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Santorum the Annointed One

March 21, 2012

Daniel Nichols of Caelum et Terra has written a wonderful piece that takes on the cult of Santorum and the cultural blind spots of the Catholic right. By the way, this is what an authentic conservative voice sounds like, unlike the uber-liberals over at American Catholic. This is good stuff, let me quote:

“I saw the nascent Catholic counterculture transmute into a subculture: adjusting a little here and there, it more or less adopted the bourgeois American model of life…they fancy themselves “orthodox Catholics”, and in reality think of themselves as the Real Catholics. They are with the Church on birth control and abortion and sexual morality and dogmatic theology. They are personally devout. They pray the rosary and receive the Eucharist with thanksgiving.

And they are unconsciously so blinded by Americanism that they unthinkingly dismiss anything in the words of Jesus Christ or Church teaching that challenges their faith in America, in its exceptionalism and goodness.

Rick Santorum.. is their candidate, made in their image. Like many of my friends he is affluent, personally pious, has a bunch ofkids that he homeschools, and then sends to Opus Dei high schools. And he is an Americanist first, a Catholic second.

Non-Catholic pundits are quick to agree that he is the Catholic candidate and to denounce him for it. Few challenge how far he diverges from Catholic social teaching on any but sexual issues. The bishops, who should be clarifying this, are strangely silent. Conservative Catholic bloggers are in love: “Rick Santorum, Catholic Hero” chirps the American Papist.

One wonders when one sees all this what they are thinking. This is a man who deemed it “wonderful” when an Iranian scientist, the father of young children, was, in defiance of international and divine law, assassinated. This is a man who sees no problem with “enhanced interrogation”, ie, torture, who thinks it fine to inflict pain and terror on someone suspected of terrorism. This is a man who has stated his intent to engage in preemptive war, against a nation that cannot be said in any way to pose a threat to the US.

This is a man, in the final analysis, despite his piety, is willing to contradict what his Church teaches to serve America.

This, my friends, is idolatry. 

To choose Rick Santorum for president is to choose Nation over Church, this world over heaven, and Mammon over God.”

Amen.

45 Comments
  1. johnmcg permalink
    March 21, 2012 10:04 am

    I don’t think Rick Santorum should be president. I am not supporting him in the primaries, and I will not vote for him in the general election.

    Still, I must rise to oppose this notion that the fact that one of three remaining candidates in a primary field led by a candidate as weak as Mitt Romney (the support for whom I’m sure will be the subject of several future MM posts about how revealing this is about American psyche) has a base of support reveals something dark.

    And, I must add, this is especially rich coming from someone who is an ardent supporter of President Obama as Morning’s Minon. ( http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvox-nova.com%2F2008%2F08%2F19%2Fbarack-obama-for-president%2F&ei=W-1pT4OoGaHo0QG1-cnqCA&usg=AFQjCNEHMngHuWQod5KjX4oR53T7VBZ1yQ&sig2=tafOuZsKRmE7aeLbSOjGrQ ). No “chosen one” complex there. No minimizing divergence from Catholic teaching there. No sirree.

    You are going to have to find a way to engage these people’s concerns other than sneering at them if you really want to move them and not just congratulate yourself for being superior to them.

    • March 21, 2012 11:01 am

      I’m sorry, but you are not getting the point. I don’t believe Obama is somehow annointed, or a “Catholic hero”. What nonsense! What I do believe is that Obama would do the least harm than any of his viable alternatives. So I see 2 choices – take the high ground and abstain, or take the less high ground and choose Obama.

  2. March 21, 2012 10:07 am

    I am a poor, disabled, single mom of four in Kentucky, and Rick Santorum is my friend. I find your “idolatry” judgment to be disappointing, if not disturbing.

    • March 21, 2012 11:04 am

      God bless you, Lisa. But I believe you are being ill-served by your political choices.

  3. JL Liedl permalink
    March 21, 2012 10:08 am

    I agree that Santorum is a deeply flawed candidate from a Catholic perspective. But is there an option we can vote for without choosing “nation over Church, this world over heaven, and Mammon over God?” Clearly not.

    It’s our prerogative to tear down Santorum all we want and point out his considerable shortcomings, but the question still remains: who SHOULD we vote for? Who IS the lesser evil?

    • March 21, 2012 11:03 am

      In my view, Obama. Oh yes, I could give you a long list his issues that disturb be me greatly, but I believe the alternatives are a lot worse. For me, the defining issues are: (i) no war with Iran; (ii) no return to pre-crisis economic policy; (iii) protecting the Affordable Care Act; (iv) doing something about climate change.

      • March 21, 2012 7:34 pm

        I’m curious as to what makes you think that Obama’s second term means no war with Iran. His Secretary of State has been saber rattling with regard to Iran, as have a number of other folks in his administration, though grant it not to the degree one sees in the GOP. But for the few months, and until November, Obama has had to be more concerned about not completely ostracizing his base than he was when he was out pursuing his own military adventures earlier in his administration. He ran as the peace candidate once before, which turned out to be quite misleading on his part. I have no confidence whatsoever that he won’t get hawkish with Iran after he is re-elected, especially if such a move would be seen as politically expedient for the Dems, which it very well could be if the economy (the actual economy, not just the stock market and the increased wealth of millionaires) remains stagnant. I write this as someone who would never, under any circumstances, vote for any of the current GOP field.

        • March 22, 2012 8:57 am

          Sadly, I agree with you with Obama and Iran. I do think he desires not to enter such a war and will slow it down, but on the other hand, I don’t see him as ruling it out either. He is not as militant about it as McCain was in 2008, but it is clear he is moving closer to that side, which is a shame. It was one of the better aspects of his 2008 campaign and something which he has, to some degree, not followed. Yes, some of it is that one can’t live by one’s ideals in the real world, and some of it is compromise due to that reason, on the other hand, I think he has given in too much on this and promotes the militancy which he should have tamed. Between him and ANY of the GOP candidates (including Ron Paul), I think he will be less militant, but I don’t think it will be as much as needed. Now I know people will think: what, Ron Paul? But if one reads him carefully, he is quite two-faced in his actions. He will say one thing, act one way in public, but promote the opposite at the same time. His way with pork shows this. When he knows he can pretend to not soil his hands, he lets someone else soil theirs while putting in what he wants with the bills he claims to reject. We see something similar with the newsletters and what he printed in them then claiming no connection to the author. And his commentary on war is not as people think: all he is saying is he wants Congress to declare war, and if they did, he said he would go ALL OUT to win. He would be a “by any means necessary” warmonger once Congress declared war (and don’t think he won’t do what he can to make Congress do that for him).

          So, I do think we have bad choices all around for President when dealing with the question of Iran. I really do.

      • Thales permalink
        March 22, 2012 10:57 am

        Couple Henry’s and ochlophobist’s thoughts about Iran with what the President has done over the last 3+ years: increased drone attacks, approval of American-citizen assassinations, getting involved in another war in Libya, continuance of most Bush-era war policies. I think it’s hard to see that the last 3+ years would have been—and the next 4 years will be—that much different with a GOP president instead of Pres. Obama.

      • Paul DuBois permalink
        March 22, 2012 2:56 pm

        Unfortunately, when it comes to war and defense there has been little or no difference between the Republican and Democratic presidents in my memory (since Johnson). The only differences are in the fringes of the parties. The Democratic fringe is less militant ad the Republican fringe is more militant. But when they have to make decisions on war and defense, both parties choose war and more money fro defense.

    • March 21, 2012 11:18 pm

      Santorum won’t get the nomination. Even if by some fluke he did, there are always third parties and write-ins. To claim that we have no choice but to vote for Santorum because he’s “the best guy out there” is to indirectly serve the flawed notion that he’s the “Catholic choice” in the first place.

  4. Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
    March 21, 2012 10:13 am

    On the one hand I liked the excerpt because of its general clarity about the difference between the historical ethos of Catholicism and what it has mutated into in our age in America amongst reactionaries. It is crucial to be precise about the parameters. Also, I loved that the writer said the so-called American Papist “chirped”, though it would seem more like “squeaked” or whatever annoying parakeets do. But for the same clarity of parameters I want to correct the notion of Americanism put forth here. First, it is important to remember than no less a RC theologian than Charles Curran has written in one of his impressive scholarly essays that the Catholic Church’s historical fight against Americanism was not healthful for its of theology generally in American society. The point implied was that it created reactionary insularity, I believe. Yet this is “Americanism” properly understood, which was historically a much more grounded phenomenon; and certainly not the caricature it is used for amongst by some Catholics. And certainly not the grotesque notion of “American exceptionalism” which is a bizarre concoction of right wing hack, who not surprisingly –some of them — were former Marxists. If a person will believe a crazy dogma once, they will hanker for it again!

  5. johnmcg permalink
    March 21, 2012 10:22 am

    Reading the linked piece, I must underscore my last point.

    The problem Mr. Nichols identifies (that I agree with) is that a group of Catholics had formed around legitimate disagreements with American (what MM might call “liberal”) culture, but has gotten off track to where it now embraces things like torture and intervention and driving away immigrants.

    In my opinion, there has been an equal and opposite divergence on the other side of the political aisle, where those concerned about an insufficient safety net and intervention became comfortable with the political left’s positions on social issues, and started to minimize them.

    So what do we do about it?

    Well, we could do like MM does (and some at American Catholic do) and keep pointing out how awful the other side’s divergence from Catholicism is, and have debates over who the more egregious cafeteria Catholics are.

    In my opinion, this only deepens those divisions. Just as Catholic Democrats are unconvinced by people calling Democratic politicians babykillers, I don’t think many Santorum voters are convinced by saying how anti-Catholic he is.

    I think we have to look a little deeper — what is it about our society that has led people to embrace these values we find so abhorrent. I don’t think the answer is as simple as just saying they are moral cretins. I think it may mean trying to address the legitimate concerns that got them off on this path in the first place.

    That’s not as fun as talking about how awful they are. But I think it’s more likely to get us to a better place.

    • March 21, 2012 11:08 am

      I have made my position clear. I can have honest diagreements with those who make a different judgement and choose a different candidate. That’s not the issue. The issue is when some seek to annoint somebody like Santorum as a “Catholic candidate”, when he is nowhere close. Condemning this distortion of the faith should unite us all, right?

      • johnmcg permalink
        March 21, 2012 12:01 pm

        I think Lisa’s post above displayed the most likely effect (or lack thereof) posts like this will bring about.

        There has to be prudence in place. Frankly, I don’t think Rick Santorum Idolatry is one of the top 20 problems facing us right now, particularly since his candidacy was likely given a coup de grace in Illinois last night.

      • johnmcg permalink
        March 21, 2012 1:21 pm

        You might reply with links to the posts from American Catholic, which I and most others don’t read.

        It seems to me this is essentially, “Somebody’s wrong on the internet.” The notion that Santorum is some kind of Catholic Savior is not a great phenomenon, as evidenced by, among other things, that he is finishing a distant second in a historically weak GOP nomination field. I have not heard prayers for Santorum’s election in the Prayers of the Faithful. Our church bulletin and diocesan newspaper do not include updates on the progress of his campaign, or rebuttals to his opponents’ attacks.

        I could list many injustices going on in the world and the country today,. Yet you have chosen to use your forum to call out those on the fringe who idolize Rick Santorum. And to do so in a way that is vanishingly unlikely to change their minds, but to deepen the divisions that already exist. (which leads me to consider the prudence of me using my time to confront you about this, so this will be my last post).

        I question whether this is ordered toward bringing about the common good, or in comforting yourself and your readers about how messed up Those People are, and that therefore you need not trouble yourself with confronting your own side’s shortcomings because you’re obviously a hell of a lot better than those morons who want to deify the torture-loving immigrant-hating warmongering Rick Santorum.

        As I mentioned above, one reason to examine this would be to consider why a Catholic might be attracted to a politician who says and does things that Santorum does, and witnesses to many of the Church’s teachings without apology.

    • March 21, 2012 11:19 am

      I think most who disagree with you think you are conflating two groups. The one group would be representative of folks like my mother who hasn’t cared what the church says for a long time. This is a group that received much of its formation with the events of the 60s and 70s. There is a second and younger group who were formed in rebellion to that. They have stayed in the Church and have been emerging from “conservative” and “orthodox” centers. For some, the wars pushed them over the edge. For others, the demands of life removed the idealism that had led them. It is the one thing that never really got understood about Vox Nova. Michael Joseph, Michael Iafrate, Katerina, RCM, I, and others I’m sure I’m leaving out all were solid Republicans before we started moving. No one felt a deep compulsion to stand up against the old Catholic liberals because none of us were a part of their culture and none of us for the longest time saw them as allies. Dare I say that none of us were really convinced by their arguments either. A lot of our departures from American conservative Catholicism were driven by the inconsistencies rife within it. I guess this is why I’m so amused when you speak with this intimacy of knowledge you simply don’t have.

      • March 21, 2012 3:47 pm

        Exactly, MZ!!

      • johnmcg permalink
        March 21, 2012 4:00 pm

        I’m not sure what part of my commentary rests on some assumptions about the personal journeys of the writers.

        You are who your record says you are.

      • Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
        March 21, 2012 5:02 pm

        M.Z.,

        As an outside observer of the RC church I can say that just on the basis of coherence your assessment of the history. That is, it makes no sense IF we are to take seriously the one thing Catholics want to be taken seriously about themselves as a group. Namely, being a huge and influential group of members of a pluralistic society, whose very size of population is taken regularly by those same proponents to mean that they have a prima facie case of being assessed as being above petty concerns of politics. To wit, Catholics almost are not likely to speak of Catholic political endeavors, which is sure what it looks like. Rather, of a grand “teaching” or more specifically “social teaching”, which somehow is to be granted a position having the right to participate in the democracy, and yet criticize its principles when necessary, and still have room (pfew!!) to say that no one should take such a transnational position as anything but nationally patriotic, by some strange alchemy.

        Now this is how Catholics of all stripes speak in this society. The many contradictions therein are borne in this society with democratic largesse, and by dint of our deep commitment to freedom of religious conviction, people scarcely make much fuss about it, relatively speaking. BUT, if you are going to talk seriously about this or that position within the RC church, as you did in your comment, you cannot both be the beneficiary of that aforementioned largesse, and at the same time expect anyone to take as coherent that the RC church is whatever you particular trajectory tells you it is. That is, you can’t expect others to take as serious, anything but the manifest, legible history of the institution as a whole, which is legible in turn to parties of goodwill who deliberate on it.

        In this sense, it makes no sense when you say:

        “No one felt a deep compulsion to stand up against the old Catholic liberals because none of us were a part of their culture and none of us for the longest time saw them as allies.”

        You cannot both coherently be part of the huge Church and at the same time riding this or that wave of “liberal” and “conservative’ that makes sense at one point or another. Well, of course, it’s a free country, you can be what you want, and believe what you wish. BUT, again, you cannot then invoke anything like a background assumption of a huge organization. The reason I am making a fuss about this is that it has become clear that Catholics of all types want to activate themselves politically, and yet expect NOT to have the checks and balances put on them that all other religious citizens who are active in politics do. And the ultimate check is responsibility for what your group spawns. It suddenly dawned on me that Catholics are trying to trot out a view that they are not responsible in some way for the excesses of a man like Santorum. Good luck with that. The group as a whole spawned this man, and to the extent that people support the overall gist of leadership framework of the RC Church they are directly responsible for it. This is such a simple thing, that it is amazing to see Catholics in the press trying to wiggle out of it. If the responsibility for Santorum does not belong with all Catholics as a whole (as a church) then with whom?? Lemme guess some nefarious tiny elite of Opus Dei?? That is a hoary trope of la leyenda negra. The moral is, if you belong to a group you have to take some personal responsibility for the excesses. No one can be magically innocent by way of theological parsing.

      • March 21, 2012 7:39 pm

        Yes. When over at that American Catholic banality fest I noted that Daniel from Caelum et Terra got lumped in with the ‘Catholic Left.’ Uh, no, not even close. I don’t think these people can handle category nuances much more complicated than what one gets listening to Glen Beck. Their’s is a very homogeneous political world. I suspect it would be hilarious to listen to them try to parse European politics.

      • grega permalink
        March 22, 2012 10:04 am

        I am always struck how here in the US is seems to come down to two groups – two parties – two direction – two choices and on and on. At times I wonder if this not preconditions even the smartest to a rather limited point of view. Obviously one can not neatly package 300+Million free people into two camps. Same goes for 1.2 Billion Catholics.

  6. Thales permalink
    March 21, 2012 11:14 am

    JLLiedl is right on. As I said in the other thread, so Santorum has some “anti-Catholic” positions. But the other candidates, including the incumbent, also have “anti-Catholic” positions (and some are much worse than that of Santorum’s).

    Don’t put your complete faith in a politician.
    Don’t consider a politician as a savior with the Gospel.
    Don’t be so blinded or partisan as to ignore a politician’s flaws.
    But do support the least worst political option.

  7. Kurt permalink
    March 21, 2012 1:46 pm

    Oh, the Coughlinite, Petainist, Francoist, anti-Dreyfusard, TFP, wing of the American Catholic Church is so small electorally, it is not to be in any way feared. Rick may personally fit into this milleu, but the campaign is presenting him as a Bible loving evangelical. And why wouldn’t they, that is where the votes are.

    Catholics, even weekly Mass goers, have litte interest in Santorum.

    As for his evangelical base, Opus Dei, the Latin Mass, opposition to contraception, are matters that our dear separated brethren simply find weird and any highlighting of these items has the potential to hurt Rick with his white evangelical base.

    To the degree the bishops start mimicing Santorum’s vision, they only damage themselves.

    As a proud Democratic hack, none of this bothers me.

    • Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
      March 21, 2012 10:42 pm

      Kurt,

      But wasn’t the whole assumption of your view thrown out with Ex Corde Ecclesia??

      • Kurt permalink
        March 22, 2012 9:09 am

        Ex Corde Ecclesia, for which compliance is voluntary and schools representing less than 5% of enrollment of Catholic colleges have chosen to comply? I think it proves my point.

        Further, even supporters of compliance like Bill Bennett have admitted that it hurts the academic quality of the applicant pool for these schools. As a friend at CUA told me, every news story about CUA’s “orthodoxy” means the Admissions Office needs to lower their admission standards to fill the incoming class.

        No, the compliant schools just form part of a socially marginal milieu.

      • Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
        March 22, 2012 3:25 pm

        Kurt,

        Wow! That was a good response, and a lot better than my question, I have to say in retrospect. You also sort of caught me without having really done my homework. Is that really correct, only 5% are in compliance???!!! That is incredible. I have to admit, again as outside observer, that it is really hard to get a grip on the current changing realities of the massive ancient institution. The tidbit about CUA is hilarious.

        But all this raises the question: Since USCCB “runs” the American Catholic church in some sense, and yet they would seem to be part of that “socially marginal milieu”, then in what sense can there be any coherence whatsoever for a “Catholic” position in this culture?? In other words, in what sense could a person of of still very Catholic ethos argue that the rest of society should take it seriously at all if it is so zanily conflicted?? (Btw, please, please don’t answer by saying — Vatican II says The People of God are the Church, yadda yadda. I like the acerbity of your previous response better!)

      • Kurt permalink
        March 24, 2012 4:58 pm

        PPF –

        I’m not sure any responsible Catholic parties are asking for the rest of society to take it seriously. I think they (we) are looking for ways that our Catholic ethos and community informs our social thinking.

        I take Catholic thinking seriously. Or better, I take serious Catholic thinking seriously. I don’t take Catholics who call the President a baby-killing Muslim seriously. (btw, what happened to Austin Ruse?).

        More Catholics read E.J. Dionne than Bishop Lori. And more Catholics take E.J.seriously.

        • Mark Gordon permalink
          March 25, 2012 8:32 am

          The question is, what does E.J. Dionne take more seriously, the teaching of the Church or the Democratic Party platform?

        • onlein permalink
          March 25, 2012 10:35 am

          The real question is whether our prelates are Republican bishops. A letter writer in our local newpaper referred to them as such. By alligning themselves with the Republicans, our bishops are all but scrapping our social justice principles. As a Catholic, I can’t vote Republican. They deny that greed is evil, that it is one of the seven deadly sins, that it (the love of money) is the root of all evil. How can any Bible-reader vote for them?

        • Mark Gordon permalink
          March 26, 2012 9:20 am

          Onlein, you are halfway there. For our bishops to align themselves with either of these political parties is a travesty. In fact, I’ll go one further: for ANY Catholic to align himself or herself with either of these political parties is a travesty.

      • Kurt permalink
        March 25, 2012 1:01 pm

        It’s clear to me he puts the Church first. Sometimes even more so than some bishops. God bless E.J.

      • Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
        March 25, 2012 7:18 pm

        Kurt,

        I liked the way you answered, as a certain mysterious vagueness of intent is always better in my book than uppity self-assurance. There is perhaps a really extra-profound point in there about the Catholic ethos, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth. What you could mean is –??– there is a value to a group of people (Catholics) coalescing and staying faithful to the views that are the core of their belief, even if they don’t expect that it will affect others legally. Because that is always the rub. Are my views going to be enforced on others. If that is what you meant, then I think there is something really worth expanding on in there. Perhaps the best role for religion in society is to be a witness that this is one way that really gives life meaning, and that meaning does not need to be by canceling your fellow man’s . But usually people say things like that. But what they really mean is– you don’t have to take me seriously until I force you to by putting a nut in the Presidency. How in the world did the executive office turn into that??

        As for Mr. Dionne. I always thought he was interesting and clever until I heard him fumble through that interview that is online with Michael Sean Winters from the Center for Progress. An hour of word- salad, and no croutons.

  8. onlein permalink
    March 22, 2012 8:39 am

    Also he totally buys into the worst and most widespread Americanism: Greed is good. It is not one of the seven deadly sins. It (the love of money) is not the root of all evil. He brands following the gospel of giving to the poor as socialistic. He in effect brands Christ as socialistic, a pejorative term for him and his fellow Republicans. He dismisses one of the Old and New Testament’s main messages. As a Catholic I can’t vote Republican. At least not for today’s Republicans.

  9. Jordan permalink
    March 22, 2012 9:33 pm

    What gives me pause about Rick Santorum is not necessarily his theocratic tendencies or manipulation of moral topics to get the “base” riled up. Akin to <a href="http://goo.gl/pNsRW"John Avlon at the Daily Beast, what I find distressing is the real possibility that “values conservative” voters just won’t stop until they carry a candidate like Santorum to the GOP nomination. Certainly, a reincarnation of Santorum would experience a McGovernesque loss. Still, will an electoral wipeout convince moral conservatives that most Americans want to maintain the secular republic?

    I’m convinced that the christianists (Andrew Sullivan’s pithy neologism) will never stop trying to take control of government even in the face of endless defeats at the polling booth. In effect, political christianism is the American version of the Front Nationale in France. Every French presidential election the fascist clan LePen enter the election, only to be defeated by a mainstream party. Americans of the republic will simply have to live with the presence of political christianism forevermore. Like the FN, christianist presidential candidates will slightly change the message each go-around, but it’ll be the same ol’ SOS every election cycle. The test of a true democracy is the presence and tolerance of politically hazardous movements, especially if such groups do not ever garner enough votes to take control of the executive office.

  10. March 23, 2012 10:14 am

    Thought the discussion held here I would say we have come to a merry go round. We can argue about who is or isn’t the lesser evil, we can argue about what we don’t want to happen, we can discuss who is right and who is wrong. In our history we have had many presidents, with some good policies, some bad. The points brought up here are all relevant to say the least, and should be considered when electing a president. I am only twenty and so my experience of the Republicans and Democrats is that we have had war for most of my life. I was not there for the birth of Pro Life, Choice, or Abortion. I will not be looking at these issues when considering who to vote for because war is inevitable. At some point Israel will pop with or without American troops on their side. It’s a matter of time. Unless they can be haltered by the leash. To much supposition rides on the matter of war. As for economics, I doubt that Santorum would be at all helpful to our nation, regardless of how badly he may have done in some of our nations eyes. If then I cannot vote for Santorum because I believe, as Ron Paul accuses him, he is a fake, I will have to vote for Obama and press him to do what is right, as has happened in the past when a President didn’t do what the people liked. The reason I would do this rather than vote for a surface value Pro Life Candidate is because I feel it is better to fight the policies of a president I may disagree with, because he is open to debate and willing to make reforms; as was seen in the recent and still proceeding contraception issue. And if the Catholics don’t like his amendment or provision as it were they can continue to fight it. I would rather this outcome than to vote for a, as I’ve called him, surface pro life catholic who has not lived up to many of the Churches Teachings. We all have to fight, we might as well do it in the open against a known foe then to have high expectations for a new president who wont live up to them.

  11. Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
    March 23, 2012 2:31 pm

    Luke,

    I can’t say I am comfortable with the way you expressed everything here, but I think your point of view shows a reasonable attitude. What I think is further implicit in your idea that is that the main reason for anyone to vote for a candidate is because, as you say, he is “open to debate and willing to make reforms.” It is another thing entirely if he or anyone else would actually decide the debate the way we like, or undertake those reforms in a way we approve. I happen to like the President, that is, I like the cut of his jib, as we say. BUT even if I did not, I think I would still vote for him because of the more basic reasons you gave about debate or reform. This is another reason also why a man like Santorum is wretched considered by standards of a democratic society. He gleefully and pridefully announces his contempt for democratic governance and debate at every turn, and uses every religious canard to do it. He is the real canary in the coal mine, and should be taken as such. That he has gotten anywhere in this race is a signal that our democracy is quite fragile in the minds of many reactionaries, and they seek an opportunity, as they always do. But men and women of goodwill are vigilant, and it is not our first time at the rodeo.

    • Jordan permalink
      March 23, 2012 8:33 pm

      Peter Paul Fuchs: That he [Rick Santorum] has gotten anywhere in this race is a signal that our democracy is quite fragile in the minds of many reactionaries (my addition)

      Perhaps one might better say that christianists (and more specifically, dominionists) believe that their theo-republicanism is the authentic democracy. From their view, the fragility of secularism is inherent — a republic with a separation of church and state will fall on its own accord because it does not adhere to their reified (and arguably fabricated) principles. Indeed, dominion theology is younger than the nation in which it was developed and took hold.

      This is why I am convinced that christianists continue to push forward politically despite the demonstrated will of most in the American electorate. One day, one of their candidates will triumph merely because it is in God’s time. The preseverence of the elect against the large number of reprobate will yield results in time simply because of American exceptionalism.

      • Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
        March 25, 2012 10:43 pm

        Jordan,

        Well that is a very dusky thought, and may portend the twilight of the gods of democracy as we have known them. But there is this hope. it comes from my own humble (maybe not so humble, ’cause I am quite sure of this) intuition that idiots always trip themselves up. This is because of the depth- psychological intuition that people always leave indications of their own undoing. The wise ones recognize those indications themselves and take it as tips for further healing. The proud do not, and those indications become red meat for adversaries as the fester and rot, giving wonderful carrion comfort. I love to quote the great movie Delores Cliaborne because it is so perfect: Sometimes, Delores, you have to be a high-riding bitch just to survive.

      • March 26, 2012 1:34 pm

        I think it’s strange that people here seem to think that the “Christianists” should give up their fight just because it’s obvious they’re not in the mainstream.

        I’m NOT a “Christianist” politically, but isn’t the essence of the vigor of our democracy that all sorts of groups stick to their own values and keep fighting for them tirelessly (politically though, without bloodshed largely).

        The way you talk, it’s as if you expect a minority vision to just…give up. To “accept” that it’s lost and thus conform to the current pluralist compromise values. But that “compromise” is only intelligible as a compromise BETWEEN different competing absolute visions.

        This is almost like the opinion that people should keep their religious values out of politics or the public square. No, that’s against the whole point of democracy, which is for all the values to compete vigorously in the public square and for the “marketplace of ideas” to come up with the best (but never static!) compromise at a given time based on the current “sum” of that competition.

        But no one should expect that the individual values fighting in that marketplace should all “level” themselves to conform to the sum of their competition, anymore than we should expect competing firms in a marketplace locked in an ad-war to both stop advertising and accept whatever their current market share is.

  12. Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
    March 26, 2012 1:43 pm

    I have run across something over at the Mirror of Justice blog that has provided a perfect and curious light on why and how someone like Santorum is unlikely to get anywhere ultimately. Rick Garnett is trying to write a column in all seriousness about why law schools are not just the cash cows for universities they are well known to be. (Check out the quite sad article recently in New York Magazine for one the best and entertaining summaries of this phenomenon. Then Garnett delivers himself of this nugget:

    “Finally, “vocation.” Many of us, when we hear the word, probably think either in terms of the clergy and religious life, or “vo-tech” classes.”

    This is so revealing. There is type that makes a good or great lawyer, and they are NOT the sort of person who is interested in a “vocation” in the religious or “vo-tech” sense. The best use those skills to facilitate a lot of other things they want to do in their lives. But in fact the reason they go to law school is vastly more similar to why people got to the “vo-tech”. That people like this are trying to say otherwise shows a level of unreality at the heart of the brain trust for people like Santorum (taken as a type), which makes it clear that nothing about it is going to work.

    Let me rephrase: Most lawyers go to the law school vo-tech so they can afford tickets to Wozzeck at the Met, not to get appointed to the US Commission on Religious Freedom like Robert George (btw, will Robert George be fighting for the religious freedom of gay folks?? We won’t hold out breath. )

  13. Michael permalink
    March 27, 2012 9:10 am

    Santorum is still better than an Obama whose “god” is government.

Trackbacks

  1. I just can’t help myself… « The Catholic Hippie
  2. Santorum and Catholic Italian Politics « Michael D. Driessen

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