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Rick Santorum tells ABC: JFK speech makes me want to 'throw up'

February 26, 2012 |  1:30 pm

Rick Santorum told ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that a 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy to Baptist ministers in Houston made him want to "throw up"
Rick Santorum has not been a frequent presence on the Sunday morning chat shows during his Republican presidential campaign. But when he shows up, he really makes an impression.

On Sunday, the former Pennsylvania senator told ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that a 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy to Baptist ministers in Houston made him want to "throw up."

In the speech, Kennedy, then running for president, tried to reassure critics that, as a Catholic, he would not take orders from the pope and that he believed in "absolute" separation of church and state.

Santorum told ABC that such sentiments make him sick. "To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up," he told the program. "What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?"

"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute," he continued. "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. This is the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, 'No, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.' Go on and read the speech: 'I will have nothing to do with faith. I won't consult with people of faith.'"

What do you think of Santorum's views?

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-- Scott Collins
twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Rick Santorum. Credit: John Amis / Associated Press

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