Santorum again

As you may know, Santorum told the public last week that when he read a famous quote of JFK’s it made him sick to his stomach.
The quote? “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”
The sickness? Santorum takes this as a statement that people of faith should be barred from the public square, which he finds outrageous. Which is no surprise: The conviction Christians can’t pray publicly or express religious arguments in public is an axiom of right-wing thought, even though it’s untrue.
JFK himself was a man of faith, that was the point: He was reassuring Protestant Americans that he wasn’t going to be a shill for the Vatican, forcing them to conform to papist doctrine. As Digby points out, Catholicism 50 years ago was like Islam in the eyes of so many people today: An unAmerican faith that wanted to crush righteous American Protestants under its heel.
I suppose one good thing about this is that Santorum doesn’t even seem aware of this: His attitude that a government run according to church doctrine is a good thing presupposes that it won’t be turned against Catholics. That says a lot about how far we’ve come since JFK; while I know plenty of people who still think the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon, it’s much more of a fringe opinion. That’s a good thing.
The downside of that is that one reason Catholicism is no longer a terrifying menace is that conservatives have redefined it, like Christianity in general to mean a religious version of the Republican party platform (as discussed here). If Santorum were criticizing the war in Iraq (as John Paul II did) or calling for a living wage for all workers, I’m sure Repubs would be shrieking about how he’s not a real Catholic (just look at the reaction to John Kerry).
Still, while I loathe Santorum’s views the more he opens his mouth, it’s oddly comforting that he feels as free to support theocracy as all the Protestant Repubs.
Bonus Internet action:
Slacktivist on Santorum’s Anti-Kitten-Burning Coalition.
•Tom Tomorrow predicts the next step for Republicans.
•Roy Edroso shows us Tomorrow’s not far off the mark, surveying how shocked, shocked and appalled rightbloggers are at the way liberals defend women’s slutty behavior.

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Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

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