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January 7th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Reversing JFK: Santorum’s bid to marry faith and politics

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - It was election night in November 2006, and Rick Santorum had organized a private Catholic Mass in a room at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The senator from Pennsylvania had just lost his re-election bid.

The Mass, held just before his concession speech, included a priest and Santorum’s close family and staff. Though the occasion was somber, the soon-to-be-ex-senator aimed for a celebratory mood, said Mark Rodgers, then a top Santorum aide.

“Life is if full of what can be perceived as disappointments or hardships,” Rodgers said, “but Scripture tells followers of Jesus that we approach those situations with joy because there’s ultimate redemption.”

Santorum’s younger brother, Dan, remembers that many attendees - including the senator’s children - were weeping over Santorum’s landslide defeat at the hands of Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

But not the senator.

“You’d think he would have been crushed,” says Dan Santorum. “But he wasn’t even bitter. He didn’t complain. He just said it was God’s plan.

“That’s when I knew he was going to run for president of the United States,” Dan continued. “Because I think that God had another plan for him.”

It’s unclear if Rick Santorum, whose strong finish in the Iowa caucuses has breathed new life into his presidential campaign, interpreted his Senate loss the same way.

Santorum concedes his Senate seat in 2006.

But the hotel Mass, and Santorum’s apparent placidity in the face of an overwhelming defeat, illustrate what confidants say is the key to understanding him as a person and politician: a devout Catholic faith that has deepened dramatically through political and personal battles.

“When I first met him he was an observant Catholic but a fairly privatized one,” says Rodgers, who ran Santorum’s first race for the U.S. House in 1990 and served as a key Santorum aide in Congress for 16 years.

“The journey I saw him on was a gradual awakening to the importance of faith at an operational level within a democracy, the idea that free people need to have a moral foundation.

“The journey was also personal - growing in faith and sharing it with others,” Rodgers says.

Many politicians have ideological concerns about issues like abortion or gay marriage, but “in Santorum’s case, it’s fundamentally religious,” says Richard Land, public policy chief at the Southern Baptist Convention. “That’s the genetic code of his life.”

It’s also the part that most inspires his political backers - among them the Iowa evangelicals who helped fuel his stunning Iowa finish, eight votes behind winner Mitt Romney - and most enrages critics, who take deep offense at Santorum’s views on divisive issues like homosexuality, which he once lumped together with bestiality in a discussion of legal rights.

“I think it’s fair to say that he’s sometimes harsh in the way he makes those arguments,” says Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush.

Indeed, even Santorum’s own party is seeing a faith-based split around his presidential campaign, with evangelicals who dominate the primaries in states like Iowa on one side and more establishment Republicans in states like New Hampshire on the other.

As he works to convince skeptical voters he has a real shot at winning the White House, Santorum’s religious faith has emerged as both his chief political asset and his biggest liability.

Kennedy's ‘sealed off’ wall

His Catholicism may have deepened as an adult, but Santorum also has deep Catholic roots.

“Three pictures hung in the home of my devoutly Catholic immigrant grandparents when I was a boy,” he said in a speech last year. “I remember them well: Jesus, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy.”

Santorum attended Mass with his brother, sister and parents virtually every Sunday. “You basically had to be on your deathbed not to go to church,” says Dan Santorum.

Both parents worked in a VA hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania. As teenagers, Rick and Dan would push the wheelchairs of patients to Sunday Mass in the hospital’s interfaith chapel. Rick would serve the Mass as an altar boy, wheel patients up to receive Holy Communion, then help his brother wheel them back to their hospital rooms.

Other than that, it was a conventional American Catholic upbringing in the 1960s and ’70s: The Santorums said grace before meals, sent their kids to Catholic grade school and spent absolutely no time discussing how religion influenced their public policy views.

American Catholics at the time were living in the shadow of John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech in which he insisted that neither his faith nor his church would have any influence on his presidency.

Santorum would spend his political life trying to reverse the effects of Kennedy’s pledge. He argued that Kennedy “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of non-rational beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.”

During college and law school at Penn State, Santorum wasn’t especially observant; neither did his religious faith factor much into his political views.

After college he served as an aide to Doyle Corman, a moderate Republican state senator in Pennsylvania. Religion seldom came up.

“My husband and I are both pro-choice,” Corman’s wife, Becky, told The New York Times in 2006. “One of the interesting things about Rick is, the whole time he worked for us, we didn't know what his views were on that issue.”

Dan Santorum says a turning point in his brother’s faith life was his marriage to Karen Garver. They met in the 1980s while Karen was studying law at the University of Pittsburgh and Santorum was recruiting law students for the Pittsburgh firm where he worked.

“There was just a bond between them,” Dan says. “Part of that was that they shared their faith.”

That bond was on display last Tuesday during Santorum’s speech after the Iowa caucuses.

“C.S. Lewis said, ‘A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.’ My best friend, my life mate, who sings that song when I forget the words, is my wife, Karen,” Santorum said before embracing her in a long hug.

Santorum bows his head in prayer during an Iowa campaign rally in January.

Sometime after arriving in Washington following his 1990 House victory, Santorum began attending daily Mass before work.

The Rev. Eugene Hemrick, who frequently leads Mass at 130-year-old St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, says Santorum led Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback - who served with Santorum in Congress in the 1990s and 2000s - to the church.

“Santorum was always dressed up,” Hemrick remembers. “Brownback was in sweats a lot from running.”

The evangelical Brownback wound up converting to Catholicism, and the two were often joined in the pews by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“When you know these people are out there, you do a little more homework before you preach,” Hemrick said of his high-profile flock. “You try to make it a little more meaningful to them.”

Moral codes and absolutes

The 1990 GOP freshman class, a small group that managed to win in a poor year for Republicans nationally, took a confident line in airing grievances to congressional and party leaders.

Santorum was part of the freshman “Gang of Seven” that exposed the House banking scandal, and he kept up his penchant for bold, against-the-grain gambits after his election to the Senate as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution.

Soon he was taking aim at the overriding culture-war issue of our time: abortion.

Santorum helped lead the effort to impose the first federal restrictions on abortion that could survive court challenges since Roe. v. Wade - a ban on the procedure critics call partial-birth abortion.

Faith and politics may have been separate in Santorum’s childhood home and the homes of other American Catholics at the time, but by the 1990s abortion had become the symbol for the infusion of conservative faith into American politics. The issue forged a powerful political alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

On the wall of his Senate office, Santorum kept a picture of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian whose evangelical faith stirred him to lead the campaign that ultimately ended the British slave trade in 1807.

The senator saw his campaign for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as his “Wilberforcean effort,” says Rodgers, now a senior adviser to Santorum’s presidential campaign.

Santorum’s comfort with using his faith to shape his politics was partly a reflection of Catholic intellectuals he had met since arriving in the capital, including Richard John Neuhaus, a priest who edited the Catholic journal First Things, and George Wiegel, a theologian.

For Santorum, such figures and books by Catholic writers like St. Augustine instilled the sense that free societies need citizens who are governed by strong moral codes.

“How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when His moral code is flouted?” Santorum said in a ’90s-era speech at the Heritage Foundation. “To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes?”

For Santorum, legalized abortion represented the ultimate flouting of that code.

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed Congress in 1995, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it the following year. Santorum led a failed Senate effort to override the veto and helped revive the bill after the election of President George W. Bush, who signed it into law.

Such campaigns helped make Santorum a national hero to the anti-abortion movement and a bogeyman for abortion rights supporters.

“On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, there were millions of pro-life voters who woke up pinching themselves that one of their very own had emerged at the top rank of candidates, making sure it wasn’t a dream,” said the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land.

Around the time of the Clinton veto, Rick and Karen Santorum confronted a tragedy that added flesh-and-bone experience to their anti-abortion stance, which had up until then been intellectual and religious.

By that time, the Santorums had three children. While pregnant with her fourth, doctors told Karen her fetus had a fatal birth defect. In his 2005 book “It Takes a Family,” Santorum writes about Karen turning down the option to have an abortion.

“Karen and I couldn’t rationalize how we could treat this little human life at 20 weeks’ gestation in the womb any different than one 20 weeks old after birth,” Santorum writes. “So instead of giving our child a death sentence, we gave him a name: Gabriel Michael, after the two great archangels.”

The premature baby died two hours after birth. The next day, in a move that has widened the public opinion gap over Santorum, he and his wife took the dead body home so their children could spend time with it before burial.

“Gabriel died as a cherished member of our family,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family.”

Karen captured the episode in a 1998 book, “Letters to Gabriel,” describing to her late child the reaction of one of his sisters: “Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, ‘This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel.’”

For Santorum, who now has seven kids, holding Gabriel was a lesson about the fragility of human life.

Santorum, wife Karen, and his seven children.

“At that moment, eternity became reality,” Santorum writes. “After Gabriel, being a husband and father was different, being a legislator was different. I was different.”

Conservatism and the common good

Santorum has received a glut of media attention for how his religion shaped his culture-war stances, but allies say his faith has made him a compassionate conservative.

As a senator, Santorum was known for his work on poverty and combating HIV/AIDS. He says such efforts are rooted in the Catholic notion of working for the “common good.”

“Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family,” “individualism is man’s inclination to try to walk alone among his fellows.”

Santorum and those close to him say that impulse motivated his work on welfare reform during the mid-1990s.

Many conservatives “would have taken a fairly harsh view of welfare reform as a waste of taxpayer dollars,” says Rodgers. “Rick’s view was that publicly funded programs are justified when it’s for the least of these, which comes from Catholic social teaching.

“There’s a compassionate side of the Catholic faith that says you prioritize the poor in public policy, and there’s also the side that says work should be a component of that care, that not working strips you of your dignity.”

Santorum championed welfare-to-work programs in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that Clinton signed, as well as the idea of charitable choice, which gave states the ability to partner with religious institutions to address social problems like poverty and addiction.

Success on welfare reform provoked Santorum and a handful of other religious Republicans in Congress to begin discussing conservative solutions to poverty and other social problems that had mostly been the province of liberals.

Among the participants in those sessions was Gerson, who would join Bush in Texas as a speechwriter in the run-up to his 2000 presidential campaign and bring some of the ideas of the congressional group with him.

One was a plan to start a federal program to help level the playing field for religious groups applying for government money to address social problems.

For Santorum, employing faith groups in such a campaign was partially grounded in the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, which calls for addressing problems closest to where they are. In many troubled communities, the thinking goes, the strongest local institutions are churches, ministries and other religious organizations.

The notion of outsourcing government programs to religious institutions also appealed to Santorum’s beliefs about government’s limits.

“The problems currently afflicting us reflect an impoverishment of the soul more than the pocketbook,” Santorum has said, quoting conservative education scholar Chester Finn. “Government is simply not equipped to address problems of the soul.”

The idea for a government faith-based program had critics on the left and right, who feared government-backed religion and a welfare system for churches.

“A lot of people have a hard time getting Rick Santorum because they’re used to a debate between liberalism and complete free market approach and he’s not either of those things,” says Gerson, now a Washington Post columnist.

Bush created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships via an executive order days after his 2001 inauguration. Santorum helped organize a conference to tell religious leaders from across the country about the new program.

“It was on that day that I decided to swallow my constitutional concerns about it,” says Richard Land, who attended the conference despite reservations.

“Seventy-five percent of the people attending the conference were either African-American or Hispanic,” Land says. “They wanted people who lived where the problems were making decisions about what should be done. They were in a lifeboat situation.”

Santorum was also a key Bush ally in creating the president's $15 billion global AIDS initiative, with the senator’s staff sometimes lending office space to rock singer Bono while he was lobbying for the program on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama has continued support for both the faith-based office and the global AIDS initiative. The programs are evidence that Santorum can be more than a culture warrior, and their staying power suggests he's gone a long way breaking through JFK’s sealed-off wall between religion and politics.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (2,874 Responses)
  1. hal9thou

    Lord, why give this schmuck any more publicity? He knows where he can shove his rosary beads.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      Umm, three cheers for religious liberty? Check out Robert George on the debate over church and state.
      http://faculty.isi.org/catalog/resource/view/id/2866

      January 8, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Taiping

      Yes, why is the media choosing to cover this clod's political campaign? Just because he is campaigning is no reason to give him free air time...but considering his clearly fascist and extremist views, I guess it keeps us informed on just how crazy he is and to give us the proof with every word he speaks that he is the sort of person who should never be allowed to be president of anything.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Jesus

      What ever happened to seeking out the best and the brightest? The GOP contyest has turned in to a test of who is the most God fearing -Jesus loving candidate. Their respective backgrounds on the issues, their decision making (again) on the issues, and their plan for the future (regarding the issues–economy, jobs, and balancing the budget) are taking a backseat to so-called "family values" and other like subjects that truly habe no bearing on this or any other Presidential campaign.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  2. Jt_flyer

    It's against everything our country was founded on. These fly-by-night mulahs always know more than our forefathers. "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.  This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." Thomas Jefferson  1813 

    January 8, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Jessy

      There is nothing that anyone can do to convince me that religion (or 'faith' as some would call it) should be a part of politics. History has already shown time and again that the marriage of those two worlds will always result in relentless persecution of the innocence, mass production of mass ignorance, and dogmatic enforcement of one group's point of view against another. Look at the Vatican, the Church of England, Islam in countries like Iran and Syria, etc. Even our home country (the United States of America) was no different when faith-based groups tried to control our government using fear, uncertainty and doubt as their tool of manipulating the masses. The KKK (a white supremacist Christian terror group) once controlled our US Congress which then used its muscle and messages of hate to demonize minorities and enforce religion on others by creating closed communities that instilled fear on their residents. They even employed the public airwaves to spread bigoted and poisonous messages like "kill the Jews, murder the ni***ers" while dressed as ghosts planting a burning cross on the front lawns of an unsuspecting minority.

      We need not look any further than our own human history to see why religion should never be married with politics. As the old saying goes: "Sometimes the best intentions are the worst intentions."

      January 8, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  3. Kris

    This guy is so typical of the religious right. They just want their personal religious beliefs to rule the White House and our lives. Get a clue, we believe in the separation of church and state for a very good reason. Religion is so divisive and I personally believe religion promotes hatred and ignorance. As far as some of the comments go on here, why do some of the idiots here associate being liberal with god-hating? Most liberals I know go to church regularly.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      Perhaps they associate it with "god-hating" because you describe them as "idiots" who practice a"divisive" and "ignorant" way of life called "religion." Check out your own rhetoric.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Shawn Irwin

      Not everyone my know this, but since George Bush, the federal government has been funding churches. That's right, the clowns that pay no taxes in the first place can get funding from the federal government. Even while our deficit is soaring . . . . why the ACLU is not fighting this is above and beyond me.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Young Grammie

      Kris I guess they've been "coultergeist".

      January 8, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  4. TRH

    “Government is simply not equipped to address problems of the soul.”

    No it isn't nor was it intended to be....nor should it EVER be.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Jesus

      Soul? What soul? Are you talking about soul music? Scientific tests performed on dying people (as they expire) proved that there is no soul that rises from the dead body. Confront REALITY!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Passion888

      Agreed!!!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  5. SafeJourney

    Santorum does not have a chance in ***** of winning nomination, his views are way to extreme

    January 8, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • israelis

      how much of his funding is from israelis or arabs acting in the best interest of another country over ours?

      January 8, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Jesus

      Don't count out the moron element in our country. Look at the support that Palin, Bachmann, and Perry got.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  6. Bernard Webb

    Santorum's wife had a partial-birth abortion in 1996 because her life was in danger. Note that this is exactly what both Santorums want no other woman in America to be allowed to do. Ms. Santorum explained that "she has other children and didn't want to deprive them of their mother", as if she was the only woman in America with children. The Santorums brought the dead 5-month fetus home to show their other children, and the family prayed over it together. This is WAY beyond creepy. Santorum is a scary religious nut who is also a hypocrite – standard behavior for today's republicans, but creepy nonetheless.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • hal9thou

      Ok, that is way too American Horror Story for me. Shiver.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      For a clearer account of what happened with that pregnancy and child, see Mark Steyn's essay at.... http://www.ocregister.com/articles/santorum-334497-one-weird.html

      January 8, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • yale gal

      Are you familiar with libel laws? You should perhaps acquaint yourself with either them or with accurate facts. Even Salon, hardly a standard-bearer for conservatism, recently debunked your main points.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  7. AdmrlAckbar

    Polarized Politics and Belief for the ultimate web traffic cash commentfest!

    January 8, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  8. TruthHurts

    Lets put a Republican Roman Catholic in the White House. And can we bring back the Inquisition and Indulgences, I need to be able to pay to get my way out of this S#it!

    January 8, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      I suppose being anti-catholic really is the Last Acceptable Prejudice.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      NO, Suicide, we are NOT being "anti-Catholic" when we refuse to join their church and allow their church leaders to commit criminal acts to throw elections.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  9. bluemax77

    So much for separation of church and state...

    January 8, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  10. Taiping

    Don't say anything about the mistake. Let's see how long it takes.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • supreme

      lol okay

      January 8, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  11. noolibs

    Funny how cnn spins on people and their beliefs when cnn and all libs hate religion and Jesus Christ and God...it really makes them feel guilty of their perverted ways of life and guilty for spreading hate in the world.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Prometheus

      Every time I see "noolib" attached to a comment, I know that I am in for a smorgasbord of inane and banal comments. Liberals don't hate gods or Jesus; it is hard to hate what does not exist. And you impress your feelings of guilt upon them, which they in fact do not harbor. Religions, the Abrahamic ones in particular spread hate, intolerance and preudice on a daily basis. They seem to feel that they have a right to spread their ignorance and make others share their beliefs. And, they do not have that right, especially in this country. The world would be a far fairer and safer place without religion. Contrary to the perpetual hubris of the church and its zealots, the religious have no more morality or value for human life than any non-believer. Many non-believers are humanists and have great senses of morality, and right and wrong. They just happen to be more concerned about those that share the planet and those that share it with them than they are in paying homage and worshipping some non-existent deity.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      Prometheus.. you seem quick to dismiss others while lacking any sort of empirical evidence to back up your own claims. Both your own statement at that of noolib seem nothing more than trying to push opinion off as fact.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      You are a sick man.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • TRH

      "all libs hate religion and Jesus Christ and God"

      No. Only when a potential POTUS seems to want a theocratic type of government. That's when our hackles go up.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • hal9thou

      Wow, next you'll be calling for a Jihad.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • TRH

      "I know that I am in for a smorgasbord of inane and banal comments."

      Not only "noolibs"....take a look at the comment of one "AdmrlAckbar"

      January 8, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • rick

      All libs hate religion and god? Can you paint people with a broader brush? Now, go F yourself, pendejo

      January 8, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      Christians don't have a right to spread their religion? Are they not free to have a conversation with you, Prometheus, or to ask you questions about your own belief in a way that respects your dignity? There are folks who espouse an authentic Christian humanism, and find it human and reasonable to believe and act on those beliefs in this world. Worshipping God and taking care of souls and this good earth (aka love) are not so opposed as you are making them out to be. As for poor old God, "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy." Check out Joseph Ratzinger on faith and reason, good stuff. Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, etc - not such a bad company of those who found a supreme being persuasive and even lovable.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Teach Evolution in Church

      I agree with you. Religion is important, but Christianity is not good enough. Try Islam or Buddhism or something else.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • RationalFew

      I don't hate Christ or God, I just hate Christians. You've perverted the religion. Just like the Taliban perverts Islam, you pervert Christianity.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      This is NOT about "Christians spreading their religion," Suicide, it's about a small number of "Christianists" committing criminal acts to FORCE their "beliefs" onto all Americans by throwing elections.

      The federal judge who revoked the 2008 anti-gay California H8te Vote has in his possession a letter Catholic bishops wrote to Mormon leaders agreeing to hide from public scrutiny and refuse to report their illegal cash and in-kind contributions to the H8te Vote as required by California law. The letter serves as proof they knew by refusing to report these massive contributions they were violating campaign finance laws, as well as the letter itself being an act of criminal collusion.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  12. Kathleen

    We don't need another ignorant faith-based rube in the White House. And we certainly don't need some religious nutbag who thinks we should all be forced to worship his god and follow his religious rules. Christians, keep your bloody Jesus out of our government.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • supreme

      ur the ignorant one lol. he doesnt want to do any of that.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  13. Klaus

    I want to hit Santorum in his ugly war-mongering face.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • supreme

      more "tollerance" from the peaceful left i see.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • rick

      what makes you think Klaus is "left"?

      January 8, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • jimbo

      I'm a libertarian and would love to punch that ugly man right in the nose in front of his kids and watch them cry.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  14. horrible

    I know it's a terrible thing to say/wish/etc, but...damn, someone assassinate this idiot. He's the worst humanity has to offer wrapped in a suit and the cross.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • supreme

      Ah yet again, more "tolerance" from the peaceful left.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      Friends, I thought the right was supposed to have the problem with violence, hatred and intolerance. Man, look at some of these comments.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Teach Evolution in Church

      Sumpreme is correct. We need to use non-violent means to take care of Sanatorum – like Chlorpromazine or Haloparidol. If that doesn't work, try Electro Convulsive Therapy, or lobotomy.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  15. Reality

    Dear Ricky S,

    Obviously, you suffer from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion and in your case, Catholicism so again we say a prayer on your behalf. Please read carefully and repeat every time you think everything is some god's plan:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    January 8, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • supreme

      another radical leftist who has zero concept of history.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • rick

      Okay, Supreme, more shots at the "left". What makes you think (such as it were) that that poster is "left"?

      January 8, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • TRH

      Supreme:

      Actually that is pretty close. I challenge you to refute "Reality's" comment point by point. Since he/she has a "zero concept of history" I take that to mean the you DO have that concept. So....let's hear it.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • JOHN

      Oh wise one. Where is your manuscript evidence that Jesus' story was embellished? Oh... how dare anyone ask for evidence upon which to base your opinion? After all you are another dreamer... a free thinker and shouldn't be held to the same standards as Christians. Please... take the tinted glasses off. The New Testament manuscripts are consist with each other and show no changes such as you have stated. This philosophy of "embellishment" is rampant throughout our nation, yet, has "zero" manuscript support. And people call Christians "brainwashed"... what a joke. Please become a scholar, not another street corner philosopher.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Teach Evolution in Church

      Looks like "Supreme" has personally seen the god. Time to introduce him to the Devil aka Sanatorum.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  16. AGuest9

    Go to the White House website and sign the peti.tion to eliminate the mandatory military religion question and add a humanist optional question. Keep church and state separate!

    January 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • supreme

      the "mandatory religious question" is open to all sects, accepting of all religious or non religious sects, and not asked on a religious basis or by religious people. The humanist question would already have the agenda of eliminating religion in it's very existence as a replacement question. You should think about adding in just another humanist question, which would probably be irrelevant anyway. Continue.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:14 am |
  17. fernace

    I believe in God! In fact I'm a Knower not a believer, but I also am a Knower that religion has no place in politics! Our system is supposed to insure that our governmental officials are not using religion as their deciding tools, but common sense & The Law of The Land! I can't endorse any politician who is more religious than political! He should run for elder in his church, not political office! PLEASE keep your personal views out of governmental issues & decisions! What's happened to the Separation of Church & State!?

    January 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Until we stand up to the GOP and special interests, that battle is lost. Talking about it does nothing.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • supreme

      He's not bringing his personal religious opinions into policies. CNN is simply advertising that he is in fact religious.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Taiping

      No, Santorum is DEFINITELY mixing his religious beliefs to an illegal extent with his "politics", although for him they are probably one and the same wrapped around a definite worship for money. He is already violating the spirit of the const!tution.
      Why would anyone want to elect him to being the executive officer of teh const!tution when he is so clearly against it?

      January 8, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • dinosaurs

      they're trying to bring the dinosaurs back.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:50 am |
  18. The Central Scrutinizer

    More Bible Fun!

    "And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite ... and he took
    her, and went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and she
    called his name Er. And she conceived again [I guess Judah must have
    went in unto her again] and bare a son; and she called hi name Onan."
    (It seems that the probability of having a biblical daughter is
    considerably less than 50%.) 38:2-4

    Joseph and his magic divining cup. 44:5, 15
    Jacob lives to be 147. 47:28

    Exodus
    The Israelite population went from 70 (or 75) to several million in a
    few hundred years. 1:5,7, 12:37, 38:26

    God shows Moses some tricks that he says are sure to impress. First:
    Throw your rod on the ground; it will become a snake. 4:2-9

    Then grab the snake by the tail and it will become a rod again. 4:4

    Second: Make your hand appear leprous, and then cure it. 4:6-7

    Then, if these two don't do the trick, pour water on the ground and it
    will turn into blood. (That ought to do it!) 4:2-9

    God decides to kill Moses because his son had not yet been circ.umcised.
    Luckily for Moses, his Egyptian wife Zipporah "took a sharp stone, and
    cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said,
    Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he [God] let him go." This
    story shows the importance of penises to God, and his hatred of
    foreskins. 4:24-26

    God says that Abraham didn't know that his name was Jehovah. Yet in
    Gen.22:14 Abraham names the place where he nearly kills Isaac after
    God's name, Jehovah. 6:3

    In complaining about his difficulty with public speaking, Moses says,
    "Behold I am of uncirc.umcised lips." Maybe he should join Toastmasters.
    6:12, 6:30

    God tells Moses and Aaron that when Pharaoh asks for a miracle just
    throw your rod down and it will become a serpent. So when the time
    comes, Moses throws down his rod and it becomes a serpent. But the
    Egyptian magicians duplicate this trick. Luckily, for Aaron, his snake
    swallows theirs. (Whew!) 7:9-13

    After the rod to serpent trick, God tells Moses and Aaron to smite the
    river and turn it into blood. This is the first of the famous 10 plagues
    of Egypt. Unfortunately, the magicians know this trick too, and they do
    so with their enchantments. Shucks! Just how the river could be turned
    to blood by the Egyptian sorcerers after it had been turned to blood by
    Moses and Aaron is not explained. 7:17-24

    January 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • supreme

      Every single one of those is actually incorrect.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      What nonsense. And such a big pile of it!

      January 8, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Billy

      @Supreme...If non of these are correct, please take the time to show how and why.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • John

      @ The Central Scrutinizer. I see that you take great pleasure in finding funny stuff in the book revered by many in this world. Keep it up. At least you browse through it for reasons best known to you. Hope one day you find in this same funny book a verse or an episode which millions have found inspiring. Till then have fun my friend.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  19. The Santorum Snaps Cereal is People!!!!

    Its....PEOPLE!!! AAAAAAGGGGHHHHHGGGHHHHAAAAAGGGHHH!!!!!!

    January 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I couldn't stomach this sanctimonious twerp when he represented Pennsylvania. I can't stand him now. He's nothing but a slime-ball.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • supreme

      Thank you for sharing your liberal leftist message of peace, tolerance, acceptance, and intellectualism. I see you are all very outspoken about these positive messages in these comments, outnumbering the religious people 10-1 and complaining about them pushing their opinions while that is exactly what you are doing. Good job. Clap clap clap.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • will

      I'll go along with "Twerp". But the real question is; How the hell did he get elected in the first place? The Romney-favoring press is building himup because they want to make their man look good. GO NEWT!

      January 8, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • minsc

      Wow supreme you're a real piece of work. Not everyone who thinks Santorum is a nutjob is liberal. Some of us, for example, think Obama is an idiot too. But I think you're worse than either Obama or Santorum because you can't take your head out of your a** and see you're being played by one side of a rotten system.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Teach Evolution in Church

      I think "Supreme" has trouble saluting the captain at night, if you know what I mean. I pray to his god to cure him of his illness.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Wartorium

      Santorum=dark age

      January 10, 2012 at 1:30 am |
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About this blog

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.