Rick Santorum Is Right

Deal W. Hudson

I’ve been in the media business long enough to have learned a thing or two about the way the system works. Sometimes I learned those lessons the hard way after being misquoted or having my statements taken out of context by an unfriendly reporter. It’s like playing the old game of telephone: What you say, no matter how clearly you phrase it, is almost always jumbled and confused after being passed from person to person.

We’ve all been there before. And now it seems the latest victim is Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania.

Sen. Santorum, a devout Catholic with a strong pro-family voting record, has recently come under fire after he was quoted in an AP article as saying, “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) 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.”

On the face of it, this statement seems confusing. Is Santorum equating homosexuality with incest? What exactly does he mean here?

It’s not surprising that members of the Democratic party and various homosexual activist groups have jumped all over this. Santorum’s comments have been equated with Trent Lott’s earlier remarks about Strom Thurmond, and some are even calling for his resignation as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. The political director of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights lobbying group, said, “Clearly, there is no compassion in his conservatism. Discriminatory remarks like this fuel prejudice that can lead to violence and other harms against the gay community.”

But is Santorum really being discriminatory here? It’s always a tricky business talking about homosexual activity in today’s society, especially if you happen to be against it. But this isn’t just a case of differing views – Santorum’s comments here were taken out of context.

The interview he gave AP was in reference to a case coming up before the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of Texas’ sodomy laws. The plaintiff in the case is arguing that the state has no right to interfere in one’s sexual life (in the form of anti-sodomy laws) on the grounds that it violates our constitutional right to privacy.

The question is, how far does our right to privacy extend? Legal scholars have pointed out that, if the sodomy laws are overturned on the basis of our right to privacy, then other sexual acts that are currently illegal – like incest, bigamy, and adultery – will have to be made legal on the same grounds. Santorum’s point is not a new one, nor is it discriminatory. Really, it’s just being consistent.

Reading the full transcript of the AP interview makes it even clearer that Santorum isn’t “gay-bashing,” but merely questioning the constitutionality of the argument for sodomy based on the right to privacy, and then extending that argument to its logical conclusion. Rather than having the Supreme Court come in, Santorum said that the people should be allowed to vote within their state as to whether they want sodomy laws, or any other kind of laws that restrict these activities.

The moral of this story is this: You can’t get too philosophical with reporters. In the end, your in-depth analysis will be reduced to a 5-second sound byte, and no one will bother to understand your original point. Trust me, I’ve been there. Just chalk it up to experience and move on. I hope that Senator Santorum will do the same.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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