This is why we have an internet, and why we can have nice things.
Thank you reddit.
I know that a great many people will likely be relieved by the fact that Santorum has bowed out of the race, but I for one am disappointed, not to mention a little nervous. He was a long-shot nominee to be sure, but his polarizing rhetoric forced issues of church and state separation out of the shadows and back into the national consciousness once again, precisely where they belong. Over the course of the last two years, from the rise of the Tea Party to the current “war on women” and vehement anti-LGBT legislation, the Christian Right has forced their abhorrent agenda back into the public sphere once again, spearheaded by Santorum and backed by a host of politicos, denialists, and apologists ready, willing, and able to tear down the wall between church and state and instute Biblical law in favor of Constitutional law.
There was a big part of me that actually wanted Santorum to win the nomination. Crazy I know, but a victory against Romney would have essentially guaranteed a definitive referendum about the role of religion in government. There’s no way Santorum could have wrested the presidency from Obama’s grasp, even if he did earn the nomination; he’s far too much of a wingnut, and the progressive left(not to mention a fair amount of the center right) would turn out to the voting booths in unprecedented numbers to guarantee Obama’s second term. But the conversations we could have had as a nation along the way would have done more to relegate religion to its proper place in American antiquity than any other church-state confrontation in history.
And it needs to happen, now more than ever. I think it should be abundantly clear to anyone who’s been paying even the slightest bit of attention that the relentless pursuit of America’s Christian homogenization by the Evangelical Right is something that will not stop, not without directly confronting the leadership of its political arm and permanently dismantling it. Demagogues like Rick Santorum make it easy to notice the problem, as their confidence in espousing and actuating such a radical agenda is symptomatic of just how far the problem has spread. But with Santorum bowing out of the race, and no other Republican candidate falling anywhere close to challenging Romney for the title shot, the integrity of the Evangelical agenda will once again be preserved, and the subject of reinforcing church/state separation will once again be mothballed in the halls of Capitol Hill, where it can continue to spread its poisonous and corruptive influence throughout all annals of government, no matter who’s in charge.
How timely of the Catholic Church, to host a seniors-only talk on their myopic ‘history’ of marriage just in time for a referendum on an existing same-sex marriage ban, in order to further cement their twisted version of ‘family values’ into the societal bedrock. But in Minneapolis? That’s where Prince is from, man. The KING of gender-bending. You think these kids are gonna let the church try and take the purple out of ‘Purple Rain’? NO way. You combine that with all the other supposed ‘unstable’ kids - y’know, the adopted, the ones from single-parent homes, and the ones who just don’t wanna drink the Kool-Aid, and it’s clear that this was a bad idea on behalf of the Church from the beginning. Kids don’t like assemblies in the first place, and when you assemble them to just to talk shit about their values, you’re just asking for trouble.
I wonder if this kind of momentum might give Santorum pause to consider no longer doubling down on so much of his rhetoric. It seems to be working a little too well, and it seems that the people he’s convinced want to start taking his positions even further than maybe he might be prepared to. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but I’m not so sure in this case…
Santorum better spin some pretty good PR on this and matters like it in the future if he wants to maintain what credibility he has among progressive Republicans; otherwise he, like so many radical right-wingers before him(I’m looking at you, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) might more forcibly be removed from the public square through trial by public opinion.
The nomination race is still anybody’s game at this point, and while Mitt Romney has what seems to be a very solid lead, the momentum-bordering-on-fantacism Santorum has generated in recent months could very well be the thing that secures him the title shot against President Obama.
However, he must tread lightly on the toes of his more progressive supporters, because even though good Christians they might be, they’ll not suffer a fool who is clearly supports divisiveness for political gain. The document “Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship”, written and published annually by the U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops as a political primer for Catholics, states that:
“The Church’s teaching is clear that a good end does not justify an immoral means. As we all seek to advance the common good…it is important to recognize that not all possible courses of action are morally acceptable…we cannot differ on our moral obligation to help build a more just and peaceful world through morally acceptable means…”
Even the appearance of condoning behavior such as Reverend Terry’s will quickly distance the progressive faithful from Santorum, which will quickly place his campaign in serious jeopardy. We’ll see whether he’s willing to play ball or not; otherwise, the contest between The Sweaternator and The Empty Suit won’t be much of a contest at all.
I have little to add to this, save that, on something as crazy as Santorum/Gingrich GOP ticket(don’t think for a moment that it couldn’t happen), the precedents that could be established in the event of their successful presidential bid might very well put legislation like this within the grasp of the Evangelical Right. And while executing legislation this radical would very well meet with an incredible amount of resistance from whatever might remain of the liberal/progressive movement at that point, there’s every possibility that it could become a reality in America within not more than a few decades, at the earliest.
The AFP(American Faith Party) movement has rallied Evangelical Protestants and more traditionalist Catholics together to form a religion-political force not seen in America since the early 19th century. They are not to be trifled with; the fanaticism behind this movement coupled with the vast resources driving it could very well be the end of true liberty in America, and statements like this could very well be codified into law:
“If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife.”