When Alice Stewart, the press secretary for the presidential campaign of Rick Santorum, went onto MSNBC, her purpose was to tamp down controversy. She was supposed to explain how, when Santorum had accused Barack Obama of having a “phony theology”, Santorum wasn’t really accusing Obama of being a fake Christian. Stewart was amazed at how anyone could jump to such a conclusion. What Santorum was saying, according to Stewart, was that Barack Obama had the wrong environmental policies.
Most people, when they hear the phrase “phony theology”, don’t think that environmental policy is what’s being referred to. What we all don’t understand, Stewart said, is that caring about whether our children are drinking toxic chemicals is just a form of religious worship, a “theological secularism”.
Theological secularism? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? The term secular is used to refer to something outside of the realm of religion. The term theological is used to refer to a particular form of religion: Belief in supernatural divine beings that rule the universe. Theological secularism is like “hot cold”, “round squares”, or “idiotic genius”.
Idiotic genius. We may be on to something there. Alice Stewart’s purpose seems to have been to at once confirm and deny that Rick Santorum thinks that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, and not a Christian at all.
Perhaps that’s why, just seconds after explaining that Rick Santorum’s campaign was not accusing Barack Obama of being a fake Christian, Alice Stewart referred to Obama as “radical Islamic”. One side of her mouth says that it has nothing to do with religion, while the other side of her mouth says that it’s all about religion.
After people heard her accuse President Obama of being a secret Muslim extremist, Alice Stewart came back to MSNBC and said that her use of the phrase “radical Islamic” was just a slip of the tongue.
We all can understand that, right? Why, just the other day, I was at the grocery store, and I asked the man at the deli counter for some “thinly sliced radical Islamic”. The man stared at me in confusion. I said, “I’m sorry. I’m tired. I meant I want some thinly sliced turkey breast.” It happens all the time.
Alice Stewart’s explanation, that the phrase “radical Islamic” just accidentally slipped out, is disturbing in itself. It suggests that the people on Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign keep a belief that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim radical just below the surface, swimming in with their other semi-conscious resentments against Obama, ready to erupt at times that make no logical sense. Alice Stewart, and Republicans like her, are practiced at stringing together a bunch of crazy assertions without regard to logic, or to basis in fact.