Rick Santorum Echoes My Thoughts From ‘Moral Relatvism Makes Me Relatively Sick’

If you haven’t already read my past blog post, “Moral Relativism Makes Me Relatively Sick,” peruse it for a moment. It’s about why we all should hold values and how holding values that differ from somebody else’s doesn’t make you a judgmental bigot.

Recently, GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum was accused of holding bigoted views by Piers Morgan (video here). Santorum responded by asserting that holding a moral code–one based on his Catholic faith– does not make him a bigot, it makes him someone who holds a different values (from the interviewer). To call his moral code bigoted, is more broadly calling the Catholic church bigoted, and that in itself it is a bigoted position.

His response really echoes the sentiment from my past blog post, so I figured I’d share. What do you think?

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21 thoughts on “Rick Santorum Echoes My Thoughts From ‘Moral Relatvism Makes Me Relatively Sick’

  1. I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems like nobody can be a bigot as long as they hold some kind of internally consistent set of values. This is of course completely false.

    If you promote prejudiced, intolerant, hostile views towards other groups of people based on the unchangeable personal characteristics of those people, then you are a bigot, regardless of whether these views fit into your overall value system or if those views are informed by a religious (or any other belief).

    For example, if you believe that there is something about gay people that should cause them to be subject to different sets of laws than the rest of the people in this country, then you are a bigot. Everyone who believes that gay marriage should be illegal is a rank, incontrovertible bigot. The Catholic Church, like most religions, is absolutely and fundamentally a bigoted institution. To call the Catholic Church bigoted is no more a bigoted position than saying that the sky is blue or car bombs are delicious. These are merely statements of fact.

  2. Actually a bigot is anyone who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. [Wikipedia] That can include anyone who is intolerant of someone because they belong to a particular church. I believe gay marriage should be illegal, but that doesn’t make me a bigot. In fact, those who think gay marriage should be legal may be the bigots. Let me explain. I have nothing against gay people at all. I have strong opinions, based in history, tradition, law and religion, that marriage is a bond between one man and one woman with the intention of protecting their offspring. I don’t believe marriage should afford anyone, gay or straight, with any special legal status. Therefore, I’m against the marriage deduction, which is a form of social engineering designed to encourage marriage. I’m against rules that restrict gay partners from doing anything a married couple can do, except actually getting married. If marriage was just a religious ceremony, as it was originally intended, there would be absolutely no advantage for gay couples to be married. We’re attacking the wrong problem when we fight for gay marriage. We should fight against any legal barriers that have been erected that discriminate based on race, gender, religion, or sexual preference. But those laws are already on the books. We can simply enforce them and get the desired result. But NOT to force the church to change their traditions and beliefs. When faced with an injustice, as a society, we’ve become to impatient to fix blame on someone else. We want something changed to cure the injustice. But we’re often fixing the blame on the wrong party. We’re too often looking to change the wrong thing. The repercussions of these actions actually create more social injustice, or simply shift the injustice from one group of people to another. The answer is not to attack each other and call someone a bigot just because you have a difference of opinion, even if there’s a legitimate injustice involved (as there is with the rights of gay couples). The answer is for everyone to come together to work out those differences and cure the injustice with an open and frank debate of the underlying issues. If you call Christians bigots because they oppose gay marriage, you’re actually being the bigot. If you recognize that marriage is a religious act and object to any laws that give special privileges to married couples, you are attacking the actual problem. Now the Christians and the gay couples are both able to work on a solution together. They BOTH have something to gain by curing the injustice. The Christians get to keep their sacred heritage, but they lose the right to be favored by certain laws. Gay couples have those legal restrictions lifted. In fact, under this solution, gay couples could actually call their unions a ‘marriage’ because that word is not copyright protected or in any way owned by the church. The word would simply no longer have any legal significance. The Catholic church is not bigoted. It’s the law that contains the injustice. We the people create the law, and we are still free to correct them when they’re wrong.

  3. I’m not saying that “nobody can be a bigot as long as they hold some kind of internally consistent set of values” I am saying though that if you’re quick to call someone a bigot, you may in effect be calling a beautiful religion like Catholicism (I’m not even a Catholic) a faith of bigotry, which I think is wrong.

    I think Mr. Knapp’s comments on are somewhat on point. I’m not 100% sure why the government gives breaks to married couples, although married couples with children may deserve a break.

  4. “NOT to force the church to change their traditions and beliefs.”

    This statement represents a complete misunderstanding of the gay marriage debate. If an individual church interprets scripture to allow for same sex marriages and wants to perform that marriage according to the individual beliefs of that church, they should be allowed to do so. NOBODY is proposing a law forcing any church to perform gay marriages, we merely think each church should be allowed to decide on its own. If a church decides to perform a gay marriage, that marriage should be legally recognized like any other.

    But that’s really beside the point. Your anti-gay marriage argument seems to come from two angles. The first is your “history, tradition, law and religion” argument, which is completely irrelevant. Working backwards, the laws of this country should not be based on RELIGION, bigoted LAWS like the one against gay marriage (or the ones we used to have allowing slavery) should be changed, TRADITION and HISTORY should have no bearing on law making except to look back and see what things were good for our country (treating everyone the same) and what things were bad (marginalizing certain elements because of uncontrollable personal characteristics) and then changing our laws to reflect that understanding.

    But you’re clearly an intelligent person, so you know that your “based in history, tradition, law and religion” nonsense holds no logical water, so you launch into your marriage as a tax deduction argument. Fine. Let’s get ride of the marriage tax deduction. I don’t care. People are still going to want to get married because the act of getting married means something to people. I guarantee you that if the marriage deduction were taken away, those people who happened to have been born gay will still want to get married because it means something to them. We should let them. This is a very simple issue, don’t try to confuse it by talking about taxes. Someday, economists, Libertarians, and Republicans will understand that there is more to life than economic incentives.

    Also, don’t couch this debate in terms of creating more laws. This isn’t about creating more laws, it’s about opening up our society to all members of the society. The gay marriage argument has NOTHING to do with big government. Allowing churches to perform legally recognized gay marriage provides LESS government oversight, not more. It allows each church to make the decision on the individual level.

    Also, I’m not calling you a bigot because we have a difference of opinion, I’m calling you a bigot because you are espousing a bigoted view. I don’t care what reasons you have for disenfranchising a certain element of society based on uncontrollable personal characteristics, but if that’s your stance than you’re a bigot. You are a bigot.

    Also, would both of you please stop saying that calling someone a bigot makes you a bigot? By your definition, a bigot is someone who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices . . . and [has] animosity towards those of differing beliefs. If one church is so obstinately and intolerantly devoted to its own interpretation of scripture that it acts with animosity and seeks to legally invalidate another church with a different interpretation of scripture (you know, one that allows gay marriage), THEN THE FIRST CHURCH IS A BIGOTED INSTITUTION. Me pointing that out does not make me a bigot. I am accurately applying a theoretical construct to non-theoretical entity. That doesn’t make me a bigot. I may be a bigot, but not because I’m pointing out the fact that people against gay marriage are bigots.

    To be fair, I SUPPOSE you could make the argument that I am bigoted towards your bigoted views. If that’s what you’re saying, then yes, I am a bigot.

    Also, arguing that legalizing gay marriage will somehow create more social injustice is, honestly, very offensive.

    Also, please use paragraphs in your inevitable reply to this.

  5. First of all, thanks for having such a good spirited debate on my blog. That’s why I write the political blog posts (as opposed to the other 60% that are sports and music).

    Corey, the reason I mentioned churches being unconstitutionally forced to wed couples against their will…well it happened.
    “In 2006, a Methodist group in New Jersey that rented out its boardwalk to the public for weddings lost tax exemptions after refusing to allow a same-sex commitment ceremony.”
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2008/0617/p01s03-usju.html

    It’s a big problem. Forcing doctors to do things they feel are morally wrong and/or a violation of their religion is also an issue. You have this whole equality vs liberty issue that springs up.

    I’m not stubborn and my opinion can be swayed with a reasonable argument. I feel like you’ve made me a better Christian (ironically) with you’re bit about how life is largely about helping others (to me…glorifying God through helping others).

    • Not sure how this is related, but I’ll respond just for good measure.

      a) She mentions global warming… Do you think America should hinder it’s own economy, given how horrible it is right now, by increasing environmental regulation to slow global warming? Even if the pro-global warming scientists are right should we make that move, given that China is polluting at an unreal pace and anything we do would merely remove a drop from a giant bucket filled with Chinese pollution? Also are you aware of the emails that were found between British scientists and a industry journal where they were threatening the journal for publishing a anti-global warming science piece? There is an economic incentive for scientists to purport global warming.

      b) She then attacks Ron Paul, who I am assuming is your favorite candidate since I am unaware of more than 2 policies where you don’t agree with him (correct me if I’m wrong). I’m not sure how it’s relevant or appropriate to attack someone who doesn’t believe in a theory. This isn’t gravity were talking about. It’s the notion that life came from some sort of chemical reaction that created a single cell being which eventually became a human. I mean, that’s not so obvious and common sense that we should immediately jump on board I don’t think. I’m not saying I have a more logical idea, I’m just wondering how you could mock someone for not confidently believing in it.

      c) She attacks Bachman viciously. Bachman (aside from Huntsman) is my least favorite of the GOP candidates and I somewhat agree with her that the anecdotal evidence is a bit unfair. That said, the policy she was against and her reasoning for it was sound. It’s not the government’s place to force children to have a vaccine for an STD.

      We should recognize her EXTREME bias, as Katrina vanden Heuvel’s new book is called “The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama.” Almost everyone sees America as being in a worse position than we were in before Obama took over, not sure what her book is about.

      And finally, your other comment was put in the spam folder. I sincerely hope that doesn’t upset you, but the comments in the politics posts are for thoughtful respectful debate and info sharing (like the comment I’m responding to.) I don’t want just shots to be fired, especially if they’re unnecessarily disrespectful to groups of people, or don’t stimulate debate.

      • Haha, the spam folder. I guess there’s no room for jokes on this blog. I’m not upset, it’s just something I thought of and could legitimately spark that age-old debate. My viewpoint is that religion is responsible for more conflict, war, violence, and destruction than anything else. Thus, I don’t see any kind of religion as “beautiful.” People really shouldn’t be offended by that view of mine. Doesn’t that relate to your discussion about bigotry?

        In all, this is the conclusion I always come to:

        Theories with Supporting Evidence > Unfounded Conjecture

        The point of that article was that some of these Republican candidates dismiss supported scientific theories so easily, yet can’t let go of notions for which no empirical evidence exists. That is a glaring, vexing double standard. We need to stay focused on scientific progress and Enlightenment principles.

        And yes, if Ron Paul really rejects the notion of evolution, then that makes me think less of him. It makes me wonder how viable and intelligent a person he can be if he so easily accepts something for which no evidence exists over something for which there is a lot more actual support.

      • Fair enough on the first part, but it’s not a joke if you’re 100% serious.

        On the more substantive discussion regarding the Republican’s against science article. I thought the biggest issue she brought up was global warming, so I ask do you disagree with my assessment (copied below)

        a) She mentions global warming… Do you think America should hinder it’s own economy, given how horrible it is right now, by increasing environmental regulation to slow global warming? Even if the pro-global warming scientists are right should we make that move, given that China is polluting at an unreal pace and anything we do would merely remove a drop from a giant bucket filled with Chinese pollution? Also are you aware of the emails that were found between British scientists and a industry journal where they were threatening the journal for publishing a anti-global warming science piece? There is an economic incentive for scientists to purport global warming.

  6. I don’t believe that govt belongs in marriage at all and don’t believe that any group should get preferential treatment. Govt can not legislate morality…successfully and don’t have the Constitutional authority to even try.

    If you understand the reason why the state authorized marriage license was instituted in the first place you might say it was because of bigotry. In the 1920’s the state authorized marriage license was instituted by most states to keep whites from marrying into other races, most notably, black race.

    I recently had a conversation with a gay couple about this very topic. I explained to them the difference between getting married in the eyes of God vs getting married in the eyes of the State. I also asked them what needs would be fulfilled by getting “legally” married in the eyes of the state, their response was predictable, because of the benefits of insurance and social security. I had to give them my obligatory personal responsibility speech that suggested that if they got their own insurance individually then they wouldn’t need to get married “legally”.

    Is marriage a right or a privilege? Marriage is a God given right that needs no permission from anyone, we have the right to be with whom we choose free of interference as long as both parties are entering into it voluntarily and of legal age. Since the govt only recognizes marriage as being legal via the marriage license and laws, then it’s a privilege, which means they can pass laws to alter, prohibit, dissolve at will.

    • Do you have a source on that initial motivation of the marriage license?
      For the record, the gay marriage issue isn’t one of the most important to me, I just don’t think its right when people start calling opponents bigots and racists because they disagree and I think it’s wrong to force a church to do something that they believe is biblically wrong, as was the case at the NJ Methodist church.

      • Source is anywhere on the internet, I read it in a book years ago, can’t remember the name.

        The sole intent of the establishment clause was to keep govt out of the business of the church and to keep govt from declaring a National religion. That’s it, very simple.

        Get used to be being a bigot because you always will be, by someone, somewhere, when it suits their agenda. Only those looking for special attention and privileges call someone who doesn’t agree with them a bigot. We wouldn’t have this problem if govt would get the hell out of our personal lives.

        I’m not a proponent of gay marriage, I’m a proponent of minding my own business and answering only for my sins. So I’m a bigot in one form or another, big freakin’ deal, I really don’t care what you think of me. (generically speaking)

    • How do I adjust the hyperlink on my name to point to ryankantor.com instead of ryankantor.wordpress.com? Do you know? I never owned that URL.

      • If you’re on wordpress I don’t think you have a choice unless you want to pay for the privilege. If you want a .com address you have to pay for it thru a host.

      • I bought ryankantor.com, but when you click my name in the comments it directs you to the wrong site, whereas when I click phoebe53 it goes to your blog.

      • Oh, I see what you’re saying. RyanKantor@wordpress is no longer available. Go to your back room and see if your url is correct or if there is some way to correct it there. Other than that I don’t know.

  7. Accusing me of being a bigot and being sarcastic about it are perfect examples of why these problems turn into endless heated arguments instead of being resolved through healthy debate.

    I don’t have a “complete misunderstanding” of the gay marriage “debate” at all. You don’t know me. You don’t know my sexual preferences. It’s wrong for you to make assumptions about me, and it certainly doesn’t help focus the debate on the facts.

    I support gay marriage. I thought I made that clear when I concluded with the opinion that gay couples would be free to call their union a ‘marriage’ after the marriage laws are abandoned. The word is not copyright protected, so anyone can use it. What gay couples seek is not the right to call themselves married, it is clearly the legal protections and benefits provided under the marriage laws. Those laws, in my opinion, are unconstitutional because they discriminate based on religion. I don’t know if I can make my position any more clear than that. I also fail to see how that can be construed to make me bigoted in any way.

    That legal connection between marriage laws and the church are the fundamental reason there is any opposition to changing existing marriage law to include gay couples in the first place. Those who oppose gay marriage are confusing marriage laws with their rituals and beliefs. That confusion is exactly the reason why our founders did not want the establishment of a State religion.

    To put this another way, if marriage law had a different name, let’s call it “Partnership Contracts” instead, the church would have no issue at all. The law could be easily amended to extend Partnership Contracts to any two people, maybe even to groups of people, or people and animals. It’s the unconstitutional connection that is the source of concern.

    The church is right, in my opinion, to be concerned about changes in the law that affect marriage, as long as the State has made this unconstitutional bond between law and religion. Break that bond and the issue is moot.

    Those who oppose gay marriage do not oppose changes in the law. They don’t accept the argument that changing the law does not force the church to recognize gay marriage. As long as the law and the church are linked, they have a legitimate concern. It is a classic slippery slope. Once gay marriage is “legal” there would almost certainly be civil cases brought against churches to force them to accept gay marriage. I know this is true because I have gay friends who are Christians. They will not be satisfied to simply become married under the law, although they’d accept that as a first step. Ultimately, they want their church to accept them as married as well. That’s not a legal issue.

    Furthermore, I never suggested creating any more laws. I’m suggesting we eliminate unconstitutional laws, such as any laws that codify in any way the religious rite of marriage. That would break the connection. The church could be free to perform marriages that are recognized only within the context of that particular religion.

    The State may believe that marriage laws are necessary to protect children. But those protections should be in place with or without a religious ceremony. If you are the father or mother of a child, you should be legally obligated to care for and protect that child. That’s not a “marriage” law, that’s a child protection law. We have our laws confused. That’s what needs to be changed.

    Frankly, having been married twice, I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to want to be married these days, gay, straight, or otherwise. Why would you want to enter into a legal obligation that requires a legal process to disconnect? Marriage ends in divorce, and divorce is almost universally ugly for everyone involved, except the lawyers. To be even more honest, I think the lawyers support gay marriage because it would bring an expansion of their business. Why would they oppose something like that?

    The most important question for me, and one we should ALL be asking ourselves, is this: Why are we not debating this issue logically? Why does this have to be confrontational? Have we reached a point in America where our citizens have been programmed to hate each other? We’re quick to call others bigoted, racist, homophobic, and worse, even though we should know that inflammatory rhetoric doesn’t help resolve a dispute. Our actions make it far more difficult to solve problems when we could be making it much easier by acting like reasoning adults.

    I learned to be confrontational at college by professors who tried to indoctrinate me with class envy and religious intolerance. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to collect my education from no less than six different colleges and universities, some public, some private. I had a chance to see a contract in teaching styles. It was clear to me that one set of professors was promoting adversary and hatred, while others were simply doing their job. At the moment, we happen to have a President who is adversarial. As long as that’s the case, Americans will become more deeply divided and angry. That’s no way to solve life’s toughest problems.

  8. I saw a contrast in teaching styles, not a contract. I hate lawyers, and I hate thinking about them. It makes me make Freudian mistakes like that. 😉

  9. Pingback: Moral Relativism Even Repudiated by Atheist – Reasonable Faith | Home Runs, Apple Pie, and Rock 'n Roll

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