Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rick Santorum, Grand Inquisitor?

Republican politicians are at it again. Once again self-proclaimed Republican Christians are questioning the faith of those whose faith doesn't match theirs. I call it the "I'm OK you're not OK, but if you want to be OK become like me" syndrome. Needless to say this arrogant and self-righteous ethnocentric syndrome has a very long and not only Christian history indeed.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, self proclaimed Catholics both, in particular, have been at the forefront of the only good and real Christianity is a "conservative" Christianity, whatever that is, movement. Santorum recently said, according to a article in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/rick-santorum-obama-christianity_n_1291645.html) that the only "real" Christianity is a conservative Christianity claiming that there is no such thing as a "liberal" Christianity and that "liberal" Christians, like those who belong to the United Church of Christ and US President Barak Obama (the bloke with the Hebrew first name), haven't been real Christians for years.

I don't know exactly what Santorum means by this. I don't precisely know who he believes Jesus was. But the Jesus I imagine he thinks Jesus was is somewhat similar to what Bruce Barton believed Jesus to be when he re-imagined Jesus as a good 1920s capitalist salesman. Remember the era when Barton wrote "The Man Nobody Knows" (1925) was the era of "the business of America is business". Santorum's Jesus, I suspect, may be similar to Barton's but his Jesus is a Jesus reimagined by a late twentieth and twenty-first century conservative Republican for a late twentieth and twenty-first century America. I imagine Santorum's very masculine Jesus to be a capitalist CEO who urges the nation-state of Israel to go to war to protect his nation's "interests", his nations economic interests, who urges that torture be used against Israel's enemies in the prosecution of that war, who urges that laws be enacted in which women will be forced to suffer an invasive procedure before they have an abortion, who accuses latter day Pharisees of being commie nazis, who urges Israel to deport its swarthy illegal immigrants, who supports Israeli "anti-terror" campaigns even when they involve Palestinian who believe he is the messiah, and who believes that only he and his "real" followers, read Santorum, can cast the first of many stones because they and they alone are true Christians.

As someone who imagines himself to be one of the true Christians in America, as did Fred Phelps, Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson, and Franklin Graham--wow the ideological company you keep Mr. Santorum--one can't help but wonder whether the Pennsylvanian Santorum might, at some point, lead a holy and grand inquisitorial crusade against such evil commie/nazi/liberal in his midst as those Lancaster Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonites who promote such nasty liberal ideas as mutual aid and pacifism, practises which are, ironically, consistent with the Christian Bible, the New Testament, Santorum claims to follow.

What worries a non-Christian and non-religious person like me about men like Rick Santorum is that they seem to have not only an inquisitorial mindset when it comes to "the Church" but also a theocratic mindset when it comes to the United States. I fear the Santorum's of this world not only because of their arrogant and self righteous claims of absolute truth but because I fear they will, if they come to power, try to turn, in this case, a pluralistic America, into an America which mirrors their own very parochial ideological mindsets because for them the only real American is an American who believes just like they do just as the only real Christian is a Christian who believes just like they do. For people like Santorum and Gingrich there seems to be no room for disagreement about either church or state. It is, to paraphrase a good old American proverb, either their way or the you're on the highway to hell highway. Those Christians like Santorum, Gingrich, and Joseph McCarthy, another conservative Catholic politician, do love to demonise their political others don't they?

Where is Dorothy Day when you need her?

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