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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ayatollah so

Is Rick Santorum running for president or religion czar?

The former Pennsylvania senator decried Barack Obama's "phony theology" at an Ohio campaign stop Saturday, around the same time the media dug up a 2008 speech in which Santorum declared mainline Protestantism "is gone from the world as I see it."

Buoyed by polls showing him doing well as the last, best anti-Mitt, Santorum is stepping up the holier-than-thou mindset that appeals to the GOP base, you know the group that despises Romney for his Mormon faith. It's also the group that clings not only to its guns, but the phony proposition that Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim.

Santorum comes loaded with red meat. His view of the Obama "agenda":
“It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said. “But no less a theology.”
Karl Marx famously noted religion is the "opium of the masses," and hard economic times increases the desire the run from worldly woes. But it is increasingly distressing that candidates offer not suggestions on how to improve the economy but instead preach sermons on whose beliefs are right and whose are not.

The 1st Amendment does more than simply allow the free exercise of religion. It forbids the state and federal government from establishing an official religion or set of beliefs.

The increasingly shrill debates over abortion and contraception can certainly be viewed as efforts to impose one religion's beliefs on that subject on others -- despite the pious protestations of true believers that the opposite is true.

The views of Santorum and others are also protected by the 1st Amendment. But they would be wise the recall the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in describing the limits of free speech:
"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
Santorum's desire to be this nation's ayatollah is a protected right. But his rights to believe in certain things end where mine to believe in other things begin.

That freedom to believe separates us from the types of societies that religious zealots have created to impose their own beliefs.

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Blogger Matt said...

I honestly want liberals to stop criticizing Santorum. We should all quietly let this happen. That dude is the best news Democrats have had in an election year since Barry Goldwater.

I think it's fair to say that if this election is about the economy, fairly or not, it will be a hard go for Obama. But if these dopes keep pushing social issues like religious influence on policy and the accessibility of birth control, 2012 becomes a very easy blue cakewalk. Let them think Santorum's a good idea. At least until he gets the nomination.

February 19, 2012 4:29 PM  

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