Santorum: Government is Trying to Bully Christians Into Conformity

Religious liberty was a major theme for Rick Santorum during his speech this past weekend at the South Carolina Freedom Summit.  Santorum, who has been as outspoken as any candidate on religious liberty issues (he received an A+ on our Indiana Crisis Report Card), did not go into much policy detail on this occasion except to express concern regarding the possibility of churches losing their tax-exempt status over opposition to same-sex marriage, as suggested by comments made recently during oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s marriage case.

Nevertheless, Santorum strongly defended the importance of religious liberty in American society:

We all know that our fundamental liberties are under assault in America today. We can have a strong economy, we can feel safe, but if we aren’t free, if we don’t have liberty, what is it all worth?

In America today, for the first time in the history of our country, the most fundamental foundational freedom that we have, the freedom of belief — I see all these reporters getting all rigged up about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and how important that is. It is important. Is it worth dying for? Yeah, I think it’s worth dying for. But what good is freedom of speech if you can’t speak what you believe?

For the first time in the history of our country, our government is trying to tell us what we can believe. Our government is trying to bully us, not to tolerance, not to going along, but to conformity. You heard arguments just last week in the Supreme Court on the issue of marriage. How the lawyer for the government couldn’t guarantee that if the justices found a new definition for marriage, that those organizations who were faith-based, churches and faith-based organizations wouldn’t lose their tax-exempt status for disagreeing with the government. That they wouldn’t be singled out and isolated as bigots in society.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a key moment in American history. This is a key moment. And we need it, again, someone who has a vision for what America should look like. It’s easy. It’s our founders’ vision. Madison wrote the First Amendment was the perfect remedy. What is the Constitution for? It is to set up a government, yes. But what is the government and the Constitution for? It’s so we can all get along together. That’s what it’s about. It’s as simple as that. Setting up a framework so we can all get along together and pursue our dreams. And make society better. That’s what it’s about. Madison wrote that the First Amendment was the perfect remedy to that.

Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.