Sunday, February 26, 2012

Separation of Church and State Makes Santorum Vomit

Above is John Kennedy speaking about separation of church and state. Let us remember the context of the day. Fundamentalists were scurrying about telling voters that Kennedy would take orders from the Vatican and would impose Catholic doctrine through public policy. In this speech Kennedy was speaking to Southern Baptist leaders. But, this was before fundamentalists got a taste of political power and realized they might be able to oppress others in their name of their religion. And that was an entirely different matter.

But, when Kennedy spoke, the idea of separation of church and state was the consensus. There was no "Religious Right" intent on imposing theocratic laws. Santorum said: "I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." He said that this very idea would make most people "throw up."

Perhaps, it is time to remind fundamentalists that just because Santorum repeats their hateful slogans, that doesn't make him one of them. He is a Catholic and his doctrines are Catholic. He believes that Protestantism is a false church and that Baptists are heretics. Mr. Santorum's religious views are a radical Catholicism unlike that of most Catholics. Yes, a few fanatics (Jennifer Morse comes to mind) are as extreme as Santorum, but most Catholics don't want the law to reflect church doctrine.

Santorum has claimed that Satan has America in its grips—Satan! Pretty soon he'll be saying that libertarians are demon possessed and should be exorcised. He claims that mainline Protestantism isn't even part of "the world of Christianity as I see it." Some people thought that would alienate fundamentalists, but they hate mainline Protestantism as much as Santorum does. When Santorum rags on mainline Protestants and attacks gay people the fundamentalists think he sounds like them.

Simply put, fundamentalist Christians are not the brightest bulbs around. They are less educated and less informed than the general population. Many of them simply don't know that Santorum is a hated Roman Catholic. They pick up a bit of news here and there and hear him spewing his hateful messages and they shout, "Amen, brother." But, they don't really see him as a "brother" in Christ at all; at least they wouldn't if they knew he was Catholic. Then he would be part of the Great Whore of Babylon—the Vatican.

The media has made much of Romney being a member of the Mormon cult. His sect membership is unusual. After all, less than one in a hundred people attend a Mormon church. And, contrary to Mormon PR material, the sect is not growing but stagnant, even in spite of among Mormon woman. But Santorum's Catholicism is not unusual. About a quarter of all Americans have some affiliation with Catholicism. Of course, most Catholics have enough common sense that they don't take all Catholic doctrine seriously—Santorum is not one them.

So, while Romney's membership in the Mormon cult is widely touted to ignorant fundamentalists, Santorum's rabid Catholicism is more hidden. Romney's religion is in their face, Santorum's is not discussed. His views are talked about but not so much his Catholicism. This is allowing fundamentalists to compare a candidate that sounds as hateful as they do, to a candidate they know is "not a Christian." Truth be told, a huge percentage of fundamentalists would also say Santorum is no Christian, if they focused on his Catholicism.

The way the media has covered the religious debate in God's Own Party (GOP) plays to Santorum's advantage. Now, I don't think it much matters if the Republicans win or the Democrats win. They both are in a race to see which disgusts me most. But, I do know most media employees tend to be Democrats and would rather see Obama win than any Republican. Given that I don't believe the bulk of independent voters will support someone as noxious as Santorum, media coverage of the GOP is helping Obama.

Now, from an entirely practical viewpoint, I won't vote. My vote will make zero difference in outcome, but then neither will your own. The best outcome, as I see it, would be neither party having control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. Given that the Republicans are more likely to win control of the House, than the Senate, then Obama winning the White House would do the least harm to liberty and individual rights.

This wouldn't be because Obama much cares for either. But a Republican House is likely to stymie his efforts. So, I'd prefer to see the GOP win the House and Obama win the White House. In that case, a Santorum candidacy would be optimal. Republicans in the House turn into Big Government evangelists the moment a Republican is in the White House. As for the Senate, I'd like to see it as evenly divided as possible.

If I were a Republican seeking political power then I would not want Santorum even in the race. Every time he opens his mouth he alienates independent voters. But, I'm not a Republican. As far as I'm concerned the only decent Republican running was Gary Johnson and he dropped out to run as a Libertarian. If I were to force myself to vote I'd vote for Gary, if he were the LP candidate—maybe. I have little confidence that the LP will give Gary a decent running mate and are more likely to inflict a conservative like Wayne Root, or some ideologue with little understanding of reality. That the LP continues to allow open racists to hold positions in the party, men like David Macko, is just too much for me to stomach.

We need a party that represents the mushy-libertarian middle of American politics. But the Democrats are held hostage by greedy unions, the Republicans are held hostage by religious crazies, and the LP is held hostage by idiots.

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