To the Editor:
Rick Santorum’s assertion that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston ministers makes him “throw up” because Kennedy said faith was not allowed in the public sphere (“Santorum Makes Case for Religion in Public Sphere,” front page, Feb. 27) ignores both the spirit and the text of that address.
On the contrary, Kennedy advocated for every American’s unfettered expression of faith, “where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.” Kennedy invoked history to make the point:
“It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. ... This is the kind of America for which our forefathers died when they fled here to escape religious test oaths that denied office to members of less favored churches — when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom — and when they fought at the shrine I visited today, the Alamo.
“For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died McCafferty and Bailey and Carey — but no one knows whether they were Catholic or not. For there was no religious test at the Alamo.”
Mr. Santorum would do well to study our country’s history before claiming that it sickens him.
JULIET S. SORENSEN
Chicago, Feb. 27, 2012
The writer, the daughter of Ted Sorensen, President Kennedy’s speechwriter and special counsel, is a clinical assistant professor at Northwestern Law School.