Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd

State, national columnists

Mullah Rick’s religious fanaticism

By From page A7 | February 24, 2012

Rick Santorum has been called a latter-day Savonarola.

That’s far too grand. He’s more like a small-town mullah.

“Satan has his sights on the United States of America,” the conservative presidential candidate warned in 2008. “Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.”

When, in heaven’s name, did sensuality become a vice? Next he’ll be banning Barry White.

Santorum is not merely engaged in a culture war but “a spiritual war,” as he called it four years ago.

”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,” he told students at Ave Maria University in Florida. He added that mainline Protestantism in this country “is in shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

Satan strikes, a Catholic exorcist told me, when there are “soul wounds.” Santorum, who is considered “too Catholic” even by my uber-Catholic brothers, clearly believes that America’s soul wounds include men and women having sex for reasons other than procreation, people involved in same-sex relationships, women using contraception or having prenatal testing, environmentalists who elevate “the Earth above man,” women working outside the home, “anachronistic” public schools, Mormonism (which he said is considered “a dangerous cult” by some Christians), and President Barack Obama (whom he obliquely and oddly compared to Hitler and accused of having “some phony theology.”)

Santorum didn’t go as far as evangelist Franklin Graham, who heinously doubted the president’s Christianity on “Morning Joe.”

Mullah Rick, who has turned prayer into a career move, told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that he disagreed with the 1965 Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on contraception. And, in October, he insisted that contraception is “not OK. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Sanitarium, as he was once dubbed on “The Sopranos,” sometimes tries to temper his retrogressive sermons so as not to drive away independent and Republican women who like to work, see their kids taught by professionals and wear Victoria’s Secret.

He told The Washington Post last Friday that, while he doesn’t want to fund contraception through Planned Parenthood, he wouldn’t ban it: “The idea that I’m coming after your birth control is absurd. I was making a statement about my moral beliefs, but I won’t impose them on anyone else in this case.”

That doesn’t comfort me much. I’ve spent a career watching candidates deny they would do things that they went on to do as president, and watching presidents let their personal beliefs, desires and insecurities shape policy decisions.

Mullah Rick is casting doubt on issues of women’s health and safety that were settled a long time ago. We’re supposed to believe that if he got more power he’d drop his crusade?

The Huffington Post reports that Santorum told Philadelphia Magazine in 1995 that he “was basically pro-choice all my life, until I ran for Congress.” Then, he said, he read the “scientific literature.”

He seems to have decided that electoral gold lies in the ruthless exploitation of social and cultural wedge issues. Unlike the Bushes, he has no middle man to pander to prejudices; he turns the knife himself.

Why is it that Republicans don’t want government involved when it comes to the economy (opposing the auto bailouts) but do want government involved when it comes to telling people how to live their lives?

In a party always misty for bygone times bristling with ugly inequities, Santorum is successful because he’s not ashamed to admit that he wants to take the country backward.

Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, touted as a vice presidential prospect, also wants to drag women back into a cave.

This week, public outrage forced the Virginia Legislature to pause on its way to passing a creepy bill forcing women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound, which, for early procedures, would require a wand being inserted into the vagina — an invasion that anti-abortion groups hope would shame some women into changing their minds once they saw or heard about traits of the fetus.

Democratic Delegate Lionell Spruill hotly argued that the bill would force “legal rape.”

”I cannot believe that you would disrespect women and mothers in such a way,” he chided colleagues. “This legislation is simply mean-spirited, and it is bullying, bullying women simply because you can.”

While the Democratic-controlled Maryland House of Delegates just passed a bill that would allow same-sex marriage, the Republican-controlled Virginia Legislature passed a bill allowing private adoption agencies to discriminate against gays who want to be parents.

The Potomac River dividing those states seems to be getting wider by the day.

Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York Times.

Maureen Dowd


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • Gary KatocsFebruary 24, 2012 - 5:08 am

    I understand Dowdy's reference to Savonarola..she would no doubt be more comfortable with the Borgias..Note how she lumps ALL Republicans as wanting to dictate how people live their lives..Oh no Democrats aren't like that at all.."You will buy healthcare or face a fine".."You will not build that plant there"."You will eat this drink that" "You should drive this"...Well Dowdy not all Republicans support Rick Santorum and are much more intelligent,informed,and pragmatic than you could ever give us credit for in your liberal fog.You didn't mention your hero Obama supporting infantcide when a baby is killed after surviving an abortion attempt..geez I don't know if it's born is it finally a baby in your eyes you dowdy girl of yesterday?....And remember if you can wrap your limited talent of comprehension around this..Contraception is not birth control..it's pregnancy control..abortion is birth control..

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  • ArtimusFebruary 24, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    Some people use the term Fanatical, Fanaticism, Fundamentalist as though it was something bad but not necessarily so. If we went to our Doctor to examine a lump in our chest; I am sure we would want him to be a fanatic on our part in determining if that lump is cancerous or not. We would all want him to at least practice the fundamentals that he learned in College. To describe someone as a fanatic because he has expressed his views on a theological matter and has stood up with firm and strong convictions regarding certain issues in spite of others criticism seems to describe a person of strength and integrity whether you agree with him or not. I wish President Obama was a fanatic in representing our country as strong to the rest of the world but instead he has gone around apologizing making us a laughing stock. I wish he would practice the fundamentals of his theology that he claims to have. I wish that he would be a fanatic in uniting the Country but instead he has divided it through class warfare. As Americans we all should be fanatics in wanting to make our country great but instead we have many wishy-washy, limp, no back-bone, hiding under the skirt people as our leaders. Go out and get some of that fanatic fever.

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  • The SugarJarFebruary 24, 2012 - 9:54 pm

    The term "fanatic" includes an irrational component. So I would not agree want a doctor who was a fanatic. Skilled, determined, dedicated sure. Fundamentals are like the building blocks. They are fine. No other connotations. Fundamentalism or fundamentalist, however has a different meaning than simply the fundamentals, or building blocks, of something. Fundamentalism is generally seen as the taking of a religious text, for example, literally. This may be a good or a bad thing. But the fanatic part, generally not good.

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  • ArtimusFebruary 24, 2012 - 11:24 pm

    Good point SugarJar for in Afghanistan; they sure took their text literally by k…lling numerous people including two of our U.S. soldiers in retaliation for burning copies of Qur’an text(s) that contained secret terrorist messages. All at the same time our wonderful President Obama apologized and the Military General apologized. But we have yet to receive an apology for the deaths of our dear soldiers at the hands of those they fought hand in hand. Keep this in mind next time when some people try to point out that Islam is a peaceful religion or that they worship the same god as Christians or that they share a common religion. The reality is; if you burn the bible or the American flag; nothing happens. But if you burn the Quar’an; deaths will occur that is the fundamental truth.

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  • Gary KatocsFebruary 25, 2012 - 7:57 am

    And to think USA clothed those Afghan soldiers,fed them,trained them,paid them and gave them the weapons they used to kill our troops..Obama is a Muslim pure and simple..he's a traitor to this nation..How a "president" can violated his oath of office break amendments I IV V VI of the constitution and still walks around with that smirk on his face is beyond the pale..

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  • ArtimusFebruary 24, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    Oh SugarJar; here is another tid-bit of fundamental reality. If you are Muslim and you denounce Muslim and convert to another religion the fundamental reality is a death sentence. Which is by the way Pastor Yousef is facing in Iran if he is still alive. Don’t we live in a wonderful country with its much freedom? http://www.christianpost.com/news/iran-pastor-yousef-nadarkhani-likely-to-remain-in-jail-another-year-65003/

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  • The SugarJarFebruary 25, 2012 - 12:32 am

    Artimus, your view, and your understanding, is not a surprise.

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  • Gary KatocsFebruary 25, 2012 - 8:00 am

    Perhaps we should have executed an American soldier for e very Koran burned ..think that would appease..those "people"?

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