A couple of Facebook friends shared a link to a Talking Points Memo piece regarding comments Rick Santorum, former senator and possible presidential candidate, made Monday in Massachusetts. The original article ran in the Boston Globe and mostly covered his remarks against Massachusetts’ health insurance system. Also noted were his remarks about a certain wildly popular Massachusetts resident who once was President:
In remarks to about 50 members of the group Catholic Citizenship — which encourages parishioners to speak out on issues of public policy — Santorum decried what he called the growing secularization of American public life.
He traced the problem to Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which Kennedy — then a candidate for president — sought to allay concerns about his Catholicism by declaring, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”
Santorum, who is Catholic, said he was “frankly appalled” by Kennedy’s remark.
“That was a radical statement,” Santorum said, and it did “great damage.”
“We’re seeing how Catholic politicians, following the first Catholic president, have followed his lead, and have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making process,” Santorum said.
“Jefferson is spinning in his grave,” he added.
Perhaps Mr. Santorum missed a lecture in one of his American history classes. In 1960, during Mr. Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency, one of the biggest concerns was that a Catholic president would declare allegience to the Pope instead of the flag. It’s very likely that JFK needed to emphasize the separation of church and state if only to allay these fears from the uninformed. Apparently JFK performed this mission so well that Mr. Santorum doesn’t even need to worry whether people will think HE would “declare allegiance to the Pope.” Or maybe like so many people in America, he forgets the ground broken by those who went before him.
Not to be missed is Santorum’s ignorance of Jefferson’s stance on religious influence. Let’s see, who was the one who put “Providence” in phrases where others would’ve put “God”? I believe that was Mr. Jefferson of Virginia.
Mr. Santorum received cheers and applause for his comments, somehow. See, you don’t have to just get the big facts egregiously wrong, as Michelle Bachmann did when she told New Hampshire residents she was proud of what their ancestors did in Lexingon and Concord, Massachusetts during the Revolution. One can get a lot of mileage from much subtler errors, or at least try to.
It wouldn’t be so bad if so many Americans weren’t just so damn proud that they don’t know nothin’ and don’t need to know anything more.