"I've repeatedly said I don't question the president's faith. I've repeatedly said that I believe the president's Christian -- he says he's Christian. But I am talking about his worldview, the way he addresses problems in this country, and they're different than most people view it in America."
-- Rick Santorum on CBS's Face the Nation this morning
That follows this little gem spouted off to, of course, a Tea Party rally in Ohio yesterday:
"It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."
Now take a look at the clock on your computer screen, or on your phone, or grab a calendar and remind yourself what the date is. What the year is. Force yourself to confront the fact that in the year 2012 a supposedly rational human being -- a man running for the highest office in the United States and not a fucking mental patient strapped to a bed in a padded room -- is taking his directives from a 2,000-year-old magic book and criticizing the man currently holding the highest office in the United States for supposedly not doing the same.
Sure, there are other countries where this much deference is given to superstitious nonsense by government and governmental leaders. You know what we generally call those countries? The Third World. Or the Middle East. Ironically, the areas Santorum and the rest of the right try to subtly and not-so-subtly paint Barack Obama as being from and beholden to.
Just four months ago I mentioned how this was coming -- yet again.
"Faith No More" (Originally Published 10.11.11)
I'll try to make this quick, since as I said I'm kind of pressed for time right now.
Chances are by now you're aware of the fallout from last week's Values Voters Summit, the annual event in which the hard-right Evangelical nutjob segment of the electorate gathers to throw King James Bibles at the feet of Republican leaders to see who will be the last one standing after beating his or her competition to death with one. This year, everybody seemed to be gunning for one guy: Mitt Romney. Poor Mitt got it hard from both ends, so to speak, as his place on the speaking roster happened -- through what I'm sure was complete coincidence -- to fall between Dallas megachurch demagogue Pastor Robert Jeffress and psychopathic talk radio host Bryan Fischer, both of whom have railed against Romney's Mormon faith as an insult to the one, true God.
Jeffress, who astonishingly is the cuddlier of the two, merely referred to Mormonism as a cult while lavishing praise on Rick Perry for supposedly being a trustworthy follower of Jesus Christ; Fischer took it three or four giant steps further, saying not only that a proven Christian and a proven Christian alone should be our next president, but that Sharia law is coming to take over our courts, homosexuals are a threat to the public health and the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games. And no, I'm not making that last one up.
Romney, to his credit, tried to take the high road in his reaction to all the hyper-pious pummeling. Of course at something like the Values Voters Summit, the high road doesn't need to be very high; the Lincoln Tunnel towers over the discourse at this thing.
So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics? Yes on all counts. But here's the thing: That makes it no different than any other faith-based religion.
Fischer and Jeffress have always been despicably hateful fuckers whose opinions needed to be pushed so far to the fringes that they practically vanish into the ether. But at this point more than any other in our recent history, this country does not have the luxury to concern itself with with ridiculous contrivances like which ancient superstition a candidate aligns him or herself with -- whether he or she passes some religious purity test by properly genuflecting before the right god.
Over the next few months, as the campaign ramps up, you're going to start hearing a lot more proclamations of faith from those running for the highest office in the world. They'll talk about how their belief in Jesus or whatever-the-hell guides them, and what's more, they'll do it largely as a theatrical act of indulgence, as a means of cynically pandering to those they feel they need to pander to in order to get elected. Their command performance may not always be at the whim of blatant sociopaths like Jeffress and Fischer, but it will certainly be as a show of respect to the supposedly benign faith of which these men have become extremist purveyors and arbiters. And that faith, while something I disagree with wholeheartedly as a rational human being, should at the very least be a personal choice and a personal choice only -- it should be something that at all times is excluded from American politics.
At this fragile point in our nation's history, the fact that our presidential candidates will feel that they have the latitude, even for a moment, to gush metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying. Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action. Faith will never defend this country's people from the ongoing threats to their livelihood. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.
We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.
Adding: Matt Osborne digs up and expounds on a Santorum speech from four years ago in which God's Favorite Candidate® enlightens us to the real threat facing the United States of America during this tumultuous period in our history. You guessed it: Satan. Again, please keep in mind that someone who believes that a fallen angel, a creature now residing in hell and responsible for all the bad in the universe, is at war with a heavenly creator and is now seeking to control the destiny of our country -- this guy is considered completely sane. Not only sane, he's the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. People who believe nonsense like this are usually put on Thorazine drips.