Get Me to the Church on Time!

by Norman Horowitz

While from time to time I find it difficult to remember where I parked my car, there are many things that are totally useless that I remember that take up a lot of my very limited “brain space.”

One of these is from the play Plaza Suite when Maureen Stapleton confronts her husband George C. Scott with her knowledge of his having an affair with his secretary and she says something like: “I know that you have been having an affair with your secretary and it is very sad in that I expected more of you. Everyone has an affair with their secretary.”

I expect better from our political process.

Starting with my valiant Air Force service while defending democracy for four years in Belleville, Illinois, and working for a variety of media companies, I have had an expectation of “management excellence” and it was rarely, if ever, satisfied. I did believe that, if you became the head of a multibillion-dollar enterprise, you needed to be smart and effective.

Boy, was I ever wrong about that!

As I complete my eighth decade of life, I have transferred my expectations of excellence into the political arena.

I am a big-time supporter of our President Barack Obama, who has had a three-year opportunity of managing the unmanageable and has done as good a job as possible.

In my “declining years,” I have wondered why I continue to expect reasonableness and sanity from the Republicans?

I do not differentiate between “Republican smart” or “Democrat smart”, but rather my concept of just plain “smart.”

With a couple hundred million “grownups” in our country, why is Rick Santorum a leading candidate for president?

Santorum has said that not only was the separation of church and state not absolute; there is a role for religious faith in the federal government. He went on to say that the definition of separation of church and state does not appear verbatim in the Constitution. What it does say is:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Santorum wants to blur the line between the religion and government.

Santorum said that liberals are the real bigots in the debate over same-sex marriage because, he said, they argue that conservatives oppose gay marriage because of “hatred and bigotry.” He cited a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that California’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, and that the ban “serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” Santorum said this was tantamount to the court saying, “If you believe marriage is between a man and a woman, it is either because you are a hater or a bigot.”

Someone should tell Santorum that the Constitution is the law of the land for America. It is a secular document and does not “appeal to God.” Our government derives from people (not God), as it clearly states in the preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…

While the Constitution does not include the phrase “separation of church and state,” neither does it say “freedom of religion.” However, the Constitution implies both in the First Amendment.

Santorum might note that keeping religion separate allows atheists and religionists to practice their belief systems without government intervention.

Closing with another Neil Simon play, the musical Sweet Charity had a song entitled, “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This!” Well, there just has to be something better than Santorum!

What to Read on Rick Santorum

Who Is Rick Santorum? — The Atlantic

Homosexuality, abortion and family values have been the signature issues of Santorum’s career, rising to prominence as he did during the height of the 1990s culture wars. He authored the partial-birth abortion ban that passed the Senate in 2003. He proposed an amendment to the No Child Left Behind legislation that would have required public-school teachers to discuss the “controversy” surrounding evolution. Remember Terri Schiavo? That was him, too — he was one of the leading voices calling for the federal government to intervene to prevent the Florida woman from being taken off life support amid conflicting family wishes. Santorum decries secularism, hedonism and the idea that different family configurations are equally acceptable, openly pining for a bygone society built around heterosexual marriage and traditional gender roles. In his book, It Takes a Family — intended as a rebuttal to Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village — Santorum blamed “the influence of radical feminism” for the distressing fact that women were finding it “more socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children.”

Santorum is an extreme Iran hawk, arguing that tough action, likely military, is needed to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. In effect, he says, the U.S. has been at war with Iran since 1979, and regime change will be necessary to ensure the country is no longer a threat. Santorum has been pounding this drum for some time. In 2005, he authored a bill to put $10 million toward Iran regime change.

Santorum Rose Quickly From Reformer to Insider — Sheryl Gay Stolberg

Mr. Santorum won election in 1990 to the House by attacking his Democratic opponent for living in Washington while representing Pennsylvania; by 2006 his critics said the same of him. As the third-ranking Senate Republican, he was a point man in a controversial effort to place Republicans in lobbying jobs. And his finances came into question, amid controversy over political donations and tuition money he accepted.

[In college, he] struck professors as ambitious, if more interested in tactics than issues.

“Most students would ask whether a policy would be worth the cost; he was unusual in that he was interested in what would get you the most votes,” Robert O’Connor, a former professor, recalled.

The group [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] put Mr. Santorum on its list of the “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress,” and accused him of introducing legislation to benefit political donors.

Santorum: States Should Have the Right to Outlaw Birth Control — Igor Volsky

Santorum has long opposed the Supreme Court’s 1965 ruling “that invalidated a Connecticut law banning contraception” and has also pledged to completely defund federal funding for contraception if elected president. As he [said, “Contraception is] not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

…contraceptive services provided at publicly funded clinics helped prevent almost two million unintended pregnancies. Without funding from Medicaid and Title X, “abortions occurring in the United States would be nearly two-thirds higher among women overall and among teens; the number of unintended pregnancies among poor women would nearly double.”

Santorum Says He Would Bomb Iran’s Nuclear Plants — Michael Ono

Rick Santorum said today that he would be in favor of launching airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

“We will degrade those facilities through airstrikes, and make it very public that we are doing that,” Santorum said…

“On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly,” Santorum said…

Among the possible methods for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat listed on Santorum’s campaign website is treating nuclear scientists working for the Iranians like enemy combatants.

Santorum Hypes Iran “Threat” — Juan Cole

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum warned North Dakota on Wednesday that it was in the cross-hairs of an Iranian attack.

Iran has a small medical research nuclear reactor, which produces nuclear isotopes for use in chemotherapy.

The medical reactor was given to Iran by the United States… The reactor is being regularly inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure it is being used only for civilian purposes.

The reactor actually has no conceivable military purpose, and its fuel, uranium enriched to 19.75 percent, is used up when run through the reactor, so it cannot be used to make a nuclear warhead. Nuclear bombs need the uranium to be enriched to 95 percent…

Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Rejects While Obsessing About Birth Control — Juan Cole

  1. …Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq…
  2. The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans.
  3. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations.
  4. The US Conference of Bishops has urged that the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor.
  5. The bishops want welfare for all needy families…
  6. The US bishops say that “the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions…”
  7. Catholic bishops demand the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Rick Santorum denies that there are any Palestinians…
  8. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops ripped into Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants…
  9. The Bishops have urged that illegal immigrants not be treated as criminals and that their contribution to this country be recognized.
  10. The US Conference of Bishops has denounced, as has the Pope, the Bush idea of ‘preventive war’, and has come out against an attack on Iran in the absence of a real and present threat of an Iranian assault on the US.

Ayatollah Santorum Excommunicates Obama, Mainstream Protestants — Juan Cole

Rick Santorum does not think Episcopalians are Christians.

…he believes the social Gospel and non-literal approaches to the Bible are un-Christian, and he has thrown President Obama out of Christianity along with 45 million other mainline Protestants. Santorum does not believe that the Bible suggests you care for the poor and needy.

In fact, Santorum by declaring the social Gospel to be un-Christian has not only excommunicated liberal Protestants from Christianity, he has excommunicated the majority of American Catholics, along with the US Council of Bishops and the last few popes, all of whom speak of an “option for the poor.”

…he condemns fornication and adultery, but also implicitly revealing clothing. And he is against condoms and birth control pills because in his view they encourage sleeping around (though he doesn’t approve of them for married people either; go figure).

…Santorum’s approach to religion and social policy is reminiscent of Muslim fundamentalist parties…