Saturday, February 11, 2012

American Sharia: Rick Santorum's Bibliocracy

[Hey, remember Rick Santorum?  Looking back through the WAiA archives from this past year, it appears this little piece got lost in limbo.  Forgive the non-timeliness of the piece, now back-posted to February.]

Cle-rick Santorum

Yes, Rick Santorum is a lunatic.

Throughout his bizarre campaign, the presidential nopeful has been actively advocating for a government based on religious law...oh wait, wouldn't that be sharia? Welcome to the new non-freedom of religion movement. Welcome to Rick Santorum's Bibilocracy.

Take these recent examples (I'm sure there is an endless amount of identical nonsense):

Rick Santorum was asked the final question during the GOP debate in Jacksonville, Florida on January 26. The question, asked by Jacksonville attorney Suzanne Bass was, "How would your religious beliefs, if you're elected, impact the decisions that you make in the office of the presidency."

While all the answers, besides Ron Paul's (who views religion as it should be: a personal, non-governmental, matter), were noxious and creepy, Santorum's - as to be expected - was the strangest. Here it is in full:
Faith is a very, very important part of my life, but it's a very, very important part of this country. The foundational documents of our country -- everybody talks about the Constitution, very, very important. But the Constitution is the "how" of America. It's the operator's manual.

The "why" of America, who we are as a people, is in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights."

The Constitution is there to do one thing: protect God-given rights. That's what makes America different than every other country in the world. No other country in the world has its rights -- rights based in God-given rights, not government-given rights.

And so when you say, well, faith has nothing to do with it, faith has everything to do with it. If rights come...


If our president believes that rights come to us from the state, everything government gives you, it can take away. The role of the government is to protect rights that cannot be taken away.

And so the answer to that question is, I believe in faith and reason and approaching the problems of this country but understand where those rights come from, who we are as Americans and the foundational principles by which we have changed the world.
Speaking in Texas on Wednesday, Santorum took weird and crazy to a different level, charging that Obama's war on religion would lead inevitably to a French Revolution Redux. That was supposed to be code for godlessness. The New Yorker's Amy Davidson has an excellent piece on Santorum lunatic rant, including this bizarre attempted-takedown of Alexis de Tocqueville. "He came from a country, they had a revolution, too," Santorum began, in true fairytale fashion. He continued:
Their constitution, by the way, was very similar to the American Constitution. But it was one difference [sic]. Their constitution was based on three principles. Liberty — good. Equality — good. And fraternity — brotherhood. Brother-hood. But not fatherhood. The rights came from each other. Came from the government. Not inalienable rights that came from God.
Oh no! Brotherhood...booo! The entire clip from Davidson's piece is a must-watch.

First off, Santorum clearly knows nothing about the founding fathers and their general abhorrence of organized religion. Most of those guys, at best, were deists, not theists.

Beyond that, however, it's odd that he doesn't think other countries derive their "rights" from religious belief and doctrine.

Let's see:

The Constitution of Afghanistan, adopted in 2004 by the Karzai government, ensures that "In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam." (Chap. 1, Art. 3) It also holds that "Life is a gift of God and a natural right of human beings" (2.23) and "Liberty is the natural right of human beings." (2.24)

Articles 7 and 8 of the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia affirm, "The regime derives its power from the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah which rule over this and all other State Laws" and that "[t]he system of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is established on the foundation of justice, "Shoura" and equality in compliance with the Islamic Shari'ah (the revealed law of Islam)."

Chapter 1, Article 2 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted with overwhelming support via national referendum in 1979, begins by stating that the government is based upon the concept of a single god and the belief in his "exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands" as well as "[d]ivine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws."

The Iraqi Constitution begins by affirming that "Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation," and continues, "No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established."

Oh right, I forgot. Santorum doesn't count Islam as being a legitimate source of god-given rights. Here's what he said last month in a South Carolina restaurant, as reported by ABC News:
"I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, 'Well, equality, we want equality.' Where do you think this concept of equality comes from?" Santorum asked the enthusiastic crowd packed into a restaurant here. "It doesn't come from Islam. It doesn't come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that's where it comes from."

Santorum then said that since equality comes from God, people should live "responsibly in conforming with God's laws."

"So don't claim his rights, don't claim equality as that gift from God and then go around and say, "Well, we don't have to pay attention to what God wants us to do. We don’t have to pay attention to God's moral laws." If your rights come from God, then you have an obligation to live responsibly in conforming with God’s laws, and our founders said so, right?" Santorum asked.
Clearly, Santorum's insane. Still, it may be instructive to point out that there are myriad examples in national constitutions and basic laws that demonstrate that the "inalienable" and "inherent" rights of people, just as our Declaration of Independence does. For example, the Spanish Constitution's Article 10 which details "Human Dignity [and] Human Rights," holds that "The dignity of the person, the inviolable rights which are inherent, the free development of the personality, respect for the law and the rights of others, are the foundation of political order and social peace." The United Kingdom's "Human Dignity" law states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Oh no, wait, there's "brotherhood," again! Gross!

Furthermore, the Swiss Constitution even has a Preamble that reads:
In the name of God Almighty!
We, the Swiss People and the Cantons,being mindful of our responsibility towards creation,
in renewing our alliance to strengthen liberty and democracy, independence and peace in solidarity and openness towards the world,
determined, with mutual respect and recognition, to live our diversity in unity,
conscious of our common achievements and our responsibility towards future generations,
certain that free is only who uses his freedom, and that the strength of a people is measured by the welfare of the weak,
hereby adopt the following Constitution...
Sure, one can just point out the fallacy of Santorum's theocratic weirdness by citing our First Amendment (y'know, the whole "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" thingamagig), but it's more fun to check out what - oh, I don't know - Abraham Lincoln may have thought about Santorum's France-bashing.

The French Constitution (Fifth Republic, 1958) dictates that "[t]he maxim of the Republic shall be 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity'" and that "[t]he principle of the Republic shall be: government of the people, by the people and for the people."

Why does that sound familiar? Oh right, the last line of the Gettysburg Address, wherein Lincoln declared the victory of the Union would ensure "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

It'll be a nice change of pace when Santorum and his chauvinism eventually bow out of the race, but until then, there will be plenty more craziness to look forward to.


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