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Et Tu Santorum?

Julie Robison of Corner with a View writes this guest post about her take on Newt and Rick Santorum. As you might imagine, Patrick, who hearts him some Santorum, disagrees.

Here's Julie:


Friends, Catholics, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury our Catholic presidential hopefuls, not praise them.

That is, not literally bury them, but submit an argument that those who are Catholic in faith only and not action are not fit to lead America.

I am speaking, of course, specifically about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senator Rick Santorum. Both respectable men, decent men even, but not presidential material. True, they’re more Catholic than the late President Kennedy, this country’s first Catholic president, but that gives them few points in my book.

The big sticking point for many conservatives is their pro-life stance. Another is their support of marriage between a man and a woman. This is something I strongly support as well, but the way both men wish to go about it is wrong, and why I cannot endorse either for the presidency.

Thomas Peters wrote in the Washington Post,

On the question of the definition of marriage, Gingrich has distinguished himself in having zero patience for activist judges who attempt to redefine marriage unilaterally. He supports a federal marriage amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Santorum also supports federal mandates for marriage, and said during the October 18th Republican debate that "the 10thamendment [is] running amok":

In his December “money bomb” letter, he wrote:
The day we stop fighting for the unborn child, or fighting to protect the sanctity of marriage, expel God from the public square, or decide we will no longer enforce the laws of our land, is the day we surrender all our founding fathers created.
Hm, really?

James Madison wrote Federalist 46 (“The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared”) that the “federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes.”

Furthermore:
The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and to have viewed these different establishments, not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone, and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other. Truth, no less than decency, requires that the event in every case should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction of their common constituents.

It is tempting, I think, to vote for someone who shares your faith. It’s those kinds of associations which give comfort to people, lets them think that politician is different, that politician can be trusted.

Nonetheless, the job of the president is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. On Inauguration Day, the President-Elect vows to protect and defend the Constitution. The whole Constitution: not the bits he likes, or can use to his greatest advantage. All of it. This includes the 10th amendment.

At a practical, grammarian level: the 10th amendment itself cannot run amok. The people who invoke it, however, can. The people who misinterpret it can. The people who use it can. From this perspective, it is Catholics who should respect, protect and defend the 10th amendment the most.

The 10th amendment says that any powers not delegated by the US Constitution can be handled at the state level. It is also parallel to the Church’s teachings on free will and reason. The Church, through the hierarchy, does not dictate every action we do; it gives us God’s laws and teachings, which we must follow to the best of our ability and with God’s grace. We have priests to help guide us at the individual level, while still being able to participate in the Church at large.

I mean, free will is scary. God lets us do WHATEVER WE WANT. There will be consequences, of course, but that’s why he also gives us our human reason, so we can figure out and decide the right and just path. Santorum says he supports the 10th amendment, but not if it’s not going his way, he would force compliance, if given the chance. Gingrich supports federal laws that go his way. That is very un-Catholic, and that type of forced compliance can very easily manipulated and abused. Catholic civil liberties should be a very real concern for all of us.

Healthcare professionals, Catholic charities, teachers, and government officials, for example, are all put into precarious situations with the current political environment. We do, after all, have that conscience thing.
Madison went on to say:
Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments. …But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole.

If Catholic politicians wish to make federal laws outside the realm of the Constitution’s designated powers for the various branches of government, then they have more in common with Progressives than they are wiling to admit. Can we say, Hellooo health care bill-mandate-to-be-enforced-in-2014? Interstate commerce clause, what? Oh, well, in their defense: the Constitution is hard to understand because it is over 100 years old.
I suppose I’m not overly surprised at Gingrich’s stance, but Santorum disappoints me and thus loses my support. Our nation was not founded by Catholics; only one, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signed the Declaration. This nation has a very anti-Catholic history, in fact; but we are blessed. We are blessed by our religious liberties and our civil liberties. We may worship as we choose. We may still speak out and defend ourselves against injustices. The Church has yet to be outlawed, and contrary to popular culture, the young Catholics of my generation are getting stronger in their faith and evangelization.
Peters also wrote of Gingrich, “He is good at articulating why our laws should reflect our marriage tradition.”

Awesome! This is what we need: words, words, words, and then actions to back them up. It will be our witness which will touch people. The love we Christians show to each other, and the stability of our marriages and families when they are centered on Christ.

If Catholics are serious about protecting the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family, it must start by protecting it within one’s own community first, then one’s state. Just look at the stir California’s Proposition 8 caused when the people in one state took a stand!

To paraphrase St. Francis: sanctify one’s self so that one may sanctify society.

Leading by example is most desirable, as is actually following the wise laws left to us by the Founding Fathers. Leave brute force to the unpersuasive fools.

Note: Julie blogs at The Corner With A View.

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25 comments:

Paul Zummo said...

I am second to none in my understanding or appreciation for what Madison wrote on federalism. The Tenth Amendment, due to the machinations of the Court and Congress, has indeed - unfortunately - practically become a dead letter.

That said, what Santorum said is hardly outside the realm of conservative, Catholic, constitutional (or any other c-word) thought. Santorum is right in principle that states don't have the constitutional authority to abrogate certain fundamental rights. Obviously states cannot permit slavery - although that's admittedly a poor example because slavery was specifically prohibited in the Constitution. But the point is that there are broad restrictions placed on the states in part due to the 14th Amendment. So, Santorum is not completely wrong.

The nub of the issue is where the limits to states' rights apply. So on a practical level, I would agree that Santorum's rhetoric is a bit dangerous. The 14th Amendment has been used as a bludgeon against the states, so anytime we use it in order to promote what we believe are just causes, we run the risk of being as anti-federalism as modern progressives.

I would add, tangentially, that Santorum was absolutely right in the context of the video, at least when addressing Romneycare. Too often I hear bad state policies defended in the name of states' rights. Sure Massachusetts had the right to implement a terrible health care system, but that doesn't mean that those members of the legislature of Governor Romney are free from criticism. Even if the federal government doesn't have the power to involve itself to prevent states from doing stupid things, that doesn't mean that voters in national elections should discount the stupid things that politicians due on a local level.

Anonymous said...

Santorum is a conservative, not a libertarian. Conservatives believe that while, of course, states should have the right to make their own laws, there are some principles which ought to be defended on a national scale. In particular, I do not think any faithful Catholic would suggest that the issue of abortion should not be fought for on a national level, or that the issue of conscience clauses should not be fought for on a national level. It is a great misfortune that we need to even specify that marriage is between a man and a woman, but an issue of such great importance cannot be decided by individual states, for the family (this is a point that Santorum holds very dear) is the bedrock of society. Once the family goes, so goes our nation. I may not always advocate for a marriage amendment, but I support Santorum in his efforts.

August said...

The day we stop fighting for the unborn child, or fighting to protect the sanctity of marriage, expel God from the public square, or decide we will no longer enforce the laws of our land, is the day we surrender all our founding fathers created.

In 1972 no one fought; they talked. When the marriage laws in this country were destroyed via feminist policy, the Church did not set sacramental marriage apart from this profane caricature. God has not been a part of the public square for some time, because the public square is political and politics is the means via which people squabble over how they will steal and divide other peoples stuff- and God doesn't like that. It is long past the day that the rule of law was enforced in this land, many banks have admitted laws were broken but no one goes to jail, Congress routinely passes laws that are unconstitutional, and the president is supposedly legally allowed to kill anyone he wants to.

Everything our founding fathers created already has been surrendered. It is advantageous to our enemies that you fail to see that and keep pretending this election nonsense has anything to do with changing the situation.

Al said...

Anonymous would you agree with this slight change in your wording? In particular, I do not think any faithful Catholic would suggest that the issue of abortion should not be fought for on a global level, or that the issue of conscience clauses should not be fought for on a global level...

I mean in one sense of course they should be, but not to be imposed by any global authority, just like they need not be imposed by the federal government. I for one seriously do not see any reason why these things can't be left to the several states.

Julie Robison said...

Gentlemen, thank you for your comments! I'll start from the bottom and work my way up.

Al completely hits the head on the nail; the things Santorum is fighting for in the social sphere are good and noble: stable families, not killing people (babies included --although, one could touch on his non-just war theory approach to our current military situation), and protecting the sanctity of marriage.

My point is this: the founding fathers said that whatever laws were NOT designated in the Constitution may be left to the States. Just as the Vatican only makes "laws" about issues of faith and morals, the Constitution only set rules about for our civic and political life. The founding fathers were just as concerned about religious liberties, which is why they instituted religious liberty and freedom to worship. They did not, however, set a national religion, even though most founders were deeply religious and/ or spiritual. They might never have foreseen this even being an issue, but they gave us the means to fight for it within our country's law structure.

So, when we make arguments for federal laws for marriage between a man and a woman, it infuriates the other camp as much as it infuriates us that executive leadership has passed same-sex marriage laws.

Marriage is a state issue. We need to fight for it. We need to accept that there may not be uniformity on this issue, but we have to let people make that decision. We have to step up and show people as well as tell them why marriage is better between a man and woman. It's more than a tradition- it is a proven way for a stable and successful life.

Moreover, look up the stats; they're there. In Sweden, a country with legalized same-sex marriage, the divorce rate for gay unions is 50 percent higher than that for heterosexual unions. In the Netherlands, A 2003 study of gay men noted that the usual “steady” homosexual relationship lasts 1.5 years. This includes marriages and serious relationships. The NYT published an article almost two years ago about how a lot of same-sex couples are not monogamous, and this is something they keep quiet in the public sphere because they think it will hurt their arguments for marriage.

Uh, yeah. It does.

Santorum has the right ideas with all the wrong approach. Catholics cannot merely repeat catch-phrases to convince anyone that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Catholics need to show it. They need to be just as active in this world and stop letting people stomp all over them. Sure, we'll keep getting called names and labeled as "intolerant," but that label goes both ways. By not letting us fight for our beliefs, our opposition is showing us the same courtesy.

Julie Robison said...

Secondly:

August, I would resist such a fatalistic approach in thinking about these issues.I'm not saying we can't fight with words as well as actions. You're right- the Church did not do an adequate job speaking out and defending the sacrament of marriage. But I think you're way too fatalist in your analysis. God is totally out of the public square? Everything our founding fathers created has been surrendered? Poppycock. There will always be people who try to perverse the law to their own good, and there will be those who will strive to defend it.

Anonymous, you are right. There are things worth fighting for at a national level. There should be a national out-cry! But that does not mean laws should be made at the federal level. State laws are just as decisive as federal, and perhaps even more convincing, when there are a majority of states upholding marriage between a man and a woman. The fight must be diligent!

Mr. Zummo - I think you're right and that Santorum gets the gist and makes a good point with Romneycare, but the healthcare discussion is more than just states' rights. Mandating anything at the federal level leaves no room for the desired experimental nature of the states. It's about a balance of powers; the people are not to be wholly trusted, but nor are the leaders.

Hamilton wrote in Federalist 51 that, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is no doubt the primary controul on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

Santorum and Gingrich's federal law approach will only lead to another law overturning marriage between a man and a woman, as we so clearly see with DOMA. We need the people and the states' support!

Anonymous said...

Though I can see your point about giving the states free will, allow me to raise these counter-points.

Some states have tried to enact laws, but these laws were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Our states may not have the power they need to create laws and have them stand the test.

You reference Prop 8, but this law may be struck down by a judge - one person overturning the will of the people. If there was an amendment created, then perhaps it would stand.

Consider the scenario that we didn't outlaw slavery via an amendment, instead leaving that up to the states. Is that not what caused the civil war? Do you think that all states would have given women the right to vote? Do you think that some states may have revoked the right to bear arms?

My point is simply that there are some truths which our founding fathers may not have taken into account that we now can see, which is the reason we can have amendments. Do you think that as they created the constitution people were worried about Abortion, Same Sex Marriages, etc.? While our states should have made laws about these things long ago, it is much the same as the Church saying "Abortion is wrong" as a teaching and not leaving it up to local pastors or worse lay people to try to decide for themselves.

Julie Robison said...

You are right, we need to be diligent against activism in the courts. This is why there is a separation and balance of powers, and people need to be vocal in keeping government officials accountable.

The Civil War was started by a states rights issues (more specifically, the issue of secession), and not the issue slavery. I think since voting is in the Constitution itself, it was appropriate to have an amendment. I do not think the 2nd amendment can be struck down by the states, since it is in the Bill of Rights.

I think you are right in saying there are issues now that the Founders perhaps could not have foreseen: I made that very comment in the first response, end of the third graf. Abortion is wrong because it deprives another person of life, which is protected under the Declaration of Independence. Marriage, fortunately or unfortunately, does not have the same serious consequences. The reason why same-sex marriage needs to be fought at the local level is because it affects families, charitable organizations, and adoption agencies. There is a difference in being against, say, sodomy laws (I am not, because that is an issue of morals and faith, not politics) and being against same-sex marriage. This is a tough and emotional issue, and the "battle" will not be easily won (or won at all), but my point is that it is important for our Catholic candidates to stay consistent. A Catholic cannot like one teaching of the Church and reject another; nor can Americans (especially politicians, who have a duty to lead and protect our laws) accept parts of the Constitution and then override others out of personal preference. Those preferences can be duked out at the state level, but not federal. It is the means which matters as much as the end.

Paul Zummo said...

Julie:

Good comments, and I'm largely in agreement. I don't think same-sex marriage is something that should be legislated on the federal level. My main point was that I didn't think Santorum was quite so out of bounds, at least on a theoretical level. There are some things so important that we shouldn't leave them to the states, but on a practical level deciding where we do draw the line is much more difficult, and in general the default position should be leaving the decision up to the states.

If I may offer a nitpicky correction: Federalist 51 was Madison, not Hamilton, though I think that Hamilton would have agreed with the sentiment.

Hilltop said...

The view from your corner, Julie, clearly limits your peripheral vision. Focused as you are on the Constitution and Madison's excellent exegeses, you miss the winds of change that have buffetted the Constitution for the last 150 years. That Madison writes does not render his predictions (for that is what they are) accurate. To wit:
"…But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm."
Do tell.
Since Lincoln's presidency (yes, I said it.) the General Alarm in the face of Federal invasion of, and now dominion over, the States' and the Peoples' responsibilities is evaporated. Federal hegemony in the public realm is so complete as to render Hamilton's excellent writings as antiquated musings. So complete is Federal power that other central Constitutional matters receive scant glance from Congress, from the Courts, from the Presidency,from the States, and most alarmingly, from the People. An easy example: The last Declaration of War - an explicit Constituional requirement? 1941. (Thank you Harry S. Truman) Even Constitutonal Ammendments since Lincoln's time carry the taint of federal ascendency over the States. The 16th, 17th, and 18th (necessitating the 21st) all are forays (now Constitutional) into the just and proper realms of the States and of the People. Without question, the most egregious of these "federalizing" ammendments is the 17th. Ostensibly designed to empower the people, it profoundly weakened the standing of the States' Governors and Legislatures with respect to the Federal government.
Encouraged by ample precedent, by supine postures of the States, and by a distinct lack of "General Alarm", (and bolstered by Executive appointments of "Living Constitutionalist" jurors to the benches), the Courts have discovered the exhilarating nature of action untethered from the Constitution!
In this millieu of power now farthest away from the People come Federal mandates in the form of Court rulings and laws that reach into the Constitutionally protected (but not actually protected) private realm of The People:
Obamacare - Every person must purchase a certain product.
Marriage redefinition - not necessirily between man and woman.
Gender identity - equal status for LGBT 'community".
And so, Julie, your call is for General Alarm among the People? Good for you. Pray tell: Who will lead them? Bloggers? Or 2 chaps who happen to be running for the Presidency, who happen to be Constitutional Originalists, and who happen to be Catholic, and who happen to have formed mature policies that The People can rally around?
Forgive me, but your lack of peripheral vision has developed into an unpardonable myopia. Awake!

Blackrep said...

If neither of these fine fellows is not "presidential material" I am curious to know, Julie, who your pick from amongst the republicans is.

Anonymous said...

You can force all the laws you want down peoples throats. You can demand that YOUR will be done at gunpoint and vote for thugs to enforce that will. Depriving people of the right to make their own choices, sins, and mistakes simply reveals that you want to be as God...and that is the sin of pride. Moreover, when people who believe differently gain control of the sword of the state don't be surprised when YOU are on the receiving end of someone elses prideful utopian schemes. God doesn't need your help. Leave people alone.

Anonymous said...

"your call is for General Alarm among the People? Good for you. Pray tell: Who will lead them?"

Certainly not (REAL, and with a record to prove it) Constitutionalist Ron Paul! We would be "Paulbots"!

"Or 2 chaps who happen to be running for the Presidency, who happen to be Constitutional Originalists,"

Whooaa, there. You are calling global warming adherent, Pelosi buddy Gingrich a "Constitutional Originalist"?? Are you serious?? And Santorum, big supporter of RINO-Dem Arlen Sphincter??

" and who happen to be Catholic, and who happen to have formed mature policies that The People can rally around"

Pelosis Catholic, Sebelius is Catholic, etc., etc. They have "mature policies", ideas as old as Machiavelli.If you like gingrich, why not them??

Bryan said...

I live in Texas where we had a law against abortion and the federal government struck that down - the ONLY way to combat that - practically - today is through a federal amendment.

Stu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said...

Building a society based upon Catholic teaching...First.
Allegiance to the man-made Constitution...Second.

trial 1 said...

Stu....as st Thomas indicates what is first in intention, is last in execution. So we build a sound Catholic society, by relying upon the Constitution and through doing so, reforming the man-made order, such that it can fulfill its ordering to Catholic teaching. Ours is a vocation to constant renewal, even of man-made traditions.

SWP said...

This seems hasty and terribly nitpicky.

There will never be a catch-all candidate.

But we need someone with moral integrity who is pro-life, and not standing behind someone like Santorum is going to keep Obama in office.

While you pick apart everything every Republican has ever said, Obama is going to get re-elected, and then where will we be?

SWP said...

How can any of the minutiae that has led you to oppose Santorum matter more than 50 million innocent children's lives?

RC said...

Same-sex marriage has inter-state implications: states that have not legalized it are being faced with court cases from people who got their license in another state.

There are also freedom of religion and conscience issues: same-sex couples have started harassing Christians who run businesses with "civil rights" discrimination complaints for, e.g., refusing to host a wedding ceremony.

This is nowhere nearly so obvious as Julie makes it out, so Santorum's support for the weak DOMA or a stronger marriage amendment is not a sound reason to dismiss him.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how catholics can claim that abortion is not a federal matter. First, anything is a federal matter if we pass a Constitutional amendment regarding it -- because it then becomes an enumerated power Second, at the most basic level if our Constitution (or our federal government at all) talks about human rights, the people, etc., then it completely makes sense to define what a human IS at the federal leve.

Stu said...

So we build a sound Catholic society, by relying upon the Constitution...
-------

Work with the Constitution? Yes. But RELY on God and His Church.

Unless you are one of those who think the Constitution is of divine origin.

Anonymous said...

Clearly Julie Robison is not *really^ Catholic or she would be supporting Neocons Santorum or Gingrich.

Anonymous said...

what a silly column--it shows no political, moral or theological insight.

Anonymous said...

The gutless left coast ... what would Madison have said about an activist homosexual judge overturning the votes of millions and the meek way you all took it and ignored it ... get real.

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