Rick Santorum to Piers Morgan: Believing ‘eternal truths’ on homosexuality is not ‘bigotry’

Former Pennsylvania Senator and GOP presidential Bruce Smith AP Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum leaves a speaking engagement in Charleston, … Continued

Former Pennsylvania Senator and GOP presidential

Bruce Smith

AP

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum leaves a speaking engagement in Charleston, S.C., in 2010.

candidate Rick Santorum, appearing Wednesday night on Piers Morgan’s show, rejected the claim that upholding the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality constitutes “bigotry.”

After an exchange in which Santorum said that while he does view homosexuality as sinful, he would not want the government to make it illegal, Morgan asked Santorum if his views were “bigoted.”

Morgan: . . . Your views you’ve espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?

Santorum: Uh, no. I think just because we disagree on public policy, which is what the debate has been about, which is marriage, doesn’t mean that is bigotry just because you follow a moral code that teaches there’s something wrong. … Are you suggesting that the Bible and that the Catholic Church is bigoted? Well, if that’s what you believe, fine. I think that … well, actually I should say not fine, I don’t think it’s fine at all. I think that is contrary to both what we’ve seen in 2,000 years of human history and Western Civilization. Trying to redefine something that has been, that is, seen as wrong, from the standpoint of the church and saying a church is “bigoted” because it holds that opinion that is biblically based, I think is in itself an act of bigotry.

Morgan: Well, I’m a Catholic, too. And I just think that unfortunately we’re in a different era now. We’re in a modern world. And the fact that you know—

Santorum: Piers, Piers, I don’t think the truth changes. I don’t think right and wrong change based on different eras of time. There are some truths that are in fact eternal and are truth and based on nature and nature’s law. And that’s what the church teaches, that’s what the Bible teaches, and that’s what reason dictates. And if you look at it from all of those perspectives, I think it’s a legitimate point of view. I certainly respect people who disagree with it. But I don’t call them bigoted because they disagree with me.

Santorum later had a public argument with a student at Penn State over his view of homosexuality as stated in the television appearance.

This is not the first time that the Catholic father of seven has found himself in the middle of charges of bigotry on the issue of homosexuality. Santorum, in a 2003 interview, said that the legal reasoning endorsing sexual privacy could lead to “man on child, man on dog” relationships. Insulted by Santorum’s claim, some gay rights activists then led a “Google bomb” on his name, meaning that searching “Rick Santorum” now returns sexually suggestive results.

Although Santorum told Morgan that his church says homosexuality is “sinful,” the Catholic Church’s teaching is slightly more nuanced. As one pastoral letter put it in 1986, the church teaches that while homosexual “inclinations” are not a sin, “homosexual activity” is not a morally acceptable option.

Still clashes between religious institutions and gay rights activists — including charges of bigotry and hate speech — have framed many culture war clashes as of late.

The Catholic and Mormon churches, as well as a number of
socially conservative Christian organizations, have maintained some of the most vocal opposition to the legalization of gay marriage across the country. New York state recently included recognition of “religious exceptions” in its gay marriage bill, but around the country, battles over the legality of religious discrimination against gays are still playing out.
Some gay rights activists have been working to reframe the conversation within religious communities, including rejecting the notion that God views homosexuality as a sin. (For one example of that religious framing, read Episcopal
Bishop Gene Robinson’s series for On Faith, “What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?”)

More On Faith and homosexuality:

Debra Haffner: No ‘gay cure’ is necessary

Outlook: On gay marriage, stop playing the hate card

Elizabeth Tenety
Written by
  • dwaldman

    “I don’t think the truth changes. I don’t think right and wrong change based on different eras of time. There are some truths that are in fact eternal and are truth and based on nature and nature’s law. And that’s what the church teaches, that’s what the Bible teaches, and that’s what reason dictates.”
    ========================================

    C’mon people. We all know that the Catholic Church is never wrong. Ask Galileo.

  • JohnnyDale1

    … and pointing out the unbelievably puerile and bigoted nature of your superstition is not “anti-christian”, it’s pro-humanity.

  • spectator1

    We live in a country that prizes freedom and individuality more than most have throughout history and yet we let a minority in our population dictate the discussion and even the legislation concerning homosexuality so that it results in a loss of freedom for a smaller minority because of an aversion to their sexual preferences with respect to other consenting adults.

    How does this happen?

  • dwaldman

    What freedom are you losing? Stop playing the victim.

  • OldUncleTom

    I have no problem with religious organizations having differing views on social issues. It reinforces my strong belief that religion has no place in our system of laws.

    You don’t need a church to be a good citizen, and it is equally true that our churches have produced some really bad ones.

    Let our laws manage the “here”, and let the witch doctors manage the “hereafter”, and we’ll all be just fine in the end.

  • OldUncleTom

    spec, that is an insanely stupid thing to say.

    Can you state specifically what “freedom” you feel you have lost?

    There is no freedom to live in a world where everyone is just like you, and there never was.
    There is no freedom to think you are better than other people, and there hasn’t been for a while now.

    So, please, be specific, and we can discuss YOUR problem.

  • spectator1

    Homosexuals feel about lovers of their same sex the same way that hetereosexuals feel about their lovers of the opposite sex. Their feelings are no more a choice than are those of heterosexual couples but the bigotry and threats directed towards them make them feel showing it the way heterosexuals can and do. That is a loss of freedom.

  • OldUncleTom

    well, my apologies to you, spec… your original comment was vague enough that I could not tell which side of this argument you are on. I am very used to seeing commentary bemoaning the loss of “freedom to beat up gays”, which yours apparently was not.

    I understand that homosexuality is no more abnormal than red hair or being left-handed. It is what it is, and is not learned, nor contagious. I live in So California, and worked for years in the food and beverage industry, so my contact with that community is probably much greater than average. I think the phobia is based more on ignorance and overactive imagination than anything real.

  • dwaldman

    My apologies, too. I totally thought that your comment was anti-marriage equality.

  • boardtest

    Santorum is right. Following a church’s beliefs is not bigotry – it’s ignorance.

  • YEAL9

    Dear Senator,

    o “Abrahamics” believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the gay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied homosexuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore gays are gay because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] ”

    “Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, “The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.”[8

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences (as noted below) said monogamous ventures should always be called same-sex unions not same-sex marriages.

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay sexual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex sexual defects. Some defects are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King a

  • TopTurtle

    “Morgan: Well, I’m a Catholic, too. And I just think that unfortunately we’re in a different era now. We’re in a modern world. And the fact that you know—”

    It’s unfortunate that we live in a modern era?!

    The only news I need to hear about Santorum will come on the day he officially drops out of the race. I do have a question for him, though: Would it be bigoted to believe that interracial marriage is sinful? Why or why not?

  • amelia45

    I think it is important to remind everyone that the Catholic hierarchy and Rick Santorum do not speak for all Catholics, and probably not for a majority of Catholics. Notice what happened in New York. More than 1/2 of Catholics supported gay marriage. It is enormously sad, but we have had to ignore our hierarchy on more than one subject and pray they will bring the Church out of the Middle Ages and into this century by heeding the sensus fidelium.

  • cprferry

    Santorum has the right perspective on people with same-sex attraction. They deserve protection from harm and harassment. However, they do not deserve patronage for being loyal partisans (no constituency does) nor do their lifestyles, or its similarity to our own concupiscence for immoral sexual behavior of non-monogamy and sterile sex, demand the new definition of our fundamental center of society – the family.

  • WonderfulWorld

    My family happens to have gay people in it. They don’t damage or redefine the fundamentals of anything. They are our own and they deserve the same emotions, happiness and rights as anybody else. All your excessive verbiage makes a poor curtain for your essential bigotry.

  • geraldodoire

    Well, done, Rick Santorum, you resisted well the baited traps set for you by Piers Morgan and beautifully expressed the reasonable position of the Catholic Church regarding Her traditional views on marriage, based on biblical precepts and the Natural Law. The concept of marriage as a sacred bond between one man and one woman open to procreation has been the accepted model for multiple societies of different ethnic, religious and global backgrounds in the world across 2 millennia.

  • geraldodoire

    Well, done Rick, you resisted the nasty baited traps set up by Piers Morgan and beautifully expressed the reasonable position of the Catholic Church regarding the definition of marriage as based on biblical precepts and the Natural Law. This has also been the position of multiple global societies( with few exceptions )of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds across 2 millennia.

  • geraldodoire

    Newsflash, Dwaldman, objective truth is not set by opinion polls or a show of hands. Jesus did not decide His teachings on the basis of the votes of His disciples or the listeners to His sermons. The Catholic Church likewise does not rely on fickle opinion as expressed in polls or social fads to preach the truth of the gospels.

  • geraldodoire

    The Church does not operate on the basis of polls or changeable societal customs in relation to promulgating the truths of the gospels. The truth remains the truth today as it did during Christ’s Mission on Earth and the intervening centuries cannot change that reality.

  • bea_most

    As a Catholic I have been taught to love everyone because God loves everyone and makes the sun rise on the just and unjust. It Is not my duty to judge others and to excuse the intention if I cannot excuse the bad behaviour. I do have the duty to speak the truth and I think this where the problem comes in. Christians who speak out about marriage and why there can be no such thing as same sex marriage are right away labeled as bigots.

  • david6

    Don’t blame Jesus or God for your refusal to treat your fellow humans fairly. If you think that your religious leader wants you to treat others badly, then maybe you need to stop listening to such a religious leader.

    All religious doctrines are completely without foundation, without any supporting evidence. There are no eternal religious truths. Enemies of equal treatment for all are not “speaking the truth” they are just trying to justify their own bigotry.

  • david6

    The Catholic Church is not at all reasonable on this.

  • PhillyJimi

    I like to play the game of switch the key word of homosexuality with something else and let’s see if the logic holds.

    Ground rules: If you feel anything is wrong only due to your religious teaching that is fine. If you want to campaign as a private citizen to change peoples hearts about what you feel is wrong that is also fine. But if you are a law maker and you pass laws to enforce you religious teachings and views then that is out right unconstitutional.

    Let’s switch the issue: Example, if you’re a law maker and you pass laws that makes it impossible to certify the sale of meat as safe for human consumption by saying unless a wholesaler can prove the meant is save to a 100% guarantee they will be fined $1 billion for every infraction. This would effectively end all sales of any meat products but not out right banning the sale of meat.

    This law maker’s personal religious belief happens to be that it is wrong to eat meat. 75% of the general population also held the same religious beliefs. And their beliefs have been around for 10,000 years. Actually eating meat has only recently been socially acceptable due to the 25% of the population that doesn’t hold to any religious dogma.

    Well in this example, to me it is clear the majority is imposing it’s beliefs on the minority. Switch “eating meat” with “homosexuality” and it still doesn’t change.

  • SODDI

    If Santorum and his supporters’ WORST problem is other peoples’ sex lives, then they are doing very well indeed.

    They should mind their own business.

  • cprferry

    So should the other side. Stop involving in other people’s sex lives by subsidizing the activity by forcing doctors and wedding planners to participate in activities they disagree with and by granting with federal contracts to abortionists’ related businesses, Malthusian non-profits and tying food and economic aid to condom distribution.

    There’s a reason that serial monogamy between heterosexuals open to life has been the norm across the world across history. The modern lifestyles of homosexuality, multiple relationships, broken or sterile families has been highly encouraged, subsidized and coerced to serve the interests of the state and the elite.

  • cprferry

    Carrot, no, you don’t. Unless you’re talking about Bishop Weakland in Wisconsin, but I don’t think you did. In fact most abuse settlements are covered by insurance – and get this – the insurance industry charges Catholic dioceses a lower premium than other religious institutions because of the reduced risk of abuse.

  • cprferry

    Jesus is quite clear on unlawful marriages. Which within the context of Jewish teaching relies back to the laws of relationships in Leviticus including its pronouncements against same sex relationships.

    I have nothing to say about those denominations that I can’t say with charity. So far have the strayed and for all the wrong reasons.

  • cprferry

    If there is no eternal truth there is no value to the equality you claim to be necessary human behavior. Which is it? Is there eternal truths or are there not? Are they witnessed by human history or but only the self? Or is this simply a will to power? Does the existence of truth merely require a consensus of elites that find value in exploiting their fellow humans with non-monogamy, sterile unions and acceptance of all perversions?

  • cprferry

    Wonderful, I share your pain. We both have watched people afflicted with such a contagion that leads them to self-destructive lifestyles, complete with drug use, spousal abuse and predatory behavior, as they struggle to recognize they may never experience the same emotions, happiness and rights that are intrinsically tied to natural marriages and the one-flesh union.

    The question is do we throw out the ideal? Do we say because some struggle we all must manipulate ourselves to deny ourselves the joys they can’t share in? As if to take Virgil at his words to ‘If I can’t move heaven {to my wants} I shall raise hell {to justify my wants}”? Or do we work with them and support them to appreciate the great truths, examine their struggles and respond to that challenge?

    Santorum once made a good analogy to the social contagions of alcoholism and same sex attraction. Both have been claimed to possibly determined by genetics in some under a series of conditions finds them draw to (or hard to avoid). As any one who knows an alcoholic it is a trying affair to keep them sober. They have an urge to drink, and when opportunity arises they often do. It is especially hard to resist when someone else around them is drinking or they see positive affirmations of drinking from others or in media. It’s a really difficult process to control ones’ alcoholism yet people do. In fact a few people do so well as to completely conquer their addiction. No longer must they just avoid at all costs or simply indulge on cigarettes or some other vice. Some do in fact get better and learn to control themselves, keeping the ideal, addressing their struggles to finally be able to have a drink and stop. Why are we so pessimistic that our family, friends and neighbors can not so victorious? Why do we wish to encourage their own behavior so we may feel justified in our own concupiscence for immoral sexual behavior of non-monogamy and sterile sex? Why the pessimistic race to the bottom? Why not keep the ideal a

  • geraldodoire

    That is your opinion. Then by your reasoning all societies which supported this marriage paradigm for the last 2000 years or more were/are not reasonable? You’ll have to do better than that. These societies knew the Natural order of things and thus arranged their societies to correspond with this reality. Therefore the idea of marriage between a man and a woman open to procreation is very reasonable.

  • geraldodoire

    Well carrotcakeman. Cprferry has put the wayward decision of these protestant denominations to accept “same-sex” marriage into context. They have gone against Christ’s command that ..”. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?..”(Matthew 19:5)

  • dwaldman

    It used to be an “eternal truth” that the sun, moon and planets revolved around the Earth. Do you still believe that?

  • dwaldman

    I meant to say “stars” instead of “moon.” They at least had that one right.

  • dwaldman

    So why does the government give marriage licenses to people who are not open to procreation? Why do they allow people to procreate without being married?

  • dwaldman

    “The truth” has changed in Catholicism throughout history just as society’s collective understanding of human nature, science, etc. has changed — albeit often a little slower. Someday, the Church will sanction gay members particpating in the Sacrament of Matrimony and the assertion that gay relationships are immoral in the eyes of God will be put in the “circular file” right next to the belief that the universe revolves around the Earth.

  • geraldodoire

    The granting of marriage licenses to “same sex couples” is the decision of a secular government driven by an agenda that is not in sympathy with the Christian gospels. It is driven by a an attempt to legislatively redefine marriage in a modern image which it has never corresponded to in the past by virtue of it’s intrinsic nature. Does your definition of those “who are not open to procreation” include those couples who deliberately use birth control? If it does, it is a decision that these couples have made in defiance of their Creator and if secular government honors that , then again it goes against biblical tenets.

  • dwaldman

    So you believe that the state should deny marriage licenses couples who use birth control? Or maybe outlaw birth control altogether, since unmarried people should not be having sex and married people must be open to children to serve the state’s interest in procreation?