The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

Protect separation of church and state from Rick Santorum.

with 6 comments

The idea of the separation of Church and State is integral to the United States. Upholding the idea remains as important today as it was when our founders built a nation that expressly forbid the mingling of the Church with the operations of the government.

Rick Santorum, though, disagrees. He says:

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

Two quick things for Mr. Santorum.

One: I disagree vehemently, and am terrified that a Presidential candidate would claim that the church should have influence and invovlement in the operations of the state. That is unconstitutional, and opposes the very foundation of the US as a nation by people who understood the dangers of allowing the inter-mingling of the two. It’s one of the reasons we decided England just wasn’t for us. Bone up on your Thomas Jefferson.

Two: Your second point is invalid, as the separation of church and state does NOT say that people of faith have no role in the public square. People of faith have every right to civic and public involvement, and any notion that people of faith are somehow kept out of the public square is just straight lunacy. See many atheists running our government, do you Mr. Santorum? Your brand of Christianity already has too much of a role in our government for comfort, and to hear you claim otherwise shows how capable you are of ignoring reality.

You have it backwards, and you need to learn: the idea that the church can have influence and involvement over the operation of the government is antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country. People of faith, of all faiths, are welcome into the process. But the church is not.

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Written by Christopher ZF

February 26, 2012 at 12:05

6 Responses

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  1. Very interesting read! As a student focusing on the interwoven role of politics and church in sixteenth century Germany (I know – a long way from the modern US!) I quite liked seeing that your view does not seem radically different to those of some early modern thinkers. I suppose the only question might be when the government tries to influence or control the affairs of the church – if the government can ‘interfere’ (for want of a better word) in the world of the church, can the church not do the same in government? One I have been pondering for a while!

    ruthieath

    February 26, 2012 at 12:34

  2. Okay buddy, I get that you don’t like Mr. Santorum and that’s fine, but this ain’t right.

    First, the Constitution states that the federal government can’t establish a single religion. BUT that doesn’t equal absolute separation between church and state. And that is a very good thing. Because churches had influence we had such wonderful things like the Civil Rights Movement, a push for free public education, and lots of other things.

    Second, what the heck do you mean by your last point? Why can’t the church as a corporate body express it’s point of view? Is it bad if other corporate entities speak through the strength of the people they represent? May environmental groups have influence? Please explain.

    Redhead in Rapid

    February 26, 2012 at 19:12

    • But I’m not saying that the church can’t be involved. And I am first to acknowledge the role of the church in civil rights, abolition, and many causes. The best asset the church has is social change.
      That is not the same as what Santorum is saying. He specifically said that he wants the church involved in the operations of the government. That is specifically not to be allowed. The constitution and our courts have made that clear.
      You may be tired of me beating this drum but what he said here is something to worry about. Allowing any church to be involved in the operations of the government is establishing religion.
      This is not the same as the two working together to advance our country. That is different.

      czfinke

      February 26, 2012 at 20:41

      • To your second point: this is the problem in this conversation. No one is saying that the Church as a corporate body cannot express its point of view. Of course it can, and does very vocally. The point is NOT that any body or entity cannot express its point of view. The point is that the operation of the government is to remain separate from any religious institution. That would be the establishment of religion.

        This is not a conversation about the church proclaiming their views, spending big to express them and lobby in congress, etc. that’s all perfectly fine, if obnoxious. This is maintaining a wall between Church and State, as TJ said, it is that church and state are and must remain separate as Reagan said, or as JFK said (and started Mr. Santorum barfing, apparently): “where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

        I must be bad at making this point. Because I’m always being told that I’m wrong because the Church has the right to the public square. To which I say: of course, but that is not the same as the Church being involved in government, which is my point. and one I won’t concede.

        And one that, if it can’t be agree upon, worries me.

        czfinke

        February 27, 2012 at 09:12

    • I think you don’t understand what is being said. Santorum said he wanted the church involved in the operation of the state beyond an absolute separation of church and state, not affect the operation of the state or have a political voice, direct involvement in the operation of the state.
      Since you’re so up on the US constitution, explain how the church gets involved in the “operation”, that is making and enforcing laws. The questions that need answering are what church/s get the levers of power, and remember you need to give the levers of power to “the church” without establishing a law respecting religion, you can’t silence any religion at the same time.
      As for the people of faith having a voice in the public square, if the social conservatives feel persecuted, they are paranoid. The persecition is just part of that whole schtick they’re politicians feed them. The whole fearmongering thing is a shame really because the social conservatives seem to be just good common folk that trust their leaders. Their leaders just don’t have a vision nor do they have a view of history.

      BillyBob

      March 15, 2012 at 13:49

      • I think you’re asking me to explain something, but I’m sorry. I don’t understand what is being said.
        And while I do actually consider myself fairly ‘up’ on the US Constitution, again, I don’t know what you mean by having to give the church the levers of power without establishing a law respecting religion.
        This doesn’t make sense to me. But I don’t want the Church to have the levers of power in our government.
        Thanks for reading anyway.

        czfinke

        March 15, 2012 at 14:02


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