Pat Buchanan

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to have consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

Thus did Sen. Rick Santorum express his opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court should not overturn the Texas anti-sodomy laws, under which homosexual activity is still criminal misconduct.

Within hours, Democratic leaders, Big Media and gay rights groups had demanded that Santorum apologize or be purged from the Republican leadership, in the style of Trent Lott.

As of this writing, Santorum is still being lashed with curses of "bigot" and "homophobe," as he tries to explain himself. Erica Clayton, his spokesperson, says the senator "has no problem with gay, lesbian or transgender individuals." Well, Erica, he does now.

As with Lott and Jim Moran, these episodes -- where politicians are hauled before a modern inquisition, scourged, and ordered to grovel and apologize, or be stretched on the rack -- are instructive. For they reveal the real balance of moral power in a society at any given time.

What does the trashing of Santorum tell us? That America is well along into a post-Christian and even anti-Christian era.

Consider. In his statement, Santorum expressed both a legal and a moral opinion. In the legal opinion, Santorum is saying that if the court overturns the Texas anti-sodomy law, and declares that a right to privacy protects all consensual sexual activity by adults, then all other laws that outlaw consensual sex -- laws against incest, adultery and bigamy -- also go out the window.

Santorum is dead right. Indeed, it was fear of that result that led the court to uphold the Georgia anti-sodomy law in the 1980s.

The moral component in Santorum's remark is that gay sex -- like adultery, bigamy and polygamy -- is wrong. This happens also to be the moral position of John Paul II, Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church to which Santorum belongs, and of most Americans.

What, then, is Santorum's problem? It is this: The traditional Christian moral code in which he believes and which informed his remark is no longer the moral code of the American elite. Indeed, it is detested by that elite as the codification of hatred and intolerance.

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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