Laundering Santorum

Matt Drudge gives the right wing permission to notice what Santorum said about Satan’s attacks on American institutions: but leaves out Santorm’s deadly insult directed at 45 million members of mainline Protestant denominations.

Matt Drudge has now picked up the Right Wing Watch story about Rick Santorum’s speech at Ave Maria University. That has brought the speech to the intention of Red bloggers who didn’t bother to notice the original story because they are so deeply cocooned that it takes an accredited Red source to drive a fact through their thick skulls. (Rush Limbaugh is only the fattest example.)

But Drudge – who of course doesn’t bother to credit the actual reporters who did the actual work of finding the actual news, as he rips them off, also gets the story importantly wrong. So the wingnutosphere is debating Santorum’s claim that Satan is attacking American institutions, rather than his much more damaging claim that mainline Protestantism is currently under Satan’s influence and is no longer part of “the world of Christianity.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

13 thoughts on “Laundering Santorum”

  1. Looks like he’s added the bit about Protestantism (perhaps too late for many of his readers to notice). Still no attribution (no big surprise).

      1. Of course they can. That doesn’t mean they always do. Ebenezer’s point is that Limbaugh is neither stupid nor uninformed, and I totally agree.

  2. Drudge goofed by linking to this – it will make Santorum more popular will GOP likely voters, not less. Even with the more “damaging” paragraph.

  3. As someone who is in thrall to Satan, (blessings and war be upon him) I am deeply disappointed to find he is a protestant. I was sure he (it has to be a “he”) was catholic, as they have so many interesting other gods, (Mary, all the Saints, holy ghosts,demons,etc),
    Score one for Luther.

  4. I had an enlightening conversation a few years back with a local politician about an event — earnest panel discussion of some kind — being held in the basement social hall of the local United Methodist church. The politician complained the organizers made a stupid choice of venue because “there’s not an evangelical in this town who will set foot in this church.”

    Check the parking lots on a Sunday and chat up your conservative friends. Santorum made the point more bluntly than most would, but most actual church-goers these days wouldn’t think he was out of line.

  5. Seth Gordon makes an important point. “Mainline Protestants” (note the echo of the suburbs of Philadelphia in that name) are Episcopalians, Presbyterians, most Lutherans, most Methodists, northern Baptists, and some other smaller denominations, like Quakers – in general, the churches that are members of the National Council of Churches. Although they are by no means monolithic, these Protestants tend to be more liberal on social and theological issues (women in church leadership and ministerial roles, acceptance of gay members and in some cases gay marriage, a willingness to accept that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, acceptance of evolution and of science generally as a window into God’s creation, a belief in the Social Gospel).

    Fundamentalist and evangelical churches are not “mainline Protestants” and reject the mainline churches as having fallen away from true Christianity.

    The mainline denominations have been in decline for at least half a century and are now a minority of American Protestants. So Santorum was on firm ground with his base when, even as a Catholic, he attacked the mainline Protestants.

    It’s worth noting that the great division in American Protestantism came about at the time of the Civil War, when the Baptists and other denominations split over the question of slavery. The northern, abolitionist churches became the mainline churches, while the southern, pro-slavery churches were the forerunners of modern evangelical Protestantism.

    As always in American life, if you don’t understand something, the answer is slavery.

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