I wonder which Santorum child Senator Brown thinks shouldn’t be with us?

Senator Scott Brown, elected solely because of a national effort to stick a thumb in the eye of the liberal old-guard and not because he is anything resembling conservative, demonstrated a reason why he would not have been elected with so much conservative and Catholic support otherwise.

At the South Boston annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast Brown quipped that Santorum’s Secret Service detail was “the first time he’s actually ever used protection.”

HA! SO FUNNY! Get it? Because he’s got lots of kids? They multiply like feral cats, or something, which is REALLY FUNNY!!11!!!1!1!!!!!1

*ahem.*

Apparently "protection" is more important than one or more of these beautiful smiling faces.

The Family Santorum

Which leads to the question, which of the Santorums’ children does Scott Brown think ought not to be alive? Which should have been denied conception? Because “protection” does that: it directly and intentionally denies the possibility that this person-creating act could create a new person. It is utter and complete selfishness in the most sacred action God created man and woman to perform. It is a contra-life action. It is an abuse of the gift of sexuality. It is a denial of the meaning of marriage.

And as such, it is a punch line to those who have bought the lie.

My dad is the third of eleven kids and I am the second of six. I cannot tell you what a blessing a large family has been.

I work at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Four kids is “a good start” around here, with a number of families in the double-digits. And the kids of the large families are some of the most well-behaved, capable, happy, and interesting people we’ve got.

I wonder how many of them (us ?) should not live due to such “protection.” Seems all you’re protecting in so doing is your own cowardice.

Life is a bold endeavor; love includes risk. Don’t think so? Don’t think it should? Ask this guy…

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"For God So Loved the World."

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66 thoughts on “I wonder which Santorum child Senator Brown thinks shouldn’t be with us?

  1. Craig J says:

    I think you’ve inferred too much. I appreciate the un-packaging of the joke and whatnot, but making a play on words that one thinks will get a laugh – in this case the joke about protection – does not in any logically necessary way mean that Scott Brown has just poo-pooed Mr. Santorum’s family size. At best – and even this is a stretch – one can infer that Brown sees no moral dilemma in the use of contraception. More likely than not, Mr. Brown simply lacks some tact on a topic that has, perhaps, not been fully explained to him. But that’s it. The statement – funny or no – stands alone – “haha you guys, I bet that’s the first time Mr. Santorum has used protection. Get it? Protection!” Womp womp. It’s purely circumstantial, and opportunistic, but does not imply in any way that the speaker considers contraception to be either morally positive or negative. He in no way maligned the character of Mr. Santorum by making the joke, so your puffing up of the matter causes me to wonder if you are not just a tad hyper-sensitive to attacks on big families. And that’s ok. It is something that people need to speak about. But to twist another man’s words to mean something which is reflective of the state of his heart – which you have done by the interpolation of the joke in this post – may not be in the best form. “Judge not lest ye be judged.” “The measure with which you measure will be measured against you.” “Before you attempt to pull the splinter out of your neighbor’s eyes, pull the plank out of your own.” “Let the first one without sin cast a stone.” And so forth. Jesus is extremely clear about the necessity for giving souls a wide-berth in interpreting their intentions. We cannot see to the heart, and in this case, I believe your efforts, while well-intentioned, do not do justice to your capacity for charity and understanding. We are to give people many chances to prove themselves virtuous, rather than seize the first opportunity to speak about someone’s lack of virtue. So unless I am missing some broader context to the joke about which you have written an entire piece, please, brother, reflect on it.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Craig J— Please provide an alternate, plausible interpretation. Flippant comments may be flippant, but they still have a meaning. “It’s just a joke” is no defense when you deeply insult someone. I do not judge his heart—I interpret his words. And they were spoken at a St. Patrick’s Day (i.e., ostensibly based in Catholic tradition) event, no less! If he apologizes I would happily write about that as well. And note that I have already stated that I supported his election and hope for his reelection, so I’m not sure what sort of judgment you think I have passed.

  2. Mike says:

    Statement: Senator Black, having heard of Romney’s victory in Puerto Rico was heard to quip, “He won Puerto Rico? Doesn’t that mean Port Romney? Of course he won!”

    Interpretation: Which equity holdings does Senator Black think Romney should liquidate? Because that joke is only funny if it is bad for Romney to be rich and he ought to have less money.

    Surely you see why the interpretation does not *necessarily* follow from the statement.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Mike– Actually, my interpretation there would be “he won because he’s rich and the place’s name has the word ‘rich’ in it.” In Brown’s it’s “he’s got Secret Service protection, and considering he’s opposed to contraception and has so darn many kids this is apparently the first time he’s used ‘protection.’ Get it? It’s an equivocation on the word ‘protection’? nyuk nyuk.” —— Good try, but that analogy broke down too early.

      1. Mike says:

        The “and has so darn many kids this is apparently the first time he’s used ‘protection.’ ” doesn’t follow. It’s “apparently the first time he used ‘protection’” because he (early in his campaign!) made his opposition to contraception a matter of public record. The number of kids aren’t necessary to the joke. Indeed, the joke works regardless of his number of children; it works just as well with someone with one child *if he is a vocal opponent of contraception*. //

        In both cases the joke turns on a pun. Both interpretations fail when one smuggles the assertion that being rich or having too many children is *wrong.* In neither case that is necessary for the pun to work. Your interpretation further doesn’t follow by inferring that Brown thinks that Santorum personally has too many kids; one can theoretically–and erroneously!–think that *people* should have fewer children without thinking *necessarily* that a *particular family* should have fewer children. I understand it’s often tough for large families to combat society’s perceptions of them, but I don’t think we proponents of Catholic moral principles are well served by thin skins.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Mike— It does follow. Present opposition to contraception has no bearing on one’s position on contraception, or use thereof, over the course of one’s entire life. Also, Brown said “used protection,” not “thought protection was a good idea.” The implication has to do with usage in a contraceptive act not the notion that protection may or may not be a good thing in the contraceptive or personal security sense. You accuse me of having a thin skin. You don’t know me very well. I stand by my interpretation, and believe these sorts of jokes that make contraception somehow acceptable within a Catholic context are far more problematic to promoting the Gospel than any purported thin skin on my part.

          1. Mike says:

            It doesn’t *necessarily* follow. Neither does that Brown was referring to Santorum’s kids. It might, though. Just as it *might* follow that Brown is slamming Santorum’s kids, but it doesn’t *necessarily*. That has been precisely my point. Indeed, it has hard for a fair-minded observer to draw *any* unequivocal inferences from a joke at a boozy party. Hence all of this posturing being weird and off-putting. I’m glad there is time to police contraception jokes, though. It’s not like Obama’s trying to force Catholic universities to pay for the stuff or anything. Thicken your skin and pick your battles: these times are far too serious to spend wringing hands about a fluke senator’s mildly blue humor at some blarney-politics event.

  3. Mark Patrick says:

    I never understood why they refer to contraceptives as “protection.” Things we need to be protected from: terrorists, home invaders, thugs, bullies, and now more than ever…the government. Things that pose NO threat to us: flowers, rainbows, sunshine, and BABIES. Babies are precious gifts and need to be protected from us not us from them.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Mark Patrick wins.

  4. Tony says:

    The joke was in bad taste. It was off-color and rude — and yes, it would imply a certain contempt for all those kids.

    To Franky above: Your first problem is that you are fornicating. You are doing the baby-making thing, and the marriage-thing, without being married and with no intention of making a baby. Your talk about a “sex life” shows the crudity to which we’ve become accustomed. If you wish to defend the sexual revolution, I’d ask you to defend the whole state of affairs — the open sewer that mass entertainment has become; the forty percent of children born without a married mother and father; the rampant divorce (and the divorce rate would be far higher than the already horrible forty percent if we included all cohabitations); the million or so abortions every year; the new venereal diseases; the lives destroyed by porn … What you are doing is a part of all that; it was made possible by the sexual revolution, and it does its part in confirming the sexual revolution.

  5. franky says:

    Whether the joke is funny or not is surely a matter of perspective. That aside, I am outraged by the assertion that having protected sex is selfish? why is that? why would it be selfish for me to share a moment of loving intimacy with my girlfriend, a moment that gives us both strenght, belief in our relationship and in each other. And while I agree that large families can be great (my parents are both from large families) I don’t see why it should be regarded as morally higher than small families. we have choises we can make, and if we chose to have “only”, say, one child, then what’s wrong with continuing to enjoy a sex life.

    1. Brian C says:

      There are two separate issues posed in your question, the issue of sex outside of marriage and the issue of artificial contraception to plan family size. The Church sees any sexual activity outside of marriage as wrong because the couple has not made a lifetime commitment to each other, although their intentions may be good in reality they are using each other for sexual pleasure. Regarding the issue of artificial contraception to control family size, the Church teaches that Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is NOT the same thing as the old ‘rhythm method’, is a valid methold to use within marriage should the couple determine after prayerful consideration that it is not in the best interest of their family to conceive another child at that time. My wife and I use NFP and in addition to being an acceptable form of natural birth control, I can say it has definitely strengthened our marriage.

      http://www.ccli.org

      1. franky says:

        I strongly object to your characterisation of my relationship as “using each other for sexual pleasure”. And who says we did not make a lifetime committment to each other? And if the intentions are good then surely that is what matters in Gods eyes, not whether it has the blessing of robed chaste men who have little carnal knowledge themselves, yet presume they can speak for mankind when they call everyone who does not follow their prescriptive teachings a sinner. And even if we didn’t make a lifetime commitment then we are still free individuals with the inate right to chose over our own bodies and desires. If what the Church tells you works for you then great, go forth my son, but I take objection to the fact that it presumes to tell me how to lead my life. Church should be about spiritual guidance, not prescription of how someone choses to exercise his life.

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Well, first, if you’re not married your sex life with your girlfriend is another whole set of issues, but that’s another topic. Why is it selfish? Because you’re saying, “I want all the components of what this act means and does except the one that is actually the complete gift of my self, my body, my person.” In contracepting you are telling God that he made a mistake in making sex fruitful. You are saying, “Thanks, God, for the pleasure and the intimacy and the great moment, but why the heck did you have to make it potentially fruitful?” There are ways of having a truly healthy sex life that do not include contraception. Check those out some time. After getting married, of course.

      1. franky says:

        No, I’m not telling God that he made a mistake in making sex fruitful. If anything I’m telling God “Thanks for making sex great AND fruitful, I just am not ready for the fruitful bit yet.” Sex is about much more than just procreation, and if it makes me have a lasting, compassionate and healthy relationship relationship with my girlfriend (who may well turn out to be my wife in the future – with kids) then I am sure he is delighted.
        Just a question: those means of having a truly healthy sex life without contraception, do they include anal sex (I’ve read the bit about using the natural clock of biology etc but didn’t find any church teaching on this)? And while I’m on the topic, since this particular method is definitively not one of Gods intended ways to get pregnant I’m assuming it’s ok also before marriage?

        1. Amanda says:

          Franky, after reading what you have written I think the misunderstanding is coming from your lack of knowledge on what the Catholic Church teaches. Any kind of sex outside of marriage is considered fornication. Fornication is wrong in the churches eyes irregardless of how the sex is had.

          Although this is a different issue, you claim that your girlfriend may be your wife one day. However I have to wonder, have you had sex with previous girlfriends? And if this relationship doesn’t work out will you have sex with future girlfriends? If so then clearly the sex is not making your relationship lasting, compassionate or healthy. Since one day you intend to marry and if the woman you are with isn’t your wife that means your future wife is out there as well, are you okay with her having a lasting compassionate and healthy relationship with some other guy? You don’t have to answer that I really just wrote this for the first part. Joy and Peace. Amanda

        2. Tom Crowe says:

          “I’m not ready for the fruitful bit yet” is where you have told God that you know better than He does. And no, anal is not okay for the same reasons auto-eroticism, homosexual sex, and contracepted sex are not okay—they include the abuse of sexuality for purely pleasure-seeking ends while specifically denying the potentiality of the fruitfulness of sex. God made it with both intimately intertwined: any steps taken by us to have one without the other is a gross affront to God’s design.

      2. f ranky says:

        No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying, God, I love this woman and I may well like to marry her and have children, but not just yet as I would first like to be able to set up my life so I can provide for my family. In the meantime, I want to get to know my future wife so I can jusge that we are compatible in every aspect, including sexually, because if we are not I doubt we’d make the best parents possible (because we would both be unfulfilled in a, no doubt important part of our relationship).

        1. Brian C says:

          Franky,

          From a logical perspective, I understand how it may seem that having a ‘test run’ on sexual compatibility prior to marriage may seem prudent. All I can offer in response is that we did not do that and we are very happy in that aspect of our relationship, and I know many couples who did likewise who are happy. Sometimes you just have to let go and let God.

          1. Tom Crowe says:

            Franky, Brian C — Since men and women are creatures made to learn and grow and change and improve, perhaps rather than relying on a “test run” when you’re young and inexperienced at such things a couple can include improvement in that area of their lives in what they do as a married couple—if, of course, the couple turns out not to be “compatible” in bed. Seems like a breakdown in communication if there is no compatibility. The communication between the man and the woman and coming to know each other in all ways spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, is a great thing for couples to do. But it all requires growth. Some growth can and should happen before marriage—doesn’t mean it all should.

    3. Tom Crowe says:

      Franky— Also, I did not argue, nor do I believe, that large families are “morally higher” than smaller ones. My assertion was that a large family has been a great blessing and the kids I know from large families frequently are more capable, creative, energetic, and resourceful than those from small families. Further, the “choice” to have “only” one child implies a discounting of the role of the creator of life and His plan and His processes in the question of how many kids is appropriate. There may well be biological or prudential reasons to limit family size to one. Those married couples can still enjoy a sex life, provided it respects the natural workings of the female body and the personhood of the individuals involved. Artificial contraception ignores/suppresses/manipulates the woman’s biology and inexorably leads to a denigration of the person.

      1. franky says:

        No it doesn’t denigrate anyone. If anything I would argue it empowers her (and me) as she is able to fully express who she is. What denigrates women is the Church presuming its interpretation of what God wants allows it to presume moral ownership over their bodies.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Who she is is a person made for motherhood. The potential for motherhood is the most unique thing about women. If you intentionally deny that potentiality by intentionally denying the possibility of conception you have intentionally denied her who she is.

  6. Nathan says:

    As one of five children, I laughed. It’s a joke. And I hope he gets re-elected. If he doesn’t, the Democrats are all but certain to retain control of the Senate, and that’s a problem for my party. Sen. Brown voted for the Respect for Rights of Conscience amendment and defended his vote in the Boston papers while his opponent pilloried him. I’m always amazed at how some conservatives won’t support moderate Republicans and then bemoan the liberals who defeat them.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      I didn’t say I didn’t want him reelected. But jokes aren’t always funny or appropriate. Jokes that include the “n-word” and are based on old racist stereotypes are still considered funny by some, no?

      1. Nathan says:

        I don’t disagree some jokes can be vulgar, but I also think vulgar jokes can be funny. I think it’s just a matter of comedic tastes. I find Dave Chappelle’s commentaries on race in society to be hilarious. I could see how that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In this instance, I find Sen. Brown’s quip to be quite innocuous. The only thing even mildly objectionable is discussing Santorum’s private life, but I think you have to stretch to see any type of denigration in his comments.

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