Fresh from Radio Derb

This is from the latest radio address of Mr John Debyshire, whom I once respected as a stalwart Conservative writer, and whose books I perchased:

The first thing you notice about Rick Santorum is his Christian faith. That’s by his own design: he pushes it right out at you. The first thing he did in his thank-you speech Tuesday night was quote C.S. Lewis, a writer whom American Christians believe to have been a theologian, while Lewis’s own fellow-countryment thought he was a literary critic. My own opinion on that issue is that Lewis missed his calling; he was by nature a writer of verses for the Hallmark Greeting Card Company. Leaving that aside, and leaving aside also the inexplicable fact that very few of Lewis’s American followers seem to want to follow the old boy into the Anglican Church — Santorum for example being a Roman Catholic — there is no doubt that the ex-senator from Pennsylvania puts his faith up front and center.

I have no problem with anyone being a Christian. I used to be one myself.

Suuure!  “… and some of my best friends are Negroes. I am not prejudiced against them. It is just that they smell funny.”

I do, however, have mild reservations about politicians who trundle their faith around front of them like a supermarket shopping cart.

“I do have mild reservations against Negroes when they try to act Black. It is uppity. Darkies should know their place.”

For one thing, it’s un-Christian. Jesus of Nazareth, though he sometimes contradicted himself on this, as on many other points, seems on the whole to have favored a modest and private approach to worship. He certainly didn’t approve of ostentation in religious observance.

I love it when Antichristians condescendingly lecture Christians on what Christ said and how to interpret it. It is like Denethor getting advice on wise principles of how to govern Gondor from Sauron the Great, or, to use a less geeky example, Iago lecturing Othello on how to have a happy marriage, or the serpent lecturing Eve on how to be an obedient wife to Adam.

For another thing, ostentatious religiosity doesn’t play well in American politics, even among Christians, even among conservatives. We — we American conservatives — like our presidents to be Christian, but we don’t want to hear about it all the time — or, really, any of the time, other than at moments of national crisis.

Heh. Psychological projection. True it may be of Derbyshire, but not true of any conservatives I know.

The two greatest conservative presidents of the 20th century, Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan, were both Christians, but neither of them beat the electorate over the head with it. Neither, in fact, was a regular church-goer. The most deeply, openly, ostentatiously religious of recent presidents was Jimmy Carter. How’d that work out?And the Jimmy Carter case illustrates a problem with intense religiosity in politics, namely that it’s not a good fit for fiscal, constitutional and geostrategic conservatism. Jimmy Carter made that perfectly plain, but it can be seen too in the case of Mike Huckabee, who was, to repeat myself repeating my 2008 observation, a big-government populist. It can be seen for that matter in George W. Bush, the guy who said that, quote, “When someone is hurting, government has got to move” — possibly justifiable on theological grounds, but utterly antithetical to the conservative spirit of restraint in government.

With Santorum there is also the Catholic factor to be weighed. It is of course possible for a devout Catholic to be a principled conservative — the founder of National Review was an outstanding example. Today’s Catholic hierarchy is, however, overwhelmingly left-wing. Outside the narrow scope of purely doctrinal issues and those issues closely related thereto — abortion and euthanasia, for instance — outside that narrow zone, on all other social and political issues the Church is well out on the political left. On wealth redistribution, on immigration and national sovereignty, on globalization, on welfare, on the death penalty, on Second Amendment rights, the Catholic Church is more liberal than Teddy Kennedy, or Nancy Pelosi, or Joe Biden, to name just three of its congregants. Check out Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, where he calls for world government.

An individual Catholic might of course interpret scripture and doctrine differently from the hierarchy, but he is leaning into a headwind when he does so. In fact, he is courting excommunication: This is, after all, a church that emphasizes obedience and authority.

Bottom line on this: A President Rick Santorum would likely be another compassionate conservative, squandering the nation’s wealth on extravagant new welfare schemes, leaving the nation’s borders wide open, launching missionary wars on borrowed money to bring light to the heathen. Another George W. Bush: or another Mike Huckabee, if you like.

My comment: Having lost his religion, Derb has lost his mind.

I think the insanity of criticizing conservative candidates on the grounds that Catholics have difficulty being conservative, that CS Lewis was a writer on the level of a greeting card sentimentalist, and that Jesus was not ostentatiously religious (was a good Roman citizen, who dressed and acted so that no one could detect He was Jewish? Or that He was God?) speaks for itself. The man just said in public that JESUS CHRIST was modest about his religious faith, and did not rub anyone’s nose in it.

Atheism is like AIDS: it robs you of the ability to repel invading viruses, philosophical or mental, by crippling the spiritual version of your immune system.

Myself, who has not been following politics closely, had no idea until I read this that Santorum was a Catholic. I was going to vote for him because he was not Mitt Romney.

(No offense to any Romney supporters, but I take him to be a softline semi-conservative candidate along the lines of Bob Dole or John McCain, practically the only candidate in the GOP who, if nominated, could not beat Obama.)

Now I am sure to vote for him because he is not John Derbyshire.