Have you heard about an on-camera interview from last year with Rick Santorum, in which he talked about his opposition to contraception? An excerpt from the transcript:
One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.
I respect Rick Santorum’s fidelity to Catholic teaching, and his courage in defending a position that is very unpopular. But this was a mistake. Americans don’t turn to their presidents for advice on how to conduct their sex lives, especially at this level of intimacy. Of course it’s not true at all that there are no public implications from private sexual conduct, but drawing the line on contraception is going to strike most Americans as simply a weird position for a presidential candidate to take.
Conor Friedersdorf wisely counsels him to shut up. Though I am more sympathetic to the anti-contraception position than I imagine Conor is, he is undoubtedly correct that if only as a prudential matter, this is not likely to be a fertile field of evangelization for candidate Santorum. It muddies the water on the HHS controversy as well. If it’s only about the licitness of contraception, then social and religious conservatives definitely lose. If it’s about religious liberty — as I believe it to be — then there’s a very good chance we can prevail.