exhaust Romney. We will soon hear the last of Santorum. Amen.

  18. T Says:

    texexc,

    Like Curtis above, I don’t fear that Santorum will turn this country into a theocracy (I well remember tha same claims about Kennedy in 1960 turning the U.S. into a papal state).

    However, the fact that Santorum seems EAGER to discuss (divisive) social issues in the face of an economically failed president is what makes me question his perspicacity and his ability to choose wisely.

    As for Curtis’ challenge, I have already stated my firm position as an ABO voter and will gladly cast my vote against Obama regardless of the Republican nominee. And Curtis, (“Our very country could be at stake.”) that’s not tongue-in-cheek humor, that’s the very real possibility of an Obama second term.

  19. davisbr Says:

    It’s simpler than this, and neo notes the distinction, without drawing the inference.

    “@neo If he had replaced the words ‘the church’ with ‘religion’ (or ‘religious people’) and there would be no problem

    Santorum is referring to religion. Whether he thought Kennedy was or not, may be in question. But he certainly was (from your quote).

    …it is common within Christianity (though not within Catholicism per se), the church, the temple, implies the individual (especially among charismatics):

    1Cor3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

    …and Santorum may have been (probably has been) exposed to that doctrine (there are charismatics amongst Catholics).

    I agree that his elocution could have been better. Especially for the secular, and the less theologically inclined polity of this election …and too, I just don’t expect that Santorum is all that well versed in theological nuances, period.

    It’s not that Santorum has studiously and purposely muddied these waters by the way: we can clearly lay the blame for that at the feet of the current HHS mandate muddying several generations of generally accepted (if not necessarily well-defined) notions of the Constitutional separation of church and state by their – and the Obama administrations – nonsensical and divisive power grab.

    (And in this case, I mean to say a formal, state-sponsored church, in the Church of England type example that the Founders would have clearly been working from. Catholicism wasn’t even a troubling gleam in the eyes of Protestant America of the colonial period …and of course, Kennedy was responding to the – in hindsight, quite quaint – fears of Protestant Americans of the 1960 election that he would be subject to direct papal influence …we held to all kinds of odd notions in those days.)

    After all – and from your quote, neo – Santorum apparently rephrased his meaning as …

    ‘Well, yes, absolutely,’ Santorum replied. ‘To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up.’”

    Santorum’s speech sucked structurally (as argumentum), but he meant the same thing as Kennedy, while not making Kennedy’s political point (which you do address in your round-about on papal infallibility). I equally suspect Santorum simply hasn’t deeply pondered Kennedy’s meaning, amid the backdrop of the 1960 election though!

    This is all much ado about nothing …as regards the primary, merely something more for devout Romney’ists to throw at the man, hoping it will stick. And another item the Obama’ists are storing up as future treasure “just in case”.

    (While ignoring that Romney himself is certainly an Elder in a church with far more murky relationships within the heirarchy, if you want to get into the tinfoil arena. Which I don’t. And don’t let’s even touch on Obama’s true religious values, which the MSM will never subject to much prolonged and – dare I say – soul searching scrutiny.)

    Best for all we just give this wide berth.

    …move along. Nothing to see here.


    And as for the use of “throw up”?

    …would that were the worst stumble – if you want to call it that – that any of the candidates make.

    I call it “meh” btw.

  20. expat Says:

    I just can’t help wonder how Santorum would talk with heads of governments of countries such as Japan, India, or South Africa. Would he sound like a preacher or a head of government.

    I have no problem with someone talking about how a bible verse or a religious edict inspires him. Neo can probably gives us many lines of poetry that have inspired her. This kind of talk is a sharing in the hopes of finding that others have come to a similar conclusion, if by other means. But Santorum seems to use his faith statements to justify his preferred actions, ending the discussion, so to speak. He doesn’t come across as a humble seeker of truth. He comes across as a dispenser of it. I think Pope Benedict is far more more humble.

  21. Mike Mc Says:

    Not only did Santorum not say anything objectionable, what he said is both true and historically accurate.

    The Santorum bashing from the Romneyites is becoming outrageous. It smacks of a certain desperation – and for what reason is anyone’s guess.

    Romney is fine. You just don’t hear the vitriol from Santorum people going after him. It is indistinguishable from what the Dems are saying. Worse in many cases.

    meanwhile, back in the actual factual God Bless America real World, both Santorum and Romney lead Obama in the king swing states and are at worst tied nationally.

    Obama is the key.

    Not an historically correct interpretation by Santorum about the “separation of Church and State”.

    There are books you know. Western Civilization was not created in the 1990s.

  22. davisbr Says:

    @expat …doesn’t the very notion of politician indicate a contraindication of “humble”?

    …not a question.

  23. Bob from Virginia Says:

    There is something peculiarity appealing in Santorum’s statement even for this Jew. True we all agree on church state separation, it’s a fundamental part of the American political religion, but or the last decades we have seen the separation of church and state drawn out to absurdity. My favorite example is the ACLU forcing the city of LA to remove the cross from their city seal even though it was only there as a homage to the city’s mission founders. Now comes Santorum who publicly ignores the political correctness and does so with pride, anger and indifference to the popular response. I cannot see him apologizing to Afghanistan or anyone else for American behavior or checking the polls before making a decision. I see strength of character and moral compass in Santorum, the two areas most important in a leader (and where Obama is most lacking).

    There is something else I like about the man; the fact he has written articles stating why it is essential that Iran be stopped from getting nuclear arms. I can live with religiosity, it won’t get me killed. Moral weakness and the inability to recognize threats could.

  24. Tesh Says:

    One thing that keeps bugging me about Santorum is that while he’s unabashedly *religious* (which is fine personally), from what I’ve seen he has a significant Statist streak that gets intertwined with his religious views. Certainly, people are the mix of religion and state interaction, but it seems to me that *policy* needs to be very clearly separated. I don’t think I can trust Santorum to understand that distinction and abide by it.

    Romney and Gingrich seem to get that separation a bit better. They, too, have Statist streaks, so that’s a wash, they just seem to understand that public policy can’t give preferential treatment to religion.

    Paul is, well… Paul. His Libertarian streak makes him perhaps the best candidate on this particular issue.

  25. T Says:

    Bob from VA,

    “I can live with religiosity, it won’t get me killed. Moral weakness and the inability to recognize threats could.”

    I think that’s well stated. Now if someone could say something to make me begin to believe that Santorum is not as narrowly defined as I think he is I’d feel more comfortable still.

  26. T Says:

    “Paul is, well… Paul. His Libertarian streak makes him perhaps the best candidate on this particular issue,” but his foreign policy is pulled right from the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

  27. Sergey Says:

    Every corporation, NGO or media institution can express its judgement and mobilise public opinion in behalf or against of one or another government policy, that is, operate as advocacy or pressure groop. Are churchies somehow stripped this right? It does not seem fair. This is a right of petition. In Italy, Poland, Hungary, Ireland and many other democracies Roman Catholic church is quite active in politics, and this was instrumental in downfall of Communism in Poland. What is wrong with this?
    Recent letter of bishops objecting government mandate on contraception, abortion and sterilization looks like direct involvment of Church in operation of government, and there is nothing wrong with that.

  28. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Let’s back up a bit.

    Although the post-WWII educational establishment has done a pretty thorough job–mostly through omission–of marginalizing and virtually erasing religion and its influence and shaping effects from the history and life of pre-revolutionary America , as I read history, the Founding Fathers were, in general, profoundly religious men, and the cultural and intellectual climate they were immersed in and whose products they were–at the time they were debating what the form, and government, and basic institutions of these new United States should be, and writing the Declaration and the Constitution—was, far more than is admitted or taught today, suffused at every level with Judeo-Christian religion. Indeed, for the population at large the world was viewed, the choices available, and the choices that should be made were informed by this religious viewpoint; Judeo-Christian thought was the standpoint from which people viewed the world and was woven into the very fabric of everyday life, custom and behavior, and it was on the foundation of this Judeo-Christian thought that the Constitution and Declaration were built.

    Thus, any discussion of the first two clauses of the very first Amendment to the Constitution, Amendment I, which reads:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Has to take as the normal, desirable, and absolutely essential state of affairs, the situation on the ground at the time the First Amendment was written, i.e. a society in the U.S. that is permeated by Judeo-Christian religion, doctrine, viewpoint, and thought, not one in which Judeo-Christian religion and thought has been pushed out of the public square, and been virtually stripped out of the life of the people as a result of a strained and totally wrongheaded reading of what those two documents mean, and of our history.

    Moreover, the Founders were acutely aware that no matter what inventive, unique, strong and deftly balanced governmental structure they might come up with, the United States could not survive if its citizens were not moral individuals, and they counted on that Judeo-Christian religion to keep them so. Removing religion from its central and critical role in our society makes our chances of failure much, much higher than they need to be.

  29. Tesh Says:

    T,
    Aye, that’s why I’m not saying Paul is Teh Bestest Guy, just that the libertarian position on this topic is possibly the best one.

  30. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington

    “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” George Washington

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” John Adams

    “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson

    “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln

    Comments like these aptly indicate just how informed the views of the founding fathers were by their religion.

  31. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Goeffrey you left out Ben Franklin on religion;
    “if men behave such with religion just think of how they would behave without it!”
    or something like that.

  32. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Excerpt from Benjamin Franklin’s letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale, shortly before his death

    “Here is my creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.
    “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble.”

  33. zipper Says:

    Amen to Ben

  34. Curtis Says:

    Can’t, can’t we all just ge ge get along?

    I agree with davisbr that Santorum could have articulated the thought more cleanly. And for once, JFK didn’t deserve the criticism. (Oh ouch, you have no idea how much that hurt.)

    But, I do also believe that Santorum is smart enough and is exhibiting what Bob from Virginia said “Now comes Santorum who publicly ignores the political correctness and does so with pride, anger and indifference to the popular response.” Santorum said what a lot of people wanted to hear and picked up the fight where Gingrich left off because Gingrich doesn’t have the integrity. You see if you are basically, at heart, a religious person, you perceived the speech of Santorum as a champion for religious people.

    And also as Geoffrey Britain, Sergey and Wolla Dalbo express, there is a problem with the viability of our republican federal government when the majority of people dismiss the Judea Christian heritage upon which it is based. I think people who would describe themselves as mostly secularists find it hard to believe there could ever be a return in America to a majority which is faith based. Why that would be a belief is not rational but autocentric, they cannot imagine themselves ever doing such. But consider the rise of faith based Islam. Perhaps men require the cohesion, purpose and power that faith brings.

    If not, will the aliens please arrive soon.

  35. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “as Geoffrey Britain, Sergey and Wolla Dalbo express, there is a problem with the viability of our republican federal government when the majority of people dismiss the Judea Christian heritage upon which it is based.”

    The “viability of our republican federal government” rests upon the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the premise that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

    Perhaps unappreciated, especially in these times, is the centrality to that premise; that our rights are granted by a divine, transcendent creator.

    That those rights do not extend from mere consensus of opinion.

    Unalienable means ‘cannot be separated, given away, or taken away’ the premise being that because these rights are granted to mankind by our creator, they transcend any human consensus of opinion.

    Which is perhaps what led to Washington’s view that, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

    Dostoevsky’s aphorism applies here; “If there is no God [absolute moral authority], then everything is allowed.”

    Dostoevsky wasn’t expressing an opinion. He was pointing out the logical consequence of the absence of absolute moral authority. Which again is why the Declaration of Independence justifies the concept of ‘unalienable rights’ as having been granted to mankind by our creator. For if there is no divine, transcendent creator, no absolute moral authority, then any moral code proposed is ultimately based upon premises which are mere personal opinion. And logically, that is so regardless of how many people concur in a view.

    Once the underpinning of absolute moral authority is abandoned, any tyrant or cabal who gains the physical power can take away our ‘rights’ because our rights now rest upon the current whim of the mob, and a thousand opinions shared have no more objectively intrinsic validity than the tyrant’s opinion.

    That would lead to the logical conclusion that any secular society divorced from agreement as to the very existence of an absolute moral authority is doomed to eventually fall to tyranny. If that is so, then Santorum’s insistence that religious values freely expressed have an inordinate importance to any democracy is true.

    None of this is to argue that any particular view of absolute moral authority should reign, indeed the 1st amendment prohibits that eventuality. But agreement that an objective truth exists, embodied in a transcendent moral authority… is vital to a representative republic.

    Washington and Santorum are right; “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

  36. Hope Change Says:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/02/not-vomitous/comment-page-1/#comment-316650

    Others looking at Santorum over on Legal Insurrection.

    To see how NEwt speaks about this and other issues facing the United States today, here is a link to a speech Newt gave on February 26, 2012.

    “WE ARE CITIZENS AND THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO BE OUR SERVANT”
    http://www.c-span.org/Campaign2012/Newt-Gingrich-Speaks-on-God-and-Country-in-Georgia/10737428558/
    Rock Springs Baptist Church- Milner, Georgia -19:18

  37. Curtis Says:

    I’m hearing that Obama is making troops and vets pay more for health care. Is he completely daft? Is there a more popular and respected group of people than our troops and our vets?

    I can’t wait for the election because I just don’t really believe the polls which say Obama is as popular as he is. A storm of sewer shit could run and beat Obama, and if it’s true that the race is as close as polled, then it’s tempting to cooperate with the idiots and hasten the doom. I don’t care to fight the fight so these idiots can have a good life. I’ll need to get in better shape but here’s something that is true: Food tastes better when you’re hungry. So, at least we got that going.

  38. rickl Says:

    Curtis Says:
    February 27th, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    If not, will the aliens please arrive soon.

    Or SMOD.

  39. Mike Mc Says:

    Mark Levin sells books out the whazoo. He’s brilliant.

    This whole thing is just another lie from the people who tell lies for a living.

    That we fall for it all the time at some point becomes worse than the actual perpetration of the crime.

    http://www.therightscoop.com/mark-levin-separation-of-church-and-state-came-from-an-anti-catholic-bigot/

    Santorum is the smart one here. he is the good one. He is the one who knows the truth and says it.

    That he is vilified by our own side makes me want to throw up.

    Obama votes to kill live babies. He’s fine. Santorum says “throw up” and our side – OUR SIDE??? – I am beginning to wonder – throws hissy fit number 1248

  40. foxmarks Says:

    “but [Paul’s] foreign policy is pulled right from the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

    More deep analysis from rightyland. If RP is sound or serviceable on so many domestic issues, ever think that maybe y’all are the ones with crazy foreign policy? It’s not Paul’s foreign policy that has led to Americans being murdered by our “allies” for burning the wrong trash.

  41. rickl Says:

    Santorum’s remarks probably would not have been considered controversial for most of American history, up to the past few decades.

    I think Artfldgr has had more than a few posts along these lines.

  42. foxmarks Says:

    The Christian moral system is the only one which can allow a limited republic as the Founders created. It is the only one based on the notion that each soul must choose to be saved. The gov’t must therefore be sufficiently limited in scope to allow citizens to choose come to Christ.

    “Christian Theocracy” is an oxymoron. Islam is not burdened by the weight of liberty. Its first principle is submission, not choice. Similarly, the bulk of Eastern tradition puts duty above salvation (where salvation of some sort is offered).

    A limited gov’t which allows the process of Christianity is implicitly open to small factions of any faith. By erasing Christianity from the public square, the Progs have eliminated the moral check on the scope of gov’t.

    Progressives may be evil, but they’re not stupid.

  43. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “It’s not Paul’s foreign policy that has led to Americans being murdered by our “allies” for burning the wrong trash.”

    Our foreign policy, even under Bush, much less Obama can justly be criticized. That said, deep analysis is for serious proposals, while suggesting an even worse alternative foreign policy; fortress America, abandonment of Pax Americana which ensures freedom of commerce on the high seas and in effect, suggesting that it makes more sense to fight an enemy on our soil rather than the enemy’s…while naively allowing Russia and China to freely expand as they will… is a policy worthy of ridicule. Paul is another Ross Perot.

  44. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “The Christian moral system is the only one which can allow a limited republic as the Founders created.”

    The empirical evidence of Israel notwithstanding?

    “The gov’t must therefore be sufficiently limited in scope to allow citizens to choose [to] come to Christ.”

    Choosing to come to Christ has NOTHING to do with the American experiment. It’s exactly that kind of mixing Christianity with the secular realm that gives the progressives the ammunition to credibly suggest that devout Christians are trying to impose their faith upon everyone.

  45. Curtis Says:

    Love the Levin. His voice is especially nauseating to progressives!

    Separation of church and state has “nothing to do with the Founding, nothing to do with theocracy,” but devolve from a man who was a bigot and a KKK and a President (FDR) whose closest image is Obama.

    Michelle burped (after one of her surreptitious snacks) and Obama said “Do what to whom?”

  46. rickl Says:

    As things stand now, I still don’t think either Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum can beat Obama. Maybe if gas prices continue to increase, that might change.

    None of them pays more than lip service to limited government. Each, in his own way, seems to think that government can be a source for good, given the right policies. This is barely distinguishable from the progressive ideal.

    George Washington vehemently disagreed:

    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

    I like Gingrich’s space policy (he’s the only candidate who seems to have given it more than a moment’s thought; indeed he has been interested in it for years) and his direct attacks on the media. The media IS the enemy, and it is high time someone called them out.

    Unfortunately, Gingrich is rather unstable and has a poor personal history.

    Santorum’s concern with social and moral issues makes an interesting contrast to the atheistic, amoral Left. He seems to be resonating with a lot of people.

    I’m an agnostic, but I’ve never been afraid of Christians. I think the “theocracy” crowd are a bit overwrought.

    Six months ago I wouldn’t have given a nickel for Santorum’s chances. Now I find myself leaning ever so slightly towards him. He had an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal that mostly talked about economic issues, which is a good sign. In fact Mark Levin said the other night that Santorum has been talking about economics all along, but the MSM is emphasizing the birth control stuff and blowing it out of proportion.

  47. Don Carlos Says:

    I fear our Neo is demagoguing on this issue, not Santorum. I have the temerity to suggest that she give this issue a great deal more thought.

  48. JuliB Says:

    Neo – “If he had replaced the words “the church” with “religion” (or “religious people”) and there would be no problem, except that then he would have been in basic agreement with Kennedy and he wouldn’t have been making the statement in the first place. ”

    But that wouldn’t have worked since the big issue is the Constitutionally false belief that the 1st A is all about the separation of Church and State, not about Religion and State.

  49. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: I assure you I’ve given the issue a great deal of thought, both as a law student many years ago and in the years since.

    I also wonder if you know the meaning of the word “demagoguing” (also see this). I tend to doubt it from your use of it to describe what I’m doing in this post.

  50. T Says:

    Geoffrey Britain @ 9:41 above,

    You wrote: “. . . abandonment of Pax Americana which ensures freedom of commerce on the high seas and in effect, suggesting that it makes more sense to fight an enemy on our soil rather than the enemy’s . . . .”

    This evinces yet another benefit of America policing the world that most people around the world take for granted. We simply can’t conceive of what the high seas (i.e., mercantile shipping) would be like without the freedom of the seas guaranteed by the U.S. presence. This is one overlooked area where Obama’s perceived weakening of our resolve could lead to devasting consequences.

    As for responding to foxmarks, s/he is a Paulite and it’s not about arguing to change his/her mind, the heels are dug in and s/he takes criticism of Dr. Paul personally. As for the “deep analysis” that my Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remark implies, as your rejoinder so admirably demonstrates, that was all the depth that Ron Paul’s foreign policy merits.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: Santorum is not leading Obama more than Romney. The polls vary, but both candidates are virtually equal against Obama on average (see this).

    What I think is more interesting, though, is the fact that the other Republican candidates don’t do all that much worse against Obama, although they indeed do worse than Santorum or Romney at this moment, anyway. I add “at this moment” because the race is so fluid and so changeable. It seems as though most of the voters either are going to be voting for Obama or against him, no matter who runs, with a smaller group of voters that shift back and forth between being pro-Obama and anti. And the outcome may depend much more on what’s happening right before the election in November re the economy than anything else, due to that shifting group of voters in the middle.

  52. davisbr Says:

    …I’d buy any of you a beer.

    This was simply an inspiring thread.

    Thanks to all.

  53. thomass Says:

    In places he did go beyond what Kennedy said and probably also beyond what he meant… but still; we’ve all grown up with the ‘separation of church and state line’ from the left and know what it means. Usually that people of faith should shut up. On the other hand I can’t write it all off as a strawman. Kennedy is just swearing his allegiance to his political faith while endorsing a doctrine that tries to delegitimize others’ views.

    On another other hand; the speech was from before I was born so it may not have been the loaded term I know it as. Also; maybe it was just to cover his rear due to anti Catholic fears (Kennedy was not a left wing nut). Still; I’m under the impression it was already the loaded term. I’m under the impression the US left started going down the secular path back in the late 30s. Plus; Santorum was at that era so his opinions of what it meant would be somewhat informed…

  54. thomass Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Choosing to come to Christ has NOTHING to do with the American experiment. It’s exactly that kind of mixing Christianity with the secular realm that gives the progressives the ammunition to credibly suggest that devout Christians are trying to impose their faith upon everyone.”

    I’m rereading Democracy in America and De Tocqueville would disagree with you. Something happened to Christianity at the end of the middle ages.. what I don’t know… but it went from being as barbaric as Islam to spreading peaceful civil society. Even now; the more peaceful and orderly Arab communities are the few Christian ones (even though they tend to almost always be under assault)…

    Anyway, the left wants us to credit unions for things like the 40 hour work week. Fine. As soon as they credit liberal democracy on the American Revolution and the Christian west.

  55. SteveH Says:

    “”If he had replaced the words “the church” with “religion” (or “religious people”) and there would be no problem”"
    Neo

    To put the absurdity of church/state seperation in proper perspective, just take that concept a step further and replace the word religion with worldview or philosophy in reading the 1st amendment. Then we get to the meat of the issue. Which is the recognition of how our modern day State has indeed established a philosophy it wants to prevail in the minds of its citizens to the exclusion of other competing views. And they have done it, almost incredibly, by convincing people that some worldviews/philosophies are automatically disqualified simply because they have a history of unimaginable success and citizen participation.

  56. texexec Says:

    Thomass said:

    “Something happened to Christianity at the end of the middle ages.. what I don’t know… but it went from being as barbaric as Islam to spreading peaceful civil society.”

    What happened to Christianity at the end of the Middle Ages was the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible out of Latin into languages actually spoken. This enabled people to read and interpret the Bible for themselves – not a corrupt priesthood. That same priesthood fought this tooth and toenail (sometimes literally).

  57. expat Says:

    A couple of history points:
    Santorum was 2 when Kennedy became president. I can’t rely on him to know what Catholics felt at the time. At my high school, where 2 Boston Irish nuns were the most influential members of the tiny faculty, the enthusiasm for Kennedy was enormous. I certainly never heard any expectations that the pope should play a role in governing the country. Instead, the emphasis was on instilling morality in us and on teaching us math, literature, theology, science, history, and, when it was discovered that we had a bit of free time if a lunch period was shortened, good old Aristotelian logic.

    Second, to Thomass, there was a little event after those bibles were printed known as the Thirty Years War. There is a castle ruin a few miles from where I now live that gives lie to the peaceful era you talk about. The Westphalian peace accord that ended the bloodshed gave the secular leaders absolute control over religion in their realms. From what I hear about Bloody Mary and the Cromwell times, they weren’t exactly fun times either.

  58. Mike Mc Says:

    Wow. This is hard to take. From describing Middle Age Christianity as barbaric to dismissing Santorum because he was 2 at the time.

    First, he didn’t say he formed his ideas when he was 2. He read Kennedy’s Speech recently. Is the new standard that you cannot form an opinion about important matters unless you knew someone personally as an adult? Unreal.

    Second, if you don’t count preserving and advancing ancient learning (there was NO ONE ELSE who did that btw), agriculture, animal husbandry, universities, architectural magnificence, science, literature, all of the arts, western style governance, distinctions between the sacred and secular that we think came with the universe today (they did not), critical thinking beyond compare (reaching heights we will never approach again) then yes, it was barbaric. Wow.

    Santorum is right about the separation of church and state thing. His critics are ignorami. Sorry. Facts are facts. Read some books. Learn a little history. Remove yo9urselves from the lowing masses of conventional cow thought and get real.

    Kennedy – even as myth – did almost nothing of note. There was a tax cut. He said something in berlin. The rest was more than a failure, more like a disaster. As a man the more we learn about him……I don’t even need to mention it do I? Compared to Santorum, Kennedy is a moral and intellectual midget. Not even close. That is not saying Santorum is a saint, but he is a good and decent man and compared to Kennedy that makes him a moral giant.

  59. Don Carlos Says:

    Neo= I do indeed think you are appealing to prejudices and emotions, dressed up in lawyer-like language. You strike me as pretty clearly anti-”Church”, and in so doing you go back with your own social memory to JFK’s speech, the intent of which was to assure the WASP voters about his Catholicism, that it would not be a factor in his Presidency, because the Catholics were then the newer immigrants and there was a great deal of anti-Church concern/ bigotry. Then he stole the election.
    Protestant candidates never had to publicly abjure their churches to reassure Catholics, IIRC.

    My ancestors worshipped with Luther; my parents fretted about JFK’s Catholicism pre-election. JFK and kin showed themselves to be Catholic in name only. I am not a church-goer, yet much prefer a man of deep Christian convictions, including those of “the Church,” to any secularist. Devout Presidents need not and indeed cannot not park their faiths at the WH door. On this theme, you are running with the MSM, which should give you pause (despite your favoring Romney, with whose faith and church I have no problem either). “Stephanopolis says….” I say, To Heck with That.

  60. expat Says:

    I certainly didn’t say that the Middle ages were barbaric. I said that Christianity was not able to suppress all barbaric acts during the Reformation. There was no easy glide from the Middle Ages.

    As to the Kennedy statement, I only pointed out that some Catholics at the time were not appalled by Kennedy’s speech. I did not gives my own views on the Kennedy presidency, much less imply that he was perfect. As we now know, he certainly failed the lessons on personal morality that I was taught. One thing that Kennedy did do, however, was show non-Catholic Americans that Catholics can be patriotic Americans. I think Santorum’s reaction to the speech was pretty superficial.

  61. Sergey Says:

    From Kennedy speech:
    “and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote”.
    Why not? How exactly this violates establishment clause? Is not a pastor a moral authority for his congregation? Why his advice (it can be only an advice, since he lacks any coercion power and can not control how his parishioner actually vote) is somehow unbecoming?
    I remember how I discussed in Moscow with a rabbi from Brooklin the Watergate scandal, which was at that time all over the press, and he openly asserted that if he asked his congregation to vote against Nixon, most of them would. He was not a bit shy about it, so I assumed that such appeals of religious leaders to voters are perfectly normal.

  62. Curtis Says:

    SteveH makes the salient point and identifies what the war is about: whose ideas will rule America. Protestant Christianity which had returned to the Scriptures and a higher respect for Judaism was the source. Ironic that Catholicism, which has reformed, now leads the defense against an ideology which is hostile to God, our constitution, and those whose adhere to the idea that a Creator is sovereign and each man, in the image of his Creator, shall share in that sovereignty and yet, because he is flawed, popular sovereignty shall have checks and balances. What a tragedy that this immensely profound set of ideas should be so subdued in our once great country.

    And shall it ever be great again? And what are the limits that should be imposed upon those fighting to make it so?

    Thomas Sewell has a post in Townhall and argues against the “Pettiness and Mud.” This, to me, is akin to asking the Nigerian Christians to trust in votes as protection against the Muslim hordes who are killing them.

    Santorum isn’t limiting himself. Sewell identifies Mitt Romney as turning “character assassination almost into a science.” Romney knows what works in war and he has declared war against his fellow candidates. Now Santorum asks Democrats to vote against Romney knowing full well that they think Romney is the better candidate against Obama.

    No wonder we all agree war is hell. But it is war. The promise of tolerance was a Trojan Horse and political correctness and mulitculturalism the head and body of an ideology which has infiltrated our society and our government and produced a king which now grants our rights while enslaving us and preaching to us.

    To arms and to those arms which Santorum is using, which Churchill used, which Ike used, which Washington used (Washinton was a great spymaster), which Lincoln used, which we must use.

  63. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    JFK got a huge pass on his looks and style, and Jackie was a big plus too, both helped immeasurably by the “Camelot” myth that Kennedy so cannily created by very shrewdly adopting the practice of the old High Kings of Ireland of having court “bards” to talk up them and their achievements.

    JFK brought this Camelot myth to life by selecting several prominent writers and intellectuals and including them in his “court,” gaving them privileged access to him and, as well, access to the court’s perks and privileges and, in doing so, he bought a willing set of courtiers, who worked tirelessly for decades to spread and burnish that myth — Arthur Schlesinger and Ted Sorenson come to mind–working non-stop to keep afloat the Camelot and Kennedy myths, to bury inconvenient facts, and to cover all of JFKs actions with the glint of gold and the “glamour” of Camelot.

    But, when you pierce through the veil of calculated, deliberately manufactured myth, what you find is a disastrous Presidency—yes, a few memorable, extremely well-crafted speeches, but very few actual legislative accomplishments, and the disasters of the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis that had us teetering on the edge of a potential nuclear war, Khrushchev’s estimate of JFK as a lightweight, outclassing JFK in negotiations, and basically putting JFK in his place, and JFK starting us on the road to the Vietnam War when he increased the number and scope of the activities of our “advisors” there.

    And, all of these missteps and disasters played out against the sordid backdrop of his well concealed, voracious sexual appetites and serial philandering—brought into sharp focus by the recent book by Mimi Alford, one of his two, always on call “secretaries” and apparently stand-by, daily sexual partners, known around the JFK White House by their Secret Service code names of “Fiddle and Faddle,” with Alford alleging that within five days of her showing up to work as a star-struck intern (and a virgin) at the White House, JFK had her clothes off and was deflowering her on Jackie’s bed and that, thereafter, she was on call for JFK sexual needs, and that JFK passed her around to Kennedy associates like a bag of nachos, and that sometimes JFK liked to watch.

    I note here that we have not even gotten around to discussing how JFK concealed his serious Addison’s disease and other health problems from the voters, his involvement with the Mob, or his involvement with Marilyn Monroe and her still mysterious “suicide”; all in all, a disastrous Presidency, still mostly concealed under the slowly deteriorating glamour of the Camelot myth.

  64. Sergey Says:

    Another idiocy from Kennedy speech:
    “no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace ”

    How exactly any religious body CAN impose its will on general population? Do churches in USA run Inquisition or religious police? In a free country this is obviously impossible. Another liberal nonsence, invented to limit religious freedom. Fearing Protestant pastors who, supposedly, can derail his election reminding their parishioners about his loyality to pope, Kennedy in his speech did dangerous demagogery, undermining freedom of religious expression under false pretence of defending it. I fully understand why Suntorium wanted to vomit.

  65. davisbr Says:

    @Sergey. I happen to know a pastor or dozen or so. Maybe more, heh.

    They don’t discuss politics from the pulpit to the point of explicitely recommending which way their congregation should cast a vote.

    As a group, they pretty uniformly believe that such explicit political activism is a sure way to have the IRS investigate them, and lose their non-profit [taxable] status.

    Churches are also businesses, of a sort …they have bills to pay, and forms to fill out. They worry about stuff like this. Even the wealthier ones aren’t all that wealthy.

    That doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention to politics. It doesn’t mean they don’t talk. It doesn’t mean they don’t participate. You bet they do. Especially at and amongst the laity/social level of interaction, in person-to-person discourse.

    It does mean that you’re not going to hear a sermon from the bully pulpit urging parishioners to vote X on bill Y or candidate Z.

    …except for subjects on the order of same-sex marriage & abortion and such …i.e., things the canon condemns as sin. They can go full-on on those, you bet’cha, as those subjects are essential bits of doctrine, and core beliefs, hence permissable (and indeed, mandatory).

    At least, in the churches and pastors I’m familiar with.

    YMMV, as always.

  66. CV Says:

    While I’d prefer that Santorum refrain from vomit imagery during his speeches, I think the point he was trying to make was that JFK’s “compromise” laid the foundation for decades of similar (costly) rationalizations by Catholic politicians ranging from Cuomo to Pelosi. Writer Colleen Campbell spells it out nicely here:

    http://www.colleen-campbell.com/articles/020107JFK.htm

    An excerpt:

    “[What does the impact of Kennedy's speech have to do with] today’s controversies about Catholic politicians? The answer lies in another landmark speech delivered by a Catholic politician who applied Kennedy’s logic to the most contentious political issue of our day: abortion.

    The year was 1984, and Catholic Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket headlined by former Vice President Walter Mondale. John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, had recently told a reporter that he did not believe a Catholic could, in good conscience, support legal abortion. Mario Cuomo, like Ferraro, did. So with an eye toward his own potential presidential candidacy, Cuomo set out to make the case for pro-choice Catholic politicians.

    Speaking at the University of Notre Dame one day after the 24th anniversary of Kennedy’s Houston speech, Cuomo drew on moving rhetoric and lawyerly dexterity to expand Kennedy’s bifurcation of private faith and public life to the abortion debate. He assured his listeners that he accepted Catholic teaching that abortion is wrong and is “a matter of life and death” with “unique significance.” Then he argued that Catholic politicians like him – who support legal abortion and, in his case, taxpayer funding of abortion – are not betraying Catholic principles but are simply refusing to impose their views on others in the absence of a political consensus against abortion. Stipulating that there are “no final truths,” Cuomo told his audience this: “[T]he Catholic Church’s actions with respect to the interplay of religious values and public policy make clear that there is no inflexible moral principle which determines what our political conduct should be.” Cuomo said that opposition to abortion in theory need not translate into opposition in public policy, since it is unclear which policy, if any, would actually stop abortion. He concluded by citing the “seamless garment” proposed by Chicago Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and arguing that abortion is merely one issue among many that has no “preemptive significance.”

    Since Cuomo’s arguments have been parroted in pro-choice Catholic stump speeches for more than 20 years, they merit scrutiny. His first claim – that Catholic politicians who seek to limit or outlaw access to abortion are improperly imposing their beliefs on others – defies common sense. Every politician attempts to use his political power to influence policy and impose his political will. For a Catholic politician to claim that he can do so on other issues but not on abortion is a dodge. Cuomo later admitted as much, when he complained to a PBS reporter that the U.S. bishops had not given him enough credit for repeatedly bucking the expressed will of his New York constituents by vetoing a dozen legislative attempts to reinstate the death penalty. Clearly, political consensus on capital punishment did not matter as much to Cuomo as doing what he thought was right.

    As for the argument that respect for the sanctity of innocent life constitutes a religious conviction with no place in public policy, that might have surprised the authors of America’s Declaration of Independence, which describes the right to life as “unalienable” and “self-evident.” Cuomo’s claim also contradicts Catholic teaching, which holds that respect for innocent life is not a peculiarly sectarian principle but a precept of the natural moral law accessible to everyone by reason, and for that reason, Catholic politicians have a duty to defend it. Church teaching acknowledges that there may be legitimate diversity of opinion about which anti-abortion measures are most effective. But doing nothing, or actively promoting abortion while blaming some purported pro-abortion consensus for one’s policies, is unacceptable….”

  67. Sergey Says:

    Every Christian Church wants to impose her doctrines not only on general population, but on the world as a whole, and sees it as her ultimate mission. Is it good or bad is another question, but this is an obvious fact central to Christianity. Demand that Churches don’t persuade this goal is simply silly, this would mean to void their existence of any purpose.

  68. Mac Says:

    Santorum took a valid and important point and made rather a hash of it. I despair of any of these Republicans beating Obama.

  69. Curtis Says:

    Thanks for the history, CV and WD. Looks like there really is substance to Santorum’s claim against Kennedy.

    I think the generalization needed here is “never trust those Irish Catholic bastards.”

    Kidding. Just kidding. Because the irony is there seems to be a lot of Catholics (although not en masse) who on our Supreme Court and in other responsible positions are standing up and fighting. It’s a great development and reformation, an awakening which hopefully is spreading. Who else, of all the candidates, (not even Gingrich although I may be wrong here but if he did so, he didn’t do it as simply, forcefully, and publically as Santorum) rightly “divided the Word” and called Obama a phony Christian. And Obama responds by asking all African American churches to spread his “Word.”

    I’m telling ya, Santorum has Obama’s number and it is pride. He’s drawing the dragon out into the open.

  70. expat Says:

    Sergey,
    I take issue with the word impose. That implies some kind of force. I think a more valid description is that they hope to bring others to see the truth of their beliefs.

  71. Sergey Says:

    In Middle ages Christians tried to “impose” by force, nowdays they try to “impose” by persuasion only. I have no objections with the latter and think that proselitism is an integral part of freedom of religious expression for churches and many charities, too.

  72. Tesh Says:

    @Sergey I’d say that’s the crucial difference and the heart of the ‘Separation concept. Churches *should* be about invitation and persuasion, and that’s fine in any sphere. Politics are ultimately about force, and churches shouldn’t wield that power or buckle to it.

  73. expat Says:

    Sergey and Tesh,
    In a similar vein, I think of the Amish response to the murders in one of their schools a few years ago. They probably didn’t gain many converts, but I think they offered a powerful example of how one can respond to a horrible act.

  74. davisbr Says:

    @sergey “Every Christian Church wants to impose her doctrines not only on general population, but on the world as a whole, and sees it as her ultimate mission”

    That is simply not true, and displays an appalling ignorance of scripture, and a distorted perspective and limited view of history, Sergey.

    Christ told the church to go into the world and preach the Good Word. Not to conquer it.

    Perhaps we have an error of meaning due to your use of English as a second language, so you miss certain nuances of usage?

    But no, “most” Christian churches do NOT want to impose their will on subject populations. The very idea is anathema.

    ————
    If you were referring to certain periods of history where the Church went hand-in-hand with secular nations in subjugation of native populations, especially as regards the European conquest of the Americas, your statement is less remarkable, perhaps, though equally unpersuasive even in historical contexts (too many and complex to cite here).

    Now, if you were making an observation about Western culture based upon Judeo-Christian values, you may have a partial point. Obviously, the armies of the West have been primarily composed of Christians of one sort or another for at least a millenia.

    During certain historical periods of national imperial aspiration, the West has indeed “sought to impose its values”. And Christians have participated. En masse. And …even may do so again.

    But they have done, and would do so, in spite of sound doctrine, not due to it. The Church’s mission has never been conquest.

    Do not conflate Christianity with Islam.

    It is all too true that Christianity may have been spread alongside the sword, but it is not spread by the sword. Christianity is not Islam.

    Inasmuch as it has happened by individual Christians, with the wink or nod of the Church, the church is rightly and self-condemned for egregious distortion of canon. But that is a travesty of Christianity.

  75. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: you are imagining things in my post, for what reason I do not know.

    Appeal to prejudices and emotions? Where and how?

    I am merely following Santorum’s logic about what Kennedy actually said, and find it very lacking. And I am commenting on the possible political effects of stating that he wanted to “throw up” rather than using less colorful langauge.

    And I am underlining the effect religious thought and morality has on the decisions of an individual, and how it informs those decisions, and pointing out that JFK did not disavow his religion or his “conscience” (his word, which in the Catholic Church has a very specific meaning regarding the strong influence of religion in the making of decisions). The thrust of his speech was that the church (and in his case, the Catholic Church) or its leaders do not dictate the decisions he makes, or which it parishioners make. Period.

    How does this appeal to prejudices and emotions? And how is it “anti-Church”? I believe that if you go through all my posts you will find nothing against the church (Catholic or otherwise) or its practitioners. And yet for some odd reason you are imagining that I have ideas and beliefs that I have never expressed.

  76. neo-neocon Says:

    One more thing, to those who think I am commenting on the separation of church and state and its history here: the point I am trying to make, and believe I actually made, is about whether Santorum fairly characterized Kennedy’s remarks about whether a person of faith should be in public life. He did not; he misrepresented them.

    Of course, this post can spark a discussion of the separation question. But that’s not what my remarks were actually about. Nor was I commenting at all on what sort of president Kennedy was.

  77. I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism Says:

    He stated that no Church officials would dictate to him how to make decisions.

    Unnoted by you is the perception that, as a Catholic, people were saying at the time that a Catholic PotUS would allow the Pope to dictate doctrine to the USA’s political system.

    His statements in this regard are reflecting his intention to in no way to let the Pope tell him what America should do. The Pope could certainly advise and JFK would listen, but it would be nothing but advice from any significant and highly respected world leader.

    His efforts were aimed at distancing himself from his Catholicism, since it was a bullet point against him with a large percentage of the US electorate at the time.

    Few recall it these days, but the WASP background at the core of America at the time had quite a few who viewed the Catholic church with suspicion and even derision. Today there is very little enmity or suspicion against Catholics, but at the time they were generally not well viewed by many.

  78. I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism Says:

    P.S., I’m not a big fan of JFK but this isn’t an area I’d think Santorum is or should be calling him out on. If he wants to interject a measure of debate regarding the role of religion in this country, he’s picked a bad starting point, as you suggest.

  79. I Got Bupkis, Formerly and still, "Igotbupkis" Says:

    Curtis, while the government of the USA has seeds in the Judeo-Christian heritage it has derived from via its European connections, it is still explicitly NOT supposed to be based on ANY religion.

    There is a decent secular argument for pretty much anything that should be Law (and yes, there’s one HELL of a metric eph-ton that has no business being Law, that is). If you can’t make a decent secular argument to justify it, it has no business or place in US Law.

  80. neo-neocon Says:

    I Got Bupkis: yes, I didn’t note the context because I thought it was obvious to the readers here, but I suppose I should have. A lot of people don’t seem to be aware of what Kennedy’s speech was in response to.

    Maybe I’ll write a new post about that some time.

  81. Curtis Says:

    I got Bupkis, You, sir, as you just represented yourself, are a programmed and secular idiot. I would refer you to a primer course in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence which is offered free by Hillsdale College. You can go online and get the information.

    Your incredible assertions astound me! I also refer you to Buck v. Bell and ask you to consider what Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr’s antipathy to religion and God resulted in.

    The ground of our government is that men possess rights given to them by a Creator and these rights are inalienable because a greater Sovereign than any man has decreed it should be so. Islam does not declare this. Hinduism does not. Christianity does and anywhere that “rights” have been declared which do not rest on the above described foundation has immediately or eventually resulted in horror and tyranny.

    So, I repeat, you astound me. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Muslim world, please find and describe to me where prosperity and freedom has long endured.

    Finally, the intelligent readers of Neo’s posts pretty much see her point and some whole heartedly agree, some think it irrelevant and even picky to mount an attack on a minor point and see the whole post as a ruse to criticize Santorum and elevate Romney (really, who can’t come up with gotchas on every politician), and some point out that Santorum was correct on another and deeper level.

    Metric ephton. Hey, that’s a good one. Mind if I use it? It’s the only interesting thing in your incredible obtuse and disturbing diatribe.

  82. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: Santorum “correct on another and deeper level?”

    That’s a slippery slope you might not want to start down. It smacks of the left’s “it may have been wrong but it was actually right because it demonstrates a greater truth”—or however they state it (I don’t have time to look it up right now, but one of the times it was used as an excuse involved Rathergate).

    Santorum could have made good points about the separation of church and state controversy without setting up a strawman, misstating and trashing Kennedy’s points. It’s wrong when anyone does it, and watch out for that greater truth business.

  83. Curtis Says:

    I like to slip and slide. How else you gonna know if you’re wrong?

    However, the deeper level was the one identified by CV. That is what I was referring to.

    But I also made a defense that Santorum was deliberately being a demagogue, deliberately using a falsehood, and that was justified. Much like Robert the Bruce lied to his own men about the strength of the English forces before the Battle of Bannockburn. If he had not done that Scotland would not have had their independence.

    Now there’s a limit to using falsehood. You definitely want to use it only in emergencies on your own side. The Left, of course, lives or dies on their false narratives, and I definitely respect and believe you don’t want your side to copy same. I happen to think sometimes it’s necessary.

    My theory on Santorum’s strategy is strictly conjecture but it is also based on his other actions where he seems to be goading Obama.

  84. foxmarks Says:

    I missed too much overnight to catch up.

    GB: There is no silliness about separation of church and state in modern Israel. Perhaps I should have written “Judeo-Christian” as is the usual claim. Your point is tangential, at best.

    T: Folks like you tickle me. I am in the midst of a major political change and you harrumph that I am unwilling to consider arguments. Cain was my favorite candidate, then Bachmann. I voted Bush in 2004. He prosecuted the war in Iraq as well as any commander might. He won, and history will see him acclaimed.

    As I will keep hammering, maybe you are the mind-numbed robot. Too much Hannity does that to people.

    (Myself, I take in 10+ hours of Limbaugh every week.)

  85. T Says:

    No “harrumphing” from me Foxmarks, I can only draw my conclusions from the evidence you provide in your comments. Interpret that as you will.

    And where, BTW did I call you a “mind-numbed robot?”

  86. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    foxmarks,

    I’m comfortable with my rejoinder to your remarks. Coming to Christ has nothing to do with the Constitution. I’ll leave it to others to decide which of us is right.

    thomass,
    “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.” de Tocqueville

    He certainly believed that American views on religion and liberty were strongly intertwined. That is not the same thing however as foxmark’s assertion that the purpose of the Constitution is that citizens might “come to Christ”. Sure, for more than a few, that is for them its purpose but his assertion was categorical.

    Mike Mc,
    “Kennedy – even as myth – did almost nothing of note. There was a tax cut. He said something in berlin. …Compared to Santorum, Kennedy is a moral and intellectual midget.

    You’re letting your dislike for the man, interfere with objective assessment. Kennedy, whom I remember well, did plenty of note in his thousand days’. His tax cut, opposed by many in his own party, revitalized the economy. His reasoning in proposing a tax cut demonstrated a shrewd understanding of economics. His speech in Berlin had far more positive impact than you credit. Kennedy was easily Santorum’s equal in intellect, if anything it is Santorum who is the inferior intellectually. Morally, no argument, though I suspect that Santorum may be, at times, righteously judgmental.

    “I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices.” Mark Twain, a Biography

    Wolla Dalbo,

    “the Cuban Missile Crisis that had us teetering on the edge of a potential nuclear war, Khrushchev’s estimate of JFK as a lightweight, outclassing JFK in negotiations, and basically putting JFK in his place, and JFK starting us on the road to the Vietnam War when he increased the number and scope of the activities of our “advisors” there.”

    You’re rewriting history there. It’s true that Khrushchev dismissed Kennedy on their first meeting, but Kennedy put Khrushchev in his place in the showdown over the Cuban Missile Crisis, which the Soviets started and to which Kennedy magnificently responded. Kennedy held fast against many of his own advisers, some of whom inclined toward appeasement rather than the path of confrontation Kennedy choose. Yet when Kennedy saw that a successful peaceful conclusion required that he concede to the Soviets and pull our missiles out of Turkey, Kennedy didn’t allow macho posturing to prevent a peaceful conclusion. Nor was the Soviet missiles in Cuba a mere ploy to obtain our retreat from Turkey, evidenced by the purge of Khrushchev, the Soviet Politburo’s perception was that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a defeat for the Soviets.

    The public consensus was that Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis restored Kennedy’s reputation after the Bay of Pigs disaster.

    As for Vietnam, I’m a Vietnam vet so I remember it well. Kennedy never intended for that war to lead to Johnson’s level of involvement. Johnson made the decision to escalate. Had he lived, what Kennedy would have done is mere speculation but consider this quote; “In the final analysis, it’s their war.” Kennedy, shortly before his assassination.

  87. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Problem with the religious–I am a Christian–is that some of them think their ideas, particularly social welfare, are so laudable that the State should do whatever the religious person thinks is a good idea.

  88. foxmarks Says:

    Oh, please GB. I didn’t contend the purpose of the Constitution was to get citizens to come to Christ. The notion of gov’t sufficiently small to allow religious choice is indicated by the Founders’ religious tradition.

    I suggest you’re imagining the Founders to be far less religious and driven by Christian morality than all their writings indicate.

  89. foxmarks Says:

    T: My apologies, I didn’t read your comment closely enough. You’re more ignorant than I thought.

    The knee-jerk right accuses Paul of catastrophic and crazy pacifism. Paul’s framework of national defense still relies on a strong navy. (It’s mentioned in the Constitution, after all) It’s the permanent deployments of infantry which he would prefer stationed within our own borders.

    The navy—and its Marines—are the primary means of attacking pirates/terrorists and destroying their bases. Long term occupations and “nation-building” are a different animal. All RP asks is that Congress declare war in an open and unambiguous way. Then, by what he says, we go hard, kick ass and come home.

    Anybody who is interested in an informed argument could check Paul’s proposed budget.

    Wikpedia tells me the DoD spent $530b on defense in 2010. Direct war spending was $130b on top of that. Paul’s website shows the 2013 DoD allocated $501b. That’s hardly a radical disarmament.

    I hold that billion-dollar aircraft carriers are just big fat targets. But if RP wants to keep them, I’m cool with it.

  90. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Oh, please GB. I didn’t contend the purpose of the Constitution was to get citizens to come to Christ.”

    If I misunderstood your meaning, I stand corrected.

    “I suggest you’re imagining the Founders to be far less religious and driven by Christian morality than all their writings indicate.”

    I think not. It’s my understanding that the founding fathers represented a broad spectrum of religious opinion. Adams, Jefferson and Franklin for instance weren’t conventionally dogmatic in their religious beliefs. Jefferson was a deist, as were a number of the founding fathers. By today’s standards, their foundational philosophical premises, were profoundly centered in religious beliefs of a beneficent and providential creator. Christian morality however, rather than Christian dogma, along with the enlightenment of reason formed the basis of their foundational assumptions about life.

  91. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    A navy and/or air force for that matter, alone is insufficient to secure American interests. Boots on the ground hold ground, nothing else suffices. Rapid deployment of significant assets requires forward bases. Critical resupply of forward assets requires bases within reasonable reach of those forward deployed assets. That’s why the huge build-up in M.E. bases like Saudi Arabia prior to the gulf war.

    And ‘pirates/terrorists’ play a relatively small part in securing Pax Americana. Without bases and ports secured in foreign lands, the US Navy cannot secure the sea lanes effectively for maritime commerce. Commerce that is absolutely vital to the US economy. Were our naval power significantly diminished, which retreat from foreign bases would impose, other nations would rush to fill the ‘vacuum’ created and in time would far more significantly threaten maritime commerce.

    “All RP asks is that Congress declare war in an open and unambiguous way. Then, by what he says, we go hard, kick ass and come home.”,/i>

    Clear cut, simple situations are great when they occasionally occur. Please point to just three in the last 5 years. When the US can make a compelling case that it has the assets available to bring military force to bear and the adversary is convinced that we will use them, force is frequently not needed. Paul’s policy would have us limit ourselves to a simple choice; doing nothing or all out war, which is simplistic and often counter productive.

    “I hold that billion-dollar aircraft carriers are just big fat targets.”

    Tell that to Japanese naval veterans of WWII. Aircraft carriers are the most powerful mobile war platforms ever invented. They allow the US to project substantial air power anywhere in the world in a manner that no other platform can do. They also allow a degree of ‘calculating force to the mission objective’ that no other naval platform can match. They are what separates and raises the US Navy above any other nations navy.

  92. foxmarks Says:

    GB:

    Tactically, infantry is the Queen of Battle. Strategically, holding ground is occupation and empire. The ruin of nations. I’m agin’ it.

    You comments about the necessity of some number of bases comports with the Paulian view of defense. I think you are trying to disagree, but are not.

    Your comment about recent use of force, similarly so. If there is a terrorist that merits killing, we kill him. But we do not intervene in a Libyan civil war. Such is not “national defense”, it is nation-building.

    You seems to echo Romney’s nonsense about a military so strong that nobody will attack. That’s cold war (or even more archaic) thinking. The might of the US military didn’t stop the barracks attack in Beirut, the attack on the Cole, 9/11 or anything our current enemies attempt.

    Carriers were essential mobile war platforms. Again, you’re a prisoner of the last war. I well understand the strategic thinking behind our CAGs and battlegroups. Like I wrote, I can live with funding them. But they’re hopelessly vulnerable to swarm attacks. They’re scaled to fight bigger enemies than we face.

  93. foxmarks Says:

    On the actual composition of the Founders, Wikipedia sez:

    Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and three were Roman Catholics

    The small handful of Deists get all the ink. There were no Muslims, Hindus, Taoists or Animists. One line of faith guided the souls that set us free.

    Also consider Section 16 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights:

    That Religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.

    A month after this was adopted, Jefferson, a Virginian, wrote the Declaration.

    I’m not sure why you’re trying to bring up dogma, since you above quoted my writing

    The Christian moral system is the only one which can allow a limited republic

  94. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I’m not sure the Navy is vulnerable to swarm attacks. The Cole was tied up and the bomb boat was allowed to come along side.
    Proves nothing.
    If, on the other hand, the Iranians, say, run some fishing boats at a destroyer so that the destroyer shoots it, and finds we killed a family party, and do that a few times, we will find the ROE will allow for a swarm to develop before our guys are allowed to shoot.

    A swarm needs to go as fast as a warship, which is probably around thirty knots, plus or minus. A big ship, destroyer on up, throws up such a wake and bow wave at high speed that a light boat would have trouble actually making contact.
    So that means a lot of swarm boats shooting something. The bigger the something, the bigger the boat, which is to say, more obvious, less manuverable, and less likely to be able to be disguised as an innocent fishing boat. The bigger they are, the fewer they are. The bigger the something or other they shoot, the greater the distance from which they have to shoot, since they won’t be allowed in close, which means lots of time to kill them.
    Loose ROE will solve the problem, which, given the palpitations amongst our perfumed princes at DOD means the sailors are screwed. Even if Obama loses the election.

  95. T Says:

    Geoffrey Britain and Richard Aubrey,

    Insightful responses. Nothing much for me to add. I caution you both, however, as you proffer reasonable responses to Foxmarks’ defense of Ron Paul. I said earlier his/her heels seem dug in and this most recent exchange would seem to evince exactly that. As I said above, s/he seems to take criitcism of Ron Paul’s policies very personally, and more and more, s/he is sounding like the leftist defenses of Obama and the leftists attack on conservatives that I read on several other blogs, (although obviously, with a different goal) as s/he descends into personal attacks.

    To the extent that you think this is true, your responses are an exercise in futility.

  96. Richard Aubrey Says:

    T. Not trying to address Paul’s views directly, but to provide some detail to those who are looking at them with some interest.

  97. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Oops. Forgot one thing. If a boat wants to actually contact a ship in order to blow it up, the bearing is constant. No matter the speeds, no matter where anybody started, on the run-in, the bearing is constant. Means you don’t have to lead right or left, only for range. So you shoot low, watch the splashes, and let the boat run into the bullet stream.

  98. thomass Says:

    Geoffrey,

    A: de Tocqueville himself argued that Christianity spread civil society.
    I’d also add, it does not come through in this quote that he probably agreed with the American view he is describing (which does come through when you read his book).
    B: I responded to your statements about that, not foxmarks’ statements.
    C: I’m not a Christian but it seems the argument has merit that areas Christianity was strong in became stable with a strong civil society…in the modern era (before that, not so much).

  99. thomass Says:

    expat
    “Second, to Thomass, there was a little event after those bibles were printed known as the Thirty Years War. There is a castle ruin a few miles from where I now live that gives lie to the peaceful era you talk about. The Westphalian peace accord that ended the bloodshed gave the secular leaders absolute control over religion in their realms. From what I hear about Bloody Mary and the Cromwell times, they weren’t exactly fun times either.”
    Umm, the secular feudal leaders managed to make life miserable with their wars even under the old power structure. My point is, the tone and tenor that most people here find abhorrent from Islamisists… sounds a lot like what many people said and wrote in Christian Europe in the middle ages. We even fought our wars like they want to do now (execution of those who won’t covert, et cetera).

  100. I Got Bupkis, Formerly and still, "Igotbupkis" Says:

    >>>> are a programmed and secular idiot. I would refer you to a primer course in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence

    The founders were themselves largely Christian in basis (though there were a few Jews and “Mahometans” among them at the time). They were, however, very abhorrent of “organized religion” of any sort. And I can cite quotes from any number of them on this point. As a result it’s fairly clear that, while the extreme of disconnect between Government and Religion often argued in favor of by modern libtards is wrongheaded and foolish, there is still at issue just about any law based on religious argument alone — you personally may support a law for that reason, but, at its heart, in order for it to be legitimate, it must have non-religious justifications for its existence as Law.

    The problem is rather blatantly clear — if we allow ANY religion to Rule, then we open the door for suppression of other religions. We also open the door for a specific religion to tell others what to do. There’s a common form of this floating around — it’s called Sharia, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

    And I’ll cite for you the Treaty of Tripoli, submitted to the Senate, passed, and signed into law by John Adams, **one of the Founders**… perhaps you’ve heard of him? Emphasis mine:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    Clearly, a large percentage of the Founding Fathers agreed more with what I’d argue is my own interpretation and not the one you’re placing onto it.

    This is not an argument against Christianity, only that Christianity is an adequately reason-based faith that pretty much any worthwhile precept from it can generally be argued in favor of by secular arguments as well. As such, you don’t need to open the door to religion in government and Law in order to encourage most of its serious principles. The “fuzzy” ones, the ones subject to interpretation or which have internal contradictions in the Bible, are the main ones which are likely to find no purchase in the basis for Law.

    And this is as it should be. The Law should not be based on something as fuzzy as religious interpretation. That’s one of the places where civil and international wars come from throughout history.

  101. I Got Bupkis, Formerly and still, "Igotbupkis" Says:

    >>> There were no Muslims, Hindus, Taoists or Animists.

    There was at least one Jew, and another who was, I believe, a Mahometan, who were prominent in the general process of the creation of this country, its laws, and the overall basis for its structure. They may or may not have actually signed the Declaration or been outspoken and notable members of the early Congress.

    There’s a moderate amount of fuzziness around the term “Founding Father”, as it can readily not just include the official representatives of the people but the people themselves alive and of fighting and voting age at the time.

    =======================
    BTW, anyone wanting to look into the subject may well find this book of interest:
    The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed

  102. I Got Bupkis, Formerly and still, "Igotbupkis" Says:

    thomass, they were doing it then, too. We became more civilized, they did not.

    The real problem is, they want to be uncivilized with tanks, jet aircraft, artillery, automatic rifles, and nuclear weapons.

    This cannot be accepted, even if it is a matter of serious overkill of them to accomplish it. The real problem lies in the cowardice of the “moderate Muslim”, in not facing up to the fact that their religious creed is teetering on going out of control, much as National Socialism did, with similarly genocidal results.

  103. Richard Aubrey Says:

    As an example of the connection between Christianity and western culture, take the Just War Doctrine.
    Do you need theologians to propound it? Aquinas and Augustine were pretty big shooters, but did we need them to figure it out? It seems so obvious. Did western culture teach it to A & A? Did they teach it to western culture? Does anybody have any objections to it based on secular morality? Other than the partisan misuse of it to handicap the US, I mean. Seen that happen.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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