Anyone tempted by Rick Santorum’s proposal to knock a hole in the wall between church and state ought to consider the old maxim: “Be careful what you wish for — you might get it.”

On the GOP presidential campaign trail, the former senator from Pennsylvania excoriates those who think the First Amendment means what it says — that government should keep its hands off matters of faith. “The president has reached a new low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before,” Santorum has said, a verdict that seemingly resonated with voters in Mississippi and Alabama, where he won the Republican primaries.

But Santorum has it topsy-turvy: Separation of church and state isn’t the enemy of freedom of religion, but its best guarantee, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Millions of Europeans rendered that judgment with their feet, leaving Old World homelands with established churches for this country’s religious diversity. Almost nobody went the other way.

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