What Santorum Got Wrong About JFK’s Religion Speech

The dangers of taking a politician out of context in the age of the internet should be self-evident. Apparently, Mr. Santorum left that out of his calculus.

Forget Kennedy’s party and religious affiliations. His words should bring discomfort to both the religious right and the deicidal left: whether our founders were closet theocrats or enlightenment humanists who wore the mantle of faith for convenience and social acceptance, the framework they put into place was about tolerance.

America is neither the last Christian nation nor the first Humanist one. It is a country where national identity operates outside the scope of such beliefs. Let it continue to be so.

Swampland

Writing in the new issue of TIME, Jon Meacham challenges Santorum’s account of Kennedy’s views on Church and State:

Santorum suggests that Kennedy offered a secular call to arms, banishing religion from American life in ways that believers like Santorum are still crusading to reverse. Kennedy’s address, however, doesn’t say what Santorum wishes it to have said. It called for an end to bigotry, not an end to faith in politics.

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Author: David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.

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