As I write this article on Leap Day, Tennessee conservatives are undoubtedly leaping up to cheer for Rick Santorum at Belmont University. “The majority of Santorum’s supporters are Bible-believing Protestants. But I wonder how many of them understand that, according to Santorum, they are in league with the Devil if they have sex for intimacy and pleasure when they’re not trying to procreate?”
Yes, Santorum really is that irrational, and due to what seems to be some sort of exotic obsessive-compulsive disorder, he can’t stop talking about sex, contraception and religion, even though doing so will surely cost him any chance at the presidency. Why? Because American women will not allow him to return them to the Dark Ages.
Santorum is a cult of one in American politics. But the political figure he most closely resembles is Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini: a rigid moralist with prehistoric views about women and sex whose puritanical regime dismantled family planning centers and ordered health care professionals not to advocate contraception. Sound familiar?
Yes, Santorum really does want to ban contraceptives. He admits it himself: “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is ... the dangers of contraception ... It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is [sic] counter to how things are supposed to be.” In other words, Americans should breed mindlessly like rabbits, leaving how many babies they have up to the whims of chance, or give up sex altogether. Why? Because Rick Santorum knows the mind of God.
The contraception question is quite simple: do American women have the right to decide if and when to become mothers? Right-wing chauvinists are increasingly saying “No!” as they attack women’s rights, contraception and Planned Parenthood with typical alpha male bravado. For Protestants like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention to side with the Vatican is hypocritical, because they wouldn’t say that the religious liberty of Mormons should result in polygamy being legalized, or that pagans should be allowed to sacrifice children to the “gods.” Now the GOP risks alienating the better half of its voters by foolishly suggesting that men can legislate medieval “morality” at the expense of women’s health and happiness.
Incredibly, Santorum also believes that our government has the right to monitor what we do in bed. In an interview with the Associated Press, he opined that the “right to privacy ... doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution.” Since he’s opposed to all forms of non-procreation sex, he would like to monitor married couples to make sure they aren’t defying the “will of God” by “fooling around” unless they’re trying to make babies.
Santorum obviously can’t help himself. He babbles compulsively in public about Satan, “spiritual warfare” (obviously to be led by him) and states having the right to ban contraceptives, which could only encourage sexually active American women to remain pregnant until they reach menopause. But how many of those women will vote for him in the general election, once they understand that his worldview is that of a medieval inquisitor?
Unlike JFK, who in a 1960 speech firmly advocated separation of church and state, Santorum clearly wants his chosen religion to dictate morality to the masses. In fact, he recently said that Kennedy’s speech made him want to “throw up.”
Yes, Santorum is honest, but then most KKK members are honest about their disdain for people with darker skin. Santorum has similar disdain for “liberals,” by which he doesn’t mean just gays, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists, but millions of married and faithful Protestants as well (and probably most Catholics to boot, since most of them now use contraceptives and have sex as they please).
Santorum would be Church Lady hilarious if he wasn’t two steps from the White House. Now we know how free-thinking Iranians felt when they realized that Khomeini might actually rise to power in Iran.
It is truly ironic for so many American Protestants to support Santorum when in a 2008 speech delivered at Ave Maria college, he said that “mainstream, mainline” Protestantism has been seduced by the “Father of Lies” to such an extent that Protestants are no longer Christians but have fallen prey to “vanity” and “pride” (both hallmarks of the Devil).
Like the Ayatollah Khomeini, Rick Santorum calls mainstream America the “Great Satan.”
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.