Santorum's Political Holy War

Rick Santorum’s pronouncements from 2008 are coming back to bite him, now that he’s a serious contender for the GOP’s nomination. His statements that “The theory of evolution… is used to promote to a worldview that is anti-theist, that is atheist” and that Satan “attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions” – including not just academia and politics but also the entire protestant religion – are rightly coming under scrutiny.

But, as Ed Kilgore writes today, a lot of the scrutiny is missing the point. Santorum isn’t just indulging in superstition over logic and science, he’s using that superstition to drive a narrative about holy war in a secular setting.

Largely missing in the discussion of Santorum’s subscription to a supernatural cosmology is the fact that he views American history as essentially a struggle between ”œtrue Christians” like himself on the one hand, and Beelzebub on the other, in which the latter has already conquered academia and mainline Protestantism, and is by inference exercising his infernal control via the policies of that noted former academic and mainline Protestant, the President of the United States. Much of what Santorum has to say about current events is heavily colored by this ”œworldview,” most notably the belief that the president and his devilish supporters are laboring to wipe out ”œtrue” Christianity by forcing its staunch defenders, from the U.S. Conference of Bishops to innocent job-creators, to become complicit in such idolatrous practices as the slaughter of zygotes and the worship of the false idols of reproductive rights and the Environmental Earth-Goddess.

By ignoring all this and simply mocking Santorum as someone too unsophisticated to understand the supernatural as a fairy tale for rubes, his MSM tormenters are not only letting him off the hook for his sinister interpretation of politics as holy war, but are doing him the signal service of reinforcing his manichean vision of America torn between humble believers and derisive, self-satisfied elites.

The original speech that caused all the furore was delivered at Ave Maria University in Florida, an institution run by the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei. While Santorum has consistently denied being a member of Opus Dei, despite travelling to Rome in 2002 to deliver a speech at the centenary celebration for the group’s founder, his beliefs are generally consistent with Opus Dei’s rather than mainstream Catholicism. As one senior prelate told Time in 2006, “their approach is preconciliar. They originated prior to the Second Vatican Council, and they don’t want to dialogue with society as they find it.” It’s not about dialogue – it’s about “my way or the highway to Hell”. The danger of slipping down that highway is plenty reason, for Santorum, to advocate ending the seperation of Church and State – as long as the Church part conforms to his own beliefs, not just Catholic beliefs but Santorum’s conservative, preconciliar version of them.

Tolerance is not in Santorum’s lexicon, and he doesn’t think it should be in any Christian’s.

And so when you say, ”œYou’ve got to be more like us. You’ve got to be religiously tolerant.” That means introducing an element into society, which I would argue is not what Christendom is all about, is not what Christianity is all about.

In fact, he seems to have more sympathy with the likes of Al Qaeda and other fundementalists.

I think a lot of Muslims legitimately look at Christendom and say, ”œThey are hedonistic and secular. This tolerance has resulted in an abandonment of faith.”

And they aren’t willing to sacrifice what they think, and I think, is a much more important thing ”“ which is your eternal soul ”” for modern political reforms.

So not only a Holy War at home to bring Santorum’s vision of the catholic church into your homes, but also a war of Civilizations? That’s a feature, not a bug.

And of course, Christianity always flowers when it’s persecuted. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. And so, we will reach a point ”“ I think it’s gonna be unfortunate ”“ but I think we will reach a point with the blood of the martyrs in Europe, it will start to happen. And it will be the fertile ground in which the Church will regrow.

See, I didn’t mean “Holy War” in some wishy-washy sense, and neither does Santorum. He has a calling.

you asked that question about my faith. I’ve been led blindly, in some cases, by the conviction that I’m here to do something.

A calling to wage war for your very soul.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • …shallow brand of hate speech.
    IME, we are a private people when it comes to our spirituality.
    Santorum is, hopefully, focused on a very narrow band of Americans.
    If there is any health left in the US-of-A, then his hate speech will fail and fall by the wayside.
    If I’m wrong, then it just reinforces my decision to leave; those many years ago…

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • There’s even talk of a brokered convention. Santorum scares the hell out of the GOP Establishment – they know he hasn’t a chance against Obama and are afraid he would tar all the other GOP candidates with his insanity.

    It is worth remembering that the Founding Fathers were all traitors.

  • back in the stone age, the question of independence from Church doctrine as President was asked frequently in the run –

    Kennedy responded (from a 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association) :

    “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

    “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all…

    “I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equals; where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood. … That is the kind of America in which I believe.”

    And whatever we believe about his other actions as President, that was that on the topic.

    Now we have a Supreme Court whose newest members are Catholic conservatives chosen with Bush’s understanding that it would an easy way to get adherence to the Church’s idea of reproductive rights.

    Would anyone be willing to ask any of the current crop of Republican candidates the same “independence” question?

    The origin of the universe has not as yet been shown to be a conspiracy theory

  • Wikipedia:

    “Christendom” has referred to the medieval and renaissance notion of the Christian world as a sociopolitical polity. In essence, the earliest vision of Christendom was a vision of a Christian theocracy, a government founded upon and upholding Christian values, whose institutions are spread through and over with Christian doctrine. In this period, members of the Christian clergy wield political authority. The specific relationship between the political leaders and the clergy varied but, in theory, the national and political divisions were at times subsumed under the leadership of the church as an institution. This model of church-state relations was accepted by various Church leaders and political leaders in European history.

    The Church gradually became a defining institution of the Empire. Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 proclaiming toleration for the Christian religion, and convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 whose Nicene Creed included belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”. Christianity became the state religion of the Empire in 392 when Theodosius I prohibited the practice of pagan religions with the Edict of Thessalonica.


    The Catholic Church’s peak of authority over all European Christians and their common endeavours of the Christian community — for example, the Crusades, the fight against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula and against the Ottomans in the Balkans — helped to develop a sense of communal identity against the obstacle of Europe’s deep political divisions. But this authority was also sometimes abused, and fostered the Inquisition and anti-Jewish pogroms, to root out divergent elements and create a religiously uniform community. Ultimately, the Inquisition was done away with by order of the Pope Innocent III.

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