21 February 2012

Rick Santorum—an Antichrist?

Rick Santorum is a disturbing man. The candidate for Republican nominee for president has said things that if I were an American, I would find offensive if not frightening. For instance, he has suggested that people who don't live according to what he refers to as "God's law," have no claim to equality, making it clear he is referring to the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," i.e. the Jewish and Christian God. He has further insisted that "our founders said so."

Santorum would apparently deny fellow Americans equality because they don't think like him, because they don't accept his religious beliefs. This is more than devout, this is zealotry, this is creeping into Osama bin Laden territory.

He is wrong, of course, about the founders of his country saying so. Rather, they said, in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal"—all men, no caveats. Nor is he right about the concept of equality somehow emerging from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To my knowledge, the first group to explicitly state that all human beings are equal by nature were the Sophists of Ancient Greece, a pre-Christian group of atheists and agnostics.

Santorum ought to have a sound knowledge of the Christian God. He is a devout Catholic, was once listed as one of the 25 most influential evangelists in America by Time magazine, and he and his wife were conferred with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an award accorded to Catholics who have displayed exemplary chivalry, nobleness or service to the faith. But how does one actually know the laws of the Christian God? Unless Santorum has a direct line, he must rely on the Holy Bible, specifically the New Testament, the testament of Jesus Christ. And there he goes off the rails.

Santorum supports capital punishment, is a firm advocate of a citizen’s right to bear arms, supports the assassination of scientists working on Iran's nuclear program, supports the torture of prisoners, and believes the U.S. should pursue the Afghan war to a successful conclusion. In summary, he supports torture, murder and war against one's enemies—a very bloody-minded philosophy indeed.

This is all in violation of the laws of the Christian God, at least as expressed by Jesus Christ. It is more Antichrist than Christ. The prophet Himself had a lot to say on the matter. In Mathew 5:38-39, He advises, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." In Mathew 5:43-44, He adds, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Many passages in the Bible are ambiguous, but these are abundantly clear. Christ considered the point so important, He expressed it in two different ways. Nonetheless, not enough ways, apparently, to convince Santorum.

And Santorum is not alone. His competitor New Gingrich said he would do with America’s enemies what former President Andrew Jackson advised: "Kill them.” Even Barack Obama, who also claims Christian credentials, said that anybody who disagreed with the murder of Osama bin-Laden should "have their head examined." How odd that a Christian should in effect say that Jesus Christ should have his head examined.

Being a Christian is hard, at least in the sense of following Christ's (God's) teachings, and I have chosen a particularly tough command to obey, one I certainly couldn't. But then I'm not a Christian and therefore I'm not obliged. Those who claim to be Christians are obliged to at least try. Santorum, Gingrich, et al. don't seem to even be aware of these inconvenient commands, almost as if Christianity were unrelated to Jesus Christ. They are Old Testament believers—an eye for an eye. I know atheists who are better Christians than these guys. Mahatma Gandhi was an infinitely better Christian, and he was a Hindu.

What would Jesus do, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. It's the stock in trade of these faux-Christians to pay lip service to Jesus Christ but to ignore him and dive headlong into the dark recesses of the Old Testament for justification of their radical notions.

    Chris Hedges neatly dissects these nutjobs in "American Fascists, the Christian Right and the War on America."