The Constitutional Problem with Putting Theocrats like Rick Santorum into the Presidency? — Their Moral Certitudes Refuse to Admit the Ethical Ambiguities that More Thoughtful People See at First Glance — Example: His Political Position that a Rapist’s Child Is God’s “Gift” to the Rapee

© 2012 Peter Free


25 January 2011



The Constitution prohibits the State from demonstrating religious allegiance — but American theocrats are too self-centered and too intellectually dense to understand why


Feminist blogger Kate Harding published an outstanding example of the threat that theocratic politicians pose American freedom.


When CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Republican anti-abortion presidential nomination candidate, Rick Santorum, what he would do if his daughter were raped and made pregnant as a result, the Senator replied:


The right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless a gift.


And, in a very broken way, the gift of human life and accept what God is giving you.


As is, you know, we have to in lots of different aspects of our life.  We have horrible things happen to us, but nevertheless, make the best of a bad situation . . . .


© Piers Morgan and Rick Santorum, Rick Santorum says even a child conceived through an act of rape is a "gift" and a life that must be protected, CNN (20 January 2012)



This is obviously a defensible religious statement — but it is equally a dangerously idiotic one for a Constitution-touting politician to attempt to foist on our religiously diverse public via State action


I have no quarrel with Senator Santorum’s religious perspective, insofar as he applies it to himself and to the advice he would give others in a purely personal capacity.


I object vehemently to his repeatedly stated attempt to impose his attitude on other human beings, as a matter of his religious principle, via mechanism of law.


It should be clear that there are many ethical ways to look at pregnancy which results from sexual assault.  Contrary to Senator Santorum’s obviously shallow thinking, terminating a rapist’s fetus — whether “personhood” begins at conception or not — is an easily defensible ethical and moral proposition.


What sane and perceptive woman is going to want to perpetuate the horror of her assault by carrying, delivering, and raising her attacker’s baby and its component of his arguably undesirable genes?  Santorum’s “gift” viewpoint may make sense to him, but I suspect that it does not to the majority of women on the planet.


The Senator’s statement, which makes rape the equivalent of other “horrible” things that humans beings have to suck up, is stupid on its face.  Holocaust survivors may have had to cope with internment in death camps, but they certainly weren’t ethically required to carry their imprisoners’ genetics forward as a part of their own bodies into the rest of their lives.


As the rightfully outraged Kate Harding put it:


[I]f you can't even speak for a whole minute on a political issue without invoking "God's will" as a supporting argument, you have no business running for president of a country whose constitution . . . enshrines freedom of religion.


That alone should be enough to make any American who truly loves liberty and the vision of the "founding fathers" lose all respect for Rick Santorum as a politician.


But if you're not persuaded . . . just try remembering that he said becoming pregnant by a rapist is a gift from God. Out loud. With a camera on him.


And he wants to be president of a country that has women in it.


What does this man have to do to get drummed out of the race?


© 2012 Kate Harding, Rick Santorum thinks pregnancy through rape is God's gift? Seriously? (25 January 2012) (paragraph split)



The moral? — Just because you or I “believe” something, doesn’t mean other people should be forced to think and act on the same unprovable principle


Though Senator Santorum has an eminently attractive personal demeanor, his political thinking is so far outside the Constitution’s guidelines regarding freedom of religion, that he has absolutely no business becoming an American president.


I detest theocrats.  Their self-righteous, other-people-enslaving conceit makes a mockery of the humility that most thoughtful religious practitioners emphasize as being perhaps the single most important component of spiritual development.