Rick Santorum presses culture wars attack
By Nia-Malika Henderson, Published: February 26
Rick Santorum, particularly in his deliberate misinterpretation of Kennedy's words on the subject, so badly misunderstands our Founders' intentions in guaranteeing the free exercise of religion that he stands the entire philosophical concept completely on its head. He has it 180-degrees wrong.
Our Founders clearly intended religion to have no role in our government whatsoever. They made this crystal clear, repeatedly and with great emphasis, in their writings and speeches that survive. They understood that, when anyone mixes their religion into their public administration, they are trampling on the free exercise of any religion other than theirs. There was little about their intentions that they made as clear as they made this single point.
In addition to the threat to the free exercise of religion represented by those who would "hear the voice of God" in their governance, they also recognized that governmental decision making, when theocratically directed, is a threat to democracy itself. Medieval nations under the sway of the papal theocracy did not feature either liberty or democracy, and religious freedom was quite specifically out of bounds -- the exercise of it could cost the "infidel" his or her life (and often did).
Our Founders, for the most part classically educated men, were well aware of this, so they intended to separate our state from the church by an impregnable wall.
They would have railed against the addition of "In God We Trust" as a motto on our coins (first seen on the 2-cent coin of 1864 in the throes of the Civil War and its resulting rise in religious superstition and sentimentality), and they would have refused to speak any oath that referred to America as "one nation under God" (the words "under God" were only added the McCarthyists in 1954, with the initial push from the Catholic Church's Knight of Columbus).
Our Founders would have viewed Rick Santorum as a man whose views on religion and government render him absolutely unfit to lead a free nation.