Thursday, May 1, 2003

Well, 2003-4 Knight-Wallace Fellow Nancy Nall (Derringer) sent me the link to this Richard Cohen column, remarking that it would make excellent blogfodder. Although, as I rather bitchily(I fear) snarked to her that the Santorum flap interests almost as much as the the Dixie Chicks melee, I really did mean to blog it, but, as you can see, didn't have the energy or time, what with being surrounded by spectres of relics and, in the afternoon, by a young man who didn't really nap adequately and spent all afternoon repeating his present mantra of general dissatisfaction: tummy hurts! tummy hurts! literally ever ten minutes.

But, oh, here it is, so tell us what you think:

Worse, in advancing religious arguments for public policy, Santorum and others foreclose both debate and compromise -- the basic ingredients of democracy. If you think, simply as a matter of faith, that homosexual sex ought to be a crime, then I cannot reason with you. We might as well argue over the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth or whether Muhammad really ascended to heaven on a winged horse. As history has shown, when these issues get into the public square, absolutes are declared and swords are drawn.

You hear a lot of talk nowadays about how godless this nation has become -- downright immoral, if you ask some. The prescription supposedly is to give religion some muscle, bring it back into the schools and into public life in general. George Bush, from everything he says, favors that approach -- and the White House, beholden to religious conservatives, waxed Orwellian about Santorum, pronouncing him "an inclusive man."

Rick Santorum serves as a warning. His zealousness, his intolerance swaddled in the tenderness of faith, is polarizing and downright frightening. He does not -- he cannot -- speak for those of us who do not share his faith, although we all must respect his right to practice it. John Kennedy had the right approach in these matters. He didn't run as a Catholic but as a Democrat. On account of that, he won as both.