“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Christendom. They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem.”This statement, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been picked up by a few media outlets.
But I call bullshit.
I've commented on this modern attitude towards the Crusades before, and again, so I don't really feel compelled to rehash the arguments I've already made. Allow me to simply refer you to those 2 previous posts in particular and highlight that the kind of argument Santorum is making is (regretfully) not new, even while it's arrogant, simplistic, and expressly political. It's the kind of pap you get from Rodney Stark and Ross Douthat -- a bigoted anti-Islamism masquerading as scholarship. This is us vs. them, good vs. evil. If you question "Christendom", you question America, and if you question America, you're with her enemies -- Muslims.
None of that is unexpected. Santorum is using his "dog whistle" to mobilize his core constituency as he prepares for a 2012 presidential run. To do so, he's suggesting that Christians are persecuted by the secular left, most especially (in this case) composed of us egg-headed academics.
But perhaps Rick could learn something from us egg-heads (Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, call me...). For example, my book is fundamentally about nostalgia -- about a deeply-held longing for a Golden Age that's been lost. My subjects looked back to a period in which society made sense, when God looked down in favor on his new chosen people, and when those subjects held almost universal power. Then, a time came when those people thought they could reclaim that lost glory and remake the world as it once was. Anyone who stood in their way was an enemy. That path was paved in blood.
But what story am I telling here? Is this a story of the 11th-century Franks and the First Crusade? Or is this a story of a more contemporary American nostalgia, one that collapses political and religious goals into one, so that defending the medieval Crusades means
onward American soldiers... The point I was trying to make was that the national faith, the national ideal, is rooted in the Christian ideal — in the Judeo-Christian concept of the person.
And if you oppose that "Judeo-Christian" concept, you secularist, you Muslim, well...