American Taliban: Meeting the Wannabe High Chancellor

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Rick Santorum: The High Chancellor of Theofascism
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
In his “Clear the Air” segment, MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir recently compared Rick Santorum to an Orwellian dictator and noted that the former Pennsylvania senator regularly “sounds like a theocrat.” Mr. Bashir is, of course, correct, but I think there’s a better comparison.
Rick Santorum acts and sounds very much like the theofascist High Chancellor Adam Sutler in the 2005 film V for Vendetta.
Sutler used his “deeply held religious convictions” and political power to round-up and exterminate gays and those whose religious beliefs didn’t match his. He negated civil rights and curtailed personal freedoms and liberties as he saw fit. He censored the arts and the media and disposed of free-thinking.
And, of course, squashed any political thinking not in accord with his.
From Dean Obeidallah’s January 5, 2012 CNN article “Santorum wants to impose ‘Judeo-Christian Sharia’”:

“Santorum wants to impose conservative Christian law upon America. Am I being hyperbolic or overly dramatic with this statement? I wish I were, but I'm not.

“Plainly put, Rick Santorum wants to convert our current legal system into one that requires our laws to be in agreement with religious law, not unlike what the Taliban want to do in Afghanistan. …

“He told a crowd at a November campaign stop in Iowa in no uncertain terms, ‘our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.’

“On Thanksgiving Day at an Iowa candidates' forum, he reiterated: ‘We have civil laws, but our civil laws have to comport with the higher law.’ …

“Yes, that means exactly what you think it does: Santorum believes that each and every one of our government's laws must match God’s law, warning that ‘as long as there is a discordance between the two, there will be agitation.’ I'm not exactly sure what ‘agitation’ means in this context, but I think it's a code word for something much worse than acid reflux.

“And as an aside, when Santorum says ‘God,’ he means ‘not any god (but) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ So, if your god differs from Rick's, your god's views will be ignored…”

The mean-spirited warrior sky-god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sanctioned selling one’s daughter into slavery and murdering people for wearing clothing made of two different threads or if they worked on the Sabbath, and since Santorum has been working on the Sabbath throughout his campaign, doesn’t that put him at odds with the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Mr. Santorum is a devout Catholic, which makes one wonder why his religion’s statue-filled churches are so fond of “graven images” that the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so clearly forbid in Exodus 20:4. And then there’s that nasty pedophile scandal that keeps plaguing the Catholic Church. But Mr. Santorum would certainly have an answer for that: the gays are to blame!

Santorum’s disdain for gay and lesbian Americans, his proclivity to blame them for anything he doesn’t like, and his desire to deny them any and all civil rights is a matter of record. In an April 22, 2003 Associated Press interview following the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision, Santorum had this to say:

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything…”

Mr. Santorum has also compared sexual relations between same-sex partners to bestiality. One of his most enthusiastic supporters is Rev. O’Neal Dozier of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Florida, where Santorum spoke from the pulpit during his campaign in that state. Mr. Dozier has decreed that homosexuality was “something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit” and that Mitt Romney was going to hell, presumably because was the governor of the first state to acknowledge the civil right of gay citizens to enter into the state-sanctioned, civil institution called “marriage.”

According to a report in Mother Jones, “the feds charged a charity that Dozier and local Republican activists had supportedwith swindling $3 million from Haitian immigrants. And Dozier started asking Florida judicial nominees if they were ‘God-fearing’ and in favor of anti-sodomy laws.” Birds of a feather. Santorumalso had what some might call “swindling” problems of his own.

Santorum’s theofascism isn’t just limited to gays. Heterosexual women and couples (especially low-income ones) are also targeted. Ultimately, Mr. Santorum would like to see access to birth control severely limited, if not outlawed entirely. As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently noted, Santorum “told ABC News’s Jake Tapper that he disagreed with the 1965 Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on contraception. And, in October [2011], he insisted that contraception is “not O.K. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

“How things are supposed to be”? Apparently Mr. Santorum believes he definitively knows how “things are supposed to be.” And speaking of how “things are supposed to be,” Mr. Santorum is constantly championing “moral responsibility” and “family values.”

If you had a child with a very serious, ultimately fatal condition, would you spend as much time with her as you possibly could, or would you focus on yourself and your political ambitions? Read this and judge for yourself Mr. Santorum’s “moral responsibility” and “family values.”

Not surprisingly, Mr. Santorum also seems to advocate inequality in other areas as well. From “Santorum’s Gospel of Inequality,” by Charles M. Blow:

“That was Fox News’s headline about Rick Santorum’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club on Thursday [2/16/12]. Santorum said, ‘I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been and, hopefully, and I do say that, there always will be.’

“Unbelievable. Maybe not, but stunning all the same.

“Then again, Santorum is becoming increasingly unhinged in his public comments. Last week, he said that the president was arguing that Catholics would have to ‘hire women priests to comply with employment discrimination issues.’

“Also last week, he suggested that liberals and the president were leading religious people into oppression and even beheadings. I kid you not. Santorum said: ‘They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is a government that gives you rights. What’s left are no unalienable rights. What’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the guillotine.’ …” [italics added]

That last paragraph well demonstrates Mr. Santorum’s flair for ridiculous hyperbole and genuine GOP hypocrisy, as Maureen Dowd noted in her OpEd: “Why is it that Republicans don’t want government involved when it comes to the economy (opposing the auto bailouts) but do want government involved when it comes to telling people how to live their lives?”

On Sunday, 19 February 2012, the High Chancellor of Theofascism and Inequality was working hard again (on the Christian Sabbath):

“CUMMING, Ga. -- Rick Santorum on Sunday condemned what he called President Barack Obama’s world view that ‘elevates the Earth above man,’ discouraging increased use of natural resources.

“The GOP presidential candidate also slammed Obama’s health care overhaul for requiring insurers to pay for prenatal tests that, Santorum said, will encourage more abortions.

“A day after telling an Ohio audience that Obama’s agenda is based on ‘some phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible,’ Santorum said he wasn’t criticizing the president’s Christianity. …

“‘I am talking about his world view, and the way he approaches problems in this country. I think they’re different than how most people do in America,’ he said in the [CBS Face the Nation] broadcast interview.”

Let’s take it twisted idea by twisted idea.

President Obama’s “world view” is based on reason, rationality, and twenty-first century knowledge and information. Mr. Santorum’s is based on Bronze Age superstitions and “knowledge” that included sea monsters and a flat earth. Mr. Obama’s environmental policies generally favor reducing use of limited “natural resources” such as fossil fuels, the burning of which – according the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide – are having a detrimental effect on the earth and ecological systems that support human life. Mr. Santorum biblical world view seems in favor of increased depletion of natural resources, further raping the earth and further destroying ecological systems.

Santorum’s “world view” may play well with Christian fundamentalists and ultra conservatives, but somehow I think most American would want contemporary problem addressed using the best contemporary knowledge rather than Bronze Age ideas such as “Satan attacking America.” From Right Wing Watch:

Jesse Lee Peterson Claims Obama is Not a Christian, Aided by Satan

“Submitted by Brian Tashman on Thu, 02/23/2012

“Conservative columnist and frequentFox News guest Jesse Lee Peterson today asserted that he is “certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian.” Peterson, head of Brotherhood Organization Of A New Destiny, agreed with Rick Santorum’s remarks on how Satan is attacking the United States and even went on to link Satan to Obama’s election in 2008: “I do agree with Santorum that this is a 'spiritual war' and that 'Satan is targeting the U.S.' which is precisely why I believe Barack Obama was selected and elected.” He said that Obama is “an American hating Socialist” who is “more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ”…”

In his attack on rationality, reason, science, equality, common sense, and the modern world, Mr. Santorum has also claimed prenatal testing results in abortions “more often than not.” Not so, said Dr. Jane Porcelan, president of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest ob-gyn professional group:

“She found Santorum’s remarks about pre-natal testing, ill-informed, to say the least.

“‘I think Mr. Santorum is sorely misguided when he makes such generalizations,’ she said. ‘It’s really an ignorant thing to say.’

“According to Porcelan, amniocentesis may actually improve infant health. It detects conditions that can be treated in utero or immediately upon delivery. But more often than not, she said, it detects a perfectly normal pregnancy.”

“An ignorant thing to say,” to be sure. But then again, Mr. Santorum specializes in saying ignorant things and always without any reputable documentation or support. Armed with his supposedly biblical theology and Catholic dogma, Mr. Santorum seems to have nothing but loathing for bringing reason, rationality and twenty-first century knowledge to bear on secular, civil issues. The true mark of a theofascist.

That former senator Rick Santorum – who was resoundingly booted out of office by Pennsylvania voters (“the largest defeat by a Republican United States senator seeking election or re-election in modern Pennsylvania history”) largely for the same theofascist views he’s currently espousing – has become a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination is a statement about how deranged the Republican Party has become.

There is way too much God-talk and religion in American politics today. Too many politicians are simply puppets of the pulpit. Too many important issues need to be addressed not on the basis of Bronze Age beliefs and religious dogma, but using reason, rationality, twenty-first century knowledge and the American pledge of civil equality for all citizens.

In the GOP, way too many candidates say “God” personally told them to run: “Karen Santorum told CBN's David Brody in May [2011] about her husband’s decision to run for president, ‘It really boils down to God’s will. What is it that God wants? ... We have prayed a lot about this decision, and we believe with all our hearts that this is what God wants.’” Do you think the “God” who told Santorum to run for president is the same god “of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” that told Mohamed Atta and the other theo-political zealots to do what they did on September 11, 2001?

Let’s be blunt. Through human history the marriage of religious dogma and political power has always been a disaster for civility, civil rights and humanity. Mr. Santorum personifies that disaster.


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