Santorum: Separation of Church and State Makes Me "Throw Up"

Rick Santorum says the state has no business telling the church what to do.

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On Monday, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum doubled down on his controversial comments about the separation of church and state at a breakfast in Michigan.

The former senator from Pennsylvania met with the local chamber of commerce in a banquet hall next to the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, M.I., and he explained how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have bullied pious Americans into removing themselves from political discourse.

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Santorum described his own view of the separation of church and state, saying that the state has no business telling the church what to do. The Obama administration, he argued, has reversed that doctrine. "And now it's the church," he continued, "people of faith, who have no right to come to the public square and express their points of view, or practice their faith outside of their church."

He asserted that Obama and Clinton think they can tell people how to live their lives outside of their places of worship, citing their use of the term "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion."

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On Sunday, Santorum told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he does not believe that the separation of church and state in America is absolute. "The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country," he explained.

Stephanopoulos questioned Santorum about a comment he made earlier in the campaign regarding a famous speech President John F. Kennedy made in 1960 to Baptist ministers in Houston. In October, the former senator told voters at the College of St. Mary Magdalen in New Hampshire that he "almost threw up" after reading the speech because he believed Kennedy advocated barring people of faith from discussing public matters.

[Critics Target Santorum's Voting Record in Congress.]

"Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separateā€¦I will have nothing to do with faith," Santorum railed. "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?"

With his remarks over the past two days, Santorum has expanded the political culture wars that have marked his campaign. While on the stump, Santorum has discussed issues like abortion, contraception, gay rights, women in military combat roles, and liberal indoctrination in colleges.

"This is an election about freedom," Santorum told voters in Michigan this morning, "It's about whether you buy into government can do things better for you than you can do for yourself. I don't buy into that. I've never bought into that."

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