News Release

Santorum: “Holy Owned Subsidiary”

THOMAS FERGUSON, thomas.ferguson at umb.edu
Ferguson is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute. He said today: “Now it’s Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota in the holy trinity. Rick Santorum’s victories there last night are a warning that Mitt Romney’s leveraged buyout of the Republican Party is still in deep trouble. When he faces just one major conservative challenger, Romney loses; nowhere has the ‘Massachusetts Moderate’ managed to claim the allegiance of more than half of the tiny electorates that show up for GOP primaries or caucuses. Probably his Super PAC can bring him through Super Tuesday, but conservatives who know the story of the Golden Calf are unlikely to quit. For a generation the party establishment encouraged religious conservatives to flock to its standard. Now that is coming apart, as the GOP establishment reaps what it has sown.” Ferguson recently wrote the piece “The Devil and Rick Santorum: Dilemmas of a Holy Owned Subsidiary.”

FREDERICK CLARKSON, frederick.clarkson at gmail.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Clarkson is author of the book “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” and editor of the “Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America.” He is founder of the interactive group blog “Talk to Action.” He said today: “The question of separation of church and state has been a defining issue for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. But both are now engaged in a dangerous demagoguing of their policy differences with the Obama administration by declaring that he is engaging in a war on religion.

“Both gave speeches early in their quests for president that anticipates the current attacks. The both traveled to Texas to echo and answer John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 campaign speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association that has been the model for how pols balance religion and public life for a generation. Both embraced the rhetoric of the religious right.

“Rick Santorum has made denunciation of Kennedy’s statement ‘I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute’ — a centerpiece of his campaign.

“When Santorum came to the Boston area last year, he denounced Kennedy before a Catholic audience. He blamed Kennedy for the alleged secularization of public life, calling Kennedy’s statement “radical” and that it has done ‘great damage.’

“Romney as a Mormon faced a similar obstacle to his candidacy that Kennedy faced in 1960. In his Texas speech in 2007 he sought to turn secularism into a bogeyman: ‘In recent years,’ he declared, ‘the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. … It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism.'” Clarkson recently wrote “A Tale of Three Speeches About Separation of Church and State.”