Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Santorum Demonised

Somehow, the definition of mainstream has slipped, via the liberal media, over to the fringes.  As a Catholic with a leaning towards Liberation Theology, I am on the far-left of the Church, and find many of Rick Santorum's positions unwelcome - he makes Mel Gibson seem like Rowan Williams.  However, whenever the British media like the BBC describe Santorum they call him the "anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage" candidate, as if these positions were utterly alien and horrific in and of themselves.  Not so.  For there to be sensible and credible democratic discourse the liberal media must be willing to acknowledge the large subsection of the American populace (the majority?) for whom abortion is an evil; and so on.

Further, the positions that Santorum espouses are mainly those of the mainstream Catholic Church as typified by the current Pope, Benedict.  It is true they are shocking and offensive to feminists, Marxists, and most college professors on the East Coast.  But they are hardly unique to him.  Taken out of context, Santorum seems like a ranting madman.  In context, he is a product of a narrow reading of a religious tradition with millions of American followers.  We need to engage with this tradition, in thoughtful discourse.  To demonise conservative Catholics is to simply entrench their views, not all of which are necessarily wrong or offensive.  It seems that the Church needs to rethink its staunch views on homosexuality, and the ordination of women, especially; and Santorum should respect the distinction between Church and State.

But we need to respect his right to hold his views, just as we may wish to hold other, far more liberal ones.  And, do note, conservatism is not, in itself, a bad thing - in a fast-moving increasingly capitalist world, the Church is one of the last bastions of a different vision of humanity, especially after the fall of Communism which it did so much to bring about.  Eyewear, finally, feels that Rick Santorum would be a better candidate for the Republican party, for two reasons: 1. He has more integrity in that he is unafraid to speak his mind on controversial issues and thus represents the core views of the party unlike Romney a sleek corporate clone; and 2. He is unelectable.
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