WaPo bigot attacks Rick Santorum’s Catholicism

The unhinged lefty liberals are having a spittle-flecked nutty about Sen. Rick Santorum.

Liberal hack Richard Cohen of the WaPo:

Mullah Rick has spoken.

He wants religion returned to “the public square,” is opposed to contraception, premarital sex and abortion under any circumstances, wants children educated in what amounts to little red schoolhouses and called President Obama a “snob” for extolling college or some other kind of post-high school education. This is not a political platform. It’s a fatwa. [Liberals control the education system, of course.  It is a chief method of indoctrination.  Liberals want to make sure that all kids are under their aegis for as long as possible.  That way they can suck kid’s brains out and pump their skulls full their lefty … detritus.]

But that’s not all. On the Sunday shows, he even lit into John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to Protestant ministers, in which he called for the strict separation of church and state. Santorum said the speech sickened him.  [In regards to his Faith, Kennedy was a faithless traitor.  Of course the writer would like him.]

“What kind of country do we live in that says only people of nonfaith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum asked on “This Week.” “That makes me throw up.” Earlier, he said, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” not noticing that he was speaking from what amounts to the public square. [Apparently the writer doesn’t realize is that the White House is trying to shift the notion of freedom of religion to freedom of worship.]

Kennedy’s speech is actually a sad document, a necessary attempt to combat the bigoted and ignorant notion that a Catholic President might take orders from the Vatican. [That was the writer’s attempt to make you think he himself is open-minded.]

Oddly, the assurances that Kennedy offered that day are ones that I would like to hear from Santorum. He, too, is a Catholic, although not of the Kennedy variety. [A little less adultery, perhaps.  But the writer apparently has a certain affinity with adultery.] Santorum is severe and unamusing about his faith, and that is his prerogative. But he has shoved his beliefs in our faces, leaving no doubt that his presidency would be informed by his extremely conservative Catholicism. [That’s it, folks.  The writer is freaked out that Santorum actually believes what the Church teaches.  But the writer is also lying to you.  Santorum has given NO indication that he would “take orders from the Vatican”.  The Know Nothing writer is simply trying to scare liberals into hating Santorum more than they do already.]

This is a perilous and divisive approach. We have all of world history to warn us about what happens when religion takes too prominent a role. The public square gets used for beheadings and the like. While that is not likely to happen now — zoning rules and such forbid it — we do know that layering religion over politics is dangerous.  [Beheadings?  Really?  Repeat after me: spittle-flecked nutty.]

Santorum cannot impose — and should not argue that — his political beliefs come from God. That closes all debate and often infuriates those who differ. [Because … why?  Because… God doesn’t exist?]

This belief that religion has been banished from public discussion is a conservative trope that is without foundation. New York City is now recovering from a frenzy of celebratory publicity regarding the elevation of Timothy Dolan to cardinal. We have applauded the feats of Tim Tebow, the so-called praying quarterback. As any European can attest, the American public square is soaked in religion or religion-speak. [Moronic.  Those are flashy blips on the screen.  Real religion in the public square shapes how people think and live.  The fact that Dolan is now a Cardinal or that a quarterback prays is lana caprina.]

Santorum’s views on the place of religion and his quaint ideas about education are so anachronistic they would be laughable. But whenever I start to giggle a bit, I find that some absurd statement resonates with Republican primary voters. [“Boy, those Republicans sure are stupid.  Aren’t they amusing?”  This is how liberals think.]

For nutty ideas, Santorum is a one-man band. His intellectually abhorrent defense of what might be called blue-collar culture — no education past high school — is a prescription for failure. [Liberals hate men like Joe the Plumber. ] What he calls blue-collar “desires and dreams” is a sucker’s game: Welcome to an economy that can provide few if any jobs for the minimally educated. [The flaw in what he is saying here is that the education system doesn’t actually provide an education.  Kids come out of school stupider than they were when they went in.  But they do get that lefty cant shoved down their throats on a daily basis, I guess.] And his gibe at Obama for wanting to do something about it is not politics as usual — it’s just plain irresponsible.

Rick Santorum is not, as some would have it, the Republican Party’s problem. The GOP is half the political equation, and so its inability to offer candidates of sound views and judgments is everyone’s problem. We have to vote for someone after all. [Useless paragraph.  That’s a few seconds of my life I’ll never have back.]

But when I mull Santorum’s views on contraception, the role of women, the proper place for religion and what he thinks about education, I think he’s either running for President of the wrong country or marooned in the wrong century. The man is lost.  [And the writer is a leftist loon.]



I suspect Cohen hates Catholics because he is pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Dogs and Fleas, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. arotron theou says:

    As Oscar Wilde might say, “The only thing more dangerous than having religion in politics is not having religion in politics.” Away with the atheists.

  2. teevor says:

    To be honest, I’ve seen much worse than this article.
    Cohen’s piece suggests a pretty standard liberal-centre view of modern western society and political culture. His statements about what Santorum proposes being “backwards” are really just putting a normative spin on what is already a de facto consensus among a huge part of the opinion-generating class. For these people, Santorum is scary; it’s clear Santorum would not be willing to compromise on sexual ethics issues which are a cornerstone for liberal, metropolitan America. Cohen is wrong, of course, but he has the right to disagree.
    But Cohen is right on the educational issue. Santorum mischaracterized Obama’s statements. What Obama actually said was that every school leaver ought to have some sort of post-secondary education, academic, vocational or otherwise. To be sure, Santorum was playing a political game in calling Obama a snob, capitalizing on the reverse snobbery of his blue collar base. Unfortunately, it’s had the result of entrenching the position of those who argue that Santorum (and conservative Catholicism generally) are anti-intellectual. This has very little to do with whether or not college education is useful; my own view is that there is something to the idea that far too many people go to university, which has had the effect of pushing down standards, reducing labour productivity, and distorting the labour market. That said, Santorum failed to make these distinctions and instead of entering into a valid policy debate, he made himself look rather foolish.
    Finally, I must say that while it is clear that religious viewpoints do have a place in the public square, making arguments to non-Catholics or non-Christians on the basis of Christian premises are seldom very helpful and usually have the effect of polarizing the issue. I think the American founding fathers’ position on religious liberty and the role of religion in the public square is that religion should function within civil society to shape debate within particular religious communities, but more importantly, to ensure virtue and morality of the republic’s citizens. However, in a democracy without an established church, I think people have the right to expect that policy should not be formed through explicit reference to religious principles. The advantage of our faith is that we don’t need to do this because Catholicism is true and therefore, any moral position we hold can be justified by reason.
    I don’t think Santorum has suggested he would do otherwise, but the role which religion has played in his campaign, and his strenuous repudiation of the “Kennedy doctrine” on this issue has certainly alarmed a lot of people, which is perhaps understandable given that in the present era, American political culture seems to suffer from a lack of nuance and a surfeit of passion.
    Do I agree with Cohen? no.
    But I don’t think he’s a bigot.

  3. wmeyer says:

    As Mark Levin points out, apart from the letter by Jefferson so often mentioned, the 20th century chapion of separation of church and state was Justice Hugo Black, an anti-Catholic and former KKK member.

    One can only wonder at how often the left makes heroes and icons of people whose actual principles were reprehensible: Margaret Sanger and Hugo Black are primary examples.

  4. Cantate says:

    Father Z., rather than Mullah Rick, I think perhaps “Rabbi Cohen” fits better. On an organized parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1994, our Jewish guide told me that “when Messiah comes” the plan is that all men with the surname Cohen will be the “priests”–taking the place of the Levites in the OT. And yes, they do intend to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. (That was tried centuries ago, but I think they forgot the result.) And the rabbi is supposed to teach, correct? Never mind whether or not he imparts the the truth here.

  5. Cantate, I think Cohen is the one that wrote “Mullah Rick”, Fr. Z just put it in bold.

    I am not a Santorum fan, but this screed by Cohen is complete leftist garbage aimed at appeasing his northeastern liberal and college professor readers.

    I do have problems with Santorum’s advocacy for war and torture, all of which he has to talk to his priest or bishop about IMO, but other than that, people from the right side of the spectrum are clobbering him on his past votes in the senate. Ronald Reagan was for abortion when he was governor of California, but changed his tune before he started running for POTUS…people can change their minds when properly educated.

  6. mrose says:

    “it’s clear Santorum would not be willing to compromise on sexual ethics issues”

    I wish. He mentioned a few weeks back being “proud” of having “compromised” to fund contraceptives (I think to PP). A Catholic attempting to be President in a Freemasonic republic has necessarily compromised on lots of Catholic principles. Is Santorum better than Obama? Of course. But that does not mean he is the be-all, end-all, and it does not mean that he does not and has not done stupid things. And I do admire several of the unpopular stands he has both taken and defended without backing down.

  7. Bosco says:

    I’ve seen worse too; however, I think the most insidious attacks on Santorum’s Catholicity come from supposed conservative media outlets.
    I believe The Drudge Report has tried relentlessly to portray Santorum as a Catholic kook via it’s daily collage of links to news stories sneering at Rick.
    Bragadoccio buffoons like FOX’s Bill O’Reilly snigger and sneer and tut-tut at Santorum all the time, disparaging his election prospects and suggesting his appeal (owing to his religious convictions) is extremely limited.

  8. JohnE says:

    Why can’t the author just come out and disagree with Santorum’s views and make his case. Instead, this is just an attack piece to paint Santorum as a nut job because his views are informed by his Catholic faith. I guess that’s the state of journalism these days.

  9. robben29 says:

    “As any European can attest, the American public square is soaked in religion or religion-speak.”
    I know this is nothing but a slight aside but why does the left have this obsession with “aspiring” to be acceptable by the Europeans?

  10. taad says:

    My father who was 3 years a combat vet in the South Pacific and lost many friends who are buried there, always said that the government loved large Catholic families when it came to war and filling the ranks of the military, but anything else, forget it. We can send our boys to war, but we can not hold our beliefs and be president.

  11. Sliwka says:

    I am not sure of the view of the governments in the states, but in Alberta, literally any education after high school is considered post-secondary so therefore your Joe the Plummer types are post-secondary snobs as well.

    It is very rare indeed to have any career without ay post secondary at all.

  12. mauriac says:

    The Supreme Court ruled in Wisconsin vs. Yoder that a certain religious group was not compelled to send their children to High School. They were exempt from Wisconsin attendance laws and penalties because of the principal of religious freedom. It was also determined that contrary to popular sentiment, enrollment in High School was not necessary for being a functioning citizen. They also wanted to protect their children from a culture found in the schools that was contrary to their beliefs. Yes, these were the Amish…So the Supreme Court appears to agree with Santorum’s idea that secular education could be a problem that could destroy the values religious parents want to pass on to their children. Wishing that Catholics could receive an exemption!

  13. Nicole says:

    That was a terribly silly article… It is hard to forget that this is the same cliches one receives at public school: Unless you go to college or a university, you cannot even flip hamburgers. What B.S..

    I personally think that even going to high school is a waste of time designed so that your parents can have a baby sitter while they work…and get you indoctrinated :)

  14. Mdepie says:

    I think what is happening to Rick Santorum demonstrates more a collapse of serious moral reasoning among Catholics about what a just public order really means. Last night Romney won among Catholics, Some of the comments above about Santorum favoring “war and torture” suggest really no understanding of the Catholic stance on either. Santorum should be getting virtually all of the serious Catholic vote. It says a lot about the state of the Church that he does not. I think Richard Cohen’s bigoted comments confirm this. Cohen hates Santorum primarily because he is serious about what the Church teaches. If the likes of Richard Cohen supported him, I would be concerned. The real problem is among the Catholics that do not.

    By any fair reading of his record he is a serious Catholic who has been on the Church’s side on msot of the big issues. He clearly articulates a political philosophy consistent with the Church’s. Criticisms of him on some isolated votes are of course possible, but to be fair and realistic is there a candidate that is superior? Some of the criticisms are not realistic. While his defense of the Title X votes probably was clumsy ( especially given his overt criticisms of contraception) it is true these occurred as part of larger appropriations bills, when the Title X funding was not going to be stripped. Morally such votes are justified by the principal of double effect as long as there is no possibility of deleting the objectionable funding. I think Santorum is merely trying to defuse the attack that if elected he will try to ban contraceptives. In terms “Confederate Catholics” comments that Santorum supports war and torture, this is simply absurd. In terms of War, you may have a duty to support it, ( A state can have the grave duty to go to war to defend the innocent) SO Supporting war may be a virtue, and fighting it may be a vice. Depends on the war. In any case, its a prudential judgement so Santorum can not be faulted on Catholic Grounds. Torture is even more confusing. the Rev Brian Harrison has written an article that can be found on the Catholic Culture web site, that discusses this at lenght. Suffice it to say it is not clear that the Catholic tradition condemns “waterboarding terrorists” to extract information needed to save someone’s life. Imagine the following scenario, you have arrested a serial killer who has planted a time bomb in an elementary school, he has the code to defuse the bomb. Do you waterboard him? I am not sure the Catholic tradition says “no absolutely not”.

    All that said we have very effective, sincerely Catholic moderately conservative Senator who articulates the Catholic view of governance very well. Many of his votes should please the Catholics who are concerned about “social justice” he had done things to restructure third world debt, provided AIDS medication to poor African Countries, etc. For the most part he has been moderately conservative, he has been a huge supporter on the issues of most concern to us. Can anyone doubt he would end the HHS mandate? Appoint pro-life justices? Support school choice and vouchers thereby improving the lot of Parents to send their children to Catholic Schools? his tax deduction plan to increase the dependent deduction is really the only pure “pro-family” economic policy out there. At the end of the day it amazes me that as Catholics we are not supporting him ( rather evangelicals are !) This says more to me about the state of affairs than the bigoted Mr. Cohen. We are in very sad shape, Here we have a unique voice, probably the only seriously Catholic presidential candidate ever ( that is one whose views are informed by his Catholicism) and we are going to squander the opportunity

  15. philologus says:

    Odd. I have never thought of conservative Catholics as “uneducated”. If anything, they are much more knowledgeable about Catholic doctrine, belief, history than others.

  16. The Cobbler says:

    “Imagine the following scenario, you have arrested a serial killer who has planted a time bomb in an elementary school, he has the code to defuse the bomb. Do you waterboard him? I am not sure the Catholic tradition says “no absolutely not”. ”
    It’s long-standing and clear Church teaching that the ends do not justify the means; thus, if torture is morally neutral this scenario is as unnecessary as it is unrealistic(1), but if it is intrinsically immoral than even if this scenario did occur in real life it would not justify torture. In other words, it turns out that the only thing picking examples like this does is make it harder to accept something that’s really perfectly simple; that’s one reason they say “hard cases make bad law”. (The other is that if the case really were complex, we shouldn’t be trying to write our principles based on it; simple principles apply to complex realities in a complex manner, complex principles tend not to play nicely with reality ever at all.)

    As to whether waterboarding is torture, I submit to you that there’s nothing unclear about it since the Church has always favored definitions that depend niether on degree nor on technique. (If you can find even one instance of an entire Church law, and not merely a subset dealing with the degree of gravity or applicability within a larger law, that focuses primarily on the degree or actual technique of something without that degree or technique making a difference of kind, please direct me to it; I’ve never seen one and would be fascinated to expand my moral horizon.) It should be perfectly simple to find out whether the Church, in condemning torture, means something along the lines of “To harm or directly cause pain ordered toward the extraction of information”, which would be perfectly easy to apply to things such as waterboarding, bending fingers backwards, etc. It doesn’t have to have been explicitly stated in those exact words by every single Pope since Peter. It doesn’t even have to have ever been explicitly stated in an ex cathedra statement; those are for disputed doctrines central to Christianity. Just ask where the condemnation of torture comes from and what definition is typically supplied by the moral philosophy there. A thousand muddled or hedging priests today do not an unclear issue make, especially not when you have Church tradition in general with her habit of precise definitions that do not break down merely because of a few complex cases in reality.

    (1)This isn’t strictly relevant to the question of whether it’s moral, but let me get this straight: we have time to torture the guy but not time to evacuate the school? Or we’re justifying this based on just the school building? And we know for a fact that if he breaks under torture he won’t break down and lie or spout nonsense, he’ll break the exact way we need him to? When you need bad psychological assumptions and scenarios that wouldn’t even make sense on tv to suggest that something is justified, it strongly suggests that either A) it’s not justifiable anyway or B) you don’t have the foggiest clue how to argue a simple point.

  17. The Cobbler says:

    With all that said, Santorum sounds like he may be the best option we have. Torture’s a lot lower on the issue gravity list than abortion, contraception and forcing Catholics to violate their consciences. Being a politician, he’s liable to try to play games somewhere along the line, probably because he thinks he has to in order to be able to do all the other good things he’s trying to do; but if he stays true to even the half of what his enemies paint him for, it’ll be a vast improvement.

  18. We have all of world history to warn us about what happens when religion takes too prominent a role. The public square gets used for beheadings and the like.

    Anyone who purports to get that warning from world history is manifestly ignorant of world history. Last I checked, it was the rabidly anti-religionist Jacobins who kept the guillotine blades dropping in late 18th-century France.

  19. Johnno says:

    “We have all of world history to warn us about what happens when religion takes too prominent a role. The public square gets used for beheadings and the like.”

    Really? I thought those were the French Revolutionaries! You know… those guys who hated the Church and religion and worshiped enlightened human intellect! Oops…

    I guess he should’ve said ‘burning at the stake’, but unfortunately that doesn’t help his case either as those burned at the stake were for treason and plotting against the government. Not for their heretical beliefs, but those sure helped!

  20. Mdepie says:


    I would suggest you read the article by Rev Harrison re torture. I would also submit inflicting pain on evildoers is not “intrinsically immoral” otherwise you could not kill them. The Church has unequivocally said it is permissible to kill soldiers in war time, and criminals via the Death penalty. Even John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae allows the death penalty in situations in which it is otherwise impossible to protect society, so no one thinks the death penalty is intrinsically immoral. I think if you can put a bullet in the brain of the terrorists, you can pour water on their face and make them think they are drowning. It is obviously morally incoherent to call one ok, but not the other. Obviously the Church has said one can kill enemy combatants. even that one is required to do so) So the real life scenario, I have captured a Jihadist who is planning a terrorist attack, perhaps cyanide gas in a NY subway, he has info on who, what, where and when, I want the info. I think it is not a problem to water board him, In fact its a virtue. I water board him and sleep like a baby . As the article by Rev Harrison makes clear there is not a consistent condemnation of torture when used as a weapon to defend the innocent, and the just order. It is immoral when used for an immoral end. It is therefore like any form of violence. It is not intrinsically wrong, its morality is determined by the circumstances and whether it is used on the innocent. Perhaps there are forms of torture that are so horrible they are intrinsically immoral, but water boarding is not one. One must remember there was a time when the Church sanctioned the death penalty for heretics by burning at the stake. ( As the Catholic encyclopedia says ” The civil authorities, therefore, were enjoined by the popes, under pain of excommunication to execute the legal sentences that condemned impenitent heretics to the stake.”) I am not particularly scandalized by that fact, because at the time heresy was something that undermined the whole civil order, and was seen as something that lead souls to eternal damnation, so obviously the civil authority was instructed to vigorously defend the civil order. It light of this historical fact I have no idea on what basis you can oppose water boarding as contrary to Catholicism.

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  22. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “Kennedy’s speech is actually a sad document, a necessary attempt to combat the bigoted and ignorant notion that a Catholic President might take orders from the Vatican.

    Oddly, the assurances that Kennedy offered that day are ones that I would like to hear from Santorum. He, too, is a Catholic, although not of the Kennedy variety…”

    Just re-read these two sentences he wrote. In the first, he insinuates that it is bigotry and ignorance to make it necessary for a Catholic President to demonstrate that he doesn’t take order form the Vatican. Then in the second sentence, he states he desires Santorum to demonstrate that he doesn’t take orders from the Vatican. It seems he on some subconscious level recognizes he is in fact an ignorant bigot.

  23. JEFFKLUMP says:

    Rick Santorum’s brand of Catholicism should be questioned. He is an Evangelical-Catholic which means everyone is going to hell if they don’t believe what I believe and the way I believe it, and we must attack Iran ( who has done nothing to us ) for the sake of saving Israel. Mr. Santorum would be better off in Pastor John Hagee’s church!

  24. Imrahil says:

    As any European can attest, the American public square is soaked in religion or religion-speak.

    What is “religion speak”? But I disgress.

    True is that Europeans sometimes are surprised of the way that Americans are not ashamed of their religion.

    Wrong is that the American public square is soaked with religion. Imagine a Memorial Day with an official village celebration. The celebration is lead by the parishpriest and altar boys who come to a War Memorial and say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and O Lord give them eternal quiet. Then, the Veterans’ Chairmen and the Mayor give a speech. During all the time, two former draftees of the Army have been allowed to wear their uniform (even though their service is ended) as guard of honor. An active colonel of the Army is present as official representative. And the President in the capital does the same in an official ceremony. After the ceremony, the priest receives thanks for his prayer without any mentioning of other religions.

    I’m proud to say that this is the reality in Bavaria.

    (Oh, right. There are things that run wrong here. Leave me my pride for a minute, will you?)

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