Santorum and Huckabee Question Authority

One hears a great deal about conservative Christians — especially the ones running for the highest office in the land — respecting moral, spiritual, and legal authority. The Bible is inerrant, the Constitution is divinely inspired, America’s downfall is due to its retreat from following Judeo-Christian truths enshrined in the Constitution.

That’s why recent comments by Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, both of whom are looking to reprise their 2008 and 2012 presidential runs, makes one think Santorum might need to replace his trademark sweater vest with more suitable attire.

Huckabee is miffed by the notion that the Supreme Court might have the last word on the meaning of the Constitution. In a radio interview, the former Arkansas governor and Fox News host said he was angry at the possibility the Supreme Court could hold state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Huckabee lamented “this notion of judicial supremacy, where if the court makes a decision, I hear governors and even some aspirants to the presidency say, ‘Well that’s settled, it’s the law of the land.’ No, it’s not the law of the land.”

Well, actually it is. If the Supreme Court rules a law is unconstitutional it’s, you know, unconstitutional.

In his 2008 run, Huckabee had tried a different approach to questioning constitutional law. He suggested the Constitution be amended “so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.” One might argue he’s not rejecting all authority, just secular authority.

Rick Santorum has some issues with religious authority, too. Today, reacting to Pope Francis’s comments about Catholics not needing to “be like rabbits,” Santorum, who is Catholic, said he finds the Pope “difficult to listen to.” He allowed that “when he speaks as the leader of the Catholic Church, I’ll certainly pay attention.” When is the Pope not speaking as head of the Catholic Church? In Santorum’s view, in interviews. And that interview on the plane failed to reflect a “core value of the faith and of the Catholic Church,” that people “should be fruitful and multiply.” (As Patti Miller points out here, what Francis said completely consistent with the encyclical Humanae Vitae promotion of  “responsible parenthood,” while still deeming birth control “to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.”)

In a way, it seems like Huckabee and Santorum have learned from things from each other, constitutionally speaking. In suggesting that the Supreme Court should not have the last word on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, Huckabee is echoing Santorum, who, in 2012, questioned the legality of the Court’s 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, ruling criminal bans on birth control unconstitutional. If being fruitful and multiplying is a core faith value, for Santorum, it seems to take precedence over not only civil law, but a Pope who affirms it in “difficult” ways.

For some conservatives, this questioning of the Supreme Court’s authority emanates from their view that Griswold forms the basis for rights they claim are not constitutionally recognized but have been created by “activist judges” who seek to impose them in reproductive and LGBT rights settings. Huckabee, in 2015, is speaking directly to the anxieties of Santorum in 2012 (and 2015): that the Supreme Court’s authority impinges on what they see as religious truths about homosexuality, abortion, and birth control. But what are religious truths when even Rick Santorum says he can’t listen to the Pope?

 

6 Comments

  • cpmondello@gmail.com' Corey says:

    Only When It Doesnt Fit Into The Conservative Christian Theocratic World-view

  • boyarin@gmail.com' Daniel Boyarin says:

    But we progressive are perfectly happy to declare the SCOTUS wrong in Citizens United and seek to overturn that decision by one means or another. It is, of course, the Law of the Land but it may be amended or changed either through clever legislation, an amendment, or by persuading the judges to change their opinion, cf decisions that overturned previous courts on slavery and gay sex. Of course, I don’t agree with Huckabee or the one who shall not be named in their judgments but don’t quite see the theoretical difference.

  • hcarr90366@gmail.com' Harvey Carr says:

    Yet neither one of these men would allow any of the founding fathers to be members of their churches today as none of them would fit the criteria for their personal lives. George Washington had a whiskey distillery and grew hemp (marijuana not to smoke but for fibers to make rope),; Ben Franklin was known to be a heavy drinker and had “women in every port”, and we all know the private details of Thomas Jefferson who even re-wrote the Bible to fit his own personal conclusions. Amazing how we can twist scripture and history to satisfy our personal needs and prejudices.

  • hcarr90366@gmail.com' Harvey Carr says:

    In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul had some pretty strong words about obeying governmental authorities, and this was written during some of the greatest persecution of Christians, including him!

  • judithmax@comcast.net' Judith Maxfield says:

    Maybe what is really happening in the SCOTUS of our times is that they will wait to see social trends before deciding to make a leap into their decisions. Thats not a bad idea unless there are immediate concerns over naked violence, as in the 1960’s civil rights movement. I do fully support gender equality for marriages and do know GLTB people have suffered in all kinds of economic and legalistic discrimination, even youth suicide. No one else can claim suffering because two people of the same gender are married. What i am saying is I do think this issue is not similar to Citizens United. This issue is a human rights issue for individuals, families, and society. It clearly affects all of us in a deeper sense – no matter what.
    What I do worry about is that the nay-sayers will find loop holes as they have in the cases of legal abortions. I do hope this kind of misguided hate and fake Christianity is slowly fading away. And I am saying that as an unabashed socialist democrat (lower case) Christian.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    I so enjoy watching the entertaining conservative christian politicians make total asses of themselves in front of God and the world. What they’ve done to politics, they’re now trying to do to religion and the majority of common sense, intelligent people will have none of it. I do hope the bed- and sofa-dwelling Democrats have learned their lesson well, in regard to the future elections!

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