As the Associated Press reporter said to Rick Santorum in their now famous April 7 interview (transcript below), ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about ‘man on dog’ with a United States Senator, and it’s sort of freaking me out.’
So I guess the first thing I need to link you to is this classic Salon story on gay animals. There is some evidence to suggest that God not only made gay and lesbian people, but that He may have made gay and lesbian animals as well.
And the next thing to say is how consistent the Republican leadership is on stuff like this. Trent Lott, the Senate’s highest ranking leader until recently, likened gays and lesbians to ‘alcoholics and kleptomaniacs.’ (It was not long after this that I attended a fundraiser at which the host pretended to steal President Clinton’s watch.) Imagine if he had chosen some similar comparison for African Americans or Hispanics, Asians or women, Italians or Jews.
(The difference, he would presumably say, is that there is nothing wrong with being a woman or Italian. But the Bible has told him that it is an abomination for two people of the same sex to lie down together, as it is for people to wear garments made of more than one fabric, or for them to touch the skin of a pig, or to remarry after divorce. These are abominations that decent citizens simply do not commit. Nonvirgin brides must be stoned in the public square until dead, and slaves have been commanded [Colossians 3:22] to obey their masters ‘with fear and trembling [Ephesians 6:5].’)
Lott’s counterpart over on the House side was Dick Armey, famous for mispronouncing his colleague Barney Frank’s tongue-twister of a last name. (He pronounced it: ‘Fag.’) Imagine if he had mispronounced it Barney Kike, or if – back in the days when there was actually an African American Republican in Congress – he had mispronounced that colleague’s name, J.C. N-word. I’m guessing it could have caused an even bigger flap than the Barney Fag mispronunciation. In America in 2003, and surely from a Congressman, all three are completely unacceptable.
Now Lott has been demoted for celebrating Strom Thurmond’s segregationist Presidential run a few decades back (I would have presumed he meant it in jest until I re-read Colossians and Ephesians), and Dick Armey has gone back to Texas. But House majority leader Tom DeLay is at least as mean and bullying and homophobic as Armey ever was. And those who had hoped Lott’s replacement as Majority Leader, Senator Frist, would be an improvement – well, he must be some improvement – were given pause by his support of Santorum’s remarks.
‘Rick is a consistent voice for inclusion and compassion in the Republican Party and in the Senate,’ Frist told the press, ‘and to suggest otherwise is just politics.’
Santorum says he thinks it’s right that the police be able to arrest two men in the privacy of their bedroom for having consensual sex . . . he hopes the Supreme Court will uphold that . . . because otherwise, if the Supreme Court were to find that they have the right to do what they want in the privacy of their home, we’ll then, people would have the right to do anything victimless and consensual in the privacy of their bedrooms.
And surely the government can’t allow that.
Think about it! Can you really allow consenting adults to do whatever they want in bed? Is this the American way? It’s not the Republican way, by gum, if Rick Santorum, third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, has anything to say about it.
‘I have no problem with homosexuality; I have a problem with homosexual acts,’ explained the inclusive, compassionate Santorum yesterday. So he would have no problem with people like Charles and me – faithful partners of nearly nine years now – so long as we agreed never to touch each other. Or at least not to touch each other with anything in mind that Senator Santorum would consider objectionable. His compassion, as Senator Frist apparently sees it, would extend to feeling sorry for us . . . sad that, to fit his definition of decency, we must forever be denied the human intimacy that comes naturally to us.
Hey, listen – if we want to love each other – I mean, physically – we can always go to one of those remote, Godless, uncivilized backwaters of the Earth like, say, Europe. (The mayors of Paris and Berlin are both gay. In the Netherlands, gays can marry. The armed forces of all the members of NATO save two, I think, allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.) But not in this man’s America. Not if Senator Rick Santorum and the kind of right-minded Supreme Court Justices he hopes to see have anything to say about it.
Are you sure you’re closer in philosophy to Rick Santorum and to the borrow-and-spend Republicans who added $3 trillion to the National Debt last time around and seem headed to add even more this time? Now that the Republican leadership has moved so far to the right – this is not Dwight Eisenhower’s or Nelson Rockefeller’s Republican Party! – are you sure you’re not a business-minded DLC Democrat?
Let’s give Senator Santorum the last word, from a town hall meeting in Williamsport, Pennsylvania yesterday where he vigorously defended the remarks that caused all the commotion: ‘If the State can no longer regulate moral activity within the home, then you open up the possibility of a whole host of activity which may be a whole lot immoral.’
Now, here’s an unedited section of the April 7 Associated Press interview with Sen. Santorum (R-PA). The only thing I’ve done is boldface a single line a find particularly chilling:
AP: Speaking of liberalism, there was a story in The Washington Post about six months ago, they’d pulled something off the Web, some article that you wrote blaming, according to The Washington Post, blaming in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?
SANTORUM: You have the problem within the church. Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it’s in the privacy of your own home, this “right to privacy,” then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say, there is no deviant as long as it’s private, as long as it’s consensual, then don’t be surprised what you get. You’re going to get a lot of things that you’re sending signals that as long as you do it privately and consensually, we don’t really care what you do. And that leads to a culture that is not one that is nurturing and necessarily healthy. I would make the argument in areas where you have that as an accepted lifestyle, don’t be surprised that you get more of it.
AP: The right to privacy lifestyle?
SANTORUM: The right to privacy lifestyle.
AP: What’s the alternative?
SANTORUM: In this case, what we’re talking about, basically, is priests who were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We’re not talking about priests with 3-year-olds, or 5-year-olds. We’re talking about a basic homosexual relationship. Which, again, according to the world view sense is a a perfectly fine relationship as long as it’s consensual between people. If you view the world that way, and you say that’s fine, you would assume that you would see more of it.
AP: Well, what would you do?
SANTORUM: What would I do with what?
AP: I mean, how would you remedy? What’s the alternative?
SANTORUM: First off, I don’t believe —
AP: I mean, should we outlaw homosexuality?
SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who’s homosexual. If that’s their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it’s not the person, it’s the person’s actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.
AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual 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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, whether it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —
AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.
SANTORUM: And that’s sort of where we are in today’s world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.
AP: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you. Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy — you don’t agree with it?
SANTORUM: I’ve been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don’t agree with that. So I would make the argument that with President, or Senator or Congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn’t want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn’t agree with it, but that’s their right. But I don’t agree with the Supreme Court coming in.
Clearly, this is a guy who thinks he’s doing the right thing and has the courage to stand up for what he believes – as do the mullahs who force women to wear veils and forbid them to vote or attend school. I am not suggesting Senator Santorum is not entitled to his beliefs, and I imagine he is a very loving husband and father, for which, if he is, he can be rightly proud. I just think his views, like the mullahs’ views, are terribly wrong and unfair and unAmerican (not that any one of us owns the right to define what is American), and it scares me that he enjoys such a leadership role in our government and the support of so many Republicans.
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