Santorum on Boston....

Senator Rick Santorum is taking lumps even from conservatives for suggesting that Boston's "academic, political and cultural liberalism" may have created an atmosphere of moral relativism which permitted the priest/pederasty scandal to burgeon there.

Santorum wrote in his 2002 column:

It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

Santorum's column recently entered public consciousness when Senator Edward Kennedy attacked it Wednesday in a speech on the Senate floor.

In the hours since, several conservative blogs have shied away from Santorum, with at least one calling on Santorum to retract the accusation.

Arguments against the Santorum speech have focused on statistical comparisons of Boston's pederasty rate vis a vis other Roman Catholic dioceses. While Boston apparently ranked among the top ten American Roman Catholic dioceses in rate of offenses in the recent pederasty scandals, other less conservative (and much smaller) dioceses ranked higher while several dioceses in equally liberal cities ranked much lower. See statistical analyses here and here.

Why conservatives are running and hiding from the Santorum claim is a mystery to me. Do they fear a few selective statistics so much that they'll throw in the towel on common sense rather than engage in defense of Santorum? Is taking on Boston or Ted Kennedy too frightening a proposition?

Is there a link between acceptance of pederasty and education? Between winking at sodomy and moral relativism? Apparently those who make their living betting on such linkages think so. Here is Loyola Marymount Law School professor Stan Goldman quoted in a February Reuters article on what jury experts would look for in choosing jurors for Michael Jackson's trial on child molestation charges:

Jackson's attorneys may look for jurors who have advanced degrees, critical thinkers who question authority. The perfect Defence juror may be "a left-winger who just moved from San Francisco with a lot of education and who is willing to forgive Michael Jackson his idiosyncrasies," Goldman said.

Santorum may be the village fool in the eyes of the Washington Post and the Boston Globe for making such a connection, but I wouldn't be surprised if both papers printed this February Reuters report on the Jackson jury selection process which makes essentially the same connection Santorum made in his article.

Apparently, we're simply to trust the editorial boards of the Globe and the Post who assure us it couldn't be so. But let me ask you a question, if you're on trial for pederasty, do you want the Globe's editorial staff choosing a jury for you filled with midwestern farmers, or do you want a bunch of big-city academics who question authority and are willing to forgive pederast "idiosyncrasies"?