America is one hell of a country, according to Rick Santorum

“The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.”

~from Paradise Lost

“This is not a political war at all,” Rick Santorum told Catholic students at Ave Maria college. “This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America’s preeminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers.”

More of the transcript here.

Santorum’s 12th century rhetoric is par for the course when it comes to the conservative movement during culture war season. Blending religiosity and politics is as old as either, but one still can’t help but cringe a little when you listen to the former Senator from Pennsylvania and his alleyway doomsday sermons. Perhaps it’s because we’ve had such a long bout of fiscal conservatism that the emergence of good old fashioned culture war trash-talking is a shock to the system.

So I won’t talk about the culture wars. I’m more interested in the right’s incoherence than in its issue-arsenal at the moment.

What I don’t understand – what just baffles me endlessly – are these dueling notions of America as the greatest, most super-fantastic nation on Earth and America as an immoral, decayed society under assault from all sides. We are God’s people but we’re also so vulnerable to Satan himself that we need a super-hero, super-holy president like Rick Santorum to save us.

The cult of American exceptionalism is, perhaps unsurprisingly, comprised by the same people who make up the cult of American decline. There’s an insecurity about it that I think shines a little light onto the conservative movement and the Republican Party. The pretense of toughness; the rah-rah-rah nationalism; the sense of victimization, of being endlessly put-upon. These are all forms within the language of American conservatism, or at least mainstream movement conservatism, that give shape to the broader dialogue on the right.

The “rebel complex” that Michael Brendan Dougherty described movement conservatives as having, forces its members to walk the thin line between American greatness and American decline. You can’t be a rebel against the Big Liberal Machine if everything is peaches and cream; but you have to manage this without being counter-cultural at the same time – without sacrificing that patriot street cred.

Now, you might argue that it’s not really contradictory to say that America is at once great and threatened with decline. But that’s not really what conservatives are doing. The juxtaposition of greatness and decay isn’t necessarily framed as your every day existential threat. Rather the two fraternize in tandem, complimentary and contradictory all at once.

America is invulnerable and yet deeply fragile.

We are the most morally superior people on the planet, but that morality is brittle.

Gays and leftists and secret Kenyan communist presidents threaten to shake and rend the very fabric of our at-once-mighty and yet oh-so-frail society.

Barack Obama is a socialist even though he governs like a moderate Republican.

We need less government (and of course government can never create jobs or do anything right) but we also need a savior in the White House who will yank us back from the brink and, while he’s at it, create jobs.

So we get a movement that is full of paradoxes; a movement that wants to shrink government without shrinking any of the really big, expensive parts of government like defense or Medicare. The result, just a couple years after the 2010 Republican sweep, is a natural, not-so-bewildering transformation of the Tea Party into Rick Santorum leading in the polls, of fiscal conservatism transforming into social conservatism.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled may have been convincing the world he didn’t exist. But I’m beginning to think the GOP is giving him a run for his money when it comes to pulling the wool over our eyes.

(cross-posted)






122 replies
  1. 1
    Redshift says:

    But the important thing is that Rick Santorum clearly isn’t running for President of the United States, he’s running for Pope of the United States.

  2. 2
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Redshift: And we don’t have a Pope which is total BS. If Rome gets a Pope, we should have a Pope.

  3. 3
    chopper says:

    @Redshift:

    to be fair, the AmeriPope does get to wear a cool hat.

  4. 4
    pragmatism says:

    and the Lord sayeth, “When you lead this great land, do so by the fallacious use of the slope that is slippery”.

  5. 5
    Seebach says:

    Seems par for the course when you believe in an Almighty God that can’t, apparently, lift a finger in His own defense.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    At long last, a pope with countable divisions.

  7. 7
    merrinc says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Well, okay. Personally, I was secretly hoping that instead of offering up a reasonable compromise on the birth control issue, Obama would go all Henry VIII on their asses: “The United States of America will not bow to Rome!”

  8. 8
    cmorenc says:

    It never dawns on Ricky that HE might himself be serving as the unwitting tool of Satan in sowing hatred, divisiveness, and resentment among its people, rather than cooperative harmony.

  9. 9
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Seebach: good point. This is the problem with making God such a political figure. It cheapens God, cheapens faith and religion. I just don’t get it.

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    bring on the Moore award: THESE BASTARDS ARE THE AMERICAN TALIBAN!

    no sense trying to pretend otherwise, they have stopped pretending.

  11. 11
    Seebach says:

    I just don’t get it. If you’re a religious conservative, God will set everything right. Who cares what happens on earth? All the welfare cheats and abortionists will go to hell, all of the believers and fetuses will go to heaven.

    They’re already going to get everything they want, so why enforce it on earth as well?

    On the other hand, the atheist thinks this is it. This is your one chance to have a happy life, and wants to use government to make opportunity equal, and reduce private abuses.

    Why isn’t there an inverse Pascal’s wager? If you’re conservative, you might as well vote liberal: everyone’s happy on earth and then you get to be happier when everyone you hate is burning in hell.

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    Rick Santorum (via E.D. Kain @ Top):

    This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America’s preeminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers.

    Dear Pope Benedict,

    Please send Rick Santorum an e-mail asking him to explain, citing chapter and verse in Revelations, where Satan’s attack on America is prophesied.

    I don’t recall learning about that in any of our catechism classes when I was in Sunday School.

    Very Truly Yours,

    Former Altar Boy and Current Religiously Agnostic Post-Vatican II Cultural Catholic,

    JGabriel

    .

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    @trollhattan:

    At long last, a pope with countable divisions.

    At long last? Historically speaking it’s actually pretty rare that he doesn’t have at least a few armies he can command.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    @E.D. Kain:
    Its already cheap for them. Just another trick, like patriotism, to sucker the sheep into stepping into the abattoir.

  15. 15
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    The conservative movement doesn’t have a coherent set of ideas; it does have a coherent set of feelings: hurt pride,tribalism, anger, a feeling of persecution, cruelty, are the feelings that bind the movement together.

    Also: self pity. Look at pictures of Mitt Romney, there’s always this look of “god, what I have to go through”, “this shouldn’t be this hard”, “I’m a martyr”… Santorum too, but Mitt especially.

  16. 16
    Alex S. says:

    Human vanity. Some people can be living in a trailer park, without a job, tons of debt and in ill health, and still consider themselves gods among humans.

  17. 17
    ericblair says:

    “Greatest Country EVAR” is the standard appeal to mindless tribalism. Okay, great. So we’re the greatest country ever? Cool! I’m just going to sit on my ass here and bask in all my reflected glory.

    Well, can’t have that, so this great country must be in terrible peril from all sides, so the Greatest Citizens EVAR need to run around with their hair on fire and vote/donate/die in pointless war/whatever else to save the poor defenseless country. Of course it doesn’t make logical sense, but whose side are you on anyway? Oldest trick in the book.

  18. 18
    cmorenc says:

    @merrinc:

    Well, okay. Personally, I was secretly hoping that instead of offering up a reasonable compromise on the birth control issue, Obama would go all Henry VIII on their asses: “The United States of America will not bow to Rome!”

    Hopefully, Obama would not need to go through eight wives to accomplish that. Newt Gingrich is more the type to pull an audacious Henry VIII type move, except in the inverse direction and declare America’s new tight adherence with Rome and the Pope. Besides, Gingrich is already on wife #3.

  19. 19
    Paul in KY says:

    @chopper: It has a propeller on it.

  20. 20
    Guster says:

    This isn’t halftime in America, this is the beginning of Act Three. Our square-jawed hero is hurt. He’s been betrayed by those he thought were friends (Swarthy Jones and Shlomo Finklestein). The bad guys, Secular Ibrahim and Sluttina Warmist, stabbed him in the back–they cheated. They used his good nature and his refusal to fight dirty against him.

    Now he’s injured. He’s hurt. The clock is ticking.

    He is heroically strong and righteous, but at this moment deeply fragile–only because of treachery.

    He’s bloodied, but unbowed. He will take his country back.

  21. 21
    Schlemizel says:

    @JGabriel:
    Actually the fundies DO believe that America plays a lead role in the second cumming. I’m too tired at the moment to remember & to lazy to look it up but they really think this is the land JC will be returning to after Israel is set on fire.

  22. 22
    dmsilev says:

    For some reason, this comes to mind:

    And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast—man’s laws, not God’s—and if you cut them down—and you’re just the man to do it—d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

    Rick Santorum is the guy firing up his chainsaw.

  23. 23
    Dustin Miller (@_DustinMiller) says:

    great post

  24. 24
    jl says:

    I think Rih Santorum is serving as useful purpose in pointing out that the Founders were Satanists, secularist idolators who turned their backs on Biblical religion.

    The rot started early and we have to stop it now.

    I was thinking about the radical ecological idolatry and egalitarian socialism of the Founders over the weekend, and uncovered shocking quotes:

    ‘ I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, “that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;”
    Jefferson to Madison, Sept 6,1789

    Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing; its Contributions therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt.
    Benjamin Franklin, Queries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania
    1789

    ‘ Paragraph 24: I have already established the principle, namely, that the earth, in its natural uncultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race; that in that state, every person would have been born to property; and that the system of landed property, by its inseparable connection with cultivation, and with what is called civilized life, has absorbed the property of all those whom it dispossessed, without providing, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss. ‘

    Thomas Pain, Agrarian Justice, 1796

    So, anyhoo, Rih is peddling lies. He wants to force the country to accept his Christian sect’s interpretation of a passage of Genesis on how his Christian sect’s god wants people to treat the earth.

    ‘Dominion’ or ‘Stewardship’, and who the hell knows that whoever wrote that meant thousands of years ago. But we do know that Founders, most of them, along with many (though not all) of the Satanic mainline Protestant sects of the day were for ‘Stewardship’.

    So, tell your ma, tell your pa, Ruh is full of BS.

  25. 25
    schrodinger's cat says:

    When does Ron Paul get his turn as the not Mitt, so we can talk about the Gold Standard and other crazy stuff instead of the Sweater Vest of doom spreading doom and gloom. That Santorum is a credible candidate for a major party is beyond pathetic and does not reflect well on the body politic.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled may have been convincing the world he didn’t exist.

    I like what someone said here before: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing those who are working for him that they are working against him.

  27. 27
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @cmorenc: Great comment. Some (precious few) in hyper religious america actually see this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-.....B000PY40F2

    @Seebach: Penile insecurity?

  28. 28
    Yevgraf says:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…..

    When the GOP frontrunner has lost even the Fonzie of Freedom, you know things are looking bad…

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/02.....m#comments

    This may well round out the Santorum trifecta. Previously, the former senator had railed against non-marital sex and the dangers of online gambling.

  29. 29
    jl says:

    Oops, bad word got by, try again.

    I think Rih Santorum is serving a useful purpose in pointing out that the Founders were Satanists, sekularist idolators who turned their backs on Biblical religion.

    The rot started early and we have to stop it now.

    I was thinking about the radical ecological idolatry and egalitarian s h * s H u l * z m of the Founders over the weekend, and uncovered shocking quotes:

    ‘ I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, “that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;”
    Jefferson to Madison, Sept 6,1789

    Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing; its Contributions therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt.
    Benjamin Franklin, Queries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania
    1789

    ‘ Paragraph 24: I have already established the principle, namely, that the earth, in its natural uncultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race; that in that state, every person would have been born to property; and that the system of landed property, by its inseparable connection with cultivation, and with what is called civilized life, has absorbed the property of all those whom it dispossessed, without providing, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss. ‘

    Thomas Pain, Agrarian Justice, 1796

    So, anyhoo, Rih is peddling lies. He wants to force the country to accept his Christian sect’s interpretation of a passage of Genesis on how his Christian sect’s god wants people to treat the earth.

    ‘Dominion’ or ‘Stewardship’, and who the hell knows that whoever wrote that meant thousands of years ago. But we do know that Founders, most of them, along with many (though not all) of the Satanic mainline Protestant sects of the day were for ‘Stewardship’.

    So, tell your ma, tell your pa, Ruh is full of BS.

  30. 30
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else feel the urge to punch Ricky’s smug mug? I think he is the most annoying candidate of them all.

  31. 31
    MariedeGournay says:

    A loathsome little man fantasizing about killing people who make him squeamish during the world’s end. Masturbates to the end of Left Behind series.

  32. 32
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Does not reflect well on humanity. This is the fucking XXIst century; where are the biodomes and hydroponic solutions to world hunger?

  33. 33
    Citizen Alan says:

    I’ve already seen this up-close and personal. When the Personhood Amendment was going down in Mississippi, our Governor elect, Witchfinder Phil Bryant was on TV accusing everyone who voted against it of being in league with Satan. That is not hyperbole. His exact words were “on the side of Satan.”

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    @MikeJ:

    This tidbit is too good not to share.

    http://catholicwifiradio.wordp.....the-movie/

    Is Newtmentum really ovah? I kind of miss the ol’ tub-o-goo.

  35. 35
    Bruce S says:

    “Satan is systematically destroying America!”

    Evidence? The GOP Primary campaign and the “Santorumization” of alleged “political” discourse.

    FWIW I’ve been describing the difference between the parties for years as a situation wherein the GOP has become an instrument of The Devil, while the Democrats represent the constant struggle between our baser selves and our better angels that is humanity’s lot.

  36. 36
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    Dana Carvey should go back to SNL

  37. 37
    Alex S. says:

    @Guster:

    Well, in tragedies it usually goes downhill after halftime.

  38. 38
    Shock Trooper in the War on Christmas says:

    America isn’t weak, rather its enemies have deeply infiltrated and weakened what was once a godly society.

    For if you yourself are all that, but your ideas aren’t actually working, it must be because of some insidious, degenerated, but noneheless powerful foe.

    1930’s Germany had the Jews.

    Stalinists had the Trotskyists.

    Oceania had Emmanuel Goldstein’s Brotherhood.

    Rick Santorum’s America has the secular atheist gay libtards.

    It’s that simple.

  39. 39
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @trollhattan: I kinda miss him too. At least he was occasionally entertaining and somewhat intelligent. God bothering sweater vest guy is neither.

  40. 40
    eyelessgame says:

    Nehemiah Scudder.

  41. 41
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: Santorum is like churchlady on steriods.

  42. 42
    Svensker says:

    There is no dichotomy. Real America is the Bestest Country Evah. Liberal Fake-America is Satanic.

    When Sarah Palin, et al, talk about Real Murkins that’s what she means.

    ETA: Also, too, Rick goes on to say that mainline Protestant churches have been taken over by Satan. I want someone to ask him which ones. Lutherans? Presbyterians? Baptists? Methodists? I’d really like some specifics.

  43. 43
    Guster says:

    @Alex S.: Tragedies are un-American. This is a Chuck Norris/Ted Nugent blockbuster.

  44. 44
    MikeJ says:

    @Yevgraf:

    When the GOP frontrunner has lost even the Fonzie of Freedom, you know things are looking bad…

    Have no fear, if Ricky gets the nomination Fonzie will be out there swinging the incense.

  45. 45

    We are God’s people but we’re also so vulnerable to Satan himself that we need a super-hero, super-holy president like Rick Santorum to save us.

    Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Augustine began as a Manichaean, and if there ever was a patron saint for the modern GOP, it’s the bishop of Hippo. Near as I can tell, he’s managing Santorum’s campaign.

  46. 46
    jl says:

    i got nothing right now on Satan and reproductive rights.

    But below is a link a constitutional law blog I check out once in awhile, though IANAL, so I don’t know much about what it is.

    Good history of doctrine of stewardship and property rights in early U.S.

    The Stewardship Doctrine:
    Intergenerational Justice in the United States Constitution
    http://www.conlaw.org/Intergenerational-Intro.htm

    Lots of interesting sources in the footnotes. In one, I see some communist was calling for protection of endangered birds back around 1800. That was one of the first instances of Satanism in our Great Excpetional Republic. He should have been yelling “drill baby, drill!”.

    So, Obama is either deceitful and/or deluded and follows the Satanist path of Jefferson, Franklin, Paine. Our Republic in in danger.

  47. 47
    jacy says:

    Simple — religion use to exist to explain things. Then science came along and you didn’t need religion to explain things. Now religion exists to make people feel important. There must be a sky god that loves me. But like any girl in a Stephanie Meyer novel, having one guy want you is not enough. You must be special enough that your sky god has to fight with somebody else who wants you just as much. Enter Satan. And while you swoon in the corner contemplating what a special little snowflake you are, a battle has to go on for little ole you.

    And it can’t be just a book in a story — that’s too much like a myth, so it has to be going on all the time around you, right in front of your face. They need the constant drama, because the silence that comes without it is too scary.

    (Note I’m not trying to blanket characterize religion or tradition — I’m strictly going for this dominionist “I’m under constant attack” christianty that Santorum seems to be under the thrall of)

  48. 48
    harlana says:

    i heard a guy say that whenever he heard Sarah Palin’s voice, his b@ll$ immediately retreated to the back of his throat; i’m not sure what the physical equivalent of that is for females, but, if only figuratively, Santorum’s voice has the exact same effect on me. combine that sound with the words and you’ve got a walking contraceptive right there!

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dmsilev:

    Rick Santorum is the guy firing up his chainsaw.

    Come to think of it, since I was living in PA at the time, I remember that Santorum had an ad in his first Senate campaign that showed a chainsaw cutting through paper, I guess big government regulations or something.

  50. 50
    TooManyJens says:

    The cult of American exceptionalism is, perhaps unsurprisingly, comprised by the same people who make up the cult of American decline.

    Similarly, the people who make the biggest deal about how much they love America are usually the people who hate the most Americans.

  51. 51
    kerFuFFler says:

    I wish someone would ask Rick if he believes that all Protestants, evangelical or not, are bound for Hell. I’m pretty sure that is old school Catholic doctrine. I bet he does believe that. He’ll gladly chat them up and ask for their votes in the great fight against Satan, and then blithely dismiss them to their fiery doom.

    Kinda reminds me of the supposed “respect” for Judaism that many fundies express. They’ll howl about the US not supporting Israel enough (because Israel plays an important role in their apocalyptic wet-dreams) but they are sure that Jews are all going to Hell. They’re fine with that….

  52. 52
    JPL says:

    @TooManyJens: I’m not sure they hate America but they do hate democracy.

  53. 53
    harlana says:

    Independents and swing-voters are fragile, easily frightened creatures with delicate sensibilities. If he’s the nom (oh pleez), he will scare the bejeebus outta them.

  54. 54
    28 Percent says:

    My theory has been for a long time that the wingnuts were basically a collection of people who have experienced enough emotional trauma from disfunctional relationships that they are self-driven to seek/create drama and conflict instead of pursuing fulfillment and contentment. So basically, if Al Anon became as high-profile as the Komen foundation, it could conceivably radically alter the entire political landscape.

  55. 55
    demz taters says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Someone did a better thing to Santorum’s smug mug using teh ghey pronz.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    For those who didn’t know, Ave Maria is the wingnut Opus Dei answer to places like Liberty University or Bob Jones. Actual Catholics send their kids to Notre Dame or Georgetown or one of the Loyolas — it’s the asshole Catholic fundamentalists who never got over the fact that John XXIII apologized to the Jews that send their kids to Ave Maria.

  57. 57
    stratplayer says:

    And just where the fuck are the self-styled “moderate” Republicans in all this? It’s not the fault of the ignorant Tea Party idiots that they’ve managed to gain a stranglehold on the Republican Party. It’s the fault of the pusillanimous “moderates” for having no spine and caring about nothing more than their fucking tax rates and freedom to pollute and despoil. They let it happen, and they’re continuing to let it happen. Cynical fucks.

  58. 58
    Seebach says:

    @jacy: Religion as Twilight. I fucking love this.

  59. 59
    TooManyJens says:

    @harlana:

    i heard a guy say that whenever he heard Sarah Palin’s voice, his b@ll$ immediately retreated to the back of his throat; i’m not sure what the physical equivalent of that is for females, but, if only figuratively, Santorum’s voice has the exact same effect on me.

    Cervix pulling up the drawbridge?

  60. 60
    cervantes says:

    So it appears the all powerful, all-knowing creator God of the universe can’t do a damn thing to stop Satan from taking over his Chosen Country, but Rick Santorum can. Only if you elect him president, though. He’s more powerful than God, but not until he gets to veto legislation.

    Makes sense to me.

  61. 61
    harlana says:

    @TooManyJens: good one!

    (personally, i’d duct tape my knees together with an entire bottle of Bayer’s aspirin in between)

  62. 62
    Jess says:

    Fear and macho posturing, secret shame and public self-righteousness, deep insecurity and rigid intolerance; these almost always go hand-in-hand. In fact, I would say that the latter term in each pair is a clear indicator of the former.

  63. 63

    @E.D. Kain:

    This is the problem with making God such a political figure. It cheapens God, cheapens faith and religion. I just don’t get it.

    Folks who are truly spiritual don’t act the way Santorum does. Or the Graham cracker, either.

  64. 64
    gex says:

    @TooManyJens: And those that take the most in government handouts hate government handouts.

  65. 65
    g says:

    Newt Gingrich is more the type to pull an audacious Henry VIII type move, except in the inverse direction and declare America’s new tight adherence with Rome and the Pope.

    Are you kidding/ Gingrich wuold looooooove being head of the Church of America!

  66. 66
    freelancer says:

    Charlie Pierce as well as a commenter over at Maddowblog yesterday had Santorum dead to rights:

    One characteristic (out of many) of highly-authoritarian personalities like Santorum is a heightened sense of fear and anxiety. Think of it like this: you hear or see something unexpected, you don’t know what it is at first, and you feel a surge of fear as your body pumps in the adrenaline to prepare you for fight or flight. If the unexpected thing turns out to be nonthreatening, you relax. Crisis over.
    __
    But imagine if that sudden surge of fear never abates. Imagine that everything that you aren’t already comfortable with continues to be a threatening unknown no matter how long you are exposed to it. Imagine a fight-or-flight response that lasts a lifetime. Imagine that the crisis never, ever ends. That’s the world as people like Santorum experience it.
    __
    People like Santorum are looking for safety and security, but they’ll never find it because the threats they feel are inside of their own heads. They will never feel safe, and it would be possible to feel sorry for them except for the fact that they are willing to destroy the world in their hopeless quest to feel safe and secure.

    and Pierce:

    As it happens, for non-bloggy reasons I need not go into here, I’ve spent the last week or so reading actual theology from actual theologians, going all the way back to Origen and Tertullian on Christian pacifism, and also hanging around with Erasmius, Luther, and Calvin, while they chew over predestination and free will. (Love that old Dion song. “I think I saw him walking over the hill/ With Desiderius, Martin and John.”) I know theologians, Rick. I went to school with theologians, Rick. And you, Rick, are not a theologian, nor any great judge of who is and is not acting out of a “theology.” And neither, I would point out, is the president of the United States. A difference in opinion on how we best save our battered planet is not a theological dispute. The answers to it are not to be found in Scripture, or in the writings of the Church Fathers, unless you count Glenn Beck, which I don’t, and I think I probably could have gotten Clement of Alexandria to agree with me on that one, too. The answers are to be found in how we argue with each other through our politics. That’s messy, and nasty, and uncivil, and so can theology be, but what is being argued about is neither sacred nor ineffable. The only reason to frame it that way is to demonstrate what a good theocrat you can be, and to give people a god-haunted reason for not recycling, or for bitching some more about lightbulbs.
    This is not something a candidate should do lightly, or because it gives a candidate a leg up on another candidate who might be, you know, the member of a religion that some of your primary target voters think is a cult. Political campaigns are not theological. It is dangerous to make them so. You get people turning fundamentally political arguments into theological disputes, and you’re not far from the darker impulses that lead to the bastinado and a very dire St. Bartholomew’s Day. That Rick Santorum is willing to do this, like a child giggling with a blowtorch, is reason enough to disqualify him ever from a position of secular power. The rhetoric he has adopted comes from a history charred by fire, and sodden with blood.

    I want the nomination to be his, and I want the nation to recoil in horror from this monstrous, regressive, prig.

  67. 67
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Seebach:
    Hmmm. If the religious believer is Bella Swan, does that mean that Edward is Jesus? How exactly does the ultimately sexual relationship between them work as an analogy to the relationship between humanity and God? And where do Team Jacob fit in all this?

  68. 68
    Culture of Truth says:

    If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?

    Jeremey Lin.

  69. 69
    dollared says:

    Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, how many were Catholic? We do want to make sure the Founders’ religious viewpoints are properly represented, after all.

  70. 70
    Culture of Truth says:

    And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?

    Coast Guard?

  71. 71
    dollared says:

    I got that answer for you: 90.1% of the Founding Fathers were Mainstream Protestant – the group that Santorum thinks
    “left Christianity (2008 interview). Among the FFs, there were exactly as many Unitarians as Catholics (1.9% of each).

    Love this site: http://www.adherents.com/gov/F.....igion.html

  72. 72
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Right in the kisser, I’m telling you.

  73. 73
    eric says:

    @stratplayer: they are referred to as democrats.

  74. 74
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @g: True. Pope Newtie’s robes would be more gaudy than Benedict’s, and that’s saying something.

    What about wifey, though? Stiffly standing by his side with her frozen smile, or packed off to a nunnery a la Guinevere?

  75. 75
    Linnaeus says:

    “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    Granted, we don’t really know who said that (it’s often attributed to Sinclair Lewis) or if it was really said, but I think there’s something to it.

  76. 76
    dollared says:

    @freelancer: Well put. Santorum is not the candidate of the 1950s, he is the candidate of the Wars of Religion.

    Another aside: Among the Founding Fathers, there were exactly as many Huguenots as Catholics as Unitarians (3 of each). Santorum should be running for Archbishop of Toledo, not President of the US.

  77. 77
    Seebach says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well, think about it. God is a loving being who loves you with all of his heart but also threatens you with hell. It’s total rape threat love.

    The kind of abusive romance people love nowadays.

  78. 78
    gelfling545 says:

    @Seebach: Speaking of which, not that we really were, but my daughter just about popped an artery when she found her kid reading Twilight. It’s not the vampire thing, vampires are fine. It’s that she says that the whole thing is a big Mormon cultural indoctrination deal. It seems unlikely to me but she’s not usually a conspiracy theory believer.Could she possible be correct?

  79. 79
    Poopyman says:

    @dollared: Only one. Charles Carroll, from Maryland.

  80. 80
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Amir Khalid: Edward breaks her and then rebuilds her. (the vampire babby crushes her spine but she magically recovers because Edward had already turned her. or something) Very Christian (if you inhabit the right circles.)

    Medieval depictions of Christ’s relationship to his church employed sexual metaphors, so this is nothing new.

    (And are you familiar with Teresa of Avila’s visions?)

  81. 81
    Chris says:

    This is simple.

    Its called overcompensation.

    All the repressed homosexual republicans who turn authoritarian. All the dweeby, weedy losers like Bill Kristol and Jonah “doughnuts” Goldberg, and Dick Cheney – in daddy’s shadow, momma’s boys, draft dodgers. Beaten up on the playground for wearing bow ties to school. Now they are gonna let the world know. I’m thinking that they are all one step away from Patton Oswald’s character in “The Fan”, but the football team is Team America.

    Fuck these idiots.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    dollared says:

    I’m still @Poopyman: I’m still looking for that tagline for Santorum.

    “Santorum: he’ll eliminate the Huguenot threat!”
    “Santorum: the King of Spain’s handpicked candidate for the North American colonies!”

  84. 84
    jl says:

    John Adams named his pet dog ‘Satan’, who had the run of the new WH.

    We report, you decide.

    Adams was Unitarian.

  85. 85
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gelfling545: I wouldn’t worry about that. But she should have a frank talk with her daughter about the warning signs of an abuser (lovebombing, controlling behavior, cutting her off from friends, assault) because Twilight glorifies behaviors that are most often seen in abusers and family annihilators.

    As long as her daughter’s mature and informed enough to realize it’s just a fantasy, she should be fine.

    The only “Mormon” notions are not unique to patriarchal religion, this idea that the man has to be strong because the woman is weak and will succumb to her sexual urges and you have to get married to have sex and all that rot. Twilight is by no means as pernicious as some of the other stuff out there, on that score.

  86. 86
    Roc says:

    There’s no contradiction here; no riddle.

    When they’re talking about America the Greatest Nation on the Earth, they’re talking about *their* America. The America in decay? It’s in decay because of the other team. Look at their ‘evidence’ of decay: gay rights, divorce, women’s health (abortion/contraception/etc), sex education, ‘socialism’, science, not treating the rest of the world as a disposable resource, etc. All those things are the fault of the other team, not any Real American.

    It’s just two sides to the same coin.
    They exhort how awesome they are and then they hate on the other for hamstringing all their awesomeness.

  87. 87
    Billy Beane says:

    Is there any dog bites man story you nincomepoops will not fall for?

    Hey look everyone, wingnuts are saying the most outragous things to try get a rise out of the left again. Let’s do just that like the obedient stupid dogs we are.

    The stupid it burns.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    How exactly does the ultimately sexual relationship between them work as an analogy to the relationship between humanity and God?

    Believe it or not, the supposedly buttoned-down Puritans were particularly fond of sexualizing one’s spiritual relationship with Jesus in the context of better marital sex (linky is in this Cracked.com article). Yes, they encouraged threesomes with Jesus. It’s a pretty common thing to run into when you look at historic Christianity in America and Great Britain.

  89. 89
    jefft452 says:

    @cmorenc: “… Ricky that HE might himself be serving as the unwitting tool of Satan…”

    Why do you think he’s unwitting?

  90. 90
    stratplayer says:

    @dollared: Aw, c’mon, don’t wish such a horror on poor old Toledo. They have enough problems there without a Bishop Rick (pun intended) making things infinitely worse. Btw, I say “Bishop” instead of “Archbishop” because Toledo is a plain old diocese, not an archdiocese.

  91. 91
    DanielX says:

    @Redshift:

    Deus Lo Vult! On to Washington! And after that, Jerusalem! Oh, wait….

  92. 92
    Nicole says:

    @gelfling545: Speaking as someone who has read all four of those execrable novels (don’t judge me; I’ve also read a lot of Ayn Rand. I’m a glutton for punishment), I would say your daughter shouldn’t worry. Yes, Edward in the real world is a stalker, yes, Jacob in the real world would get arrested for sexual assault and yes, the author has some very disturbing perspectives on pregnancy and childbirth.

    But it’s not going to make your granddaughter want to be a Mormon any more than the Flowers in the Attic series made me want to be a ballerina and sleep with my brother. It’s that peculiar type of fiction that appeals to teen girls. Years later she’ll think, “Why did I ever think this was good?”

    The ones who concern me are the women over the age of 30 who adore these books.

    I feel bad for teen girls today, actually. At least the books I and my friends devoured as teens had dirty parts to make up for the poor writing, tedious main characters and overall anti-woman themes.

    See also, Rand, Ayn.

  93. 93
    DanielX says:

    There is an upside here – yes, I’m always looking for the pony in that pile of manure. The public at large is only now being exposed to full bore Santorum dementia. He’s getting some media space now but once teh crazy is completely exposed, not only will he not be a threat in a general election but we will forever be spared any further botheration with Rick Santorum as a candidate for higher office.

  94. 94
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America.

    My country doesn’t torture people.

    Good and decent countries just don’t do that.

  95. 95
    Thymezone says:

    What I don’t understand – what just baffles me endlessly – are these dueling notions of America as the greatest, most super-fantastic nation on Earth and America as an immoral, decayed society under assault from all sides. We are God’s people but we’re also so vulnerable to Satan himself that we need a super-hero, super-holy president like Rick Santorum to save us.

    It’s Santorum’s base which considers itself to be the greatest, most super-fantastic. But the base considers us to be the instruments of Satan, trying to destroy their goodness. The right’s entire worldview is grounded in hatred of the people who embarrassed them with the Civil Rights Act and our tricky science. It’s not about America. It’s all about them and their childish thumbsucking. Period, dot, that’s it.

  96. 96
    THE says:

    So in his heart he doesn’t want an election.
    He wants an exorcism.

  97. 97
    Julie says:

    @Nicole: I do feel like there’s additional creep-factor because of the Mormon thing, though. That could just be my mild biases showing, but all the weird baby stuff… I don’t know. I found it hard to pull those books apart from the religion, in a way that I didn’t with other, similar stories. (I loved V.C. Andrews in my early teens, too, even though all of it was so wildly inappropriate.)

  98. 98
    lou says:

    I can’t explain Santorum since he’s Catholic, but fundamentalist Christians have held this dichotomous view for a long time. I was raised Southern Baptist and we used to hear this all the time 40 years ago. Lessons from my childhood pastor’s sermons:
    *The United States is especially blessed by God because we’re good and wonderful and go to church and support Israel!
    *But Satan is working against us (this was the early 70s)! Look at those hippies in San Francisco preaching free love. And those women’s libbers. and look at those ho-mo-sexuals attacking Anita Bryant! If we don’t watch out, America IS going to go to hell.

    They’ve pretty much stuck to that same exact script all this time. They really never got over the 1960s. And I guess there are Catholics like that. Or else Santorum has learned to talk the fundy Southern Baptist type of talk.

  99. 99
    bcinaz says:

    What do you suppose twisted Rick into such a pious pretzel? He hates everything and sees evil in everyone.

    Frankly this does not seem like a winning general election strategy.

  100. 100
    Sir Nose'D says:

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

    Guess who said it. Go on, guess! Guess!

  101. 101
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I was going to compare it to the Eastern Orthodox conditions for being married; but it really is analogous to the solution that has been used for Episcopal priests who convert to Roman Catholicism. They may keep their wife and children, i.e., maintain the family unit. But if the wife dies, they can’t marry again.

  102. 102
    wrb says:

    @Redshift:

    But the important thing is that Rick Santorum clearly isn’t running for President of the United States, he’s running for Pope of the United States.

    And so is Romney. Or The King of the Kingdom of Heaven or whatever other secret name his organization has for it.

    This is really where we are.

  103. 103
    Jay C says:

    @lou:

    They really never got over the 1960s

    .

    It isn’t just the fundies: Most Republicans still formulate their political campaigns as if they are running against Abbie Hoffman, Huey Newton and Timothy Leary* rather than the personalities/issues of the 21st Century. We saw it (what I hope is the last gasp of 60s-fetishism) in 2004: when John Kerry – decorated combat veteran – was disgracefully trashed by the GOP mainly (IMO) for his anti-war activism: 35 years late. Of course it’s a mindlessly simplified cartoon version of the ’60s they run against: but that’s American politics in a nutshell (and the Republicans usually provide the most nuts).

    *And I’m not explaining who these people are: look them up in Wikipedia, ye darn whippersnappers!

  104. 104
    jl says:

    @Sir Nose’D:

    Same guy who wrote this about how to interpret the teachings of Jesus, I think.

    ” In extracting the pure principles which he taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists and Plotinists, the Stagyrites and Gamalielites, the Eclectics, the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences and emanations, their logos and demiurges, aeons and daemons, male and female, with a long train of … or, shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. ”

    I am glad this great nation was founded by Bible believing Christians.

  105. 105
    fuckwit says:

    It’s the “madonna/whore” complex (or the “charming rogue” or “bad-boy/gentleman” complex on the other gender side). Same thing.

    It’s a Puritan insanity, and even though Frothy Mixture is Catholic, he still is afflicted with this very American disease.

    It’s the weird, dysfunctional tendency to both idealize and vilify at the same time, to want what you “shouldn’t” want and to hate yourself– and whomever it is that you want– for it. It’s steeped in denial and self-loathing.

    Fucked up shit. Wouldn’t expect any less from Man On Dog Santorum.

  106. 106
  107. 107
    TheWatcher says:

    Nice post Mr. Kain.

    Bravo, my friend, Bravo.

    Unfortunately, we have to live in the same country as these people. An 50 million of them would vote for this moron in November, just because he has an ‘R’ behind his name

  108. 108
    mclaren says:

    By “Father of Lies,” I presume Santorum is talking about Karl Rove…?

  109. 109
    Nemesis says:

    Frothy McMixMaster requires an outfit more befitting of The High Priest of the USA. Something akin to a long flowing black robe with a large red cross on the left breast.

    Paging Benny Hinn…

  110. 110
    Samara Morgan says:

    So I won’t talk about the culture wars.

    because you sukk at it? After all, you thot the Tarnsman of Gor was making some kind of sense.

    The cult of American exceptionalism is, perhaps unsurprisingly, comprised by the same people who make up the cult of American decline.

    lolwut?
    The “cult of American Exceptionalism” is based in large part on your beloved “freed” market EDK. How do you reconcile that?
    Have you changed your opinions on the Free Market Fantasy Forest you defended so passionately?

  111. 111
    Samara Morgan says:

    i think…..EDK is bashing Santorum for the same reason Jen Rubin is.
    Because Santorum != GaJo or Ron Paul, and because Santorum will lose to Obama in a landslide.
    Like Andrew Sullivan, Kain believes that the GOP can be “reformed” if they just scold the base hard enough.
    Me, i doubt it.
    Because of the biological basis of behavior.
    Want to understand Republicans, EDK?
    First you need to understand evolution.
    The core issue isnt culture or american exceptionalism or “christianists” suborning the GOP like you and Sully would have us believe….the core issue is the demographic timer. Because blacks and browns with conservative tendency, will NEVAH vote republican.

  112. 112
    Samara Morgan says:

    @TheWatcher: that is another spew of “navel-gazing treacle”. watch for Sully to link it later.
    Kain and Sully both believe that the GOP has been hijacked from Hayek, Oakeshott and Buckley by the “christianists”.
    Did you know Kain is catholic, just like Santorum and Sully?

  113. 113
    Samara Morgan says:

    my offer still stands.
    if Kains posts get zero comments, i’ll go away and stay away.
    but i dont think that will happen.
    because you sukkahs fall for Kain’s crappy posts evertime.
    this blog has no desu.
    ;)

  114. 114
    Samara Morgan says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    And we don’t have a Pope which is total BS. If Rome gets a Pope, we should have a Pope.

    arent you a catholic, like Sullivan?

  115. 115
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: you are correct. that would be Pastor John Hagee and the Pre-tribs of AIPAC.

  116. 116
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Thymezone: and its EDK’s base that considers the Glorious Power of the Freed Market to be a large part of American Exceptionalism.
    i guess Kain is giving libertarians a pass here…it must be part of his Hayekian modesty.
    ;)

  117. 117
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Alex S.: as long as they are white christians.
    ;)

  118. 118
    Samara Morgan says:

    and this would have been a better Milton quote.
    EDK’s education is as sadly mediocre as his writing.

    Whatever hypocrites austerly talk
    Of purity and place and innocence
    Defaming as impure what God declares
    pure, and commands to some, leaves free for all.

  119. 119
    Paul in KY says:

    @Linnaeus: It’s a great quote, whomever said it.

  120. 120
    Paul in KY says:

    @gelfling545: The writer is a practicing Mormon. That’s why they stayed chaste for an extended period of time (IMO).

  121. 121
    Paul in KY says:

    @Samara Morgan: I don’t chat with EDK in these threads, I’m responding to something another poster said.

    You can’t take that away from me ;-)

  122. 122
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Paul in KY: its also what Julian Assange and Johann Galtung predict, that America will become a fascist state on its way to NLS collapse.

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