Religious Freedom: The Presidents Versus Rick Santorum

Author: February 21, 2012 5:25 pm

Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has declared war on the Constitutional separation of church and state that has kept America free. Because of religious freedom, Americans have enjoyed having a choice about which religion they practice, or practicing none at all. But Rick Santorum wants to change all of that. As President, Santorum would force public schools to teach the Bible, would ban women from thinking and choosing for themselves, and would persecute those of other faiths and those who do not practice  any religion. Santorum is hell-bent on declaring Christianity as the national religion and replacing Constitutional and civil law with his twisted interpretation of Biblical law. To enforce these laws, Santorum is willing to end privacy as protected by the Constitution and police the private lives of American citizens.

Rick Santorum intends to destroy religious freedom in America by forcing all Americans to live under his version of Christian rule. Such actions would be totally unprecedented in the annals of American history. In fact, every President beginning with George Washington has protected the religious freedom of every American citizen and have endeavored in one way or another to keep religion and government forever separate. What follows is at least one quote from nearly every American President regarding the virtue of religious freedom or as Jefferson and Madison termed, the separation of church and state.


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“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~George Washington

“Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
~George Washington

“The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.”
~George Washington, as stated in the signed Treaty of Tripoli in 1797

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
~John Adams

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
~Thomas Jefferson

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
~Thomas Jefferson

“In no instance have the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
~James Madison

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
~James Madison

“It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.”
~James Monroe

“Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right to religious freedom … The tendency of the spirit of the age is strong toward religious liberty.”
~John Quincy Adams

“I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this county in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government.”
~Andrew Jackson, Statement refusing to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer.

“We admit of no government by divine right, believing that so far as power is concerned the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.”
~William Henry Harrison

“Let it be henceforth proclaimed to the world that man’s conscience was created free; that he is no longer accountable to his fellow man for his religious opinions, being responsible therefore only to his God.”
~John Tyler

“Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between Church and State, and that in my action as President of the United States I recognized no distinction of creeds in my appointments office.”
~James K. Polk

“I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled.”
~Millard Fillmore

“My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“The United States government must not undertake to run the Churches. When an individual, in the Church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest he must be checked.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“Let us labor for the security of free thought, free speech, pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and equal rights and privileges for all men, irrespective of nationality, color, or religion;…. leave the matter of religious teaching to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contribution. Keep church and state forever separate.”
~Ulysses S. Grant

“We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference.”
~Rutherford B. Hayes

“The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state or in the nation, should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community.”
~James A. Garfield

“I know that human prejudice — especially that growing out of race and religion — is cruelly inveterate and lasting.”
~Grover Cleveland

“I hold that in this country there must be complete severance of Church and State; that public moneys shall not be used for the purpose of advancing any particular creed; and therefore that the public schools shall be non-sectarian and no public moneys appropriated for sectarian schools.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

“To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience, which is one of the foundations of American life.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

“There is nothing so despicable as a secret society that is based upon religious prejudice and that will attempt to defeat a man because of his religious beliefs. Such a society is like a cockroach — it thrives in the dark. So do those who combine for such an end.”
~William Howard Taft

“It does not become America that within her borders, where every man is free to follow the dictates of his conscience, men should raise the cry of church against church. To do that is to strike at the very spirit and heart of America.”
~Woodrow Wilson

“We cannot permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free.”
~Calvin Coolidge

“I come of Quaker stock. My ancestors were persecuted for their beliefs. Here they sought and found religious freedom. By blood and conviction I stand for religious tolerance both in act and in spirit.”
~Herbert Hoover

“The lessons of religious toleration — a toleration which recognizes complete liberty of human thought, liberty of conscience — is one which, by precept and example, must be inculcated in the hearts and minds of all Americans if the institutions of our democracy are to be maintained and perpetuated. We must recognize the fundamental rights of man. There can be no true national life in our democracy unless we give unqualified recognition to freedom of religious worship and freedom of education.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The public schools shall be free from sectarian influences and, above all, free from any attitude of hostility to the adherents of any particular creed.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide.”
~Harry S Truman

“We have gone a long way toward civilization and religious tolerance, and we have a good example in this country. Here the many Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church do not seek to destroy one another in physical violence just because they do not interpret every verse of the Bible in exactly the same way. Here we now have the freedom of all religions, and I hope that never again will we have a repetition of religious bigotry, as we have had in certain periods of our own history. There is no room for that kind of foolishness here.”
~Harry Truman

“Religious and racial persecution is moronic at all times, perhaps the most idiotic of human stupidities.”
~Harry Truman

“And I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution, under American tradition, and in American hearts, this Center, this place of worship, is just as welcome as could be a similar edifice of any other religion. Indeed, America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience. This concept is indeed a part of America, and without that concept we would be something else than what we are.”
~Dwight Eisenhower, on Muslims in America at Ceremonies Opening the Islamic Center, 1957

“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 — 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.”
~John F. Kennedy

“It is my firm belief that there should be separation of church and state in the United States–that is, that both church and state should be free to operate, without interference from each other in their respective areas of jurisdiction. We live in a liberal, democratic society which embraces wide varieties of belief and disbelief. There is no doubt in my mind that the pluralism which has developed under our Constitution, providing as it does a framework within which diverse opinions can exist side by side and by their interaction enrich the whole, is the most ideal system yet devised by man. I cannot conceive of a set of circumstances which would lead me to a different conclusion.”
~John F. Kennedy

“I believe in the American tradition of separation of church and state which is expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. By my office–and by my personal conviction–I am sworn to uphold that tradition.”
~Lyndon B. Johnson

“I believe that prayer in public schools should be voluntary. It is difficult for me to see how religious exercises can be a requirement in public schools, given our Constitutional requirement of separation of church and state. I feel that the highly desirable goal of religious education must be principally the responsibility of church and home. I do not believe that public education should show any hostility toward religion, and neither should it inhibit voluntary participation, if it does not interfere with the educational process.”
~Gerald R. Ford

“I have a great respect for the flag, but if the government passed a law saying that I had to pledge allegiance to the flag, I don’t think I would do it. I’ve always felt that I lived in a country…where if I wanted to worship God as a Baptist, I could do so. If I were an atheist, I could be one. If I wanted to be a Catholic but was born a Jew, there’s no condemnation…from a government authority.”
~Jimmy Carter

“We believe in separation of church and state, that there should be no unwarranted influence on the church or religion by the state, and vice versa.”
~Jimmy Carter

“We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate.”
~Ronald Reagan

“We have the most religious freedom of any country in the world, including the freedom not to believe.”
~Bill Clinton

“I’m mindful in a free society that people can worship if they want to or not. You’re equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty and if you choose not to.”
~George W. Bush

“My job is to make sure that, as President, people understand that in this country you can worship any way you choose. And I’ll take that a step further. You can be a patriot if you don’t believe in the Almighty. You can honor your country and be as patriotic as your neighbor.”
~George W. Bush

“Baptists have long upheld the ideal of a free church in a free state. And from the beginning, they believed that forcing a person to worship against his will violated the principles of both Christianity and civility.”
~George W. Bush

“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”
~Barack Obama

Rick Santorum would be a far different President than we have ever seen before. He has already made it his mission to make decisions based on his religious views. In that regard, Santorum would be a worse President than even George W. Bush, who at least had the courage to try to stand up for religious tolerance and freedom. Rick Santorum won’t have any of that as President. He already declared that 45 million Protestants are not true Christians and he has stood firmly with the Catholic Church and their views regarding women and the LGBT community. Will the Catholic Church give the orders if Santorum becomes President?

No American President has attempted to force their religious views upon the American people. Rick Santorum would be the first President to do such a thing. Church and state are separate for a reason. There has never been such a dividing issue as religion. Religious bigotry and intolerance has literally led to the deaths of millions of people around the globe. When a particular religion controls the affairs of government, freedom is lost. Perhaps there isn’t a better example of that than in Iran, where Islamic law dominates the civil government and as a result, the people there lack the same freedoms we have enjoyed for almost 250 years. Especially women. The Catholic Church isn’t much better either. For centuries, the Catholic Church held sway over the monarchies in Europe and as a result, freedom was heavily limited. And those of other religions, especially Protestants and Muslims, were persecuted. That is why people fled to America. To escape religious persecution. Women too, lacked freedom and continue to lack freedom under Catholic Church doctrine.

In America, things are different. We do not allow churches to make the laws. If we did, any religion could takeover and enforce their laws on the entire population. This is why we have civil law and it’s why civil law is always put above religious doctrine. Religious law is NOT the law of the land. Civil law is. Every President since Washington knew this. Our Founding Fathers risked their lives for it. The difference between Rick Santorum and every man who has been President is that Rick Santorum thinks religious freedom only applies to Christian fundamentalists. Americans have the right to think for themselves and have their own definition of what violates their collective conscience. Are we really going to allow Rick Santorum to obliterate over 250 years of Constitutional law and precedent so that he can enslave us with his religious beliefs?

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