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Santorum and the Mullahs Agree on the One Thing That Matters

Dear Dr. Hurd: I believe your equating Santorum with the Ayatollah is outrageous. [Compare the] Ayatollah’s beliefs v. Santorum:

Ayatollah: A man can have sex with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, The Supreme Leader of Iran, the Shia Grand Ayatollah, 1979-89 said in his official statements: “A man can quench his sexual lusts with a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. Sodomizing the baby is halal (allowed by sharia).

If the man penetrates and damages the child, then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however, does not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister. Any father marrying his daughter so young will have a permanent place in heaven.”

Also, according to Ayatollah Khomeini: “Young boys or girls in full sexual effervescence are kept from getting married before they reach the legal age of majority. This is against the intention of divine laws. Why should the marriage of pubescent girls and boys be forbidden because they are still minors, when they are allowed to listen to the radio and to sexually arousing music?”

Santorum, on sex with children: Sorry, I couldn’t find his opinion on that topic.

Israel: The Ayatollahs of the Islamic Republic have just “upgraded”

their strategic objective from wiping Israel off the map to the [greater] goal of “annihilating the Jews.”

Santorum has recognized the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions for nearly a decade – standing tall against both Republicans and Democrats who have discounted and dismissed the reality that this radical theocracy is intent on destroying Israel and western civilization. “Stand with Israel as an ally and in any efforts Israel may take to defend themselves from Iranian aggression.”

 

 

Dr. Hurd replies:

It sounds like you’re one of those people who read the title of my article, but not the article itself. If you had read my article — or if you had focused on what you were staring at, if you did read it — you would have seen my argument that Santorum operates on the same principle as the Ayatollah, with respect to the relationship between government and state.

Santorum has declared repeatedly (like all religious conservatives) that man’s rights come from God. The Ayatollah, or any religious fundamentalist of any tradition, says the exact same thing. The Ayatollah is cruder and more primitive than Santorum, but it doesn’t change the fact that on the most important principle relevant to this discussion, their views are the same.

Like your candidate, Rick Santorum, you’re preoccupied with nonessential things. I realize that an Ayatollah of a third world country will say some appalling things that a former U.S. Senator will not, such as claiming that sex with children is OK. However, this doesn’t change the fact that according to each source it’s religious authority — not man’s nature, as a human being — that grants individual rights. This is contrary, by the way, to the theory of rights espoused by John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and others whose ideas gave rise to the United States Constitution. They maintained that rights are part of man’s nature, not granted by anything or anyone — and are therefore inalienable.

People who support Santorum speak as if the primary problem facing America is not the nationalization of industry and the collapse of the economy, but the decline in what they call traditional family values.

They are fixated on things such as making sure there are never gay marriages, and that legal abortions go away — as if this will somehow fix what ails us. Santorum goes even further, suggesting in some interviews and speeches that the problem with Americans is that they’re too concerned with “the pursuit of happiness.” This puritanical condemnation of pleasure and happiness sounds a lot like the Ayatollah you quoted, if you ask me.

Santorum is right to defend Israel over Iran, because Israel stands for Western civilization and rule of law, while Iran is self-evidently a study in madness and barbarism. However, Santorum’s political principles belong in Iran more than in Israel or the United States.

The whole problem with religious fundamentalism, when applied to politics, is that it ignores the fact that rights are inherent to man’s nature. Man has to think and reason in order to survive. He’s a self-responsible being, and must be left free in order to produce and provide for his own life. This is why freedom is necessary and virtuous.

But religious conservatives, like liberals and socialists, insist that freedom does not exist in man. Like the socialists, they claim it comes from somewhere else. Yet if freedom comes from God, then individuals aren’t really sovereign over themselves. They belong to the particular religious authority who happens to seize power.

God is not, or at least should not be, a political issue. Government is a secular matter, and refers to the operations of human behavior while on earth. What individual humans believe — or don’t believe — about supernatural matters should have nothing to do with government. When Rick Santorum claims, as do many conservatives, that we are free only at God’s discretion, they have done something the Founders of the United States never did. They have introduced religion into the equation.

Of course, Rick Santorum’s vision of a religiously sanctioned state is a Christian one, while the Ayatollah’s is a medieval Islamic one. And of course they will have different religious views about all kinds of things. But you’re missing the point — in fact, the only point that really matters: Whether our lives belong to ourselves, or not.