Saturday, Rick “Don’t Google Me” Santorum spoke to an audience of far-right pastors and activists at the Awakening conference. The conference was organized and sponsored by Liberty University, a “Christian academic community” founded by the late Jerry Falwell in 1971. For those of you too young to remember Falwell, he’s the pastor who blamed the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the ACLU, saying during a chat with Pat Robertson:
The ACLU’s gotta take a lot of blame for this…I know I’ll hear from them for this, but throwing God [inaudible]successfully-with the help of the federal court system-throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. Uh, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because uh God will not mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I…I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen.
Reread Falwell’s comment on God in schools. It’s important, because Rick Santorum echoed that statement during his speech. Santorum told the attendees of the Awakening conference one of the ways to destroy “the left” is to put the Bible back in public schools. If you recall, Santorum told George Stephanopoulos the separation of church and state makes him want to throw up:
To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up. (source)
Now that we have established Rick Santorum’s feelings about the First Amendment, let’s take a look at the speech he gave Saturday.
Santorum believes we are at a crossroads, and the only correct path is one that includes putting Bibles back in public schools. Yes, schools paid for by our tax dollars should teach Christianity. If Santorum’s proposal was to include all religious books as part of a history class, or perhaps an AP course on religion, that would be perfectly fine. But he didn’t say “We need the Koran, and Buddhist writings, and the Torah,” he said we need the Bible back in public schools:
The left cannot be successful in a country of God-given rights. It can’t. Because they want to be the purveyor of rights, and if God is the purveyor of rights, then they lose. We have an obligation to educate, to form, within our churches to preach, within our families to educate, and to fight within our schools. Why are Bibles no longer in public schools? Don’t give me the Supreme Court. The reason Bibles are no longer in the public schools is because we let them take them out of the public schools. (source)
This is man who might run for president, again. This is a man who compared gay sex to bestiality. Who said women who are impregnated during a rape should “make the best out of a bad situation” while defending his opposition to abortion in the case of rape. Who said President Obama is intentionally turning his back on evil. And who now wants Christianity taught in our public schools.
As a mother, this idea is chilling. My son is an atheist. Imagine how he would feel, walking into a class, and having his teacher announce they would be learning that creationism is fact, dinosaurs and people lived together, stoning your disobedient son to death is law, and a virgin who is raped has to marry her rapist, after said rapist pays her father. How would you feel if your Jewish child, or your Muslim child, your Buddhist child, or your atheist child, was forced to learn that Christianity is the only acceptable religion in America? That’s what Rick Santorum, and many other conservatives, want. They want a theocracy.
Rick Santorum believes religion and government go hand in hand. Religion should absolutely have a place in the “public square,” but not every religion. Just his. Can you imagine if Keith Ellison stood up and said Islam should be the only religion allowed in America? We must teach the Koran in public schools? The right-wing would go nuts, calling for Ellison to be removed from office, shouting about his lack of patriotism, verbally harassing him, opening up tax-payer funded investigations. Michele Bachmann would take a break from “Sharknado 3,” and stand shoulder to shoulder with Rep. Steve King and Pamela Geller, suddenly a fan of the separation of church and state.
But Santorum is not only allowed to make these anti-American statements, he’s encouraged to do so by the far-right. People like Frank Gaffney, Bryan Fischer, Phyllis Schlafly, While speaking recently at an event sponsored by Gaffney, Santorum was asked a rambling question by a woman who called President Obama a “communist” and referenced the thoroughly- debunked myth that the president tried to nuke Charleston, South Carolina as part of a false-flag operation. Did Santorum tell her the president is not a commie? Did he remind her the president did not in fact try to nuke Charleston? Of course not. He agreed with her, and called President Obama a “tyrant.” In fact, the only thing Santorum disagreed with was the woman’s suggestion that he is somehow to blame for President Obama not being removed from office.
The First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. We are not meant to be a theocracy. Every citizen has the right to worship, or not worship, whatever deity they choose, without government interference. Rick Santorum and the rest of the American Taliban cannot force Christianity upon us anymore than a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Wiccan or a Jew can force their beliefs upon us. We cannot have a president who believes Christianity should be the only religion allowed in America.
We cannot have a president who says the idea of the separation of church and state makes him want to throw up.