Santorum Uses Faith as a Political Weapon

We’ve seen this kind of thing before — right-wingers suggesting that someone’s political beliefs somehow make them an inferior Christian or not Christian at all. (And then, of course, the question they’re suggesting to their audience is: “If they’re not Christian, what are they? Their core values must be alien.”) See here, here and here, for examples of how right-wing members of the Texas State Board of Education have done it. Other religious-right leaders in Texas, such as Cathie Adams of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, have done it repeatedly as well. And we often see a variation of that smear leveled at the Texas Freedom Network and our supporters, as we noted last week.

So it wasn’t too surprising when Rick Santorum — anointed earlier this year by religious-right leaders as their preferred Republican presidential nominee — said this yesterday:

Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,” Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama’s values run against those of Christianity.

“He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I’m not going to,” Santorum told reporters.

This is a dog-whistle to right-wing extremists and their sympathizers who question the faith of President Obama and others whose politics they don’t like. And it’s yet another example of how the religious right uses faith as a political weapon to divide Americans. A spokesman for the president suggested that Santorum’s comments are a new low. Considering what we’ve seen in Texas in the past, that’s saying something.

This article was posted in these categories: 2012 Elections, Rick Santorum, TFN. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a Comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


-->

13 Comments

  1. David
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Charles, they’ve lost the privilege to be called “conservative” anymore. That is a meaningless designation.
    They’re radical regressives.

  2. Charles
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Democrats and independents are electing a President. Conservative Republicans are electing a Christian Fundamentalist High Priest of the Nation.

  3. Thomas Kimbrell
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Are we electing and President or a preacher?

  4. Robert Bohmfalk
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    A person is no more or no less of a Christian if they are Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican, pro-choice or pro-life.

  5. mars bonfire
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    “Jesus loves me, but He can’t stand you.”
    -Rick Santorum (ewwwww!)

    With apologies to the Austin Lounge Lizards

  6. David
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    @Santorum- Matthew 6.
    @gop “Where are the jobs?”

  7. Charles
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I have never thought of Catholics as “dirty papists.” Most of the ones I know are pretty nice folks. However, and I do have to say this honestly based on what I have seen so far, I do think that Santorum, unlike John F. Kennedy, would let his denominational interests get in the way of his performance as President. Everything Texans were wrongly worried about concerning Kennedy and his faith in 1960, which prompted the now famous speech to Texas protestant ministers, I think is a real worry with Santorum—one that Christian fundamentalists and consevative evangelicals might become rightly concerned about at some point if his candidacy proceeds full blast past Michigan. I am a little surprised that the Religious Right demigods were not concerned about this when they have been so worried about this from any Catholic candidate historically.

    On the other hand, if I were Catholic, I would worry that a lot of the extreme conservative positions that Santorum will be forced to support are at odds with mainstream Catholic beliefs and perspectives. Catholics in this country have endured a lot of discrimination and bigotry because of their faith. There will be great pressure on Santorum to engage in policies that will further those kinds of discrimination and extend them to other Christian groups. Catholics are opposed to harsh immigration policies. War is not a high priority on their lists like it is with Christian conservatives.

    Given the balance (or unbalance) there, I have to wonder whether the Catholic faith or any other aspect of the Christian faith really has much at all to do with Santorum wanting to be President. I suspect he is just another right wing extremist nut job who wants to be President of the United States above all else—and faith be damned except for a few pet personal religious issues.

  8. Charles
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Actually, even if Gene is a little pesky about this, he is right. In contexts other than TFN, I have noticed that it totally deflates the old words “church and state are not in the constitution” argument. As the old Off commercial used to say, “They don’t bite. They don’t even light.”

  9. abb3w
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Not based on the Bible? This from a dirty papist who believes in the veneration of the saints….

  10. Posted February 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I see I should have written “learn how”–an example as to how proper grammar and wording is important in terms of making a point and convincing the public. The accurate word in the constitutional debate is “religion,” not “church.”

  11. Posted February 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The saddest fact is too many Americans, after all these years, still reject the constitutional principle in terms of “separation between Religion and Government,” James Madison, W&MQ 3:555.

    Even sadder is the fact, after all these years, supporters of separation have still not convinced the general public to understand the wording of the supreme law of the land exactly as written: no “religious” test and no law even respecting an establishment of “religion.”

    Of course, you know the rest of my position: words mean things, so quit using the word “church” as descriptive of what is not to be established in the USA. It is inaccurate and misleading. But, until organizations such as TFN learns how to correctly and consistently frame the argument, I whistle into the the TFN, AU, FFRF, ACLU, TIA, and ARL wind … .

  12. Doc Bill
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    What is frightening about Santorum is that he is driven to make his personal religious beliefs public policy. Having watched the Republican Circus closely all these months, I still can’t describe a single plank of his platform that is not about or driven by his religious pronouncements.

    The sad fact is that none of the Republican presidential candidates have any leadership characteristics. It’s just a cluster of who can out-pander the other.

  13. John
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    How about this being a sign of pure and unadulterated desperation?

    “I have nothing real to offer you as reason for being the POTUS so I’m going to fall back on a book written by a dessert dweller who borrowed stories from thousands of other myths that came before and appeal to your irrationality and fear to get your vote. It’s all I can do. I have nothing else. So vote for me because I hold this book in the same regard as you do and that should be enough.”

    That is why I love theists. They are proud of their ignorance and irrationality.

    The only good thing about that is that it makes them easy to spot in a crowd.

Post a Comment

TFN Insider Comments Policy

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>