Rick Santorum’s piety

The political scene keeps getting curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

Who’d a-thought that almost 40 years since Roe v. Wade, which seemed to make back-alley butchery obsolete, we’d still have to defend abortion, let alone contraception! Let women like Karen Santorum have their seven children or more, take care of them and let everyone else decide what kind of family they can live with.

This article from the Washington Post about the former senator and his wife reveals how the Santorums handled the premature birth of their son:

In his Senate office … Sen. Rick Santorum keeps a framed photo of his son Gabriel Michael, the fourth of his seven children. Named for two archangels, Gabriel Michael was born prematurely, at 20 weeks, on Oct. 11, 1996, and lived two hours outside the womb. 

Upon their son’s death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen’s parents’ home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

“That’s my little guy,” Santorum says, pointing to the photo of Gabriel, in which his tiny physique is framed by his father’s hand. The senator often speaks of his late son in the present tense.

I don’t want the Santorums to impose their religious beliefs and moral convictions on me, so I won’t judge them. But giving small children a dead fetus to cuddle and kiss is unusual, not to say rather creepy.

As for the “family values” Santorum champions, he lives up to them in his own family. Wealthy as the Santorums are, they can afford to bring up six children. But for the vast majority of unfortunate others who don’t have anywhere near the same resources, Santorum turns his back: Food stamps should be unnecessary for a population that is largely obese— they’d do well to eat less. And why should the rest of us pay for their health care? Let the poor die in the street if they can’t afford a doctor’s care. Without contraceptives, everyone could have seven, 10, 12 children or more— the ability to feed, clothe and look after their offspring while out earning a minimum wage is presumably irrelevant to the former senator. Where is the compassion, the mercy and the obligation to assist the needy that his Church prescribes?

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March 9, 2012 · 6:57 PM

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