Magazine article Church & State

Santorum's Sin: Transgressing the U.S. Constitution. (Editorials)

Magazine article Church & State

Santorum's Sin: Transgressing the U.S. Constitution. (Editorials)

Article excerpt

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum got himself in hot water recently when he attacked gay people in a media interview, going so far as to compare homosexuality to incest and bestiality.

Criticizing legal precedent barring government intrusion into Americans' private lives, the Pennsylvania Republican blasted the Supreme Court for a line of decisions about birth control, abortion and other issues dating back to 1965.

"It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution," he told the Associated Press.

It wasn't the first time Santorum has popped off on a sensitive topic. Last year, he proudly proclaimed his belief that politicians should rely on their religious beliefs when formulating public policy.

In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Santorum criticized fellow Roman Catholic John F. Kennedy for endorsing church-state separation and assuring Americans that he would not attempt to impose the doctrines of his church through the secular law. That vow, Santorum said, has caused "much harm in America."

No one expects politicians to repudiate their personal religious faith. But elected officials must be aware that they represent people of many different traditions (and none) and that any effort to use the law to further the narrow theological goals of a specific denomination raises constitutional and policy concerns.

Some devoutly religious people have turned to their faith as an inspiration to expand social justice and civil liberties. …

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