Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 6:45 am | Fair 34º

 
 
 
 

Randy Alcorn: Rick Santorum and America’s Obsessive Distractions

Detour into phony theology does nothing to solve the country's problems, and they are legion

With all the real problems currently plaguing our nation — high unemployment, death-spiral national debt, unaffordable health care, ailing Medicare and Social Security, Treasury-draining military misadventures, back-breaking fuel prices, a labyrinthine inequitable tax code and illegal immigration — why do we continue to obsess over race and religion?

For weeks now, the national forum has been reverberating with issues of church and state separation, and the degree to which the nation should adhere to Christian values, even be governed by them. Leading the charge for a Christian theocracy is Rick Santorum, the Republican Party’s hope de jure for president.

As is often the tendency of true believers, Santorum has found heretics and infidels among us. He has accused President Barack Obama of having a “phony theology.”

Really, Rick? Aren’t all theologies phony to the extent that none of them can prove their essential foundational theses with anything even approaching scientific evidence? Ironic, then, that Santorum rejects global warming as scientifically unproven, yet believes so strongly in Christian theology that he wishes to impose it on the entire nation. Does he offer any scientific proof for his religious beliefs?

All this time and energy expended on arguing over boundaries of belief in theoretical divinities will not solve any of our real problems. If every American prayed to whatever god he or she believed in to deliver the nation from its current challenges, it would not equal in effectiveness Americans actually doing something to address those challenges. Electing policy makers whose beliefs in religious fantasies overrule logical approaches to solving problems would not be doing something effective.

And, we have the obsessive distraction with race — the lingering hangover from slavery that has expanded to include guilt over any group perceived to be disadvantaged. Everyone can be in a minority these days — even white folks in some places.

Seriously, can we stop this nonsense? It has been nearly 150 years since slavery was ended in this country. There is no American alive today who was ever a slave or a slave holder. With the exception of a few pockets of freaks at the fringes of society, Americans no longer discriminate on race.

While black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately disadvantaged compared to white folks, there are still far more whites than blacks or Hispanics living in poverty. There are many reasons for poverty, but skin pigmentation is apparently not one of them. There are simply too many successful exceptions among minority populations to believe that race is a debilitating handicap. Obama is exhibit No. 1. I am sure you can think of many more.

Everyone comes into this life with the hand they are dealt. Some get two deuces; some get a straight flush. We play our hands the best we can — or not. Fixing the game to favor one race at the expense of the others is like cheating at cards. Being an ethnic minority and needing special assistance has become an industry for some and a perpetuated entitlement for others. Your race or ethnicity does not make you special, your actions and accomplishments do.

Latter this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will again hear an appeal on the constitutionality of affirmative action in college admissions. Affirmative action is, of course, a euphemism for racial discrimination, as in practice it favors those whose skin is very dark over those whose skin is very light.

The arguments for affirmative action in college admissions have not improved over the years. “The benefits of diversity” translate into what, exactly? Quality of graduates, best development of available talent?

The graduation rate among college students admitted under affirmative action is far lower than those who were not. Too often the former are admitted to very competitive universities where they are at a doomed disadvantage. Better that students attend universities where they are admitted based on their academic qualifications rather than on their skin color.

America has been described as a nation still in its adolescence. At times our immature behavior seems to confirm that. When faced with as many challenges as we have now, it is time we grow up, stop fussing over religion and race, and get on to the real issues.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read previous columns.

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