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. Dan

    Rick Santorum: American Taliban

    September 1, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Mr. T. Bag

    Republicans would accomplish more, if they could show a just little RESPECT and civility. Being arrogant, obnoxious and disrespectful is counter-productive to America.

    "Mr. Republican, tear down this arrogance."

    September 1, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. A. Goodwin

    So, he wants to challenge the seperation of church and state? AWESOME. Another slam-dunk if he decides to run for the presidency.

    Seriously, Republican's, I'm not very impressed with the same has-been's you've been tossing around for contenders to the presidential seat. If you keep pushing the likes of Palin, Gingrich, Santorum and the like – you are going to give us dems one very easy win!!

    September 1, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. guarg

    Any candidate who promises to never use their faith in the decision making process is a hypocrite and should be seen as such. This is why John Kerry and Al Gore lost. Neither election was stolen. Rather, the swing votes they were trying to smoke-screen with religious terminology saw through it and rejected them.

    September 1, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    He has no chance of getting the nomination and is only doing this to stir up the "religious right" (or religious wrong as the case may be) to become more active in this election cycle. Same tactic as Glenn Beck. The idea is to get the same sheep who voted for GWB twice to hand the power back to the same Neocon criminals who got us in trouble in the first place.

    Kennedy was a leader. Santorum is trash.

    September 1, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Tim

    Please, please run. You're such a tool that it will just mean more Republican dollars wasted.

    September 1, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    I haer the voice of Lloyd Bentson floating back over the ages... pulling another Wannabe back to reality: "I knew Jack Kennedy. He was a friend of mine. And you Sir, are NO Jack Kennedy!"

    But if Santorum thinks it will work for him, then let him re-hash the failed and embarrassing rhetoric of Dan Quayle, and lets see where it gets him...

    September 1, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. OnTheBayou

    He must be kidding. He needs Sarah Palin there to bring in an audience.

    September 1, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. bennie new york

    Rick Santorum= self-important sack of garbage.

    September 1, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. John -- White Plains, NY

    The man is an idiot... PA got rid of him in 2006; what valid reason does the rest of the Union have with voting for this sexist bigot?

    September 1, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. erik

    So Santorum does not believe that politicians should be free from external religious influence in their decision making? Where do these idiotic American Taliban come from?

    These bible thumpers are truly psychotic and antisocial. They prey on the fears of the weak-minded and in that way are worse than the "evils" that they like to moan about. It is disgusting.

    I like a quote (mis-quote, actually) that I have seen on the blogs recently:

    "when fascism comes to america, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    September 1, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Good Lord!

    If these GOP fools really want to ride on the coat tails of Glenda Beck "running to be God" banner to whip of the evangelicals a la George W. Bush, then go for it. Been there done that, seen this rodeo before. If it works again, be prepared to see the decline of the good 'ol USA as we are all now witnessing from the decade of Bush/Cheney. Check out the new Vanity Fair piece on Palin. Goes right along with old Sanitorium's stance here. The woman, along with Glenda Beck, are certifiable. I say "bring it on"!

    What is that definition of insanity again? Oh yea.......

    September 1, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Why do Republicans hate the Constitution?

    Oh, who am I kidding...it's an inconvenience to them.

    September 1, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. hobart

    So Kennedy promised us that if elected, he would not take his marching orders from the Pope. And Santorum will promise that he will? So if we elect Rick, we really get Joe Ratzinger. How utterly terrifying.

    September 1, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Caryn

    Are you kidding me? There is no "challenge" to President Kennedy's speech.

    "Oh, wait, no one is talking about me. Whaaaa! What can I do to get some media coverage?"

    Please, just go away and get over yourself.

    September 1, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Mac

    I remember all these Protestants going on and on about how religion should be separate from politics back when JFK was running for President. Their fear was t hat a papist would be elected President. Now it seems it' s okay to muddle politics and religion. Now the Prods want a Theocracy but they want a Protestant Theocracy. I say let's give them a Theocracy but give them a Roman Catholic, full-blown papist state. Make all the fundamentalist, evangelicals pray before a crucifix and have statues of saints in Public Schools. I say let's making Latin the second official language of the US. I already ahead. I had to learn it in Catholic school. I don't want no freakin' Protestant Theocracy.

    September 1, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. John Libertarian from NY

    Church has no place in government . That is America! It certainly has no business being sold to win an election.

    September 1, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. courtney

    Rick Santorum seems to forget all Americans are not Christians and that the separation of church and state protects us.

    September 1, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Randy in PA

    Oh great! Another GOPer who wants to turn this country into a Taliban state. Organized religion and some of these so-called Christians are why this world is so screwed up.

    Rick, how about you come up with a few ideas to help this country and leave your religion (whatever religion you really practice) at home and in your worship center.

    September 1, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Justin

    Just another loser republican. Has he already forgotten that he lost his re-election bid by 18 points? That's just what the PA voters think of him. Imagine what the rest of the country thinks of him.

    September 1, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. JD in Moraga, CA

    Implicit in the freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution is the idea that no single religion would gain preeminence through government support (establishment of a "state religion").

    Implicit in Mr Santorum's speech title is that "his" faith is for some reason the one that should have prominence in the "Public Square."

    Think not? Would Mr Santorum be making this speech if he were a proponent of Islam?

    September 1, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. L.A.

    One can have religious faith (in fact, all persons, even atheists, have some kind of "religious" faith) and operate on that basis in the "public square" without using state power to promote such faith or demote other brands of faith. That's what the U.S. Constitution says, and that's what all but the most one-dimensional Americans believe.

    September 1, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. Terry from West Texas

    And what nitwit theology does Santorum profess. Is he for transubstantiation of consubstantiation? Does he believe that Catholics will roast in hell or will Protestants simmer in Purgatory? Will Mormons be singing hymns with the elect in the afterlife or will they be down below with the Buddhists, Muslims, and Christian Scientists?

    Is the Pope infallible in matters of faith? If so, then Protestants are grievously in error. If not, then Catholics are fools who have been guided by the Devil.

    Just saying we are "for" faith and "against" the absence of religious faith says absolutely nothing. It just panders to the hayseeds, who all imagine that they are "true" Christians whose beliefs are dead center on God's target and that others who disagree with them are in error. The fundamentalist yokels fall for this every time, no matter how many times they are ignored after the elections.

    Santorum is just trying to pump up his primary numbers in the 2012 Republican primaries. The stuff he is saying now is the same stuff he will be disavowing in the general election campaign if he is the nominee. Same Conservative stuff, different day.

    September 1, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Gus

    I knew John Kennedy. John Kennedy was a friend of mine. Rick Santorum ... you're no Jack Kennedy.

    September 1, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Barry

    I have "Faith" that Republicans will go away.

    September 1, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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