In Defense of Religious Liberty
Posted on February 27, 2012
Rick Santorum said over the weekend that Jack Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state made him "throw up".
Santorum's throwing up made Thomas Jefferson roll over in his grave in agony.
It was Jefferson whose defense of religious liberty helped chart a course for American prosperity for the next two hundred years.
Jefferson, who felt so strongly about religious liberty that he put a mention of it on his tombstone, would have been appalled at the new Santorum doctrine.
And if Jack kennedy had taken the Santorum line in 1960, we would have never had a Catholic President in this country. Ever.
The rest of the world is watching this election.
Imagine how secular leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan feel when they hear Rick Santorum prattle on about how religion and politics must mix.
They are trying to chart a course towards religious freedom so that the various religious factions within their country can find a way to move their countries forward without religious fanaticism getting in the way. This is more than a academic exercise for them, because religious fanatics are much more likely to strap bombs on themselves in protest of secular policies.
The Islamic world has failed to progress economically because they don't allow the free market of religious thought to operate freely.
Only through the free exchange of thought can you get innovation, creativity, and progress.
America has succeed spectacularly precisely because of religious freedom.
We have followed Christ's advice of leaving to Caesar what is Caesar's.
And religious diversity has made this country stronger.
Jews, Catholics, greek orthodox, born-again evangelicals, Mennonites, Mormons, Muslims, and every other religious denomination can operate without fear of oppression. They can recruit, they can prostelitize, they can teach, they can preach without the government getting in the way.
The fact that Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Mormons and Mennonites can come to this country and feel that they are immediately part of the America's social fabric means that they feel very good about buidling, investing and creating here, not elsewhere.
And if you don't believe, you can go on your merry way without fear of reprisal.
The result? America is the most religious democracy in the world. And it has the strongest economy in the world.
Rick Santorum seems to want to turn his back on the Enlightenment. He throws up at the idea of a separation of Church and State. He wants God to invoked in public square, but whose God?
He seems to think that because he believes in his Holy Roman Catholic Church with all of his heart, everybody else should too. But guess what? Many don't , including many who are now his strongest supporters. And many of those strong supporters hate the Catholic Church, call it the Great Satan and whore of Babylon.
These folks want religion to be taught in our schools, want religion to be invoked at our public events, want religion to invade every aspect of public life because they want their religion to hold sway, to dominate, to dictate and to rule. They are not content to have some ersatz, universalist and vague public religion. They want the real thing. It is God's Will, after all.
Well, guess what, Jefferson and Kennedy were right the first time. The American people are free to practice their religion or no religion and they are free do so without the urging of the Government.
The reason they are free to do so is because of the First Amendment to Constitution.
Thank God for the First Amendment. Whichever God you believe in.