The Republican Christian Nation on the March

CBS is reporting that ex-Senator Rick Santorum (who lost his Pennsylvania seat in 2006 with 41% of the vote) has entered the running for 2012 along with the likes of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. All of them are staunch right-wing fundamentalist Christians who have advocated changing the Constitution to reflect Biblical Law.

I have something of a history lesson for Republicans who think that these views have any place in the United States. However, before that, to get a flavor of Santorum's unique lunacy I thought I'd quote his Associated Press interview from 2003 in which he states that the "right to privacy...doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution" when it goes against the word of the Bible (make sure to read the AP reporter's response, it's priceless):

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you -- this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality --

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

Mike Huckabee has stated this view more explicitly:

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.

I'd like to remind Republicans that this country never was a Christian nation nor ever will be. Take for example Article VI, section 3, of the US constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The First Amendment to the Constitution also states explicitly that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

James Madison emphasized that the intent of this Amendment was to prevent religion from being imposed on individuals by the government:

Mr. Madison said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.

Furthermore, the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 stated:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Not enough to convince you? Consider the following few quotes from past Presidents:

"God is an essence we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of there will never be any liberal science in the world."

- President John Adams

"The clergy believe that any power confided in me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes, and they believe rightly."

- President Thomas Jefferson

"I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion."

- President James Buchanan

"My earlier views on the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation have become clearer and stronger with advancing years."

- President Abraham Lincoln

Personally I think those statements might be a little harsh considering that these men frequently used religious language in order to curry votes. But where exactly is this "Christian Nation" that Santorum, Huckabee and Palin claim that we've lost? We are and have always been a nation framed on the laws of men, not God. If you want an idea of what a theocracy would look like, go no further than Iran or Saudi Arabia. It is a very bad idea to try and oppose those who would oppose us by becoming more like them.

If you are one of those who support this call for a Christian Nation I have a few simple questions for you. Would you kill a member of your family if they converted to another faith (Deut. 13:6-10)? Would you put a woman to death if she had an affair (Deut. 22:22)? Would you feel it appropriate that a violation of just one of the Ten Commandments were to be punished "with an extreme burning, and with the sword" as well as many other tortures (Deut. 28:15-22)?

If you answer no to any of those questions thank you for your common sense and now lets please return to the issues facing our Republic and have no more talk about embracing theocracy.

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Former U.S. senator Santorum is considered a living saint among his fellow right-wing Catholics because he has fully and completely fetishized Rome's "culture of life" message. He's manifested it in a ghoulish way, having a family portrait taken with the results of his wife's miscarriage. It's both sad and weird. [Link]

You may be more right than you realize. All three embrace a form of Christian dominionism that would be right at home in Atwood's dystopian vision. Wanna-be Newt Gingrich doesn't have their Christian credentials (what with two divorces and an affair while he was conducting the Clinton impeachment), but he's trying desperately to use the same language that they are.

These people are my Republican dream ticket in 2012. The more air time they get, the better.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 04 Oct 2009 #permalink

Zeno, I reject Santorum's political views. That said, characterizing how he and his family grieved for the loss of a wanted pregnancy as "weird" is just plain unfair. If it hurt no one and gave them solace to bring the body of their child home for a few hours, then who are you to judge? And keeping pictures of wanted stillbirths is pretty common.

Every cycle, around 3 of 8 GOP primary candidates are creationist fundamentalist loons. And they virtually never get nominated, FWIW.

OK, so they want to change the constitution. That's not easy, is it?

Imagine the waste of time and resources needed to do this. It would be fun to watch, if you're far enough away.

What's so hard about changing the living word of God? How many versions of the bible do we have again...

By Richard Eis (not verified) on 04 Oct 2009 #permalink

This is so well put, and documented. I will share this link. Thanks for posting. There is nothing worse than the hypocrisy of fundamentalist politicians. They take some crowd pleasing prejudices and try to put themselves in power, while ignoring both history, and the actual shockingly violent teachings of their own faith. Thanks.

By Matthew Putman (not verified) on 04 Oct 2009 #permalink

Christianists revise history and the Constitution to argue for policies that are not constitutional though still wanting to wrap their policy positions around the flag. The Constitution does not list all our rights and was never intended to be a depositor of those rights, it instead lists the powers of government, where we reserve those rights we didn't limit or prohibit by delegating only specific powers to government. The Ninth Amendment of the Constitution:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This doesn't mean government can't limit or prohibit some of our rights, including those numerated in the Constitution, but they can only do so for a compelling reason, e.g., to protect the greater rights of others. In the case of gays fighting to exercise their rights and demanding their government defend their rights equal to how it protects non-gays' rights, there is no greater right by non-gays that justifies government discriminating against gays.

Some Christianists are reacting to the above stated principle with a tactic they only started running with about a year ago. They claim that their right to discriminate against gays in their tax-free churches and have the mere existence of gays and gay-couple led families recognized in government public settings (public schools) is a violation of their religious freedom rights. A right which they argue is a superior right to gays being able to exercise the all the same rights they enjoy.

The hatred these people have is palpable, so much so they advocate suppressing the equal rights of others in order to protect their self-proclaimed greater right to hate.

By Michael Heath (not verified) on 04 Oct 2009 #permalink