“What kind of country do we live in that says only people of nonfaith can come into the public square and make their case?” Mr. Santorum said on the ABC News program “This Week.”
The part that bothers me the assumption that there is only one body of Americans that hold faith and vote, is this:
the question for both of them is how Mr. Santorum’s provocative and assertive outreach to the religious right will resonate with voters
. . because that isn't the message I got from Santorum. Santorum didn't espouse the doctrines or tenets of faith of any faith. He appealed to all who hold any faith.
No right-leaning Christian believer or organization is going to look at Rick Santorum, hear his words, and acknowledge Rick Santorum's faith and dedication to the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, and immediately conclude, "Hey, he wants to make my faith prevail over the Godless!" Not because Santorum despises or opposes, or champions, for that matter, any particular faith or belief.
The statement made, as I understand it, is to acknowledge that we have made the Christian festival of Christmas a national holiday. And to call it Christmas. That the Biblical Ten Commandments inspired those that wrote the laws that were the basis for many American laws, and acknowledging those roots is right and proper.
As for the Kennedy speech that Santorum mentions from 1960, espousing the separation of state and church, we must remember -- Kennedy faced an enormous obstacle of prejudice and fear -- over his acknowledged faith and membership in the Catholic Church. He faced tremendous opposition by those that feared having a Catholic President would necessarily mean that the Pope of the Catholic Church would be indirectly (or directly) ruling America.
Kennedy had to lay those fears to rest.
One of the other steps that Kennedy embraced to overcome resistance to voters wary of his Catholic faith, was to make a declaration. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, JFK, vowed to be a President to all Americans, to everyone living in America.
Santorum should echo that pledge from long ago, to be a President to all Americans.