The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, April 23, 2003  

O Most Holy of Holies!

I've been pretty harsh here in my statements in the past about Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), but today I'm going to be kind -- though just for a moment.

We know that Sen. Santorum considers, and frequently proclaims, himself a devout and loyal Catholic. As such, his recent statements about homosexuality, homosexual relations and relationships, and gay people in general are not altogether surprising.

Aside from his inclusion of comments about bigamy, polygamy, bestiality, and incest -- which are typically the stock in trade of conservative fundamentalist Protestants -- Sen. Santorum's views on homosexuality are largely in line with those of his church.

Sen. Santorum is entitled to his opinions, obnoxious, offensive, and ignorant as they are, and, of course, and he is entitled to express them, both privately and publicly.

Since I prefer not to engage in the usual fruitless argument one inevitably finds oneself with those of Sen. Santorum's doctrinaire persuasion, I'll let others address the illogic and bigotry of his recent comments and his bizarre "explanation" of those comments (published at his web site), as several editorialists, columnists, politicians, and bloggers already have done.

I will say, though, that the silence of the senator's colleagues is deafening. The small and utterly lacking in influence Log Cabin Republicans have issued their perfunctory criticism, of course, but unless I've missed something, I haven't yet heard any of Sen. Santorum's fellow Republican lawmakers object to his remarks. This, in and of itself, speaks volumes about the disregard and disdain with which most conservatives and Republicans regard a significant segment of the American people.

But more important, I have several questions for Sen. Santorum, too, turning the tables, if you will:

If we, as a pluralistic -- an almost supremely pluralistic society -- are to accept, collectively, regardless of our differing faiths or even absence of faith in God or any other higher being, your views on homosexuality, compatible as they are with your conscience and your faith, why stop there?

Why not go a few steps farther to ensure the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage?

Shall we outlaw contraception?

Shall we outlaw divorce, or at the very least, remarriage after divorce?

Shall we outlaw adultery and make it a crime against the state?

Shall we outlaw premarital sexual relations between men and women?

Shall we make cohabitation illegal?

Shall we outlaw all forms of what is commonly known as sodomy, even among married couples?

Shall we insist that all married couples procreate and investigate those who do not?

Shall we outlaw the marriage of infertile women and sterile men, and insist on premarital fertility tests?

Shall we outlaw the marriage of women beyond their procreative years?

Where does it end, Sen. Santorum? Tell us, sir, where does it end?

[Post-publication addendum (April 25): The Philadelphia Daily News is conducting a poll about Sen. Santorum's future. Go vote!]

[Post-publication addendum (April 25): Be sure to visit Andrew Northrup's blog, The Poor Man, for his observations on this controversy.]

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