Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Test of Tolerance

The man being prayed over in the picture is Rick Santorum, stunning winner of three primaries or caucuses last Tuesday in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.  It's been instructive watching the media, even the Wall Street Journal, grapple with the possibility that this clean, morally-upright, scandal-free, principled, self-sacrificial, family-basked, God-loving, humanitarian, intelligent, well educated, experienced, thoughtful, conservative, Republican man might emerge as the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012.

He may not be glib enough, or slick enough, or sexy enough to lead the nation.  And, some things are simply beyond the pale, like believing in the efficacy of prayer, or limits to the Supreme Court's powers.

The supposed concern with Santorum is his outspoken and deeply held Roman Catholic beliefs.  This, it is implied, means that he is intolerant, bigoted, retrograde, narrow-minded and hateful towards gays and women.

I wonder if anyone has found any gays, women, contraceptors or abortionists to testify as much about the actual man?  Or, do you suppose that anti-Catholic bigotry will alone suffice to carry the imputation?

Naturally, his Catholic faith obliges not only tolerance, but charity, towards people (not behavior).  Moreover, a moment's sober reflection indicates that while a President has a bully pulpit, he is not God to do as he pleases--President Obama excepted.

But, in an age of Leftist media indoctrination, in which words like fair, equal, tolerant, broad-minded and loving are turned on their heads, the Catholic Church and its metaphysically-grounded beliefs present a fearful specter.

We are warned that Rick Santorum will supposedly alienate the independents, who will negatively weigh his non-support for gay marriage, abortion subsidies, the Supreme Court's arrogation of legislative functions, and HHS's disregard for the consciences of those who hold moral positions contrary to the present Administration's.  Presumably, independents love those things.  

On the other hand, independents will supposedly be perfectly willing to overlook four years of national malaise; President Obama's maladroit handling of the nation's economy, budget and defense; a slough of hard leftists operating at every level of government from czar to overpaid staffer; the President's disregard for constitutional limits and opposing viewpoints; and generally his penchants for Statist impositions, and ramrodding socialist policies down the populace's throat to silence its vociferous opposition.  Presumably, none of that crucially concerns them.

Independents must watch lots of TV and see lots of movies.  Their bedrock concerns seem to be driven exclusively by Hollywood's latest obsessions, attitudes and fashions.

They don't seem to mind tyranny, as long as there is no outcry about it in the mainstream media.  And, that only happens during Republican administrations, for instance when foreign combatants are questioned by military rather than civil tribunals, or denied the rights of the American citizens they have tried, sometimes successfully, to kill.

A recent speaker to our parish (See "Gaining a Catholic Vision," 1/30/12) commented on the irony that religious believers (Rick Santorum, for example)--who are open to transcendent meanings and a unvierse of phenomena not directly observable by empirical methods, and who sense that their lives are but mere participation in a personal being infinitely greater than themselves--are routinely derided as narrow-minded bigots, while non-believers--who overlook all the intangibles while circumscribing the scope of reality to perceptional phenomena (or contrarily inflating it to encompass any impersonal force) are hailed as broad-minded.  Go figure.

A splendid recent example of Liberal broad-mindedness was President Obama's call to Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops informing him of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius's final directive for Catholic institutions to include contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their health coverage for participants--practices faithful Catholics consider to be objectively, morally evil--or else face the consequences of non-compliance with ObamaCare.

Women's health, narrowly defined the feminists' way to include issues not directly related to sickness, is the only operative consideration; all else be damned.  And, if Catholics don't see it that way, it's supposedly because they're closed minded, ideologically driven, and intolerant.

Independents presumably aren't bothered by that, but are deeply fearful of a President Santorum's potential transgressions against precious Liberal freedoms like contraception, connubial sodomy, baby killing in the womb, sterilization, and a Big Government that forces others to pick up the tab for them regardless of conscience qualms.

Independents can be mollified in the knowledge that, except for the latter, there's not much President Santorum can do to restrict Leftist rights without broad, popular--in a word, democratic--support.  He'd have to be a Democrat, not a Republican, to act successfully without that.  And, unlike Left-wing tyrants, he'll have the media working sedulously against him if ever he tries, with or without popular backing.

This very narrow, very harmful and very divisive set of sexual obsessions have held American politics and society hostage for far too long.  They are a blight on the body politic, and a disease in the public mind.

Their banishment to the back of the line of concerns facing the nation is nothing to be worried about, regardless of how many media mouths trumpet them as ultimate matters of public importance.  In life, and politics, there are more important things to address than the presumed individual rights (remember those?) to marry someone of your own sex, kill the inconvenient offspring in the womb that your own volitional choices have brought into existence, or get off when you want to.  

Among them this year are preventing the nation from going bankrupt; reversing the cancerous growth of government entities; reducing the alarming public debt; repealing ObamaCare to replace it with something sane, affordable and constitutional; freeing private enterprise to create wealth; reducing impositions on private matters unrelated to sexual deviance, like starting a business, choosing a lightbulb, or holding a garage sale without fear of being sued; reasserting the universal interest in liberty around the world without relinquishing the field to communists, jihadis and other totalitarian ideologues; and restoring protagonism to private, rather than public, actors.

On every count, President Santorum thrashes a second-term President Obama, hands down.  Perhaps independents, and establishment Republicans, might consider that.  Or, are they too preoccupied clutching their privates in fright to think about it rationally?

Rick Santorum's ascendence offers a sterling opportunity for supposedly broad-minded people to practice what they preach.  Independents, especially, will be tested to demonstrate that tolerance is what they're really made of, and not merely a self-serving amalgam of social Leftism and economic Rightism that is heavily weighted to the libido.

In other words, Rick Santorum's candidacy will force all the posturers, both inside and outside of the Party, to give up the pretense, and prove that they are either truly tolerant, or merely big phonies.  If they prove to be the latter, there is no reason for them to hold the Republican's nominating process hostage to their Liberal obsessions.

On the other hand, if they truly are tolerant, they needn't be concerned about nominating, supporting, and electing a decent man with conservative convictions that don't coincide 100% with their own.  They can take solace in the knowledge that social conservatives are asked to do it all the time.  Now, it's their turn.

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