growing a culture of life in a petri dish of santorum

Today’s New York Times Magazine has an interesting profile of the conservative, Catholic, Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. Here’s a clip:

In the summer of 1999, Santorum gave a lecture at the Heritage Foundation in Washington titled ”The Necessity of Truth.” It can be read as a distillation of his philosophy. He began by identifying what he considers an oddity of American culture, the ”paradox,” he called it, ”of a people that strive to be both religious and nonjudgmental.” He then moved on to his central theme — that Americans of faith feel constrained from expressing their views in ”the public square,” where legislation and public policy are debated.

”How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when his moral code is flouted?” he asked that day. ”To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes? How is it possible that there exists so little space in the public square for expressions of faith and the standards that follow from belief in a transcendent God?”

The United States has a higher percentage of churchgoers than any industrialized nation, a higher percentage of professed believers and a vast diversity of religious communities — all implying a widespread freedom to worship. But a key to understanding Santorum (and many other religious conservatives) is to recognize his sincere belief that he is playing defense. As a person of faith, he feels under attack, even victimized. He has stepped forward as a defender of the unborn, of religious Americans whose voices have been stifled and of cherished institutions that he considers not only under assault but also breakable.

Marriage — defined as the union between one man and one woman — falls into the fragile category. Santorum supports a Constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, which he equates to ”messing with the basic family unit.” He says he does not believe that a right to privacy — the basis of court decisions legalizing abortion and overturning sodomy laws — can truly be found in the Constitution, and he says he fears that the same legal reasoning could be employed to legalize gay marriage. Returning in 2003 to the Heritage Foundation to speak on ”The Necessity of Marriage,” he said: ”The notion of a right to privacy is not about the common good, but about ‘me.’ Starting during the sexual revolution with contraception, it quickly evolved to abortion, and now it has found its way into today’s marriage debate.”

That’s right, there apparently isn’t a right to privacy in the United States… And, I’m sure you noticed that he lumped contraception in with abortion. I think it’s pretty clear where they’ll be taking the battle once they’ve torn apart Roe v. Wade… and granted themselves access to our bedrooms, “for the common good.”

For those Santorum fans in the audience, here’s another link that you may want to check out. It’ll take you to video of him on the floor of the Senate comparing Democrats’ attempts to keep the filibuster to Hitler’s actions 1942. (You can also check out read about the Senator’s comments at The Raw Story.)

As for evangelicals being a persecuted minority, I’m not sure what the Senator’s referring to. I don’t recall, for instance, anyone suggesting that Christianity be made illegal, or that its practitioners be made to change their beliefs in any way. (I don’t even think we have laws against snake handling and speaking in tongues.) Quite the contrary, it seems as though the power of the religious right has been steadily on the rise over the past few decades (as has their use of hate speech against others)… On the subject of the increasing influence of evangelical Christians, check out this New York Times article on the growing presence of evangelicals in the Ivy League. Here’s a clip:

The growing power and influence of evangelical Christians is manifest everywhere these days, from the best-seller lists to the White House, but in fact their share of the general population has not changed much in half a century. Most pollsters agree that people who identify themselves as white evangelical Christians make up about a quarter of the population, just as they have for decades.

What has changed is the class status of evangelicals. In 1929, the theologian H. Richard Niebuhr described born-again Christianity as the “religion of the disinherited.” But over the last 40 years, evangelicals have pulled steadily closer in income and education to mainline Protestants in the historically affluent establishment denominations. In the process they have overturned the old social pecking order in which “Episcopalian,” for example, was a code word for upper class, and “fundamentalist” or “evangelical” shorthand for lower.

Evangelical Christians are now increasingly likely to be college graduates and in the top income brackets. Evangelical C.E.O.’s pray together on monthly conference calls, evangelical investment bankers study the Bible over lunch on Wall Street and deep-pocketed evangelical donors gather at golf courses for conferences restricted to those who give more than $200,000 annually to Christian causes.

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2 Comments

  1. Sticks
    Posted May 23, 2005 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    As the conservative said, there isn’t. He’s a strict constitutionalist and as such, believes that there isn’t a right to privacy because there is no explicit amendment stating a right to privacy.

    However, “activist” judges have ruled that there is an implied right to privacy (citing which amendments, I’m not sure) and stated these in their rulings. Because of those rulings, there are precedents which state that yes, Virginia, there is a right to privacy.

  2. Crelsteed
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I know it’s not likely to do any good, but how dare you criticize this sweet, caring public servant. He’s a god man, and a respecter of life.

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