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.

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(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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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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