Santorum Defends He Almost “Threw Up” Reading Kennedy’s Speech

A speech that then-candidate John F. Kennedy gave on separation of church and state made presidential hopeful Rick Santorum almost throw up, according to a talk he gave at the the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in New Hampshire.

John F. Kennedy

Rick Santorum

 

 

 

Kennedy’s Sept. 12th, 1960 speech was meant to appease worries about his own Irish-Catholic background. “Because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured,” Kennedy said. He continued:

“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 parishoners 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.

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — 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.”

“Earlier in my political career I had opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up,” Santorum told students at Saint Mary Magdalene in New Hampshire, as reported by the Boston Globe. On ABC’s This Week, Santorum defended his stance. “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church should have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical of the objectives and vision of our country.”

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