Why Should “Morality” Mean Opposing Rights of Gays and Women?

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (who was rejected by Pennsylvania voters 7 years ago) spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (“CPAC”) this past week, stating, “For those in our movement who want to abandon our moral underpinnings to win, what does it profit a movement to gain the country and lose its own soul?”

Of course, when Mr. Santorum talks about “moral underpinnings,” he means opposition to legal equality for LGBT Americans, and enforcing a government prohibition on abortion procedures.  When Mr. Santorum talks about “immorality,” he refers to a society that is “anti-clerical, anti-God.”  The twenty percent of Americans who now do not identify with any religion (“anti-clerical”), many of whom do not even believe in the supernatural (“anti-God”), would take issue with being referred to as “immoral”.  These non-religious Americans are caring parents, doctors, teachers, and scientists, working hard to make the world a better place.  They are just as moral as their religious friends and neighbors.

Why do Mr. Santorum and his ilk get the privilege of defining the word “morality” to mean anti-equality, anti-medicine, anti-science, anti-diversity, and anti-freethinking?

Is it not moral to fight for a legal system that treats all peaceful Americans equally?  Is this not embodied in Luke 6:31: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

Is it not moral to strive to protect our fellow citizens’ civil liberties, privacy, and right to due process against an encroaching and reckless federal government?  Don’t all elected officials take an oath to uphold our constitutional rights, and did not the Jesus that Mr. Santorum claims to believe in state: “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’?” (Matthew 5:37).

Is it not moral to oppose bailouts for government-favored industries and to oppose putting extravagant government programs on a credit card–expenses that saddle our kids and grandkids with a crippling debt?  Does this not defy what the apostle Paul advised in Romans 13:8: “Owe no man any thing”?  Does not Proverbs 22:7 say that “the borrower becomes the slave of the lender”?  What is Mr. Santorum’s excuse for voting for all the unaffordable government programs he did, such as the Medicare Entitlement Expansion in 2003?  Why has he not admitted that he acted very immorally in cases such as that?

We ought to challenge the extreme religious fringe of our Party when they try to limit the definition of “morality” to “maintaining a system of law that treats some citizens as an inferior class, and opposing the civil, medical, and economic liberties of their fellow Americans”.  There is nothing “moral” about such a vision.  “Morality” lies in promoting freedom, peace, fairness, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility.

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