September 1st, 2010
12:44 PM ET
4 years ago

Santorum to challenge Kennedy speech in Texas

Santorum will take on one of JFK's most famous speeches next week.
Santorum will take on one of JFK's most famous speeches next week.

(CNN) - As he contemplates a run for president, Rick Santorum has decided to take on the premise of one of President John F. Kennedy's most famous speeches.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who lost his reelection bid in 2006 and has expressed interest in running for the White House, will deliver a speech in Houston, Texas next week titled "A Charge to Revive the Role of Faith in the Public Square."

The speech, to be delivered at the University of St. Thomas, is being billed as a challenge to the speech Kennedy delivered in Houston 50 years ago, during which the then-senator and presidential candidate famously addressed concerns about his Catholicism.

In the now-historic speech in which he sought to quell concerns the dictates of his religion would influence his decision making, Kennedy articulated a view of complete separation of church and state.

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him," said Kennedy then.

Among other destinations, Santorum's recent travel has taken him to Iowa and New Hampshire – the two states that kick off the presidential nominating process.


Filed under: Rick Santorum
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This pipsqueak couldn't shine John Kennedy's shoes!

    September 1, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    ....and the Republican wrestling with history from 40/50/100/200 years ago continues. So Santorum thinks that the US should be a theocracy? Wonderful. We're not that far from being just like all those countries we have been knocking heads with for the last 10 years or so: religion-run. But i guess our gods are 'better', huh?

    September 1, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. beth

    So, is Santorum the loser now overthrowing freedom of religion (or no religion)...where do these freaks get off....all they are doing is weakening the credibility of the US...we are supposedly helping restore democracy in other countries. When these countries look at us, they see total chaos and us falling apart because so many in our country can't handle democracy...they want to be able to create a police state where we all think, act, and believe the same beliefs. God help us as these people who proclaim to know what's best set out to destroy our great country.

    September 1, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. PA Moderate

    Santorum is a freak with about with the same chance of being POTUS as my cat. He was run out of PA (a relatively conservative state) because of his fringe views and he wants to be president.....LOL

    September 1, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    Kennedy was one of our great presidents – a man of vision. In that speech, he articulated one of the core principles that allowed us to build a nation of self-government with freedom expression.
    Now some second-rate Republican wants to come along and tear it all down? I guess Santorum wants an America based on theocracy. If he and the rest of his right-wing buddies get that, then no one who disagrees with their particular brand of religion will be safe from the suzerainty of the preachers pulling the strings of those in power. We will be no better than the muslim theocracies that these same people decry – we'll just be a different brand.

    September 1, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. LAchick

    What, are the Republicans going to go through all the Great Speeches and "redo" them to conservative tastes?

    What next – Sermon on the Mount? Gettysburg Address?

    I happen to like Separation of Church and State. I don't want anyone's particular belief's foisted on me. I have my way, you have your way, and that's final.

    Leave Me Alone.

    September 1, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. don

    Line 'em up and the farther right the better.

    September 1, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Michael

    First Glenn Beck spits on King's speech and now Santorum seeks to do the same to Kennedy's speech. And they claim they are not a hate group yet their actions paint a different picture. Mr. Santorum needs to remember his commandments, especially the one that syas "Love thy neighbor are you would love yourself." There are republicans who are trying to rewrite the history books and the bible's interpretations and they will probably try to rewrite the ten commandments as well.

    September 1, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Sissy

    We the majority of Americans do not want your Faith or Church in our Politics.....I am a Faithful Christian, but I have my Faith and my church and don't need yours or anyones elses in our Government.......where do you Republicans get off accussing the rest of us as not being Faithful followers of Christ......some of us like to keep it private .....Government is not the place for Religion.....there are to many religions in this country and everyone has the right to their own religion and not have just the far right conservative religion pushed off on the rest of us

    September 1, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Dave

    Perhaps Santorum needs a little refresher on the Constitution. I'm sure he can find someone to help him with the big words...

    September 1, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Deborah/Kansas City

    People should be really concerned about the Republican push to have religion and religious beliefs inserted into our government. Separation of Churcha and State is what keeps us free from religious fanatics. If, we are not careful, we will find ourselves at the mercy of people like Pat Robertson, Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell, David Curesh, Jim Jones, and any number of so called religious men. I have found them all to be hypocrites who want people to do as they say and not as they do; and to whom money and personal power are the real "god". We could end up just like Iran, Afganistan, and the other countries we despise; because religious extremists are the law and enforce their will on the public.

    September 1, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. norick

    Pennsylvania kicked Ricky out because of his far right, hateful views. Now he's going after a respected Pres.'s speech? This guy shouldn't be in public life...say no to Rick!!!

    September 1, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. ETM

    Yes, just what the country needs–Ayatollah Santorum.

    September 1, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Jody Roy Parker

    With jerks like Santorum and ideas like this, we're definitely headed for a theocracy. Incredible.

    September 1, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. ramtruck2500

    Words cannot diecribe how betrayed I feel by the catholic church. i remember vividly Kennedy running and all the vile things said about him. It reminds me of Obamma has had to deal with. all the jokes etc. Then I jump ahead to 2000 the last time I was at Mass listening to a totaly political sermon in which a Capuchin priest laid waste to JFK as a devil, amorral and just an all around bad person family and all. I remembered my grand mother Irish and proud when he was elected. I simply got up and left and will never go back. I don't beleive for one moment that JFK was the sinister mind of moral decay in America at all. i will never return to that or anyother socalled christian church. Little did I realize back then that republican member ship was a litmus for being a Catholic – nothing to do with god but all power and money. Yeah I gues calvanist in heresey. When I see this kind of crap it just shows how low some people can go. Here's idea stupid do something original as you make me puke! my beleif inthe trinity and communion of saints is beyond politics and bad speak. people wanting this nation to be their socalled christian brand with revisionist history reallyu need to look at place like Iran and Saudi Arabia you are just as radical.

    September 1, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. carlos

    challenge JFK speech???????...sorry, but this guy is mentally challenged.......as for a run as president......he should team up with the boner and keep on being good janitors because that is as far as their brains can perform, no insult to the janitors.......

    September 1, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. a little sad

    So he is going to advocate for elected officials to be under the direct control of their religious leaders?

    That would sort of make democracy irrelevant, wouldn't it?

    September 1, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Panterazero

    Watch out. The Founders' intent was clear, Madison's especially, but Santorum, Huckabee, Palin, and Mister "god sandbagged me" Beck are panting to steer this country toward theocracy and diminish the influence of the highly educated. The English translation of "madrassa" is "charter school."

    September 1, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. YY

    Do people also realize that in this country there is Separation of Mosque and State as well. And Synagogue and State. as well as Church and State? Tear down this concept and you open up a can of worms that would be the end of this country. Where religion enters the public arena you have countries who've been at war for decades. Please, we must have Separation of Any and all Religions and State. Its the only way to have any chance at peace.

    September 1, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Tim

    Why can liberals never deal in substance? Is it any wonder why they have lost the public debate? The people will only listen to a liberal act like a 4 year for so long before they realize that the liberal has no intellectual umph behind his worldview.

    September 1, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Albert R. Killackey

    At least he leaders in Iran will agree with him.

    September 1, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. William Jefferson

    santorum is about as against American values as you can get. that is why he lost by 19% to an unknown who did not even bother to actively campaign. Our latest republicon senatorial hopeful from the tea bag crowd makes santrum actully look sane and reasonable - pat toomey is a disgrace to the nation without actually holding office (he is just raking in millions in sleazy business deals)

    Kennedy was dead right. The reason he made the speech was to remind anti-Catholic bigots that in America we have enshrined in the Constitution a seperation of chruch and state, and that in our public capacity we represent the nation, not some particular faith or religious system. santorum is a tool, and to borrow a phrase from the 1988 eection "you sir, are no Jack Kennedy!"

    September 1, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. philly

    All you need to know about this guy....just google his name. "that frothy mixture...."

    September 1, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Please stop trying to re-write our Constitution! The Pigs on the right just won't leave it alone. The constitution gaurantees me the right to NOT be a part of any religious group or even be a raging christian standing on the street corner telling everyone that the end is near. Funny that these monsters on the right want to be such "strict Constitutionalists" yet re-write it to get into my private life.

    September 1, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Patriot

    As a cradle to grave Catholic, I do not want a Papist as President.

    September 1, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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