The Kennedy Legacy Print
By Rick Santorum   
Monday, 13 September 2010
Kennedy took words written to protect religion from the government and used them to protect the government from religion. It worked – in the years following this speech the concept of an absolute “separation of church and state” gained wider and wider acceptance due to its inculcation in the academy. When I was in the Senate I used to question student groups by asking them which phrase was in the constitution “separation of church and state” or “the free exercise of religion”? Separation always won usually by a wide margin. Another consequence is the debasement of our First Amendment right of religious freedom. Of all the great and necessary freedoms listed in the First Amendment, freedom to exercise religion (not just to believe, but to live out that belief) is the most important; before freedom of speech, before freedom of the press, before freedom of assembly, before freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, before all others. This freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, is the trunk from which all other branches of freedom on our great tree of liberty get their life. Cut down the trunk and the tree of liberty will die and in its place will be only the barren earth of tyranny.

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