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January 3rd, 2012
11:01 PM ET

Santorum benefits from evangelical surge, but born-again Iowans splinter

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN)--Rick Santorum rode a largely evangelical wave of support to finish eight votes behind Mitt Romney in the Iowa Republican caucuses Tuesday night, according to CNN entrance polls, but the evangelical bloc nonetheless appeared to be seriously splintered.

Santorum garnered 34% of evangelical caucus-goers, according to entrance polls, the libertarian Ron Paul garnered 18%, while Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each took 14% of that vote. Michele Bachmann won 6% of evangelical caucus-goers and Jon Huntsman won 1%.

The entrance poll reflects an evangelical consensus against Romney, who won a plurality of Iowa’s nonevangelical caucus-goers, but also showcases evangelical disagreement over the best alternative to the former Massachusetts governor, considered to be the establishment candidate and the national front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron, noted that Romney did worse among Iowa evangelicals on Tuesday night than he did as a presidential candidate four years ago, when he won 19% of evangelical Iowans.

Some evangelicals oppose Romney because of his Mormon faith, while others distrust him because of his past social liberalism on issues such as abortion, though Romney says he is now against abortion.

Ron Paul, also a candidate in 2008, roughly doubled his evangelical support from four years ago.

Some 58% of Iowa caucus-goers on Tuesday identified as evangelical, according to entrance polls, about as many as in 2008, when Huckabee was seen to have provoked a spike in evangelical turnout.

This year, the intense pursuit of evangelical votes by several candidates, especially Gingrich, Perry, Santorum and Bachmann, might have kept evangelical numbers up.

Tuesday night marked a departure from 2008, when one candidate – Mike Huckabee – won about half of the Iowa evangelical caucus-goers.

For Huckabee, though, evangelical support was as much hindrance as help, as the former Baptist preacher struggled to break out beyond evangelical voters for the rest of the GOP primaries.

Get the latest news on the Iowa caucuses

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. losconinhum

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and the rulers as useful; Seneca (4BC-65AD)

    January 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  2. Debbie

    For Christian Evangelicals they cannot vote for Santorum or Romney if they are true to their beliefs. However, if they are Evangelical Christians they have put politics before Christ and will vote for their political beliefs. The difference between the two groups is one puts Christ first and the other doesn't.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  3. losconinhum

    God is imaginary.com

    January 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  4. losconinhum
    January 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  5. thomas mc

    WOO HOO!
    Santorum is #2
    (+lube)

    January 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  6. allen

    We who are believers do a poor job of showing the world the God we have come to know.No wonder others have no faith because they think we are a bunch of morons...the secret is...we are.
    Read the book...It is all good and God is at the end.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Really?

      "Read the book...It is all good and God is at the end."

      Those with a brain have and know it's a work of fiction because there is no proof of your god at the end.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Prove that it is fiction?

      January 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Pray without ceasing in2012

    January 5, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Slash

      Religion is a cancer awaiting a cure.

      January 5, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  8. Keli

    I don't believe I inherited any belief. I choose Jesus Christ because I've had a personal and intimate connection with Him through the Holy Spirit, He is the Comforter in my life when I need Him, whether through others of the faith or through songs and tv shows, or through my parents, the Holy Spirit is always in constant communication with believers.

    January 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Andrew

      I'm sure if you were born in Saudi Arabia you'd likewise be Christian then? Or in India, you'd still be a Christian?

      You're deluding yourself if you honestly don't believe that where you were born and the people around you don't influence who you choose to believe.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Given that we have seen countries change from or to another religion, Africa, China and France comes to mind.... do you really believe that although your parents may instill a belief system in you, that you will remain with those beliefs?

      January 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  9. AvdBerg

    What does it mean to be Born – Again? Are people calling themselves that way after their own self-righteousness and is it a term they have stolen from the Bible (John 10:1-15) without knowing what it really means?

    In the above article Dan Gilgoff wrote that born-again Iowans are seriously divided.

    How can the Spirit of God be divided? The Word of God explains that it is Satan’s kingdom that is divided (Matthew 12:25,26). What is the truth? We will explain.

    In an earlier article ‘Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?’ Dan Gilgoff wrote:

    “But experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values.”

    Furthermore he wrote:

    “Many evangelicals cite what they see as religion’s shrinking role in the public square as another concern. “This nation was founded on Christian ethics and that’s what made the country great,”

    The article by Dan Gilgoff was all falsehood.

    The definition of a ‘Christian’ is to be a follower of Christ. Evangelicals do not follow after Jesus Christ but rather an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and they are not born-again..

    The United States was not founded on Christian ethics and Christ’s teachings and as a result the foundations of the country are not only being shaken but are being shattered as the people prefer to follow darkness over light (John 3:19).

    We invite you to read Chapter 23 of the Book of Jeremiah and read about God’s judgment and justice in the earth.

    Revelation 12:9. … which deceiveth the whole world.

    John 12:25. He that loveth his life, shall lose it (Luke 9:24; 17:33).

    2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life (that includes politics).

    John 17:16. They (the believers) are not of the world.

    Romans 8:5. Human nature and friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

    1 John 5:4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.

    It should be remembered that even Jesus Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9; 1 John 5:19).

    Yes, Mitt Romney is a Mormon but he does not share the teachings of Christ. In fact he cannot understand them as they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and its secret agenda, we invite you to read the article Mormon Church ~ Cult and Spiritual Harlot, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    For a better understanding of the above and what it means to be a Christian and to be Born of God, we invite you to read the articles ‘Judging ~ Born Again’ and ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • MandoZink

      As a person who has read the bible, along with other religious texts, I say you may as well quote Marvel comics. I was christian, but I woke up after comprehensive religion classes taught me about the world of human beings and the belief systems they inherit. I eventually understood how you grow up believing the prevailing stories of your culture. Self-aware people may awaken and understand that, others will defend those initial beliefs to the death – never learning to reflect on inherited belief. So sad, but that is human nature.

      By the way, if you google "bible contradictions" or "biblical errancy" or some combination thereof, you can then sit down with your bible at hand and discover a new world of amazing information to contemplate, or choose to ignore.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Keli

      Thank you, for really understanding this! I was wondering why people called themselves Born Again... Just because someone attends a Baptist church every sunday doesn't mean they believe in the Bible, but it doesn't mean they don't.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Mando, if you, and I mean just you, google hermeneutics or use the Christian links found in the skeptics annotated bible, you will understand why what you use to believe to be a contradiction is just a lack of understanding

      skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/abe_justified.html
      then go from there to
      http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/ata20050403.htm

      as an example.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • ......

      CULT ALERT – AvdBerg is a TROLL on this site they have been prove to be LIARS and are only here to sell their book and trashy website.

      CLICK THE REPORT ABUSE LINK TO GET RID OF THIS TROLL

      January 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Enter the Kingdom of God
    Witness the miracles
    All in Holy communion with God
    Prayer changes things

    January 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes nothing
      Welcome the grace of humanity
      With reason on a daily basis
      Learn without ceasing in 2012

      January 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      The greatest gifts of knowledge and wisdom ever given mankind by God have been from inspired men of prayer. Prayer has changed the course of human history from the dawn of time.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • MandoZink

      Praying works? Hmmm..., remember all the things you prayed for and didn't get? You forget about all the unanswered ones. The only things that SEEM to be miracles are all statistically possible events you simply choose to notice. Now try praying for a finger or an arm to grow back. Medical science is making inroads on that. God never will. .As an atheist, I had cancer and was totally confident that science would work fine. Didn't pray one bit and I'm cured. Atheist miracle? I must be proof of not praying.

      You choose to see what you want to and ignore a lot a reality. It is okay though. It makes one feel good and feel superior to others. Some people undoubtedly need that. Please though, for all of us, vote rationally.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      are you?

      January 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Praying Mantis

      MandoZink...

      "As an atheist, I had cancer and was totally confident that science would work fine. Didn't pray one bit and I'm cured. Atheist miracle? I must be proof of not praying."

      In other words you are a person of faith. You had faith in science and simply accepted the belief that science would heal you. Your atheism is your belief system and your religion. Yes, its true – atheism is a secular, faith based religious system – think about it.

      I know this wonderful Jewish fellow at work that lives a devout faith based life. A few weeks back he told me that he had *always* been religious, although he paused and smiled and noted that for the first half of his life that his religious orientation had been as a pagan.

      Have you given thought to the parable of the seed? You have been planted with two seeds: one to heal you and one that compelled you to confidently believe that science would heal you; the latter seed is faith-based and I wager was a driving force to help heal you.

      Which of the two seeds grew and prospered and bore greater fruit? The medicinal seed or the faith based seed that accepted you would be healed by the former?

      Are you certain you were not part of a double-blind study evaluating the efficacy of a medicine and that you may have received a placebo and therefore were healed by blind faith?

      Not trying to bust your chops, just trying to point out that even a conviction that there is no God coupled with an equally strong conviction in the power of science and medicine is a type of faith. You should consider this before trying to bust someone else's faith center and criticize them for prayer. Whether you realize it or not, you have your own religion that you are devoted to, albeit pagan. In turn, you mock another's belief system based on the conviction that yours is right.

      Oh, what are we to do with these internicene bickerings between two faiths?

      I feel for you and give thanks for your healing. I have lost several loved ones to cancer, the latest to prostate cancer, which is a terribly difficult disease (and coincidentally is treated with ...seeds). However, it can and often is successfully treated. Science works wonders. So does faith, even if secular. Faith the size of a mustard seed can work miracles, just as medicine the size of a mustard seed can heal.

      I think I will pray that you are able to convert your pagan conviction (i.e., 'faith') into a more powerfully oriented faith based system.

      Perhaps you have tried prayer and found the results less than fruitful or perhaps that you simply have no desire to waste your time.

      I would offer this: without any preconceptions pray nightly for the next 21 days. Simply pray to get something off your chest or perhaps offer a line of communication. Whatever you do, it must come from your heart and be honest, even if you feel its foolish as you do not believe in God. See what happens... you might be very suprised.

      "You choose to see what you want to and ignore a lot a reality. It is okay though. It makes one feel good and feel superior to others. Some people undoubtedly need that.

      Yes, and you see what you see too. Odd how a personal perspective colours each individual's perceptions with the palettes avaialable in their own belief system. Other colours simply do not apply. 🙂

      Lastly, I find it odd and would like to inquire – why would you think that someone that prays would feel 'superior to others'?

      "Please though, for all of us, vote rationally."

      Amen, brother!

      January 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Keli

      AMEN... Praying works. Pray for the chosen candidate to be a strong defense and offense against Obama. Pray for future people of this nation.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Andrew

      Praying Mantis, I believe three things on faith.
      1) The universe exists.
      2) The universe is in some form consistent.
      3) Induction.

      They're faith based -ssumptions I know. I cannot justify them. It's possible that tomorrow we will all die if I don't run outside singing Queen in the rain naked right this moment because an evil dragon will appear and wipe out humanity and I'm our only hope.

      That is a distinct possibility. I believe, on faith, that I am not the only person capable of saving the world by singing naked in the rain.

      But consider the alternatives.
      1) If I don't accept this as true, then it doesn't really matter what I believe, if the universe doesn't exist, there is NOTHING for me to build upon.
      2) If this isn't true then likewise there is nothing to build upon because the universe will never be consistent in any manner. I can't learn anything, I can't do anything, I can't act in any way differently than I currently do because I kinda need that base a-sumption. But, if I accept that the universe is in some form consistent, then naturally a consistent methodology (that is, science.) is the ONLY methodology capable of arriving at the consistency of the universe.
      3) I assume that the rules won't suddenly change overnight. The universe might be consistent, but I need to a-sume that the rules true yesterday will be true tomorrow. I can't prove it, but the alternative is untenable from any coherent philosophic standpoint.

      That's really all I need to do to trust science. So please, tell me, why should I make the forth a-sumption that there is a god? Why is that a reasonable step to make? My epistimology doesn't function without making those first three a-sumptions (nor, I would imagine, does yours, or ANY other sane human being, because even as-uming a god still requires those first three being true) so if those first three are essential to a coherent epistemology, why the hell would I include the extra superfluous 'god' claim? What possible reason do I have to believe in a god beyond what I already take on faith?

      I don't like taking things on faith, I try to minimise as many of my a-sumptions as possible. Trimming the fat as I see it.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So prayer will work in the election, Keil? If I pray for Obama to be re-elected, will that result in his re-election? Promise?

      You nuts act as though your god takes sides in an election, a football game, a debate, and every other human endeavor. Doesn't it dawn on you that the opponents are praying for their side to 'win'?

      Germans prayed they'd win WWII. How'd that work out for them?

      January 5, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Praying Mantis

      Andrew,

      "That's really all I need to do to trust science. So please, tell me, why should I make the forth a-sumption that there is a god?"

      I never suggested that anyone assume that there is a God based on deductive reasoning. I am not sure that its feasible to prove God does not exist using inductive logic either, you can merely demonstrate that there is no measurable, objective evidence available to you in a form of a physical constant that you will accept as proof that God exists.

      It is demonstrable that the nature of the observable Universe is such that there is a constancy to the immutable properties of matter, to the laws governing energy and to the predictable interaction the two that comprise the nature of the physical universe. I state this from a lay perspective as I am not a physicist. It is also likely that the universe is wholly consistent and just not randomly consistent soley in this far distant galaxy in the tiny solar system on its very edge that we call home. I am with you here.

      But consider the nature of the universe – can you with absolute conviction state that there are no inconsistencies in the makeup of the universe based on the fact that they have not yet been observed? Could we hypothesize that there are as yet un-discovered constants in the universe that have great significance? Science does it all the time: "Higgs Boson" being a fine example. I trust that it exists and that the hypothesis is sound even though the 'God Particle' as its sometimes referred to has yet to be discovered. Can there be more? Could there be a God?

      What else have we yet to observe? Our little global community is pretty small compared to the vastness of the universe. Considering many physicists now believe there are multiple universes and dimensions, perhaps there is much more than we have ever dreampt of considering. Have you given this thought and how does it fit with your epistimology?

      "Why is that a reasonable step to make? My epistimology doesn't function without making those first three a-sumptions (nor, I would imagine, does yours, or ANY other sane human being, because even as-uming a god still requires those first three being true) so if those first three are essential to a coherent epistemology, why the hell would I include the extra superfluous 'god' claim? What possible reason do I have to believe in a god beyond what I already take on faith?

      Okay Andrew, I understand your point. So tell me, what is your hypothesis regarding the the origin of the nature of the universe? From whence did matter and energy originate? What drives the constancy that you base your own construct on? Why does nature seem to have the Fibonacci sequence embedded within it with repeatable and testable consistency? Is this randomness or is this order? Can chaos be predicted mathematically such that in reality it becomes a form of order? Do the universes end where there is neither matter nor energy? What is the beginning and the end? Where does the energy in a living being go when the temple housing it ceases to function? According to the immutable laws of physics governing energy, is it possible to destroy energy?

      BTW – I thank you for your intelligent and articulate response. Was a pleasure to read. Sorry it took so long for me to respond, been a very busy day.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  11. LeeAT

    Most of these GOP candidates are political Christians. Check on their relationship with their churches. The POTUS should represent the entire country, and though their personal beliefs should shape their character, it should not be the only way that they govern.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  12. Rich

    The less educated need to listen and get all info from their to lazy to work pastor...

    January 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  13. Rich

    Santorum reminds me of Lee Harvey Oswald

    January 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  14. TJeff1776

    "Faith without WORKS is dead"........I, and lots of people, have listen to bibical translations of that a million times. In short, they say, it doesn't mean what its say it means. The Presbyterians say it means one thing, Baptist another. SO WHAT ?
    If ALL church taught the same, there would be one church, NOT 352 major denominations. AND each of those 352 break down into multiple other churches. ONLY the ignorance waste their time denouncing other church doctrines- whatever it may be. EVERY church should be able to teach what, where, and how- without persecution from the stupid among us.
    What each church teaches is their own business and not anyone else UNLESS it infringes on another individual or group- in which case thats what courts are all about.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  15. david c.

    Religion is purely based on mythology and magic. The idea that the USA, one of the world's largest and most dangerous superpowers, could possibly choose our President based on what strain of mythology they subscribe to, is flipping scary!

    January 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Agreed. It truly has become scary that way. Too many people are inflexible in their beliefs, and far too many allow their pastors to tell them how to vote. Maybe if we take away a church's tax exemption when the preacher discusses politics, they'll stop doing that. Hey, THERE'S a way to reduce the deficit!

      January 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  16. Maggy

    Seperation of church and state. Period!

    January 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  17. Leni

    Message flagged
    Friday, August 5, 2011 11:30:24 AM
    Christianity is foundational to western civilization, it informed all our ethics, morals and our legal system. In fact, America wouldn’t even exist without Christians who wanted to be free to practice their beliefs. The motto “in God we Trust”, was a chosen for just this reason. Compare the advancement of civilization in Christian cultures with that of non Christian. See a trend? Denying this, while enjoying the benefits of a society founded on Christianity IS the height of arrogance. But, not to worry, when times get tough

    January 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Screeny

      "Compare the advancement of civilization in Christian cultures with that of non Christian."

      OK. The Chinese invented gunpowder and guns which spread eventually to Christian nations. Babylonians and Egyptians had math textbooks almost 4000 years ago. The civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, Greece and of course the Roman Empire were all impressive accomplishments. Whatever Christians accomplished later, they learned a lot from their predecessors. In 700 AD, Muslims from North Africa took over most of Spain, converting Christians to Islam. And lets not forget the Mongols! In 1200 AD-ish, these godless primitive heathens had a fair shot at overrunning Christians in Europe. When the technologically advanced Mongols used guns against Christians in Europe, the Europeans decided they needed to figure out the technology and catch up. So I'd say until relatively recently the Christian nations were imitators, not inventors of technology.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  18. Itellyouwhat

    Some Christians view Mormons as being part of a cult; since Mormons baptize the dead which demonstrates they believe that GRACE is not a choice. wikipedia.o/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead However if a Christian says they are saved by Grace and not by works, then they are subconsciously agreeing with the Mormons that Grace is not a choice 1 Corinthians 15:29 . The point here is that God does not require us to be good, He does require us to Love all that is good. It is a choice to love all that is good, thus to get into heaven one will be chosen by our Lord. The statement “Saved by Grace” has led many to believe that the choices they make do not matter. The fulfillment of the Law is associated with showing us that God is good. Jesus clearly stated that he was God in the flesh, thus God only has good intentions. Therefore, what else could God give you to make you desire to follow his law or to Love him? The question is why does Evil have the power to control Earthly wealth? Jesus was tempted with Earthly wealth by the devil, and in that temptation the devil makes it clear what he wants. Job was a man of great wealth; however he gained that wealth with out a love for money. The rich man in the New Testament had a love for money similar to the parable of the man whom builds multiple storage bins for the excess crops harvested and the next day he died. The love of money is associated with personal control over your own destiny or the freedom to do what you want; thus hoarding results, because work is never easy as Job would attest. If work were so easy, then why do the rich hoard money? 1%?

    Is God only good? John 10:34-38, When Jesus says I and the father are one; he is displaying the behavior of God. This upset the religious leaders, so Jesus quoted PSALM 82:6 If you want to understand the people of the old testament and their passion for Moses and Elijah, then read this psalm. Did Noah do everything that God asked? Genesis 6:18, Genesis 7:1 How many times did God ask Jonah to do his will? The story of Jonah is real, since it is the reason Jesus waits 3 days to rise from the grave. Matthew 12:38-40

    It is a known fact that God is real, proven with countless miracles and endless mathematical evidence. The belief in God concerns his description. Either God is Nothing that created everything out of emptiness or God is Something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing. How God is recognized does matter, since truth can't be deceived!

    January 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • MandoZink

      I guess you really didn't take many math classes. Maybe none at all.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  19. Leni

    Christianity is foundational to western civilization, it informed all our ethics, morals and our legal system. Compare the advancement of civilization in Christian cultures with that of non Christian. See a trend? Denying this, while enjoying the benefits of a society founded on Christianity IS the height of arrogance. But, not to worry, when times get tough

    January 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Slash

      Yeah. Non-Christian cultures were superior until Christian cultures obtained the best guns. Christian cultures lagged behind in social issues, technology, math, science, and pretty much everything else until very recently, when they obtained sufficient firepower to outgun the rest of the world.

      Christianity, like all religion, has done nothing but hold humanity back. It is the greatest waste of time in our history and the greatest threat to our continued survival.

      January 5, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  20. thomas mc

    Santorum is #2.
    + lube.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.