GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday said that the 1960 speech by John F Kennedy about the need for an ″absolute″ separation between Church and State makes him want to ″throw up.″ The JFK speech was made at a time when many voters were concerned that as a Catholic, Kennedy would consult regularly with the Vatican on issues. Santorum, who is also a Catholic, disagrees with JFK. Appearing on the ABC News Sunday talk show, ′This Week′, Santorum argues that it violates the First Amendment for the ″free exercise of religion.″ So once again, Rick Santorum is focusing on non-economic issues as his poll numbers sink.
One would think that after more than two weeks of fallout from the over-hyping on religious and social issues surrounding birth control, which has led to Barack Obama′s poll numbers improving, that the Republican candidates would get back on track talking about the economy? Newt Gingrich has, focusing on the spike in gasoline prices. Even Mitt Romney tried to talk economics with his latest version of a plan this past Friday, though that speech flopped due to ′Cavern-Gate′, holding the venue at the 65,000 seat Ford Field Stadium with only 1,200 supporters. Most of the soundbytes of Romney were more about how much he likes the height of trees in Michigan and how his wife drives a couple of Cadillacs.
But Rick Santorum has squandered a large lead in Michigan, where his message about revitalizing American manufacturing had given him a leg up in the industrial Midwest. Romney now leads in most of the Michigan polls and Santorum has lost ground in the battleground state of Ohio, which is part of next week′s Super Tuesday vote. There is no doubt that Obama played politics when he first initiated the debate over forcing Church-run organizations to provide contraceptives as part of their employee health insurance coverage. The tactic worked well, deflecting attention from the economy and improving Obama′s poll numbers among women and Independent voters.
The old saying about never discussing politics or religion is difficult in a political campaign. Of course you have to talk about politics, to some degree, but most people base their vote on their pocketbooks, not how they pray. Unlike Santorum, Mitt Romney tries to steer clear of religion as he is a Mormon. A new Gallup Poll shows that 27% of Democrats say they would never vote for a Mormon, while only 18% of Republicans and 19% of Independents have the same religious bigotry.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy faced a similar problem due to his being a Roman Catholic, which is why he gave the speech about his support of an absolute separation between Church and State. Rick Santorum, who is also a Catholic, is now publicly on the record disagreeing with JFK′s position. Nationwide, Catholics make up about 25% of the voting public, but on many issues, such as the use of birth control to prevent a pregnancy, American Catholics are generally favorable. The initial dust-up caused by the decision by Barack Obama to force Church run schools and hospitals to provide coverage to the employees was clearly seen as the State over-stepping the separation between it and the Church. Now that Obama has retreated, the issue of the State forcing private enterprise to provide free service, which is a different matter to be argued over, Santorum continues to his crusade, even at the expense of possibly winning the Michigan primary tomorrow. For Rick Santorum to say that he throws up when hearing the 1960 JFK speech is just utter stupidity.