My parents used to take me to church every Sunday until I was 18 years old (in fact, here's the story about my last ever day in Church, if you'd like to read about my teenage self calling out a Sunday School class on its blatant hypocrisy of considering homosexuals sinners). And once a month or so, we'd sing a hymn titled "Onward Christian Soldiers."
The chorus of this hymn went like this:
Onward, Christian Soldiers! Marching as to war;
With the cross of Jesus, going on before.
That, among several other moments from my church-going times, sticks in my brain. It's downright scary the words that I spoke every single week during the hour-long ritual we participated in (and my parents, and the rest of my family, still participate in).
Now, on to why Rick Santorum scares the absolute shit out of me.
I was scanning through my Facebook news feed and saw a link to an article which read "Rick Santorum Exposes The Real Republican Party."
I've done a fairly successful job of avoiding most political stuff the past few years. I used to be consumed by it. But one day, I figured out that Politics is not news. Politics is the practice of making you think that what people who want power say was your idea in the first place. It's gamesmanship. The results of Politics? Sometimes news. But Politics themselves? Not news.
But I couldn't ignore that headline. So I clicked on it, and found a rather articulate and honest piece by Andrew Sullivan. I don't regularly read him (or any columnist, especially political ones), but do occasionally read his stuff. He's hit or miss with me. But this piece was spot on, because it highlights the vast disparity that's appeared between what the Republican party used to be and what it is now. It draws a line between social conservatism -- what Conservatives claim to want -- and the fringe theo-political agenda of today's "conservatives".
A choice quote:
It would conserve nothing. It would require massive social upheaval, for example, to criminalize all abortion or keep all gay couples from having any publicly acknowledged rights or status. Then think of trying to get women back out of the workplace or contraception banned - natural, logical steps from this way of thinking. This massive change is radical, not conservative.
And that's why Santorm scares me.
Here we have a man who can reasonably be considered a Theocrat. He believes that God must be overtly involved in the process of creating laws and governing the people. He bases his social agenda on strict Bible-driven criteria. He's the kind of man that true believers of the Christian faith can (and will) rally behind.
A subsection of these true believers homeschool their children with a "God-centric educational curriculum." They campaign to have materials that offend their Christian sensibilities removed from school, such as textbooks that teach evolution. They vote their conscious. They actively ostracize those who don't agree with their beliefs.
A subsection of these people believe strongly enough in their Christian ethos that they will physically gather together for causes in the name of their beliefs. They protest abortion clinics. They burn albums and books that contain content that are considered un-Christian.
A subsection of this group are so devout, they send their children to Jesus Camps:
They teach the rapture as an impending event to children from a very young age. They join fringe paramilitary militia groups and stockpile weapons in case the government comes to take their religion or their guns or their money from them. They actively believe that the government is moving toward the New World Order and that Obama is the anti-christ.
I'm not being hyperbolic. These people exist.
And when -- not if -- Santorum loses, it's an extremely small leap in logic to believe that these people will see the loss as a tipping point in American culture. They will see that this antichrist named Obama won and that they are on the fast track to the end times.
What if Santorum got it in his head, as the figurehead of this extremely fringe -- yet large enough to be dangerous -- group of extremely angry, faith-driven extremist Christian base, with stockpiles of weapons and a hard and fast belief that the Government was crusading against them? That the New World Order was taking hold? That the antichrist was in office right now? That the rapture is imminent? What if he didn't, but local leaders of these tribes decided it was happening anyway and decided to act on it?
It might seem like a paranoid delusion. But you have to understand -- once faith replaces logic in a human mind, delusion has already taken hold. Christians have conspiracy against them baked right into their religion. A core tenet of the faith is the Roman crusade against Christianity. The government of Rome put Jesus to death. The Romans threw Christians to the lions. The Egyptian pharaoh enslaved God's people, and God chose him to lead his people out of Egypt.
Hardline Christian believers have bombed abortion clinics and gay nightclubs.
A hardline right-winger named Ted Kaczynski -- the Unabomber -- believed that there was a leftist agenda in educational facilities and the government so vast and powerful that he decided to mail bombs to those organizations to stop it.
Religious fanatics (not Christian, but still ever faithful to their beliefs instead of logic) flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The unthinkable is only unthinkable when you're capable of realizing it's unthinkable. And once you stop thinking with your mind and start acting from your heart? If your heart is corrupted by dangerous faith -- anything can happen.
The reason Santorum is scary is that he's got a unified base of highly motivated pissed off fringe Christian conservatives supporting him. He's now a figurehead, and the base has rallied around him. The political climate in this country has gotten to the point where friends are parting ways and families splinter because of which candidate they voted for. Bring God into the picture, and you've got a recipe for religious war.
Santorum has but to point in the general direction that God wants him in office, and that the Government led by those who would abolish Christianity and suppress them needs to fall. A unified base would, at the very least, take to the streets. Some of the more fringe would riot. The most dangerous of these people could end up declaring all-out war against the Liberal agenda.
Onward, Christian Soldiers. Marching as to war.
Do I think this could happen? Realistically? Probably not. But that's PROBABLY not. The mere fact that there is now a probability in my mind that it could; that this is a discussion that can even take place... That's why Santorum scares me. Because that's where we are as a country now.