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Santorum Backs Away From JFK ‘Throw Up’ Remark: ‘I Wish I Had That Particular Line Back’

By Igor Volsky  

"Santorum Backs Away From JFK ‘Throw Up’ Remark: ‘I Wish I Had That Particular Line Back’"

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Rick Santorum backed away from his claim that President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech about the separation of church and state makes him want to “throw up” during an appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show this morning. “I wish I had that particular line back,” Santorum told Ingraham, while insisting that the nation’s religious freedoms are being threatened by the Obama administration:

SANTORUM: [A]nd if you read President Kennedy’s text, while there were certainly some very important things and good things he said in that, there were some things that triggered in my opinion the privatization of faith and I think that’s a bad thing. I think we need to have a free exercise of religion in this country and it’s important for those First Amendment freedoms to be alive and well in America and I think they are threatened here in America as we’ve seen by President Obama, not by Rick Santorum.

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Santorum has taken a lot of heat for mischaracterizing Kennedy’s statements and claiming, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute.”

Asked about Santorum’s remarks during his press conference this morning, Mitt Romney said, “I respect President Kennedy and his expression of his own views. And I felt that his speech was an indication of those views. My speech was an indication of views that were somewhat different. Religion certainly has a place in the public square.”

Indeed, rather trying to stomp religion out of public life, Kennedy sought to encourage Americans to abandon divisive religious rhetoric. “I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end — where all men and all churches are treated equally — where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice — where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind — where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the law and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their work in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood,” he said. “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me,” Kennedy added.

A recent poll found that 67 percent of Americans believe that there is a clear separation of church and state, while only 28 percent disagree with the sentiment.

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