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Get Your Religious Hands Off of My Government

Are you there, God? It's me... (other) Rick.

Rick Santorum seems to hear a lot of things that aren’t there.

Initially, Santorum claimed he heard the call from God to run for President. 

Of course, God apparently also told Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain to run for President, and they are not in the race anymore; which probably means all four of those people are prone to auditory hallucination, thus necessitating our need to institutionalize them. 

But in a key moment of Santorum’s campaign, he noted that (Catholic) John F. Kennedy’s speech given in 1960 regarding separation of church and state made him “want to throw up.”  Santorum’s (incorrect) stance was that Kennedy was trying to “separate faith from the public square.” 

JFK’s belief was almost certainly that religious advisors should instruct them on faith and morals.

Santorum seems to have missed the entire main idea of the speech, especially in the historical context under which it was given. This indicates that Santorum—like a lot of crazy Republicans, I’ve noticed—doesn’t seem to have much in the way of critical reading or listening skills. 

But Santorum also clearly cannot separate his personal faith from politics; and talks about it in this bizarre reverse-logic manner where he uses it to appear holier-than-thou.  His extreme stances on sex and birth control, prenatal testing, women’s roles in the home and in the military, college campuses, homosexuality, pornography, comments about Satan having his sights set on America, and the environment are clearly derivative from his very strong faith.  And I don’t have a hard-line to Christ on Skype like Santorum does—so I can’t know this for sure—but I’m fairly certain that’s the impetus for his belief system, and his political judgments.  He wants more religious input on government policy and faith-based politicking. He wants more Christian Conservative influence in our legislation.

So it’s really too bad Rick isn’t able to hear the voice of JFK echoing to him from the afterlife, because I’m willing to bet they could've sorted out their differences and he eventually would’ve found Kennedy a greater ally in his belief system than he would have found in me.

Because I absolutely believe all politicians should separate their faith from the public square.  

Politics and religion should be like water and oil (or, to put it in Santorum’s terms: women and sexual freedom). A politician’s religious viewpoints should be kept personal, should neither be espoused nor openly questioned, and should absolutely never be the impetus for policy. 

This is very simple: Using your religion (or even non-religion) as a moral basis for your personality and character is one thing; but using it openly as a motivating factor for your platform only creates divisions between people. With neutrality, and acceptance, and understanding—the things your religion should have taught you in the first place— you defend freedom of religion. But religious biases of all kinds should not affect government; because, in turn government could then also affect religion. It is a national imperative that people recognize this; especially those who might vote for a religious extremist like Rick Santorum.

If histories, and other countries, have taught us anything, it’s that religious and political extremists are dangerous people, especially in combination. In fact, you might say only religious and political extremists are worth fearing. What other type of extremists in this country even rank as anything more than "mildly annoying"? NASCAR extremists? Bieber extremists? Who has the potential to be more dangerous—Rick Santorum or a girl who passes out while excitedly dancing to “Baby”?

So, in regards to Santorum’s repeated efforts to push his religion in the dialogue as part of a campaign to be President of the United States, I would tell him to go home.

And then I would tell him that he should feel free to run his household in whatever manner he chooses, because that is what religious freedom is all about.

You wanna home school your daughter out of fear that college is for snobs who will cause her to lose her religion? Your choice. Go right ahead.

You want to be against abortion, even if that daughter is raped? That’s your prerogative.

Enjoy your grandchildren.

You want to be against gay marriage, or going to college, or people of other races? Fantastic. We’re not going to be friends, but you are 100% welcome to be that person as long as you’re not hurting anyone else outwardly with your bigotry.

But don’t run for President.

Don’t assume that what has influenced you should influence me. Don’t you, for a second, have the ignorance and audacity to believe that I’m going to run my life in this country, under your moral and religious parameters. You are not of some higher moral and spiritual ground than I am to infringe upon our existing freedoms. 

And how dare you even mildly assert that I should run my life by the principles of either you, or your view of God? 

In short: be conservatively religious as an individual, and in your home. The policy of the nation needs to be more liberal in accepting faiths and beliefs of all kinds; even ones that do not gel with the religion and morality you’ve been taught to believe.

And if you don’t accept that, Rick, at the very least, this whole process should have taught you one thing: 

If you really did hear the voice of God to run for President, it’s only because He wanted you to know you’re a loser.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Meola March 24, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Excellent article! Couldn't have said it better myself.
James Thomas March 24, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Alex V. I disagree. Faith can not be divorced from the "civic discourse". As you admit "Faith is part of life". Taking your argument to it's fullest extent the faithful believer MUST then become someone who believes one thing and does another. You are ENFORCING the hypocricy you decry. "That's the trouble with democracy - not everyone is the same as you."
Ed Fisher March 24, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Article says it as good as it needs be said.
Damon koch April 14, 2012 at 02:03 PM
James, you are correct. More murder was committed in the 20th century in the name of aethism than in the name of any religion. Mao, Stalin, Hitler and others were aethists or agnostics. Also, the murder being committed today is in the name of Radical Islam, not Mr. Santorium's faith.
Damon koch April 14, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Patrick, once again you have mischaracterized the conservative position. Rick Santorium never said he was against people using contraception if they want, he's against the government paying for it or forcing employer's from paying for it. I know that being in the teacher's union you feel entitled to have taxpayer money pay for everything you want, but some of us believe that this country works best and has become great by the efforts of individuals acting their own self interest free from government mandates.

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