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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Is Santorum Falling Into a Theology Trap?

  • (Reuters/Joshua Lott)
    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum prays before addressing the Maricopa County Lincoln Day Luncheon in Phoenix, Arizona February 21, 2012.
February 22, 2012|6:57 pm

Rick Santorum knows that jobs and the economy are foremost on the minds of voters. Yet with his political stock on the rise, his number one priority may be to not fall for a theology trap being set by his opponents.

Peter Wehner, a former deputy assistant to President George H.W. Bush and now a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, offered some advice to the former Pennsylvania Senator in his Wednesday column in Commentary magazine.

"He's (Santorum) been quite forthright in his views against homosexual acts, about women in combat, and about women in the workforce," Wehner wrote. "He's given a speech in which he's said Satan has systematically targeted the key institutions in American life."

"The danger for Santorum is that, fairly or not, these statements and stands, separately and (especially) combined, create a portrait of a person who is censorious and sits in critical judgment of the lifestyle of most Americans," he warned.

In 2008, Santorum said, "Satan has set his sights on the United States of America." While evangelical Christians may understand and agree with his statement, it has given his political opponents some ammunition.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a once talked about presidential hopeful and now a Mitt Romney supporter, criticized Santorum for his religious overtones on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.

"Listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant," said Christie. "It is by definition relevant. You're asking to be president of the United States. I don't think [Santorum's] right about that. I think it is relevant what he says."

But others in the political world, such as Dr. Paul Kengor – professor of political science at Grove City College in Pennsylvania – disagree. In his Wednesday column in The American Spectator, Kengor argues that Santorum's comments are no different than those made by former President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

Speaking to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Fla., Reagan had said, "Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal."

"[T]he long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans ... There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country."

Reagan also went as far as to invoke a similar sentiment when he addressed the Soviet Union. "Let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness," Reagan had said. "Pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world."

Other evangelical leaders, such as Tony Perkins who leads the Family Research Council, see Santorum benefiting from being his true self.

"Former Senator Santorum is seeing growing support not because voters agree with everything he says but because of his authenticity," Perkins said to U.S. News & World Report on Wednesday.

"Rick Santorum also doesn't have a lot of baggage that weighs him down. Social conservatives aren't looking for a candidate that can walk on water, but they are looking for a candidate who won't sink under the weight of his own baggage," noted Perkins.

With another debate scheduled for Wednesday evening, Santorum is leading Romney 35 to 27 percent in the latest Gallup Tracking poll. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is third with 15 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 10 percent.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-santorum-falling-into-a-theology-trap-70081/