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Jewish World Review April 28, 2003 / 26 Nissan, 5763

David Limbaugh

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Consumer Reports

Santorum: Not guilty

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Where are Tim Robbins and his merry band of selective-free speech advocates when you need them? Why are they silent as the thought/speech Gestapo mercilessly pillories Senator Rick Santorum and demands his resignation?

What did Santorum say that warrants his political excommunication by the high priests of our postmodern culture? Well, in an interview with the Associated Press he expressed his concerns over the challenge to a Texas sodomy law in the United States Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas.

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery," said Santorum. "You have the right to anything."

Immediately, gay rights groups and certain Democrats demanded that Santorum apologize and resign from his chairmanship of the Senate Republican Conference, the third highest position in the party's leadership. Why? Because his comments were construed as equating homosexuality with bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. The charge is absurd on its face and a gross distortion of his comments.

The transcript makes clear that Santorum is concerned that if this nebulous and judicially created "right to privacy" were used to justify homosexual behavior, it could insulate all types of activities, including those he mentioned, from moral or criminal scrutiny. He was merely echoing the concerns of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White in the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, involving the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy statute. White wrote, "If respondent's submission is limited to the voluntary sexual conduct between consenting adults, it would be difficult, except by fiat, to limit the claimed right to homosexual conduct while leaving exposed to prosecution adultery, incest and other sexual crimes even though they are committed in the home." Neither Santorum nor White was equating homosexuality to the other acts they listed.

Moreover, Santorum is also concerned that since the "right to privacy" is a federal "right" it usurps the authority of the states to set their own parameters in these matters. Santorum's reasoning here is hardly hypothetical, since this is exactly the privacy right invoked by the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade abortion decision. The Court ruling limited each state's authority to regulate abortion -- though nothing in the express or implied powers of the Constitution conferred such a pre-emptive right on the Court with respect to the issue.

None of this is to say, however, that Santorum has no problem with homosexual behavior, which he admitted he does, just as he does with other acts "outside of traditional heterosexual relationships." He said he has "absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual," just their homosexual acts. Santorum is simply affirming the belief of many Christians and observant Jews, disapproving of homosexual behavior, but striving to love the people committing those acts.

Multitudes of Americans also believe, like Santorum, that moral relativism and assaults on the traditional family threaten the fabric of our society. Catholic League President William Donohue said that Santorum's comments accurately reflect "the Christian understanding of marriage."

The real issue here is not Rick Santorum or anything he said. He is being used as a convenient whipping boy by gay rights groups and Democrats for their overlapping agendas. Some Democrats see this as a way to discredit the powerful Republican. Gay groups see it as that plus an opportunity to further silence those who won't endorse their lifestyle.

They demand not only that they be left alone to do as they please, but that anyone who disapproves not be permitted to say so publicly, and if they dare, they be disqualified from eligibility for public office and subject to scorn. Christians who believe in biblical admonitions against homosexual behavior are unacceptably intolerant and unfit for public service.

This same type of anti-Christian litmus test is being applied to President Bush's federal judicial nominees. Senate Democrats are applying a flagrantly unconstitutional religious test to block the appointment of pro-life judges, such as Arkansas Judge J. Leon Holmes, a devout Catholic.

We are approaching the point in our society where homosexual behavior is deemed virtuous and Christian beliefs against it immoral. We might as well say it: It is no longer permissible in America to have the opinion, much less express it, that homosexual behavior is aberrant.

Those criticizing Senator Santorum for being forthright about his deeply held religious convictions and those unwilling to demonstrate the courage of their faith by defending him are the ones who should be apologizing, not Senator Santorum.

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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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