Former Senator Rick Santorum is set to announce today his decision to once again seek the Republican Presidential Nomination.
Sen. Santorum has proven time and again that he is completely out of step with the values of the vast majority of American Jews. He has spent his entire political career spouting dangerously extreme language and has worked tirelessly against the separation of church and state, a woman’s right to choose, equal marriage rights for all and advancements in science.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has condemned Santorum’s multiple statements about his overt expressions of religious preferences during his previous campaigns, and his declaration of himself as a “Jesus candidate.” While we agree that candidates have the right to and should feel comfortable explaining their religious convictions to voters, the exclusionary and inappropriate emphasis on religion in Santorum’s policy platform is unsettling.
During the last cycle, his campaign sent out Hanukkah cards that contained a verse from Christian scripture.
Sen. Santorum frequently associates with questionable organizations, including his upcoming trip to Israel with the Family Research Council, an organization which has a history of making dismissive comments about American Jews and expressing hope that Jews in Israel will convert to Christianity. He has associated with Baptist Church Pastor Dennis Terry, who has proudly proclaimed that America "was founded as a Christian nation" and those that disagree with him should "get out!”
American Jews not only value, but demand assurance that Jews have the rights and opportunities to continue to be full and equal participants in American life, including a strong belief in the separation of church and state, that the law should take no notice of religion and inclusion in society should be universal.
Looking ahead to the Jewish vote in 2016, surveys stating that the majority of Republicans believe the U.S. should officially be a Christian nation just serve as a reminder to American Jews that their success and religious freedom is never entirely secure. Rick Santorum’s faith driven policy has no appeal to American Jews.