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Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Santorum Talks Religion and Politics in Previously Lost Interview

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
    Republican presidential candidate former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) makes a point during a Republican presidential candidates debate in Concord, New Hampshire, January 8, 2012.
January 11, 2012|9:36 pm

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum discussed the role of religion in the public square in an October 2010 interview that was lost, but now is found.

Timothy Dalrymple, evangelical portal editor for Patheos.com, conducted the interview, but when his hard drive became damaged, he thought it was lost. Providentially, he was able to recover the recording of Santorum's interview just as it became more relevant.

Santorum has become the subject of much media attention after his surprising near-win in the Jan. 2 Iowa caucus. Much of that attention has revolved around Santorum's devout Catholic faith and how that faith would influence him as president.

Santorum has a reputation for a combative style of politics, especially when he was defending his pro-life views as a senator from Pennsylvania. In the interview, Santorum said he was only confrontational when he thought the occasion called for it, but he also has a lot of bipartisan accomplishments that were based upon cordial relationships with Democratic senators, such as Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.).

“My legislative accomplishments are fairly long and exclusively bipartisan, and I often worked together with people with whom I had many disagreements and very contentious relationships,” Santorum said.

Some critics of Santorum have argued that he would be unlikely to win a general election against President Obama. These critics often cite the fact that he lost his last Senate race, in 2006, by a large margin. In addressing that election, Santorum said he was not surprised that he lost. He referred to himself as a “conviction politician” and said he thought it more important to “move public discourse” than to win reelection.

“Losing isn't the worst thing that could happen to you,” Santorum said. “You learn to appreciate the opportunities you have.”

When asked if conservative Christians are hyper-politicized, Santorum answered emphatically, “Oh, I wish they were! No, if anything, I think conservative Christians have been hypo-politicized.”

Christians need to get involved in the world, not just pray for the world, Santorum argued.

“A lot of Christians tend to burrow in and pretend they have no role to play or no responsibility to participate. I think that's an inaccurate interpretation of the gospel. We are seeing people wake up and realize that, yes, you should continue to pray, but we also live in the world not yet in the kingdom. God has a role for you to play in this world as well as the next.”

Santorum also noted a Jan. 9, 2010 speech he delivered at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, in which he described his views on the proper role of religion in politics. In that speech, he distinguished himself from President John F. Kennedy who gave a similar speech about his Catholic faith in the same city in 1960.

Kennedy argued for a separation of church and state so strict, Santorum argued, that religious held views are not even welcome in public debate. Contrary to Kennedy, Santorum argued that everyone should have the freedom of conscience to espouse their views even if those views are motivated by a religious faith.

“President Kennedy said that there was an absolute separation of state and church and that faith has no role in bringing its claims into the public square and making an argument for laws consistent with those claims. Everyone else could argue on behalf of their convictions. As long as your point of view was not rooted in your faith, you could argue on behalf of your convictions. But if your point of view had a nexus to faith, you couldn't.”

Santorum emphasized, though, that it is important for Christians to provide publicly accessible reasons in their arguments. Those reasons should not be hard to find, Santorum believes, because, God's truth is revealed in creation and natural law.

“God is a reasonable God. I'm convinced that a believer can make a reasoned argument, and should make those arguments in ways that will persuade as many people as possible.”

“Perhaps it was providential,” Dalrymple wrote, “that my hard drive was damaged and I couldn’t extract the interview with Senator Santorum until recently. After all, now that Rick Santorum is a top-tier candidate for the GOP nomination, it’s much more interesting.”

The next contest for the Republican nomination will be the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21. In the most recent polls, Santorum is running behind Mitt Romney and in a close race for second place with Newt Gingrich.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/santorum-talks-religion-and-politics-in-previously-lost-interview-66975/