Santorum stands out as the future anointed one of the Christian Right

AP Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum addresses candidates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012. … Continued

AP

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum addresses candidates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.

If conservative Christian political strategists are shrewd–which they often are–then they will learn in 2016 from their mistakes in 2008 and 2012. Those mistakes left them with presidential nominees such like Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney –nominees who were sort of acceptable, but certainly not ideal.

Next time around they won’t settle for second (or third, or fourth) best. They won’t enter the primary stage without being unified behind a fellow traveler—remember how long it took them to finally embrace former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago? And they won’t spend months disagreeing among themselves over an “embarrassment of riches” slate that gave them intriguing faith-friendly options ranging from Herman Cain, to Newt Gingrich, to Rick Perry, to Michele Bachmann.

No. They will unify behind one Bible-believing candidate. And they will do so months before the soothing tones of Amazing Grace are crooned at the first GOP primary debate.

It is with that context in mind that we can make sense of Rick Santorum’s deft, and intriguingly muted address Tuesday at the Republican National Convention. Let there be no doubt: with his impressive showing among evangelicals this past winter, the former senator from Pennsylvania is presently the leading candidate to receive the Christian Right’s unified and early benediction should they need to endorse around, say, 2014.

In Tuesday’s oration Santorum did a nice job of not raining on Romney’s parade. He did not, needless to say, reiterate his memorable quip that “Romney was the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” Then again, he only mentioned Romney’s name three times in the entire speech.

That’s because this address was about Santorum 2020–or maybe even Santorum 2016 should his aforementioned fears about Romney come to fruition. The senator delivered his themes clearly. Yet he did so in coded language that did not immediately lend itself to the charge of extremism. This is a charge that Akinized RNC organizers–though not necessarily Santorum–are desperately intent on avoiding.

Instead of getting into an extended street brawl about gay marriage —as he inexplicably did with college kids in New Hampshire—Santorum simply spoke about “the assault on the marriage and the family.” Instead of lamenting that he wanted to vomit upon reading John F. Kennedy’s famed speech on church-state separation, he simply observed: “with God’s help and good leadership we can restore the American dream.”

Instead of associating a college education with snobbism he celebrated the virtues of Americans who work with their hands. He didn’t say a word about Obama having a “phony theology.” Though he did intone: “I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God’s children – born and unborn – and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream.”

He did not wear a sweater vest. But he did wear a beaming smile–secure in the knowledge that, at present, he is the future anointed one of the Christian Right.


View Photo Gallery: Strong spiritual beliefs were on display during prayers, forums and speeches delivered by some of the nation’s top religious, political and social leaders.

Jacques Berlinerblau is associate professor and director of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University. His next book “How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom” will be released in September. Follow him on Twitter @Berlinerblau
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Related links from On Faith:

-Romney’s high-wire act on religion

- Chat transcript: Is God angry with the GOP?

- Political slogans are not enough

- Cardinal Dolan, Sister Campbell to prayer at Democratic convention

  • GaiasChild

    santorum has no appeal beyond the fundamentalist (extremist) bible thumper voters. if he is their hearthrob, fine and good. they should hire him as a lobbyist for their narrow, rigid, intolerant, exclusive, so on so on views. their efforts to legislate morality are not all bad. at least it keeps them busy.

  • DRJJJ

    Loving God and loving others-what a horrible/extremist world view huh? Secularization of church and state sure isn’t working-turn on the news!

    Time Magazine interview with Einstein in his 50s:
    To what extent are you influenced by Christianity? “As a child I received
    instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled
    by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”
    Do you accept the historical existence of Jesus? “Unquestionably! No one can
    read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality
    pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life!”

  • DavidLewis2

    Jesus Christ has been dead for almost 2000 years. Get over it; he isn’t coming back.

  • DRJJJ

    Yes, Christians are dysfunctional, broken, hypocrites and there’s room for one more!

  • DavidLewis2

    Anyone who would force a rape victim who becomes pregnant to carry a baby to term is a monster.

  • DRJJJ

    Thank you for acknowleging Jesus! Only God knows when!

    Check out:” Why I believe” by Chip Ingram out of Atlanta, it’s the most intellectually honest look at the massive evidence for Christianity I’ve found in a lifetime of search-fuuny too! It’s his 1999 piece in the archives and usually free to download-about 3/4 hrs! Again, moral relativity=anarchy and you do want to be right about this! Thanks

  • DRJJJ

    Did you know in Mexico it’s a 10 year prison sentence for anyone that get’s an abortion outside of rape/incest! Just an interesting contrast to our tax payer funded teen abortions on demand by the millions! I’d make the case the rapist is the monster and the baby/person/human can be adopted-but that’s just me! Pro life vs pro death!

  • DavidLewis2

    You are entitled to your opinion, but just don’t force it on anyone else.

  • DRJJJ

    Thanks!

  • DavidLewis2

    Thanks, I’ll skip Chip – there is no evidence of Christianity and people who truly believe in him believe in fairy tales.

  • DavidLewis2

    The problem with the religious, like you, is that you do try to force your views on others, admit it. You would force a pregnant rape victim to carry the pregnancy to term, right?

  • ThomasBaum

    DavidLewis2

    You wrote, “Thanks, I’ll skip Chip – there is no evidence of Christianity and people who truly believe in him believe in fairy tales.”

    As for “no evidence of Christianity”, just talking about it is evidence whether you like it or not, whether you believe any of it or not.

    It is merely your opinion that “people who truly believe in him believe in fairy tales”.

    Jesus was/is a Person, Christianity is not a person but is a covenantal relationship between God and a person.

  • DavidLewis2

    Christians believe that:

    Mary was born of an immaculate conception.
    Jesus was born of a virgin birth.
    Jesus died on the cross for mankind’s sins.
    Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days.
    Mary never died but ascened directly to heaven.

    These are fairy tales, undeniably.

  • verbummilitant

    David,

    Thank you for defining our deeply held view that killing unborn babies as an “entitlement.” You have just defined the Obamacare mandate problem. Those who hold our beliefs should not be forced to comply with yours!

    I admit it. Non-religious like you DO try to force your views on others!

  • DavidLewis2

    Nice try with your use of inflammatory language. However, aborting an embryo or a fetus in the first several weeks of pregnancy – when the vast majority of abortions take place – is not baby-killing.

  • Catken1

    “I’d make the case the rapist is the monster and the baby/person/human can be adopted-but that’s just me!”

    Once it lives nine months inside the rape victim’s body and uses her physical resources and internal organs to sustain and build itself against her will and without her consent.

    But what does she matter? Undifferentiated blastula = human. Living, thinking, feeling woman (or girl) with the misfortune to be raped = property belonging to her rapist’s child.

    “Thank you for defining our deeply held view that killing unborn babies as an “entitlement.” You have just defined the Obamacare mandate problem. Those who hold our beliefs should not be forced to comply with yours! ”

    Awww, poor dear, forced to comply with the belief that human females are human beings rather than property! And that those humans ought to have the right to decide who may or may not use their body at any given point, just as you do!

    Yes, yes, we do in America force the view that all American citizens, including women, are human beings and have rights on those that believe only some American citizens are and do. Yes, we do believe that even females have an “entitlement” to human status and the ownership of their own bodies and internal organs, and yes, the law has to require you to treat women so, rather than as things to be used by people your religion considers more valuable than we are. But that’s part of the price you pay for living in a free country, rather than a theocracy where your beliefs are written into law.

  • one nation

    He should start a religious order and stay out of American government.

  • Catken1

    “Loving God and loving others-what a horrible/extremist world view huh?”

    No, of course not.
    But seeking to force others to abide by your views of who God is and what God wants is an anti-American world-view.
    And there’s no love in treating a twelve-year-old rape victim as the property of her attacker’s fetus, to have her body devoted against her will to its service for nine months as punishment for being raped, with likely drastic consequences to her life, health, and chance at a future family. Or in attacking a gay person’s marriage, family, children, and happiness because he or she doesn’t conform to your religious beliefs.
    Fundamentalism of whatever stripe is far more about exercising control and domination over others than it is about love and compassion.

    And yes, Einstein believed Jesus was a historical person. So do I. Like me, however, and unlike you, he did NOT believe that Jesus was God or an avatar of God. Nor did he believe in any deity other than the “God of Spinoza”, which is a vague and pantheistic entity, not a personal divinity who cares about your sex life and wants to be flattered and praised all the time.

  • ccnl1

    Beyond the politics of abortion vs. respect for human live and all its forms.

    - from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. …

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    “Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    “Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here’s a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active “post-teeners”: Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    “Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about,” said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “They view it as a w

  • ccnl1

    Ooops, make that “respect for human life in all it forms”.

  • twmatthews

    Hello Thomas B. So talk is evidence. Then all the talk of Neptune and Hercules is evidence for them as well?

  • Ms. “b”

    Dear Mr. Santorum. I really believe Our Lord is grooming you for the president of these United States. What a Blessing you will be for this country. What year I can’t say. God is with you, sir. Don’t compromise for any reason!!!!!!

  • PhilyJimi

    DRJJJ,

    You said “Secularization of church and state sure isn’t working-turn on the news! ”

    Really? You might want to examine the history of the United States of America. It was founded by a diverse group of people trying to escape the religious intollerance of Europe. I think you’ll find it has done quite well for itself. BTW the concept of seperation of church and state is an American invention.

    For comparison somthing like the Taliban might be a good example for what happens when religion takes over a government. If you like this idea then we’re not going to get along.

  • DavidJ9

    Is there any evidence that the god you preach exists?

  • ThomasBaum

    Ms. “b”

    I thought that God became One of us so that ALL of us would, ultimately, be with God.

    Jesus did say, “My Kingdom is NOT of this world”, Jesus did not become One of us to be a politician of some but a Saviour of ALL.

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