America’s ayatollahs

So here we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have sort of this religious war on our hands. They see us as decadent. We see them as intolerant relics from the Dark Ages and, by the way, we’re right. But sometimes we’re just far Right, if you know what I mean.

Just when we’re trying to put our most tolerant foot forward, one of our own ayatollahs steps on it. Have you heard the one about the Army chaplain in Iraq who wouldn’t let our soldiers shower unless they agreed to get baptized first? There’s no punch line to that joke because it happened to the Army’s 5th Corps near Najaf in southern Iraq.

You know what else happened? Here’s the president trying to convince the Shiites over in Iraq that the war was not about bringing Christianity to the heathens. Along comes his friend, the Rev. Franklin Graham, who announces that he intends to do just that. Get this — Graham is planning a religious crusade to convert all those Muslims into Christians. No word on whether he plans to withhold showers from those who balk. The president is withholding comment until after the evangelical votes are counted and he’s reelected.

Our own politicians are joining the fray. Who better to teach tolerance to a closed society than our own Sen. Rick Santorum? The senator has not equivocated. He has professed that he has nothing against homosexuals unless they happen to have sex. This news lifted the spirits of celibate homosexuals everywhere.

You see, there’s this law in Texas (where else?) that prohibits consenting adults of the same sex from having sex, even in the privacy of their own homes. Would I kid you? If you’re gay and you live in Texas, you’re just glad they don’t execute you for it. Sen. Santorum supports these kinds of laws because they protect the family. Could I make this stuff up? Now I don’t know what kind of family the senator grew up in, but have you or your family ever felt threatened by gays enjoying sex in their own home? Even my Uncle Nunzi, who is not the most liberal person in the world, has a motto — "Live and let live."

You know how this law was applied in the Texas case? The police raided an apartment looking for stuff and found a couple of gay men having sex and locked them up for it. What, the police got nothing better to do in Texas? There’s no stray cattle tying up traffic that could command their attention?

Santorum claims he is only defending the law of the land. What land — Afghanistan? Is the senator in favor of enforcing such a law here in Pennsylvania? If he is, please make sure you don’t write it too loosely because there’s a lot of heterosexuals out there who enjoy sodomy as their favorite pastime and we don’t want them landing in jail by mistake. Santorum believes that if you permit sex between consenting homosexuals, you might as well allow incest or bigamy or heavens to Brigham Young — even polygamy. Now you might think Santorum is way out of the mainstream on this issue, but then you wouldn’t know Republican politics, would you, dearie?

You have to remember that there’s a part of the Republican Party that believes what’s wrong with America is that we need a little more religion in our laws — their religion. These are people who believe that freedom means the freedom to think like them, dress like them and go to the same church they do. They see Santorum as a hero standing up for what they euphemistically call "family values."

Defenders of Santorum also point out that he is a very religious man — a doctrinaire Catholic, as if that somehow explains his views. It doesn’t. I’ll show you how tolerant the rest of us are, Rick — we defend your right to be as religious as you please. But as someone who was elected by people of different faiths, and maybe no faith at all, you have an obligation to respect those differences. Because you are a religious man doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to prohibit everyone from eating meat on Good Friday.

This is not some Fox News kind of horror story about the gay agenda being shoved down America’s throats. The law that Rick Santorum and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and the Family Research Council and the folks in Texas support is about the behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes. Crazy me, I thought that kind of privacy was what America was all about.

Ironic. We are in the midst of a fight to save western civilization from fanatical Islamic fundamentalists. While at home, the ayatollahs of America are at work to subvert the very tolerance that makes us free.