Rick Santorum needs some cheese with his wine

This was a piece I wrote for The Destin Log, but they didn’t use it. Even though Santorum is out of the presidential sweepstakes, I see plenty of people who share similar views, so I think it’s still valid.

I hate to dismay Rick Santorum and his supporters but he is not even remotely qualified to wear the mantle of Martin Luther King.
In a recent online article, Santorum asserts that by bringing his Catholic beliefs to bear on political issues (or at least issues that fit a right-wing Republican agenda—he admits he rejects Vatican calls for fighting poverty and opposing the war in Iraq) he’s doing the same thing King did in challenging segregation: “Did [President] Kennedy reject desegregation because black ministers like the Rev. Martin Luther King arguing from a Biblical premise advocated it? Thank goodness he didn’t.” And that because Obama, on the other hand (along with the usual right-wing bogeymen such as the ACLU) is trying to drive religion out of public life “it is hard to be a Catholic in public life.”
Cry me a river,.
In the first place, while I adamantly oppose pretty much every opinion I’ve ever heard Santorum spout, it’s got nothing to do with his being Catholic. I’ve heard plenty of right-wingers express the same views on gays, birth control and abortion without invoking religion and I oppose them too. It doesn’t matter whether they’re inspired by their faith or not, they’re still wrong.
Second, I don’t believe for a minute that Santorum supports the presence of religion in public life so much as he supports religion in public life that fits his political views. He claims he’s going to listen respectfully to other faiths, but he’s also stated in the past that it’s impossible to a “sincere liberal Christian” and that liberals have “abandoned Christianity.” And a man who believes we should ban homosexuality and birth control obviously has no interest in the rights of people whose religious views accept.
As for Dr. King, it’s true he invoked God and the Bible in the fight for civil rights but he didn’t make a purely spiritual argument. Along with the other activists (who included some atheists) he reminded America that the Fourteenth Amendment entitles all Americans to full equality regardless of race, and that “separate but equal” failed to deliver. That’s a secular, legal justification, not religious. And the civil-rights movement could point to actual injustice—lynchings, rapes, murders, denial of voting rights—to bolster their challenge to the system.
Santorum has no constitutional arguments for his opposition to gay marriage, or why states should have the right to ban birth control, nor can he point to any harm they cause that justifies government intervention. All he can come up with is claims that they’re “contrary to nature” which amounts to little more than “My church doesn’t like them and I think they’re icky.”
And let’s not forget that the civil rights movement faced people willing to jail them, beat them and murder them to drive them from the public square. King wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (which Santorum’s piece references) while he was actually in jail; later, he died for what he believes.
Santorum, by contrast, thinks it’s hard to follow his beliefs because he’s been … criticized. People disagree with him. They say he’s wrong.
Give me a break. In the years I’ve been writing at the Log (and letters to the Daily News before that) I’ve been told I’m a traitor, that I’m anti-God, that I should commit suicide and a few things I can’t print here. When you go public with positions people strongly disagree with, that’s inevitable. As Harry Truman said, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Santorum, on the other hand,, just whines for his critics to turn off the stove.

2 Comments

Filed under Politics

2 responses to “Rick Santorum needs some cheese with his wine

  1. Pingback: And still I link | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: It ain’t gonna fly | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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