Santorum, Sharia, and Separation

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If there is one thing apparent in the upcoming presidential election, it’s that the religious right is very, very well represented. Even with Bachmann out of the running, and Perry going back to Texas to “think”, the ultraconservatives still have another chance to tear down the wall of separation between church and state in Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. While his advocacy of shrinking government and reducing corporate regulation are mainstream conservative views, Santorum also embodies another ideology that I find considerably more frightening.

That ideology is a particularly strict form of Christianity. During his campaign in Iowa, Santorum declared that “our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.” He believes that the law of his God and the secular laws that govern our country should be merged, and that the continuing discord between the two creates “agitation”. Whatever that means.

He is a victim of the widespread misconception that this country is a “Christian nation”, which, no matter which particular tribe you hail from, is entirely fallacious. The founding fathers were primarily deist in their personal convictions, and some could even be described as anti-clerical. In particular, Thomas Jefferson’s disgust with organized religion is rather clear in one of his letters to Alexander Von Humbolt in 1813: “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” Jefferson’s religious views bear a stark contrast to those of Santorum who wants to merge the civil laws described in the bible, so-called “Biblical truths”, irrespective of how the public might feel about them. In Santorum’s own words: “We have Judeo-Christian values that are based on biblical truth. … And those truths don’t change just because people’s attitudes may change.”

Santorum’s strict, religious convictions dictate a number of bigoted and sometimes quixotic policy decisions. He believes that rape victims should be forced to bring to term the child of their rapist. Since life, in his view, begins from conception, victims of such horrid a trespass of rights as rape cannot opt out of creating a constant reminder of the destruction of their dignity and autonomy. Additionally, he would ban gay marriage, and even go so far as to annul unions that have already been officiated; thereby callously dissolving the vows and destroying the families of thousands of American citizens. Santorum would end federal funding for birth control and allow states to make it illegal. The candidate also signed a pledge called “The Marriage Vow” by the Family Leader Organization planning to oppose pornography.

Rick Santorum’s religious positions are not far removed from that of the Taliban, who are actively trying to instate Sharia Law in the Middle East. Ironically, Santorum warns against the supposed creeping influence of Muslims who want to impose their religious law on non-muslims in the states. The proposed institution of Sharia Law is an attempt by Muslims to merge their religious doctrines with their government. Sound familiar?

 

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