The Religious Case Against Santorum
by Mark Call, April 25, 2003 (posted May 14)
[Mark Call submitted this essay as a replyto an article by Ari Armstrong, who responds to Call below.]
I am confident that you understand that we agree on the vast majority of issues, particularly when it comes to the principles of liberty. (And when we have disagreed, it might be my quip that you haven't been a strict enough constitutionalist ;)
To some extent, I agreed with you recent piece (...Sex Police) on freecolorado, but there are some very significant distinctions which I need to point out to you. Call it 'legal' vs. 'moral'. And just to be very sure I'm clear, I'll even start with the proper background:
I have also not hidden the fact that, while there was a time when I was an agnostic Libertarian (not ever quite Randian-athiest) I have come to understand that there is a Creator, and a Supreme Law, and that since our nation is founded on a single principle: ("We hold these truths...") that the sole purpose of government is to protect ("secure") these Rights endowed by our Creator. While there is far more there than this preface to my upcoming comments require, the point which even the most pragmatic must acknowledge is this: if we allow any "power" to deny this foundation of all Law, then everything else which followed from that premise is undermined. (Ultimately, in what Heinlein called 'Power Theory', the biggest, baddest mo-fo is he who takes the gold, and makes the rules.)
Where I part with those who say, "OK - pick any Creator -- the 'Cosmic Muffin' will do" is this: What does [fill_in_the_blank]'s Word say? Is is consistent? Has it formed the basis for a set of moral Law? (If the "Cosmic Muffin" advocates fiery sacrifice of children, as pagan-god Molech in the Bible did, or putting those who will not accept 'Allah' to the sword, as the Koran does -- I contend that there will be a clear practical inconsistency with the "prohibition" principle of the First Amendment.) History, among other things, has convinced me that the Founders clearly intended our specific Republic to be based on the Law of the Bible, both the Torah of Moses, and the eminently consistent teachings of Christ.
On to Santorum -- about whom I have nothing good to say. I will attach a copy of the letter I sent on the topic to _WND_ yesterday (I never expected Joe to publish it) spelling out the problems I have with "both sides" of the alleged debate -- the tyrant athiest fascists and the tyrant neo-Pharisee fascists who, like Clinton, wave a Bible they've never read (Yeshua in the gospel called them "hypocrites...who replace the commandments of God with the customs of men.")
Here's where I have a problem with your article, and why I spent so much verbage in preface:
"Moral tolerance is distinct from legal tolerance. For example, I morally condemn Santorum's bigotry, but I may not properly use force to get him to change his views. I tolerate his views at the legal level, though not at the moral one. By the same token, liberty requires Santorum to tolerate homosexual acts at the legal level. He is legally free to morally condemn homosexual acts (even though he is morally wrong in doing so)."
Ari, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Messiah condemns those acts, explicitly and unequivocally. I have a moral obligation, to my Creator, to speak His Truth. His Law specifies clearly that I am not to murder, to steal, to bear false witness, to have false weights and measures, and many other things consistent with principles we share. There are even some other things I admit to NOT understanding at first -- such as to "have no other gods before Me", keep His Sabbaths and appointed feasts, honor his name, and, yes, understand His plan for marriage and sexuality. (Aside: the most difficult part for me to come to grips with was not homosexuality, or adultery, or even that polygyny was not prohibited, but in some cases commanded. It was the UN-PC realization that there are real, consistent, and ultimately appropriate distinctions between the roles and responsibilities of men and women. You would even find, with only a little study, that it is male homosexuality that is explicitly and repeatedly condemned; to generalize the prohibition to lesbianism is not inherently obvious, for example.)
Note that you do not hear me calling for those who practice what the Bible clearly calls "abomination" to be 'put to the sword' (or, as a constitutionalist, that I don't see a clear difference between State law and the central government powers specified under Article 1, section 7 and 8). I believe the Bible draws a clear, bright line on the issue of choice -- (the only cite I offer, Deut. 30:19, "...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life...) while we are not to judge, or seek vengeance, we are clearly held responsible by Him for our own choices.
Santorum was not morally wrong to condemn acts the Bible condemns. Those of us who act consistently with the Law must. He was still very wrong, however, as was your assessment of why (although I agree partially on polygyny: key word is "crime". Issue - 'says WHO?' According to the Supreme Law, God ordains marriage, and there's no word in Hebrew for 'bigamy' - just marriage, of which a man who followed the Law could have more than one.) Santorum is a hypocrite, when he 'replaces the commmandments of God with the traditions of men' and acts in ignorance and contradiction of the same Bible he evidently claims to believe (again, see attachment). He was wrong, because the Bible holds those who purport to be teachers to a higher standard. Finally, he's a hypocrite because he ignores or doesn't understand the First Amendment.
If there's anyplace we ultimately disagree on these points, Ari, it's this: I contend that there is ONLY ONE POSSIBLE consistent interpretation of the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Like it or not, it must be based on Authority. (And the historic record shows that to be the Bible. The appeals to that same Authority in our Declaration are clear.) Argued from the negative, if there IS no true authority (and why other than Force, should it otherwise be Libertarian Principle?) then eventually (pick an abomination -- societies throughout history have) ritual rape, human sacrifice, institutional theft (a.k.a. redistribution) will result. Likewise, any "establishment" argument which denies God is absurd, and can only result in the establishment of State-Worship (and I personally think we're pretty much there!).
Without an ulitmate Source for Law, the term is meaningless, and, as we see happening, the law depends only on what the meaning of "is" is, today. Without an ultimate Authority, any claim of "morality" is vacuous.
May you be blessed,
(This sent to Joe Farah, when _WND_'s daily poll on Santorum had NO correct answer):
Today WND also missed the mark with its poll on Sen. Santorum's ignorant comment, [you failed to have ANY response consistent with the Biblical position] as have most of the rest of the nation, of course. Where do WE "draw the line"?
Santorum, like others who wave a Bible they haven't bothered to read, implies that if sodomy is allowed, the dreaded crime of polygamy might follow!
He was not legitimately stating that the Supreme Court had no business ruling on a State's law -- he was engaging in reducto ad absurdum, in IGNORANCE. "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right...", he intones. It's not up to him, or the Supreme Court, or even Emperor George the W, as the Founders made clear in the first five words of the Bill of Rights.
God has already drawn the line. From the Torah through the end of the book, wherever Jews or Christians disagree that may be, His Word is clear. For a man to 'lie with a man' (again, pick your translation, the meaning is as clear as 'shall not be infringed') is an abomination. Polygyny, in stark contrast, is not only never so condemned, but is commanded (in the Law of the Levirate), and practiced by many, including Jacob, father of the twelve tribes of Israel and the line of Messiah, and by King David, a "man after God's Own heart".
Yes, like all fallen men short of the Redeemer, they were flawed. Nevertheless, all of us would do well to study and emulate much of their lives, and we'd be FAR better off if so-called "leaders", from neocons like Santorum who don't know the Bible, to his 'critics' who hate the Bible even more they do than the Bill of Rights, would try actually READING the Law upon which are nation was founded.
Ari Armstrong replies:
I am willing to (legally) tolerate Mark's views of homosexuality, and I trust he will return the favor.
I do not believe our rights come from God. I take a "natural rights" position that sees human nature as the ultimate foundation of our rights. As an historical note, I think many of the Founders' views were closer to mine than they were to Mark's. While people like Jefferson believed in a God, it was an impersonal one. It is possible to believe that God exists and that our rights are rooted in human nature rather than in the commandments of God. Along these lines, I also reject the notion that our only two options are to believe in God and accept his authority, or to worship the state.
Proponents of all sorts of political views have found solace in the doctrines of Christianity. There have been Christian monarchs, Christian fascists, Christian communists, Christian welfare-statists, and Christian libertarians. Thus, arguments purporting to find within Christianity support for any specific political theory don't strike me as particularly persuasive. I find it more likely that people with a particular political bent retrospectively "cherry pick" those elements of Christianity that seem to support their already-adopted political beliefs.
I do not believe homosexuality is wrong, and I do believe it's morally wrong to condemn or otherwise hassle homosexuals. But, as I argued, whether or not one believes homosexuality is moral, one should not attempt to make the practice illegal.
What I especially like about Mark's essay is that he did not reflexively support Santorum just because the leftists blasted him (as so many Republicans did). We can draw from this a universal lesson: the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Just because the teacher's unions oppose vouchers, doesn't mean vouchers are a good idea. Just because communists opposed the war in Iraq, doesn't mean that war was justified. Just because wealthy businessmen supported the war in Iraq, doesn't mean that war was illegitimate. The list is endless. When we escape political tribalism, we can begin to search for the truth.