My regular readers know that I’ve been sharing some thoughts from Santorum’s 2005 book It Takes a Family. One of the chapters, “Religion and Social Capital,” could have been written in the last couple of weeks, what with the Obama administration’s attempt to coerce religious organizations into providing services that violate their principles. For instance, when talking about “mediating institutions,” and how to strengthen them, Santorum says,
The most important answer is to build up what the village elders have spent decades trying to tear down and drive underground—religious institutions and faith-based organizations. The Democrats today have become the party espousing European-style secularism. They have gone to great lengths to create government bureaucracies to displace the work that religious groups have done ever since the days of the Pilgrims, and to marginalize and privatize faith and its moral demands altogether. Their approach to government regulation and programming has worked in countless ways to sideline people of faith.
Why is this, one might ask? Why do they pull out all stops to neuter the effects of religion, Christianity in particular? I think Santorum is correct when he notes,
The village elders see churches as serious challengers to their “expert” authority and to their profoundly secularist worldview. For liberals, faith-based organizations are exactly the wrong sort of intermediate institution building the wrong sort of social capital. Consequently, even when the village elders try to incorporate social capital into their own agendas, the resulting “image” of American society looks like some bizarre parallel universe: America the secular.
If anyone believes the Obamacare “mandates” will stop with the latest attempts, or will not spread beyond the contraception issue, Santorum warns of what is still to come [and remember, this was written in 2005]:
Why did the village elders try, among many other things, to require Catholic hospitals to counsel for and provide abortions, require orthodox religious universities to fund gay and lesbian groups on campus, require religious organizations to provide spousal benefits to all unmarried couples, and bar even the Boy Scouts from public schools and public funds.?
Why would such “tolerant” people as the village elders try so intolerantly to force their agenda on religious institutions? The answer is clear. Religious institutions stand between them and the individuals they seek to fashion in their own image.
That’s the true danger: what Santorum calls the “village elders,” who can also be called liberals or progressives, want to remake America in their image. The only thing that stands between them and the realization of their dream is genuine Christian faith. That’s why, in their view, it must be marginalized, or even eliminated.
Do we truly understand this threat? If so, why would anyone who claims to be a Christian help them achieve their agenda? We need to recognize the danger. We need renewed minds.