Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Santorum Says He Doesn't Believe in Separation of Church and State: Santorum: JKF Religion Speech Made Me Sick

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Santorum Says He Doesn't Believe in Separation of Church and State: Santorum: JKF Religion Speech Made Me Sick

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday that he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state, adding that he was sickened by John F. Kennedy's assurances to Baptist ministers 52 years ago that he would not impose his Catholic faith on them.

"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute," Santorum, a devout Catholic, said in an interview from Michigan on ABC's "This Week."

"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... to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up."

In another interview, this one on NBC's "Meet The Press," Santorum said the separation of church and state was "not the founders' vision."

"The First Amendment means the free exercise of religion and that means bringing people and their faith into the public square."

Santorum's latest foray into the hot-button, faith-based issues that so fire up the party's evangelical base comes as his chief rival for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, begins to pull ahead slightly in the state of Michigan, where he was born and raised.

Both Michigan and Arizona hold their primaries Tuesday.

While Romney's been battling Santorum in Michigan for the past two weeks, polls suggest he's got a comfortable lead in Arizona, a winner-take-all contest in terms of delegate allocation. Michigan's delegates, on the other hand, are rewarded based on results.

The former Massachusetts governor got a boost Sunday from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who endorsed him as "the man that can carry the day" on "Meet The Press."

"He has that pro-business background, and he has that political history that I think he would serve America the best."

Brewer's endorsement is considered a boon to Romney's insistence that he's the toughest in the Republican field on illegal immigration. Brewer has been a fierce defender of her state's strict immigration policies, and Romney called Arizona a "model" on the issue in the last Republican debate.

Romney is a native son of Michigan, however, where his father served both as governor and a car company executive. …

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