This is a guest post by Ron Hill, a Republican who is appalled at the religious right hijacking of his party. — Pam


The whole purpose of my blog, republicans4freedom, is to point out the extremism that has become popular in my party. My hope is that rational conservatives will then work to help bring the GOP back to the common-sense middle. The truth is that our party has gone off the deep end. It’s as if  we’re watching the slow, painful death of a major political party.

First it was Sarah Palin who couldn’t name one major newspaper she read, much less string together two logical sentences. Then came Christine O’Donnell who spoke out against masturbation and dabbled in witchcraft. About the same time we had Sharon Angle who suggested that armed insurrection was a possibility in opposing the policies of elected democrats. Then we had Michele Bachmann, whose only redeeming quality was making Sarah Palin look informed and thoughtful by way of comparison. Ms. Bachmann brought along her not-at-all gay husband, an unlicensed psychologist with a degree from an unaccredited on-line school. Their family business was found to be practicing the widely discredited and scientifically unsound “ex-gay” therapy. Both Bachmanns apparently believe Jesus is too busy not curing the gays to bother with minor matters like ending war, African famine, Asian epidemics, or Americans murdering one another in large numbers. Most recently, we were treated to Newt Gingrich, the thrice-divorced serial adulterer who – ironically – was the darling of the “family values” crowd. Among other extreme views, Mr. Gingrich seemed to imply that America should bring back child labor.

The GOP race just keeps getting more and more bizarre.

I expected some nutty statements from Rick Santorum, but his recent attack on Obama for not sharing true ”biblical values” went beyond the scope of decency; it was appalling. As they would say in the South – where we reserve the “t-word” for only the most serious of offenses – it was Tacky.

It’s beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate to question the Christian faith of his opponent based merely on a difference in theology.

If I sound harsh on a Republican – it’s only because I expect better from the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Goldwater. The nation, as well as the GOP, deserve better; the consequences of an intellectually stagnant and moribund Republican party are simply too awful.

But the truth is the GOP is intellectually stagnant. To disagree with the dominant GOP zeitgeist is tantamount to heresy. Everyone must toe the hard-right line of religious conservatives who ignore not only science but also obvious realities. As a result, American republicans have ceded leadership of the conservative movement to Canada and Britain where the conservative movement isn’t so weighted down with anti-science religious fanaticism.

It’s pretty amazing that Rick Santorum claims the mantle of Christianity while advocating against medical care for the poor, and while having no problem with middle class Americans losing everything and being forced into bankruptcy because they happen to have the bad luck of experiencing a serious medical problem.

According to Rick Santorum’s “biblical values” it’s ok to cut taxes on the wealthy while slashing health care for the poor. Jesus never said anything about the poor or the sick, did he?

According to Rick Santorum’s “biblical values” we should oppose science-based health care education in favor of “abstinence only” education. However, as both the preponderance of scientific research and the experience of the socially conservative “Bible Belt” states show; Mr. Santorum’s policies would not only deny fact-based instruction, but would increase out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancies, would increase the abortion rate, increase poverty, increase “shotgun” marriages (and then increase the divorce rate), and increase the incidents of HIV, hepatitis C and other STD’s.

And this is a “good” Christian policy?

There are Republicans (and Christians) who support science-based comprehensive sex education — programs that encourage abstinence until marriage but also include information on reducing unwanted pregnancies and how to reduce the risk of STD’s. There are Republicans who support a reasonable safety net for the poorest among us and the chronically mentally ill. There are Republicans who support government and faith-based efforts to reduce the rate of violence in our society and who support teaching non-violence in every level of schooling and in every lesson — not just as a Christian principle, but also as a principle of enlightened societies.

We had 300 murders in my city [New Orleans] last year – but Mr. Santorum sees his Christian duty not to work to teach and promote non-violence, but to oppose loving, peaceful American couples who simply want the same legal rights as other Americans.

Ironically, by opposing gay marriage equality, Mr. Santorum opposes the one thing that would encourage greater monogamy in the glbt community, that would help reduce the incidence of Hepatitis C, HIV and other STD’s; that would promote stable, committed relationships (which is certainly a worthwhile goal of society whether one agrees with homosexuality or not), and which would provide greater stability for children being raised by a glbt couple. These are all good goals for society and government.

It’s dangerous for any one party or politician to believe their values are those of God. Doing so suggests a dangerous arrogance and promotes an “us against them” mentality that divides Americans and pits one group of citizens against another. This is no way to lead a pluralistic society.

The GOP can do better, and America requires better. I’ve been a conservative all my life, but would have no choice but to vote for President Obama if Rick Santorum is the GOP nominee. Privately, many Republicans tell me the same thing.

For the rational wing of the Republican Party,

Ron Hill


NOTE FROM PAM: And to underscore how extreme Santorum is, he has no problem sharing his fringe views on video, where it can come back and bite him in the @ss. Talk about being out of touch with mainstream America. Just look at what has popped up in the last few days. Buzzfeed unearthed this 2011 gem about jailing doctors who perform abortions (it makes you wonder what punishment he’d mete out to the woman “ordering the hit” or to doctors that supply birth control to women):

I believe that any doctor who performs an abortion…I would advocate that any doctor should be criminally charged for doing so. I’d never support a criminalization of abortion for mothers, but I do for people who perform them.

Or how about this lunacy — that prenatal care will lead to abortions? CBS’s Bob Schieffer was almost in disbelief.

“You sound like you’re saying the purpose of prenatal care is to cause to have people to have abortions, to get more abortions in this country,” CBS host Bob Schieffer told Santorum on Sunday. “I think any number of people would say that’s not the purpose at all.”

“That’s simply not true,” Santorum replied. “The bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions.”

…“Do you not want any kind of prenatal testing?” Schieffer wondered. “I mean, would we just turn our back on science?”

“Look, people have the right to do it,” Santorum admitted. “But to have the government force people to provide it free just has to me — is a bit loaded. … I think the president has a very bad record on the issue of abortion and children who are disabled, who are in the womb, and I think this is simply a continuation of that idea.”

Contrary to Santorum’s assertion, the Department of Human Services Office on Women’s Health says that “medical checkups and screening tests help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy.”