…are all on display as this embarrassing MAGA KKKatholic gives us his “America, the Light and the Glory” Protestant creation myth which doesn’t even respect the Catholic faith his ancestors were persecuted for on our soil, much less the Native Americans he spits on for the sake of his audience of MAGA cultists:
Where to begin? Where to begin?
First off, lots of people did not come here for religious liberty. New York and Jamestown were founded for the purpose of making money.
Sure. Some came here in search of religious liberty. The Pilgrims, as Garrison Keillor once noted, came here seeking the freedom to be harsher with themselves than English law allowed. But they were not at all keen on religious liberty for anybody else.
Catholics really did set up a colony that provided for the religious liberty of non-Catholics. That lasted right up until the moment that it became a majority Protestant colony, at which point (a theme common in early America) Catholic religious liberty was crushed.
Indeed, in the 19th century, Know Nothings would uphold the religious liberties of Italian Catholics like Santorum thusly:
As to the claim that other countries have changed over time, but not America? What does this even mean? Prescinding from the fact that our Constitution has seen a ton of amendments, our culture has seen enormous evolutionary change in 200 years–including the fact that the Normals in that culture accept the fact of evolution.
We have fought a Civil War to destroy slavery enshrined in that Constitution.
We have gone from being a collection of 13 agrarian colonies to a technological and military colossus that spans the globe in our imperial reach.
We have evolved from a slave state to a state that outlawed slavery.
And that’s just scratching the surface. What on earth can he possibly mean by saying we have not changed as a culture? In what universe is such a statement not sheer midsummer madness or ignorance so deep that nobody should ever listen to one who says it about any subject ever again?
As to the Native populations Santorum casually dismisses, the practice of genocide against them probably has something to do with their inability to make more contributions to American culture. As it is, Santorum glosses over some rather interesting contributions as he dogwhistles “Birth of a Nation” to his audience of MAGA white supremacists. That film, celebrating the founding of the KKK–like Santorum and his audience–does not manifest any interest in or knowledge of the fact that the Iroquois League, in existence since 1142, is the oldest participatory democracy on earth and greatly impressed such non-entities as Benjamin Franklin as a model for his own efforts in the actual birth of the nation:
In 1744, the Onondaga leader Canassatego gave a speech urging the contentious 13 colonies to unite, as the Iroquois had at the signing of the Treaty of Lancaster. This cultural exchange inspired the English colonist Benjamin Franklin to print Canassatego’s speech.
“We heartily recommend Union and a good Agreement between you our Brethren,” Canassatego had said. “Never disagree, but preserve a strict Friendship for one another, and thereby you, as well as we, will become the stronger. Our wise Forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations; this has made us formidable; this has given us great Weight and Authority with our neighboring Nations. We are a powerful Confederacy; and, by your observing the same Methods our wise Forefathers have taken, you will acquire fresh Strength and Power; therefore whatever befalls you, never fall out one with another.”
He used a metaphor that many arrows cannot be broken as easily as one. This inspired the bundle of 13 arrows held by an eagle in the Great Seal of the United States.
Franklin referenced the Iroquois model as he presented his Plan of Union8 at the Albany Congress in 1754, attended by representatives of the Iroquois and the seven colonies. He invited the Great Council members of the Iroquois to address the Continental Congress in 1776.
And then there is the fact that this guy is speaking from and to the heart of a political cult that has absolutely no interest in religious liberty except for themselves.
Tell the Muslims banned from traveling to the US by his god-king Donald Trump that he and his cult care about religious liberty.
Santorum doesn’t just spit on actual US history and pour out disinformation. He doesn’t just dogwhistle to white supremacists. He does not only insult Native victims of genocide as nobodies in the history of the US. He insults his own immigrant and Catholic ancestors. And for what? For the only thing the mad MAGA cult stands for: lies and raw nihilist power.
You can tell the story of the American founding honestly and still get in the real, albeit imperfect, execution of the quest for religious freedom. You can talk about the failures and the successes. You can talk about the immigrant experience in a way that not only discusses the immigrant’s desire for religious liberty, but admits the challenges they faced from bigots when they got here. You can speak about their achievements without spitting on the Native Americans “Judeo-Christians” crushed and killed as though they did not matter. You can talk about religious liberty now without lying about GOP efforts to destroy it.
But you cannot be a member of the GOP and do any of that without alienating your base of white supremacists, because to be MAGA is to be one of the People of the Lie. What Orwell said of Big Brother in 1984 is absolutely true of MAGA: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
What shall it profit a man, Mr. Santorum, to gain the whole MAGA cult and lose your own soul? God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.