Was JFK right to uphold an ‘absolute’ separation of Church and state?

Rick Santorum, the Catholic pro-life GOP presidential candidate, recently provoked a furor when he attacked President John Kennedy, Jr.’s 1960 speech designed to defuse anti-Catholic bigotry by embracing an “absolute” separation between church and state.

It was vintage Santorum, underscoring his unique, sometimes frustrating contribution to the national debate on a host of issues, from abortion to same-sex “marriage” to the appropriate role of religious believers in the public square.

On the afternoon of April 10, Santorum suspended his bid to secure the GOP presidential nomination. But his hard-charging approach to social issues is likely to live on as religiously-minded voters take stock of his GOP rival, Mitt Romney, long accused of “flip flopping” on key social issues, and President Barack Obama, still engaged in a public conflict with the U.S. bishops over the free exercise of Catholic institutions.

Further, Santorum’s comments about Kennedy have drawn Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York into the long-simmering dispute over JFK’s legacy. Decades ago, when self-identified Catholic politicians began supporting abortion rights while describing themselves as “personally opposed,” prolife activists blamed JFK for driving a wedge between Catholic teaching and practical politics.

However, during a televised interview broadcast this Easter Sunday, Cardinal Dolan asserted that both JFK and Santorum were right.

Continue reading: Was JFK right to uphold an ‘absolute’ separation of Church and state?

Image: Veracity Stew

Additional reading

News category: Features.

Tags: , , ,