Where GOP Libertarianism, White Supremacy and Social Conservatism all Came Together
Walter Shapiro reads Rick Santorum's book so you don't have to. And it sounds like you really don't want to. The guy sounds like a hot tempered idiot. He discusses the influence of the Catholic Church, naturally but there's another, less obvious, aspect to his worldview as well:
Sometime, presumably early in law school at Penn State, Santorum was introduced to the concept of the slippery slope--and it changed his mental life. In It Takes a Family, Santorum repeatedly warns about the legal consequences flowing from popular Supreme Court decisions. He laments the reasoning behind the 1965 Griswold decision (overturning--yikes!--a Connecticut law that banned the sale of condoms) because it introduced the constitutional zone of privacy that later allowed the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. Santorum even expresses his concern with the precedent set by Loving v. Virginia, the landmark 1967 civil-rights decision that decreed that states could not ban interracial marriages. What troubles Santorum is not the result (ending Jim Crow legislation) but that "16 years later, the IRS ruled that religious groups opposed to interracial marriage could be stripped of their tax-exempt status."
Now that, my friends, is a dogwhistle. A particularly shrill one:
[W]hat I try to expose in the book and I think I document copiously is that the religious right did not--did not--coalesce as a political movement in direct response to the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. In fact, the Southern Baptist Convention, which is hardly a bastion of liberalism, had passed a resolution calling for the legalization of abortion, and this was a resolution that was reaffirmed in 1974, again in 1976. It was not the abortion issue. What galvanized evangelicals as a political block, as a political movement, was instead the actions of the Internal Revenue Service to go after the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, because of its racially discriminatory policies, and that Carter was unfairly blamed for this by the architects of the religious right, and they used that against him and mobilized to defeat him four years later in 1980. [...]
Bob Jones University did not allow African-Americans to be enrolled at the school until 1991 and did not allow unmarried African-Americans as students until 1995. The lower court ruling that really became the catalyst for the rise of the religious right was a ruling called Green v. Connelly, issued in 1971, by the district court of the District of Columbia; and it upheld the Internal Revenue Service in its ruling that any organization that engages in racial segregation or discrimination is not, by definition, a charitable organization and as such has no claim to tax-exempt status. And as the IRS began applying that ruling and enforcing it in various places, including Bob Jones University, that is what galvanized evangelical leaders into a political movement that we know today as the religious right.
According to one of the architects of the religious right, who told me this directly, after they had organized on the issue of Bob Jones University and more broadly the issue of government interference in these schools, as they understood it, there was a conference call among these various evangelical leaders and the political consultants who were trying to organize them into a political movement, and several people mentioned several issues. Finally the voice on the end of one of the lines said, `How about abortion?’ And that’s how abortion was cobbled into the agenda of the religious right, late in the 1970s in preparation for the 1980 presidential election.
Bob Jones University is where GOP libertarianism, white supremacy and social conservatism all come together in one big toxic stew: