The right’s fear of education: What I learned as a (former) conservative military man


Why are Republicans constantly bashing college these days? I was one of them — and the answer may surprise you

The right’s fear of education: What I learned as a (former) conservative military man

The right's fear of education: What I learned as a (former) conservative military man

EnlargeScott Walker, Rick Santorum (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas/AP/Charlie Neibergall/Photo montage by Salon)

My first college experience was failing half my classes at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 1992.  The highlight was getting a “D” in English 101.  Like many small town kids, I was overwhelmed and underprepared.  I dropped out of UNLV, joined the military and got married.  Being a 20-year-old father and “enlisted” man showed me exactly how not to live, so I started a backward, fumbling and circuitous process of getting my undergraduate degree.  In seven years, I attended four community colleges, a university on a military base and attended military journalism school.  I pieced the whole mess into a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College, a credit aggregator that caters to military members.

Modern conservative politics push the notion that people who flip switches, burgers or bedpans don’t need “education.”  They instead need “job training.”  In Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, someone crossed out this phrase: “to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses and to serve and stimulate society.”  And added this instead: “to meet the state’s workforce needs.”  Walker backed down on the language change when it was exposed, claiming it was a “mistake.”  Really it was just one more tired attack on the idea of education as a public good, one that helps people find fulfillment and meaning.

I value education more than many people, because I struggled so hard to get it.  I had a bad elementary school experience, failed the fifth grade, muddled through high school and dropped out of college.  Teachers were always kind to me, saying things like, “He’s clever, but lazy.”  They were wrong about me, just like when Republicans are always wrong about poor people being lazy or stupid.  When I failed out of college the first time I was working a full-time job far above 40 hours a week, while also going to school.  I was most worried about making a living, and my skill set mirrored that of so many in the working class: Work hard, day in and day out and be grateful.  Educational success has little to do with innate intelligence or “goodness” and almost everything to do with class, upbringing and privilege.

I also viewed education with suspicion bordering on paranoia. I came from a rural mining town in Nevada where I knew mostly blue-collar men who neither needed nor wanted a college education. Listening to adults talk they always had a favorite villain: the person who jumped ahead in line and got a job or promotion, only because he or she had a college degree.

I have my own children now, and I know the limits of parenting.  Children heed your example far more than your advice.  It’s painful to watch your children struggle. It was the same for my conservative family who encouraged me to go college. They weren’t able to offer any meaningful guidance or help, and it was not their fault.  First generation college students, like me, face an impossible climb.  If you add in conservative hostility to education, it gets that much harder.

After getting a bachelor’s at 27, I went back to graduate school to study 18th century British literature at California State Hayward.  I landed a new job in Reno and moved to the University of Nevada, Reno, finishing a master’s in English there.  A few years later, I went back again, this time for a master’s of fine arts in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, a school that emphasizes social justice—for many conservatives, a coded phrase that means “liberal.”  Even as a libertarian attending a liberal college, people went out of their way to be both kind and tolerant to me.  My preconceived notions about the “evil liberals of the ivory tower” looked more ignorant and narrow by the day.

Before college, I voted conservative, hated gay people, loved America and served my country in the armed services.  I’ve changed because of many factors, but I know that college and graduate school made a difference. I met people unlike myself and was forced to defend sometimes ugly political positions.  The Tea Party thrives on blue-collar “common sense” that is composed of a combination of ignorance, superstition and fear. A literate and educated populace is an existential threat to the kind of thoughtless rage that has consumed the right over the past few years.

When I write about how my politics evolved over a lifetime from conservative to liberal, people in the comments section (note: never read Internet comments) like to point out my “liberal arts degrees.”  Even my own friends like to remark on my MFA, usually by asking me to whip them up a “grande cappuccino.”  It’s funny, and I go right along with the joke too.  I understand the reality of trying to earn a living with an arts degree. At the same time, it’s troubling that educational fulfillment has turned into a punch line, even among those who believe in it.

Some people on the right are very educated. Rick Santorum holds an MBA and a JD (with honors, no less), and his vehement hatred of college seems to stem from his kooky take on religion.  Modern politics is drawing bizarre new battle lines between “family values” and a halfway decent education.  American Christians may dislike “Islam,” but they share a lot of opinions with the radical Islamic group “Boko Haram,” a name that itself translates into “education is forbidden.” In our own country, we have a massive and growing group of people who would rather have illiterate children than let their kids learn anything that contradicts their most extreme religious views.

I know many thoughtful, educated and even liberal people who hold deep faith.  Despite my own personal atheism, I accept the authentic religious experiences of others, but I’m troubled by a growing chorus of denial on climate change, evolution and the age of the planet.  Anti-intellectualism may be an American tradition, but when “mainstream” politicians embrace ignorance, education ends up as collateral damage.

“Serious” presidential candidate Scott Walker seems to have a problem with evolution, sounding like an idiot, most recently while in England. Unlike Rick Santorum who is an overeducated hypocrite, Walker lives the life of a true education hater. Asked about not finishing his undergraduate experience (which I’m not necessarily attacking), Walker said, “The reason I went to college, in large part, was not just to get an education for an education’s sake, but to get a job.” For too many politicians, it all comes down to money.

In America, to our everlasting shame, money is the absolute yardstick of goodness. I like money just like anyone, but many other things have brought me as much or more satisfaction: being a father, writing an essay or seeing a new part of the planet.  It’s easy to pick on poetry, humanity or art degrees.

I was able to go back to school in large part because my military service made it affordable. The GI Bill paid for both my master’s degrees. My background and rough start make me an unlikely champion of college education.  I’ve also been socially adjusted for my whole life to feel like a pretentious asshole and a fraud every time I bring it up.  But education makes a difference in people’s lives.

That’s why sensible people need to stand up against the vilification of education. A good start is to support Barack Obama’s free community college initiative. I earned most of the credits for my very first undergraduate degree at community colleges, and those classes kickstarted my interest in school. It’s hard to see how I would have ever overcome my own barriers without the patience of many community college instructors. Obama’s plan to fund community college will not only make our country a better place but will also improve, even slightly, the state of our shared humanity.

And to acknowledge the “other side,” education does help people find good, fulfilling jobs.  Even my “slapped together” bachelor’s degree helped launch me into a career in public relations. The job has more than sustained me and my family, while also allowing me to explore my own outside interests.

Some days I wish I could use my graduate education to find a full-time academic job, but I passed up too many opportunities and wasted too many years fumbling around. Academic jobs and humanities scholarship itself are under assault, just like so many other valuable parts of America. I’m probably a coward, but I also don’t like the idea of leaving my longtime profession to start all over. Besides, there is inherent value to education even if someone isn’t paying you for it. I know my life would be less satisfying without it. For instance, if I had turned my back on education, I could have ended up as an ignorant asshole trying to turn back the very hands of human progress, much like the party to which I once belonged.

You can follow Edwin Lyngar on twitter @Edwin_Lyngar

Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and state


Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and state

The social conservative favorite is playing to type VIDEO

Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and stateEnlargeRick Santorum (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum made his political career as a champion of theocratic conservatism, so it’s hardly a surprise that he’s no fan of the separation of church and state.

But to Santorum, the concept of church-state separation isn’t merely misguided. It’s downright communist.

Santorum delivered this sizzling take in a conference call with social conservatives posted online today and flagged by the watchdog group Right Wing Watch. A caller told Santorum that that many of the policy priorities of President Obama and “the Democrat Party” appeared in Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”; the caller proceeded to cite a number of things, including same-sex marriage, that appear nowhere in the tome.

“Well, I was just thinking,” Santorum chimed in, “that the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

The fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear verbatim in the Constitution is a favorite right-wing talking point — one that conveniently glides over the founders’ explicitly expressed support for a “wall of separation.” It’s been a particular hobbyhorse of Santorum, who made headlines during his 2012 presidential campaign for saying that he “almost threw up” upon reading then-Sen. John F. Kennedy’s famed 1960 speech in which he advocated an “absolute” separation of church and state.

Santorum’s latest remarks don’t mark the first time he’s tarred an idea he doesn’t like with the pinko label. Earlier this year, he said that using the term “middle class” is “Marxism talk.”

“Since when in America do we have classes?” Santorum asked at the time. “Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class? That’s Marxism talk.”

Early indications suggest that Santorum is prepared to take his anti-commie crusade to the 2016 presidential race, although it’s looking like America will be deprived of the chance to be led by the warrior for all that is good and godly. RealClearPolitics’ polling average finds Santorum in 11th place in the GOP field, garnering just 3 percent support.

Listen to Santorum’s newest comments, via Right Wing Watch:

Luke Brinker is Salon’s deputy politics editor. Follow him on Twitter at @LukeBrinker.

Catholic Crackpot Rick Santorum Joins The Hive of Uber-Lunacy at World Nut Daily!


Rick Santorum Now Writing for World Net Daily: ‘The UN Wants to Kill My Daughter’
Former presidential candidate promptly pens crazy anti-UN rant
Rick Santorum has now joined the illustrious company of Pamela Geller, Jerome Corsi, and Joseph Farah, and is writing a regular column for one of the looniest wingnut sites on the web, the always inadvertently amusing World Net Daily, where they’re still totally certain that Barack Obama is a secretly gay radical Muslim atheist commie with a fake birth certificate.

Not a single one of those absurd adjectives is exaggerated. The people who write for this hive of lunacy really do believe that stuff, all of it, at the same time. Not to mention the creationism, the advocation of theocracy, the climate change denial, the insane raving homophobia, and the blatant nativism and racism. It’s a cornucopia of anti-rational far right kookery.

And Santorum’s first column for Weird Nuts Drooling fits right in; it’s a crazy rant about a United Nations treaty on the rights of disabled people that Santorum thinks is a secret conspiracy to subvert the US Constitution so they can kill his daughter.

Digging a bit deeper, the treaty has much darker and more troubling implications.

The most offensive provision is found in Section 7 of the treaty dealing specifically with children with disabilities. That section reads:

“In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

“The best interest of the child” standard is lifted out of a controversial provision contained in the 1989 treaty called the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. That treaty was never ratified in large part because of this provision.

“The best interest of the child” standard may sound like it protects children, but what it does is put the government, acting under U.N. authority, in the position to determine for all children with disabilities what is best for them. That is counter to the current state of the law in this country which puts parents – not the government – in that position of determining what is in their child’s best interest. Under the laws of our country, parents lose that right only if the state, through the judicial process, determines that the parents are unfit to make that decision.

In the case of our 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who has Trisomy 18, a condition that the medical literature says is “incompatible with life,” would her “best interest” be that she be allowed to die? Some would undoubtedly say so.

Oh, for Pete’s sake.

Should somebody let Rick Santorum know that the Supreme Court has ruled on numerous occasions that the Supremacy Clause says treaties like this one cannot supersede the US Constitution, or is it too funny to just let him keep ranting away?

It’s very illuminating to see Republicans like Santorum losing their shit over an overwhelmingly positive treaty that would greatly help the disabled people of the world; makes it very easy to see that gaping cavity in their chests where a heart is supposed to be.

Also see: Let’s Talk: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

The Vatican Occupation of America


How Rome Didn’t Decline and Fall (Yet)

Bill Annett Salem-News.com

The Vatican Occupation of America – A Tragi-Comedy In Three Acts III The Vatican Numbers Game.

Priests give Hitler salute at a Catholic youth rally in the Berlin-Neukolln stadium in August 1933.

 

America, the new Rome

 

(SASKATCHEWAN) – Question: (From the inquisitive student in the back row) “How can the Vatican, which has no defense or military budget of $750 billion (as in the United States), with no army, navy or air force – except for a platoon or so of those Swiss guards carrying pike poles and those funny hats)  manage to control, dictate to and obtain absolute fealty from (including the payment of enormous amounts of money under “concordats”) literally every legitimate (about 178 of them)  “free world” government, not to mention 800 million people around the globe?”

Answer: “An excellent question, back-row student. The answer is by parading itself as the next thing to God. The American model is typical, and one of the most successful. Let us consider the American model. Watch closely.”

In our last class, entitled “Sex And The Single Church,” we were considering “Catholic Education,” which is held high as a beacon and often referred to in hushed tones by distinguished politicians, celebrities and talk-show hosts who are obviously graduands of an excellent Catholic educational institution, along with emotional nostalgia over Knute Rockne, the Gipper himself and the football supremacy of Notre Dame. As a result, the priestly control of education in Catholic America has a subliminal but huge implication for intellectual freedom, that handmaiden of “religious freedom.”

Consider the following catechism, offered up by Dr. Sydney Mumford, as far back as 1984:

  1. The pope is the infallible leader of mankind, and, when he speaks for the Church in matters of faith and morals he, like Caesar’s wife, can neither be wrong nor above reproach.
  • The Virgin Mary returned to the earth six times in 1917 and told three peasant children of Fatima, Portugal, what the Western world should do to avoid destruction by Soviet Russia.
  • It is a grave sin for an American Catholic deliberately to join the Masons or Odd Fellows. (Contrary to popular belief, the Knights of Columbus are not Odd Fellows. They just look like it. – Ed.)
  • No good Catholic may positively and unconditionally approve of the principle of separation of church and state. (Rick Santorum is a good Catholic. -Ed)
  • Thomas Aquinas is the greatest philosopher of all time. (So is Phil Donahue. No relation to Bill Donahue, the soothsayer of the American Catholic League. -Ed.)
  • It is a sin to teach the evolution of man as a whole from animal life. (Although Archbishops may be referred to as “primates.” -Ed.)
  • In general, no Catholic has a moral right to secure a divorce and remarry even if married to a syphilitic, insane or adulterous murderer; and any Catholic who does remarry after such a divorce is guilty of adultery.
  • The Reformation was a backward step in human history, and many of the worst evils of fascism and communism flow from it.
  • It is a grave sin for a Catholic under ordinary circumstance knowingly to own or use a Protestant Bible.
  • The pope is the head of a sovereign temporal state which has coequal rights with that of the government of the United States.
  • The rights of the Church as educator are prior to and superior to the rights of the state as educator, and no government has the legal right to infringe upon this divine prerogative.

Since differences in schools, curriculum and teachers produce differences in behavior, there is a huge implication for science, the study of demographics and population growth and presidential elections. Catholic hospitals, for example, sharply restrict the delivery of family-planning services, to the dismay of any non-Catholic couples who are naïve enough to use these facilities for fertility related services.

With recent advances in medicine that have allowed embryo transfers, test-tube babies, and artificial insemination,  the Church’s negative response runs counter to its pro-life position. The Church claims that such conceptions are against “natural” law, with elaborate theological reasoning, all of which is sheer lunacy.

Instead of armed forces, the Church uses psychic weap­ons, such as the threat of excommunication. Over the centuries, the Church devised an elaborate system of controls that rely upon what amounts to “psychic terrorism” applied to the faithful by celibate moral experts whose sole domain is the adjudication and wrestling to the ground of a Church invention known as “sin.” Sin differs from crime in that for the latter you go to jail, for the former you go to the confessional and donate a little something to the Church, concerning which, all monetary roads lead to Rome and the Vatican Bank.

The distinction between Catholic Church tyranny and that of other historical tyrants is that the former is a tyranny of virtue. Just as American advertising has established the principle that if you lie long and strongly enough, people will buy the lie, the Church line can counter the truth without producing the appearance of a lie. (On Madison Avenue, the message that “saving 15% on your car insurance,” bombarded by an insurance company ad nauseum convinces the buyer, although the fact is  that the company has the most expensive premiums in the industry.)

“Goodness” has allowed the Vatican tyranny to flourish as Christian love  for two thousand years. Oddly, today  only 50 percent of all Catholic Americans polled believe in papal infallibility, but they buy the product anyway. This spread between belief and action has been the historical reason for the Church’s success as a basic profit center, but it also bears the seeds of its undoing.

In practice, American Catholics ignore the wishes of the hierarchy and produce family sizes identical to non-Catholics. They use the same contraceptive methods with the same frequency and are resorting to abortion at the same rate. Even as recently as 1960 Catholics had, on average, one more child than non-Catholics. No longer. Along with a gradual exodus from the Church by all concerned.

As a result, Catholic “religious freedom” must continue to fight a rear-guard action against the encroachment of a more enlightened generation and the advent of the worldwide web, social media and universal communication. Rearguard action has been attempted, such as attempting to encourage greater immigration of people from Catholic nations, such as Latin America, to replace the eroding American family constituency, but the handwriting is increasingly on the wall.

Church reactionaries to the demographic reality of the shrinking Catholic presence in America enlist the ancient cliche, “You should never criticize another man’s religion.” That innocent-sounding doctrine, born in a Protestant America before the arrival of a significant Vatican presence, is full of danger to U.S. security. It ignores the duty of every good citizen to stand for the truth in every field of thought, including the favorite of all righties, national security. It illuminates the central principle that a large part of what the Vatican calls religion is also politics and economics.

Which takes me back to  my Dad and his injunction when I was a little boy that I apologize for bad-mouthing the Church. So here, in these three installments, albeit 75 years later,  I come as close as I can, Dad, to an essay on tolerance.

“We will forgive you,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “if you will forgive us.”

Catholic clergy and Nazi officials, including Joseph Goebbels (far right) and Wilhelm Frick (second from right), give the Nazi salute. Germany, date uncertain. [Photo source, Holocaust Encyclopedia]

Except that in this instance, the “you” in the equation, despite all the Latin mumbling, hasn’t said mea culpa yet.

First published by:

THE CANADIAN SHIELD  April 17,  Volume 3, Issue #18

______________________________________________________

Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post’s history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill’s first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army’s CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: bilko23@gmail.com

Vatican Facism Catholic Nazism Catholic Nazi Vatican Power Catholic Power vs Democracy Catholic Hitler Catholic Dictators

 

God’s Republican Charlatans


Quick flashback of recent Republican losers, buffoons and charlatans that claimed “god’s” endorsement!

God Endorsed 4 Losing Republican Presidential Candidates

God Endorsed 4 Losing Republican Presidential Candidates
If four of the losing Republican presidential candidates are telling the truth, then spiritual endorsement is not a sign of primary success.
This week, Mitt Romney said goodbye to his last serious challenger to the GOP nomination. Rick Santorum pulled out of the race, even though his wife, Karen Santorum, said God wanted her husband to take on President Barack Obama.
Karen Santorum was not the only Republican to speak of God’s support in the 2012 Republican primary.
Anita Perry, wife of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, also said God called on her husband to go for it.
Michele Bachmann said she received assurances from God about her campaign-related decisions to seek higher office, and one-time frontrunner Herman Cain claimed God was in his corner too. As Cain put it, “When I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Cain: God Convinced Him to Run for President (by Lindsey Boerma, National Journal)

Anita Perry Gets Candid, Claims Christian Victimhood (by Michael Scherer, Time)

Ron Paul the Failed Messiah | Turns Miracle Oil Salesman


Ron Paul the Failed Messiah | Turns Miracle Oil Salesman

News just in!

Live miracle TV!

If you’ve just joined us, we are in the middle of a miracle that has happened right here on national TV. Ron Paul is suddenly spraying holy oil out of his eyes …

Can the prayers of gullible Ronulans resurrect their failed messiah and transform him into and even more monstrous, decomposing, walking dead zombie?!

Young Turks Kick Callista Gingrich When She’s Down (VIDEO)


Young Turks Kick Callista Gingrich When She’s Down (VIDEO)

by Rebecca Schoenkopf

To Serve Man
Everyone hates Moon Empress and Lizardoid “V” Queen Callista Gingrich, this is not “news.” But why? Wonkette’s own Jim Newell explained she has never done anything to anyone (we guess Jim forgot about Newt’s second wife) and is not even running for anything so what who cayuhs. Well, Cenk [Last Name] of The Young Turks apparently does, that’s who, and put together a nightmare video, after the jump.
VIDEO:-

GOP Contest of Clowns | Last Clown Standing


Random Notes From the GOP Clown Show

This is getting embarrassing. First you have Mitt Romney claiming that Rick Santorum is too liberal and does not have “the fiscal conservative chops” that he, Mr. Flip-Floppin Conservative, has. Then Santorum fires back in typical schoolyard one-upmanship by claiming that Romney is a socialist.

Mitt first.

I find it interesting that he [Santorum] continues to describe himself as the real conservative. This is the guy who voted against right-to-work. This is the guy who voted to fund Planned Parenthood. This is the person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times? […] Rick Santorum is not a person who is an economic conservative to my right.

Little Ricky’s response.

I didn’t back Romneycare, which is a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy,” Santorum told conservative radio host Mark Levin on Monday night, pointing to his own work with Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on health savings accounts during the Clinton administration. “When Mitt Romney’s solution to a healthcare problem is to take over one-sixth of the economy, you can’t call yourself a conservative,” Santorum said. “You can call yourself a socialist, but you can’t call yourself a conservative.

These guys are duking it out to see who’s going to be the last clown standing in a battle of witless wonders.

Most depressing thought for Republicans has got to be the good possibility that this stuff is going to carry on all the way to the Tampa convention.

__

(The base source photograph for the above illustration is a Library of Congress digital image. The Mitt Romney source photograph is a Creative Commons licensed image from photographer Gage Skidmore. )

The Twisted Twins | Catholic Fascist Warmongers Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum


Bomb! Bomb! Bomb!!!!!!!  . . .   Bomb! Bomb Iran!!!!! (Christian Warmongers, Good Catholic Boys Div.)

by Rev. Paul McKay

SANTORUM & GINGRICH HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH TORTURE AND THE CASUAL DROPPING OF BOMBS THAT WILL DESTROY THE LIVES OF SCORES OF INNOCENT MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN; THESE ARE A COUPLE OF REALLY, REALLY VIOLENT, HATEMONGERING, WARMONGERING CATHOLICS AND WE CANNOT LET THESE PEOPLE GET US INTO ANOTHER CATASTROPHIC AND VIOLENT WORLD EVENT; SPEAK OUT, PEACEMAKERS: SPEAK OUT LOUD AND CLEAR AGAINST THIS MADNESS WITH ME

For Catholics who purport to care so deeply and passionately for the sanctity of life–for Catholics who claim to be all about the Catholic Church’s teachings–the Rick Santorums and Newt Gingriches of the world sure do talk casually about nuking people.

Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church were adamantly opposed to the mere invasion of Iraq, remember? So much so that the Pope dispatched an old Bush family friend and Catholic clergyman to try to persuade Bush that invading Iraq could in no way be justified on any Christian or moral grounds whatsoever.

At least President Bush heard out the old family Catholic friend before dismissing him with that typical Bush absolutism. (Absolutely to the right on war and peace.) Bush, a United Methodist (who left the Episcopal Church largely because of Laura’s Methodist ties and because “the Episcopalians kneel too much! he! he!”), turned a totally deaf ear to the United Methodist Bishops who joined every other mainline Protestant denomination in virtually begging him not to go venturing off on an unjust and unnecessary war.

Now, the Santorums and Gingriches of the world talk casually about dropping bombs–nuclear, no less–on Iran with no evidence to justify such draconian action (Ron Paul is right about that–walleyed crazy Ron Paul is right about a lot of things, not that I could ever vote for him except as a protest vote).

It seems to be lost on these Catholic politicos that their own Catholic Church, which they say they love and they defend so vigorously, extends the sanctity of life to all life–not just to life in the womb. It’s why the Vatican predictably speaks out loud and clear and justifiably every time there is a scheduled execution of a death row inmate in this country. It’s why the Vatican consistently opposes torture which Santorum and Gingrich have no prob with.

For all their problems and all the weird and twisted theology they have, in my humble opinion–as I noted in a recent posting, the theology of “every sperm is sacred” ain’t my deal–the Catholics at least are consistent on the sacredness of life and viewing a life as created in the very image of God. Santorum and Gingrich seem to think a lot of lives are born in the image of a literal Satan that doesn’t even literally exist (again, that opinion is my own humble and theologically informed opinion–send your nasty disagreements to revpaulmckay@gmail.com and put your name on your nastiness if you want to tell me how misguided a Christian I am because I don’t believe in a ridiculous literal Satan).

The Santorums and Gingriches speak as if they have no respect for their own church’s teachings and preachings whatsoever when they start fanning the flames of war. They speak of bombing without so much as any moral perspective. You won’t hear them say, “As much as I hate war, as much as I would tremble at the heavy responsibility of taking lives and wreaking havoc in the world, I would do it out of moral concern for the greater good of saving other lives.”

Nope, you won’t hear that kind of moral and Christian equivocating, acknowledging that people will suffer and die—living, breathing human beings outside of wombs–will be maimed if not killed and killed in the most gruesome way possible with nukes melting their bodies down. They won’t approach their violent positions on countries like Iran with any perspective on of the scores of innocent men, women and children who will be left starving, without shelter or clean water to subsist on.

And of course, they are clueless as to how kids growing up in Iran will see the U.S. as maybe being “the Great Satan” that their crazy ass dictator loud mouth clowns portrayed.

Kids in Iran want American Apple gizmos and cool blue jeans.

Bomb the country and kids in Iran will hate America’s guts because the Santorums and Gingriches didn’t give a shit if they and their loved ones lived or died.

I’m sorry, but Santorum and Gingrich are some really twisted sisters and haters.

And we can’t let the haters win.

Speak your voice.

Catholic Fascist Santorum Reveals the True Face of the Republican Party


Santorum Exposes The Real Republican Party

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[Re-posted from earlier today.]

What’s fascinating to me about Santorum‘s outburst yesterday was not its content, but its candor. In fact, one of Santorum’s advantages in this race, especially against Romney, is that we can see exactly where he stands. There can be no absolute separation of church and state, let alone a desire to keep it so; and in their necessary interactions, the church must always prevail, or it is a violation of the First Amendment, and an attack on religious freedom. The church’s teachings are also, according to theoconservatism, integral to the founding of the United States. Since constitutional rights are endowed from the Creator, and the Creator is the Judeo-Christian one, the notion of a neutral public square, embraced by liberals and those once called conservatives, is an attack on America. America is a special nation because of this unique founding on the Judeo-Christian God. It must therefore always be guided by God’s will, and that will is self-evident to anyone, Catholic or Protestant, atheist or Mormon, Jew or Muslim, from natural law.

Tcs2

Hence the notion that America could countenance abortion or same-sex marriage is anathema to Santorum and to theoconservatism. It can only be explained as the work of Satan, so alien is it to the principles of Judeo-Christian America. Hence the resort to constitutional amendments to ban both: total resolutions of these issues for ever must reflect what theocons believe was in the Founders’ hearts and minds.

This has long been the theocon argument; it was the crux of what I identified as the core Republican problem in “The Conservative Soul“. It is not social conservatism, as lazy pundits call it. It is a radical theocratically-based attack on modern liberal democracy; and on modernity as a whole. It would conserve nothing. It would require massive social upheaval, for example, to criminalize all abortion or keep all gay couples from having any publicly acknowledged rights or status. Then think of trying to get women back out of the workplace or contraception banned – natural, logical steps from this way of thinking. This massive change is radical, not conservative. It regards the evolution of American society these past few decades as literally the work of the Father of Lies, not the aggregate reflection of a changing society. It is at its essence a neo-Francoite version of America, an America that was not the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought, but an America designed to destroy what the theocons regard as the catastrophe of the Enlightenment.

PM Carpenter is right to note below that “Kennedy was emphasizing an institutional separation; he never denied that his conscience was influenced by his faith.” But to say that Santorum is attacking a chimera is unfair to both men. Yes, of course, Kennedy’s conscience was informed by his faith; how could it not be? But what Kennedy asserted was that his public pronouncements would be defended by non-sectarian reason, devoid of explicit religious content. Moral content – yes. Religious content – no. Which is why I have long found Obama’s occasional digression into defending, say, universal healthcare by invoking Jesus as depressingly part of the problem. Money Kennedy quote:

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.

This is an explicit public denial that this country is a Christian nation. It is a reaffirmation that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” The most important feature of today’s GOP – and the fundamental reason I have long abandoned it – stands foursquare against that idea. Moreover, in its fusion of explicit religion and explicit politics, it is itself, in my view, an attack on America – and the possibility of a civil republic. Its religious absolutism is the core underpinning of this country’s polarization – because when religion becomes politics, negotiation and compromise become impossible. Bring God into it, and a political conversation must become a culture war.

Note this too from Kennedy:

I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private  affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation  upon him as a condition to holding that office.

This is a defense of private conscience as the core bulwark of religious life – emanating from the Second Vatican Council. And that too is what today’s radical GOP is attacking.

For Santorum, as for Ratzinger, if your conscience says one thing, and the Pope says another, you obey the Pope, not your conscience. And for the Christianists, if your conscience or intelligence says one thing, and the Bible says another, you obey the Bible, not your conscience, and certainly not your intelligence. Because beneath Christianism is a deep fear of the human mind – as if they actually believe that reason is stronger than religion and therefore must be restrained. As if the human mind can will God out of existence.

This is Santorum’s fear-laden vision. Which is why he is not a man of questioning, sincere faith and should not be flattered as such. He is a man of the kind of fear that leads to fundamentalist faith, a faith without doubt and in complete subservience to external authority. There is a reason he doesn’t want many kids to go to college. I mean: when we already know the truth, why bother to keep seeking it? And if we already know the truth, why are we not enforcing it as a matter of law in a country founded on Christian principles? It is not religious oppression if it is “the way things are supposed to be”, by natural law. In fact, a neutral public square, in his mind, is itself religious oppression.

We can also see here the collision of the Second Vatican Council and the current hierarchy. Kennedy was a Catholic of another era, unafraid of modernity, interested in other paths to God, publicly humble and cheerful, privately devout and deeply connected to others of all faiths and none. Santorum is of a different kind: authoritarian, deeply suspicious of freedom when it leads to disobedience of the Papacy’s diktats, and publicly embracing a religious identity as his core political one.

I am relieved he is at least candid. For now we can see in plain view the religious fanaticism that has destroyed one of the major parties in this country, a destruction that is perilous for any workable politics. It must be defeated – and not by electing a plastic liar and panderer like Romney. But by nominating Santorum and defeating him by such a margin that this theo-political Frankenstein, which threatens both genuine faith and civil politics, is dispatched once and for all.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks  during a campaign stop at the St. Mary’s Cultural & Banquet Center  on February 27, 2012 in Livonia, Michigan. By Joe Raedle/Getty Images.)

Catholic Fascist Freak Rick Santorum | Pukes Over Separation of Church and State | Vomits On American Constitution


Santorum: JFK’s Speech on Separation of Church and State Makes Me Want to Puke

Catholic Fascist Freak Rick Santorum | Pukes Over Separation of Church and State | Vomits On American Constitution
As Rick Santorum’s star continues to rise, his rhetoric just keeps getting more and more extreme. Today on ABC News, Santorum said that John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation of church and state makes him want to puke.

And in Santorum’s opinion, every American should feel just as nauseated as he does.

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said today that watching John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston in 1960 made him want to “throw up.”

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said.

“That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square,” he said. …

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country,” said Santorum. “This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960,” he said.

The Catholicization of the American Right


The Catholicization of the American Right

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the past two decades, the American religious Right has become increasingly Catholic. I mean that both literally and metaphorically. Literally, Catholic writers have emerged as intellectual leaders of the religious right in universities, the punditocracy, the press, and the courts, promoting an agenda that at its most theoretical involves a reclamation of the natural law tradition of Thomas Aquinas and at its most practical involves appeals to the kind of common-sense, “everybody knows,” or “it just is” arguments that have characterized opposition to same-sex marriage. There is nothing new about Catholic conservative intellectuals — think John Neuhaus, William F. Buckley, Jr. What is new is the prominence that these Catholic thinkers and leaders have come to have within the domains of American politics that are dominated by evangelical Protestants. Catholic intellectuals have become to the American Right what Jewish intellectuals once were to the American Left. In the academy, on the Court, Catholic intellectuals provide the theoretical discourse that shapes conservative arguments across a whole range of issues. Often these arguments have identifiable Thomistic or Jesuitical sources, but most of the time they enter the mainstream of political dialogue as simply “conservative.”

Meanwhile, in the realm of actual politics, Catholic politicians have emerged as leading figures in the religious conservative movement. Again, there is nothing new about Catholic political leaders nor Catholic politicians, although from Al Smith through John Kennedy they were more often Democrats than Republicans (Pat Buchanan is an exception). What is new is the ability of self-identified Catholic politicians to attract broad support from the among the evangelical Protestant religious right.

Rick Santorum is a case in point. Santorum’s is a specifically Catholic form of faith. The recent flap over contraception is only an example of a much deeper phenomenon. As observers have noted, he talks frequently about natural law, but rarely quotes the Bible directly — his arguments draw on a theologically informed view of the nature of the world, not a personal relationship with the text.

Indeed, in the past Santorum has been quite forthright about the fact that he does not look to the Bible for guidance, he relies quite properly on the guidance of the Church. There is obviously nothing wrong with that … but it sits very curiously with traditional Evangelical Protestant attitudes.

It is important not to overstate the significance of Santorum’s success. For all Santorum’s recent ascendancy, here is the breakdown of actual Republican votes cast thus far: Romney, 1,121,685; Gingrich, 838,825; Santorum, 431,926; Paul, 307,975. The count of awarded delegates produces a somewhat different result: Romney, 99; Santorum, 47; Gingrich, 32; Paul, 20 (The difference among those numbers reflects what political scientists call “malapportionment.”)  But two facts remain: one, with 1,144 delegates required for the nomination this thing is nowhere close to a resolution, and will not be even after Arizona, Michigan, and Super Tuesday; and, two, thus far in the Republican primary campaign, a majority of the votes cast have been for Catholic candidates. It’s not just Santorum; before him it was Gingrich, after all. At the national level, Catholic politicians have emerged as leading figures in the GOP… and  evangelical Protestants are flocking to follow their lead. Why?

The answer is not that evangelicals have become any less Protestant.  In a 2011 American Values Survey, 93% of white evangelicals say it is important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs, versus 69% for Catholics saying the same thing. And 36% of white evangelical voters said they would be uncomfortable voting for a candidate who had strong religious beliefs that were different from their own, up from 29% in 2010, a change that may reflect the effects of a prominent Mormon candidate in the mix. In other words, evangelical voters care a great deal that a candidate’s religion accord with their own… and they are supporting Catholic candidates.  So what is going on?

To understand what is going on, we need to move from the role of Catholic individuals to a broader, more metaphorical idea of a Catholic style of political reasoning. “Catholic” in this exercise means responding to leadership; focusing on outcomes (think “doctrine of works”); and a Manichean view of the world in which the Church — as opposed to mere churches — stands as a bulwark against equally great opposing forces, so that outside the Church there can be only chaos. In this sense a Catholic Republican voter would be someone looking for a commanding general to lead Christian soldiers on a crusade, would care about a candidate’s policies rather than his soul, and respond to a call to view the Republican Party as the last bastion of civilisation in a howling wilderness.  Extending the metaphor, a “Protestant” conservative should reject the idea of leaders in favour of grass roots communalism; local self-direction in the congregationalist model; care about character and personal values more than specific stances or doctrines; and see the world as a mass of sinners who are to be judged  individually by the quality of their soul rather than by their enlistment in one party or the other.

In this metaphorical sense, the “Catholic” political style is strongest among evangelical Protestant voters, not actual Catholics. The eagerness of Catholic bishops to jump into a fight over contraception, for example, does not reflect that attitudes of their parishoners, but it gets strong support from evangelicals. Similarly, in one recent poll more than two-thirds of Catholic voters supported some sort of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships, with 44% favoring same-sex marriage; in very sharp contrast, an outright majority of evangelical voters said there should be no legal recognition of a same-sex relationship.

In political terms, the evangelical Protestant Right has become Catholicized. They do not see Catholicism as a religion very different from their own because it leads to the same positions on the battlefield, call it Fortress GOP. It is a political worldview that is singularly well suited to negative politics. Who cares whether your guy is actually a bit of a nut-case or has some sleaze in his history if he will defeat the forces of darkness? Liberals tolerate venality in their candidates if they believe they will do good; “Catholic” conservatives tolerate venality if they believe their candidates will defeat evil.  (Ironically, all of this has moved the American religious Right in the direction of becoming more and more like a traditional European right-wing political movement, rather than a populist movement in the American Jacksonian tradition.)

In this metaphorical sense, the one person who did the most to push the Catholicization of conservative politics was Newt Gingrich back in the 1990s, long before his personal religious conversion. The most obvious illustration was the infamous GOPAC memorandum entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” that instructed Republican candidates to describe their Democratic opponents using words like “destructive,” “sick,” “pathetic,” “they/them,” “betray” and ” traitors” (relying on the research of the almost incomprehensibly amoral Frank Lutz). That kind of rhetoric and the scorched earth, anyone-who-is-not-with-must-be-destroyed tactics that go with it has been the defining style of Gingrich’s brand of politics ever since. And who Gingrich’s man in the Senate in those heady days of unabashed viciousness? Rick Santorum. And not just as an ally — Santorum was Gingrich’s hatchet man, the one who did the “dirty work” as one Republican congressman put it. Or in the words of a Republican staffer at the time, “[Santorum] is a Stepford wife to Gingrich… If you took the key out of his back, I’m not sure his lips would keep moving.” (These quotations appear in a 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article — you can find a link to the pdf file here

Can this carry Santorum to the nomination? Probably not. There are already signs that Santorum is slipping, as the extremity of his religious dogmatism becomes evident to voters, which may eventually force evangelicals to recognize the differences between the tenets of his faith and their own. The fit with Tea Party conservatives is even more tenuous, as that movement is an expression of a deeply “Protestant” brand of politics that sit uneasily with the rhetoric and worldview of “Catholic” conservatism. And Santorum has yet to be called out for his role in the 1990s; if people really want to vote for Gingrich’s old pet attack dog, why not simply vote for the owner? With time, Romney’s claim to be the only electable candidate (and adult) in the field may regain its traction. Meanwhile, Gingrich is looking ahead to the South, and possibly even as far as Texas and California. It has been a campaign of suddenly arising candidates who flamed out just as quickly, and Santorum shows signs of being the latest in that line — as I said, even after Super Tuesday there is going to be a long way to go.

There is the potential for deep divisions appearing in the GOP along an axis of “Protestant” versus “Catholic” religious conservatism. But regardless of what happens next, the rise of first Gingrich and now Santorum as the candidate of choice for the Religious Right is a profound sign of how Catholic the American religious right has become.

Catholic Fanatic Rick Santorum Latest GOP Frontrunner


Rick Santorum: The New Face of the GOP

A reactionary, anti-science religious fanatic is now the frontrunner
Via:-  Charles Johnson

The thing about Rick Santorum is that he’s genuine. He really believes that anti-science reactionary bullshit he spouts. He’s not just saying it to get elected, unlike Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The reactionary Republican base senses this genuineness; they see Santorum as one of them. And this has now catapulted Santorum into the lead — 15 points ahead of Romney.

Riding a wave of momentum from his trio of victories on Tuesday Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP’s newest national poll. He’s at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.

Polling Shows Romney With Big Lead in Florida


Polling Shows Romney With Big Lead in Florida
Newt cratering
Nate Silver is now projecting mega-millionaire Mitt Romney to win the Florida GOP primary; Newt Gingrich’s surge has evaporated.

Is it another case of the dreaded Sarah Palin Kiss of Death?

Newt Gingrich’s Wife a Whore Says Religious Reich Leader James Dobson


With the American Religious Reich cuddling up to gay-hating, woman-hating, sodomy-obsessed Catholic fascist Rick Santorum, comes the inexorable fundi demonisation of potetional GOP presidential contenders.

We already know that the GOP’s Dominionist wing wants to re-criminalize homosexuality and control the wombs of every woman in America, but we can now officially say that slut-shaming is part of the evangelical belief system political calculus as well.

James Dobson, the decrepit founder of Focus on the Anus Family was one of the fundie luminaries invited to a Texas ranch with 15o other fundie “big thinkers” (I use that term very loosely) to figure out who they were going to back as the anti-Romney. They settled on Santorum as their man, but the real news is what Dobson said in ruling out Newt “serial adulterer” Gingrich. (The Politico):

“Dobson first talked about how great Santorum is,” recalled one source, who had first-hand knowledge of Dobson’s comment. “(He said) ‘I want to tell you that I’ve gotten to know Karen (Santorum) and she is just lovely. She set aside two professional careers to raise these seven children. She would make a fabulous first lady role model. And Newt Gingrich’s wife, she was a mistress for 8 years.”

Another source confirmed the account, and said Dobson concluded the sentiment about Callista Gingrich with, “Who do you want as your first lady?

“It was like a chill (set into) the room,” said one source.

The last time I checked, it takes two to tango, and Gingrich’s “Little Newt” was slutting around with Calista before she joined him in holy matrimony. How come that bit of business doesn’t come under fire in the House of Dobson?

The GOP is completely out-of-control when it comes to misogyny in this election cycle. It’s so bad that I don’t expect Newt — who is pandering to the hard right with every ounce of his being — will even bother to publicly defend his wife on this front.

Theocon Fascists Decide on Catholic Fanatic Rick Santorum as Their “Stop Romney” Nominee


Theocrats Decide on Rick Santorum as Their “Stop Romney” Nominee

Theocon fascists endorse Catholic fanatic Rick Santorum

Check it out at the New York Times.  The story quotes the usual suspects including the FRC’s Tony Perkins, who is well known for purchasing David Duke‘s mailing list.  The leading theocrats met in Texas to discuss stopping Romney’s campaign and coming to a consensus.  The theocrats were concerned about Newt Gingrich‘s multiple marriages and attacks on Bain Capital.

They really don’t have anywhere to go, since they will all suck it up and support Mitt Romney in the general anyway as Peter LaBarbera stated in a tweet:

.@lloydletta I’d vote for . But in primary we socialcon Repubs need to find a -life AND pro-freedom-to-oppose-homo’y cand.

It would have been funny to get the results of this if Michele Bachmann were still in the race.  Her campaign torpedoed even among the leviticus crowd.

Rick Santorium Vs The Pill


Santorum v. Griswald

In 1961 Estelle Griswold was arrested for giving contraception to a married couple in Connecticut. Background on Griswold here. An op-ed I wrote on Griswold in 2005 here. Irin Carmen draws voters a picture at Salon:

It’s pretty basic: Rick Santorum is coming for your contraception. Any and all of it. And while he may not be alone in his opposition to non-procreative sex, he is certainly the most honest about it — as he himself acknowledged in the interview.

This is important, because while reproductive rights are always cast in terms of pro or against a woman’s right to an abortion and in what circumstances, even liberals are surprised to find out what social conservatives really want to do about contraception. Liberals are even willing to cast the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood and all Title X programs (a position that has become mainstream in Republican circles) as an abortion issue, when it is actually about contraception. (The Hyde Amendment already bans almost all federal abortion funding.) So is this about “babies” or is this about sex? Rick Santorum isn’t even pretending it’s (only) about childbearing.

Speaking to ABC News’ Jake Tapper, Santorum recently reaffirmed his opposition to Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on discussing or providing contraception to married couples, and established a right to privacy that would later be integral to Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas. (It is generally better-known how Santorum feels about gay people.) That would be the case where the majority asked, “Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.” Rick Santorum disagrees. He thinks, using the currently popular states’ rights parlance, that “the state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statues they have.” This is a view Santorum has held at least since 2003.

Ninety-nine percent of American women have used birth control… and most of them are using it with American men, so, you know, there’s that. But Santorum is a devout Catholic—which means he goes to mass weekly, doesn’t use birth control, and has committed adultery with Newt Gingrich—so maybe he should get a pass on his obsession with Griswold since American Catholics don’t use birth control. Tell that to the 98% of sexually active Catholics who use birth control—including, presumably, America’s most famous “devout Catholic,” Callista Gingrich.

The GOP’s Race to the Dark Ages


The GOP’s Race to the Dark Ages

Rick Santorum thinks Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that invalidated criminal bans on contraception, was wrongly decided. He’s off the deep-end on this one, and completely out of touch even with his fellow Catholics, but his statement provoked an exchange at last night’s debate about whether states should be permitted to ban birth control.

  • Mitt Romney feigned surprise — and emphasized that he would be absolutely, positively against banning birth control — but the moderators failed to ask him about his enthusiastic support for “personhood” bills that would effectively ban certain kinds of birth control (not to mention fertility treatments). Santorum turned the question to be all about the Griswold ruling on a “penumbra” of rights created under the constitution, anathema to conservatives because of how it underpins Roe v. Wade, and, as Chris Geidner points out, Lawrence v. Texas. They claim these rights are not actually found in the Constitution but were created by “activist judges” — this from the people who think the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protectionto fertilized eggs.It seemed that the moderateors, George Stephanopolous and Diane Sawyer, threw out those questions for sport: after all, criminalizing birth control would require either the passage of a “personhood” bill, which couldn’t be pulled off even in Mississippi, or the overturning of Griswoldcombined with the political will in a state to pass a ban on birth control, quite possibly one of the most popular inventions in the history of the world. (Don’t you think Big Pharma makes a bundle on birth control pills? They’d squash such a thing faster than you can say progestin.)That’s not to say that Santorum’s, or any of the Republicans’ views on this issue aren’t dangerous, or to minimize the absurdity that in 2012, we had a presidential debate about whether to ban birth control. For real? Well, yes, for real. Some conservative think tankers argue there has been a “war on fertility.”

    But there was another question, which garners far less notice, that raises far more immediate concerns about the Republicans’ designs on birth control, and how they exploit religion to create political conflicts where none do or should exist. In answering a question about gay marriage, Newt Gingrich said:

    You don’t hear the opposite question asked. Should the Catholic Church be forced to close its adoption services in Massachusetts because it won’t accept gay couples, which is exactly what the state has done? Should the Catholic Church be driven out of providing charitable services in the District of Columbia because it won’t give in to secular bigotry? Should the Catholic Church find itself discriminated against by the Obama administration on key delivery of services because of the bias and the bigotry of the administration?

    The bigotry question goes both ways. And there’s a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concerning the other side. And none of it gets covered by the news media.

    Oh, wah, wah. Gingrich’s complaints have been covered here at RD, and a throrough investigation of his claims reveal them to be an effort to create a right that doesn’t exist in the Constitution. (Gasp!) Gingrich’s first reference was to Catholic Charities shutting down its adoption services entirely rather than risk having to place a child with a same-sex couple. Just like Jesus would’ve done. But his second reference goes more to the contraception question. He’s referring to the Department of Health and Human Services decision not to renew a contract with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide services to victims of sex trafficking, because the Bishops would not refer victims, many as young as 12 and brutalized by rape, for a full range of reproductive care, including contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion. Conservatives jumped on this decision as supposed proof of the Obama administration’s anti-Catholic bias. Catholics beg to differ.

    The right to free exercise of religion, a First Amendment right, does not entitle a religious organization to a government contract. Nor does it entitle religious organizations to have every one of their beliefs accommodated by the government. The USCCB wants the Obama administration, for example, to exempt all colleges, universities, and hospitals from the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that their health insurance provide employees co-pay-free birth control, even though churches themselves are already exempt. A Catholic and an evangelical university have sued HHS over the rule, citing “religious liberty.”

    Republicans have been making their intentions on access to birth control clear since they began campaigning to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. They say it’s about federal funding going to abortions, but that’s already banned by the Hyde Amendment. The funding they’d eliminate is funding for family planning services (which would help prevent unintended pregnancies and abortions, but who cares). They say this, too, is a matter of religious conscience, because they want no taxpayer money going to Planned Parenthood just because it does perform abortions, even if the money doesn’t directly fund them.

    After the Mississippi personhood measure failed, anti-choice fans of an “incrementalist” approach cheered. They fear a personhood measure would be a faulty challenge to Roe should one reach the Supreme Court, damaging their efforts to end legal abortion. They prefer slowly chipping away at access to abortion through the record number of restrictions enacted at the state level last year.

    There’s an incrementalist approach to restricting access to birth control, too. It hinges on the “religious liberty” argument, and Gingrich is right about one thing: this tactic deserves more scrutiny than it has received.

Crazy Michele Bachmann ‘Steps Aside’ For Equally Unhinged Rick Santorum


Bye Bye Bachmann
Bye Bye Bachmann
by vjack
Michele Bachmann
It is all over for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). She did not get her miracle after all. Jesus was not in her corner like she thought. And that is really good news for the reality-based community.
As she announced that she was dropping out of the presidential race following her poor showing in Iowa, Bachmann repeatedly referred to her god, you know, the god who wanted her to run for president in the first place.

Surrounded by her family, Mrs. Bachmann invoked her faith frequently. “I look forward to the next chapter in God’s plan,” she said. “He has one for each of us, you know.”

Did her god change its mind? Did she simply misunderstand her god? Of course not. Running a losing campaign based on lies was exactly what her god wanted of her. I mean, what other explanation could there be?

I know some atheists will miss Bachmann. Her antics were undeniably entertaining. I’ll certainly grant you that. But we must remember that she represents something dangerous: American theocracy. You see, Michele Bachmann is a true Christian extremist. Keeping her far away from political power of any sort is a good thing.

Anyone remotely in touch with reality – which, of course, ruled out Michele Bachmann and husband “Marcia” Bachmann (pictured above) – would have known that Michele Bachmann didn’t had a snowball’s chance in Hell of moving forward beyond Iowa in the GOP presidential clown car contest. And as one blogger noted, when Bachmann claims she heard God telling her to run for president, she should have asked “president of what?” In any event, in the wake of her disastrous showing in Iowa, Bachmann has been forced to at least briefly get in touch with reality and the result is that she is suspending – translated, ending – her presidential campaign. Frankly, given Bachmann’s unbridled homophobia and her marketing of reparative therapy through “Marcia” Bachmann’s “Christian counseling clinics,” I find it difficult to have even a shred of sympathy for her. Here are some highlights from Politico:

Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday morning that she would drop her GOP presidential bid after a sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday. “Last night, the people in Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to step aside,” Bachmann told supporters in West Des Moines.

She did not endorse one of her rivals, but said instead that Republicans “must rally” around whoever the party chooses as its “standard-bearer” in the race.

Her departure will give a boost to Rick Santorum, whose recent surge put him in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

Heading into South Carolina, where evangelicals and social conservatives dominate the pool of potential voters, Santorum will be in a better position to consolidate that support. Santorum’s hoping to establish himself as the new — and perhaps final — conservative alternative to Romney

[H]er campaign was beset by a string of gaffes — starting with the assertion at her campaign launch that Waterloo was the home of John Wayne, when it was actually the hometown of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Another blow came when Ed Rollins, her campaign manager, departed and began speaking out against Bachmann on cable TV and in the media.
Heading into the fall, Bachmann tried to derail the then-front-runner Perry by attacking him for mandating the HPV vaccine Gardasil. But the blowback of her claims that the vaccine caused mental retardation hurt her as well

Since her decline began, Bachmann had been banking on a strong finish with Iowa’s social conservative and evangelical voters. Last month, when Iowa conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum and called Bachmann asking her to consider dropping out, it became clear that she would not be the top choice of social conservatives in the state.

Bachmann is up for reelection to the House in November, but did not make any announcement regarding her plans for that race. Congressional observers and those in her district say she’d be a virtual lock for reelection if she decides to run.

With Bachmann out of the running, the equally unhinged Rick Santorum will be the short term beneficiary. However, one can only hope that as a result of Santorum’s new high profile, the media and his opponents will seriously focus on his significant baggage and far out of the mainstream positions on divorce, contraception and, of course, treatment of LGBT citizens. As for Bachmann’s re-election to her House seat, I hope and pray that her constituents may have waken up to the fact that she’s a huge liability to her district and the State of Minnesota.

https://theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com/

Mitt Romney Panders to The American Taliban aka American Religious Right Crazies


Romney Blasts Secularism, Endorses Mixing Church and State
Wearing God on his sleeve
by Charles Johnson

How do you know when the Iowa Caucuses are approaching?

When Mormon Mitt Romney starts sounding like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, all rolled into one ranting Christian fundamentalist: Romney talks ‘war on religion’ in Iowa.

“I know there are some people who would like to make this nation a secular nation, who want to take God out of everything that exists in this country. They try to say it’s unconstitutional,” Romney said. “I trust in God, and I know you do, and I believe it’s appropriate for us to recognize in the public square that we do indeed have a creator and that we trust in our creator, particularly at this time of year.”

Romney was responding to a question about celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday, particularly in schools. The question offered Romney a chance to contrast with fellow Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who is running an ad on Iowa TV that accuses President Obama of waging a “war on religion.” American children cannot “openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry says in the ad.

“How do you take God out of America when the declaration points out it’s God that gave us those rights in the first place?” Romney said. “I believe that we should be able to have religious ornamentation and celebration in the public square. Whether that’s a manger or a menorah, or representatives of other faiths, it is important for us as a society to recognize that we look to God for many of our blessings.”

There’s a reason Romney cited the Declaration of Independence in his pandering statement, instead of the far more important US Constitution. The Constitution goes out of its way to avoid any hint of endorsing religion, but the Declaration uses the words “endowed by their Creator.”

This is a religious far right talking point, originating among people who actually want to turn the country into a theocracy — and Mitt Romney is now parroting their propaganda.

It’s a measure of how thoroughly this craziness has spread throughout the Republican base.

Via:- http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39630_Romney_Blasts_Secularism_Endorses_Mixing_Church_and_State

Conservatives Dumping on Loony Newt Gingrich


We like to take the piss out of a self-serving buffoons like Newt Gingrich – the ‘family values’ politician who has none – but it seems that conservatives prefer to take a piss on him!  
National Review Devoting Entire Issue To Bashing Newt Gingrich
Ooh. This promises to be fun:

From TPM:

It wasn’t enough for the National Review’s editors to just write a scathing anti-endorsement warning Republican voters that Newt Gingrich is a general election Hindenburg. No, they’re devoting an entire issue to tearing down the frontrunner.

The cover depicts Gingrich as Marvin The Martian, a shot at his longtime obsession with big-ticket space exploration projects, and features a cover story by Mark Steyn on his “Big Government Follies.”

If Newt wins the nomination, the DNC won’t have to do anything except point at the National Review and thank them for doing all the work.

Catholic Fanatic Rick Santorum Wants to Ban Science from Schools


Rick Santorum: ‘Science Should Get Out of Politics’
Rick Santorum is infamous as one of the most determined religious fanatics in US politics, an activist who believes Christian [he’s Catholic] creationism should be taught to all American children in science classes, and a persistent Republican advocate for injecting fundamentalist Christian religion into the political process at every level.

Speaking at the University of Northern Iowa today, Santorum uncorked a real howler, with no apparent recognition of its intense irony. Santorum said the problem with American politics is too much science.

Discussing controversial classroom subjects such as evolution and global warming, Santorum said he has suggested that “science should get out of politics” and he is opposed to teaching that provides a “politically correct perspective.”

Topped off with a helping of homophobic hatred masked as religious victimhood:

Regarding education and the legalization of same-sex marriage, Santorum said he is concerned that schools will be forced to teach that all forms of sexual activity are normal, healthy and good behavior. He said that would be “counter to the belief structure of many people who have students attending those schools” and they would have little grounds to object.

 

Looney Catholic Fascist Rick Santorum Pledges Use of Politics to Enforce Religious Dogma


Santorum Signs Pledge Defending Christian Influence Over Society

 ‎Today, ‎29 ‎November ‎2011, ‏‎12 hours ago | Zack Ford

Right Wing Watch notes that Rick Santorum is so far the only presidential candidate to sign Open Doors Ministry’s “Pledge for Religious Freedom.” The pledge claims that “religious freedom includes the right to employ religious arguments…when contending for or against laws and policies, such as laws designed to protect the unborn and traditional marriage.”

Likely referencing Catholic Charities’ adoption services, it also demands “the right of individuals and of religious communities not to be forced to participate in, or to forfeit their employment because of refusal to participate in, activities that deeply offend their religious conscience.” It’s no surprise Santorum signed the pledge without hesitation, given he has frequently called for laws to be bound by religious morals, even if people suffer in the Christian tradition.

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