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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. Aaron

    I don't know why people would want to give up their right to worship how they see fit. I don't know why they would want the state to lead their children in prayer or teach their children the state's brand of morality. It would seem to me those are things you would want to control yourself. But religious people seem to like the idea of prayer in school. The trouble is, what kind of prayer is it going to be? A prayer to Jehovah? Yahweh? The Virgin Mary? One of the Saints? What if a Catholic first grade teacher wants to lead your kid in a prayer to St. Jude? I'll bet it would take all of 5 hours before some Southern Baptist mother had a royal fit about that. However, if you asked the same Southern Baptist mother the day before if she supported prayer in school, she would say yes... until she found out that could mean a prayer to a saint. Or one lead by a Mormon teacher. She would support reading the bible in school until she found out it might be the Catholic bible or something produced by the Mormons.

    Do you see how quickly this spirals out of control? The state should take a hands-off approach to religion. Not because they are anti-religion, but because it isn't their area. That's your area, it belongs in your church, on your property, in your private organization, and your preacher.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Jim

      Aaron – I don't care what you believe or practice as long as you stop abusing children and forcing 7-years into marriage.

      Just keep it to yourself. I don't want it in my life or my government.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Dave in Portland

      Jim – Did you even read Aaron's post? Sheesh man, take your meds.

      Anyway, very good points Aaron.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  2. 4mercy

    God bless Rick and Newt. I don't know who will be our next president, but I'm so glad to finally see two Catholics as serious contenders! It's about time we turn this country around and bring God's people back to faith and morality!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Muri

      There ya go! Throw the multi-offense adulterer into the mix to just push this thing over the top!!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • 4mercy

      You need to read what Catholics believe about forgiving others according to God's instructions to us. If he has sought forgiveness from God and repented of those sins, we cannot judge Newt for acts of the past. We can only have faith that he is true to his belief in God and will now live his life accordingly. I'm sure if Bill Clinton ran again – there would be a lot of people who would have no problem "forgetting" what an adulterer he was! Give me a break. Know what God instructs before you rush to judgement.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Back To The Cave

      *** God bless Rick and Newt. I don't know who will be our next president.....

      His name is Obama, you may have heard of him.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  3. Mary Angeline

    Mr. Santorum has a right to his Faith. He doesn't have a right to force his views on the rest of the country which I think he would be tempted to do. Nice that he's so religious but he should be so privately and not try to inflict his views on others.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Jim

      Tempted to do?

      It's his avowed goal!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  4. scott8285

    Santorum's plan to use the Presidency to impose his Catholic beliefs and morality on all of us strikes me as a bit dangerous...the logical extension of this idea is the Taliban government in Afghanistan

    January 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  5. jb1963

    If he want to be so religious why is he in politics? He should be a priest.

    Once you bring your religion into politics you lose me as a voter.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  6. Socrates

    This guy should run for office in Iran or the Vatican. Say no more.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  7. Kim

    We should enforce a law that says if you're not Christian or convert you will be kicked out or persecuted. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF NON-CHRISTIANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Josh

      you're disgusting

      January 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • 4mercy

      Rather than being sick and tired of them, pray for them, pray that God will extend his great mercy of them....for the fires of he11 will never sick or tire of drawing more people to them!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • JOHN

      Kim... hear you... your emotion... but do not leave out the biblical principles. Love all around... even to those who would become our enemies.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Muri

      The Nazis, PLO, Taliban, and Hezbollah want their idea back.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Insanity Is Bad

      Dear Kim,

      All christians should be put in concentration camps !
      Hows that work for ya ?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Grasshopper

      **** JOHN

      Kim... hear you... your emotion... but do not leave out the biblical principles. Love all around... even to those who would become our enemies.

      John sees enemys where there are none.
      Isnt that paranoia ?
      John, put down the bible, and clear your mind.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Do Not Disassemble

      Is that you Rick Santorum ?
      Fess up toadstool.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Larry L

      Kim – you almost had me but then I realized you'd gone just a little too far. Not even today's Christians are this evil and stupid. Good one!

      January 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Dave in Portland

      Kim – I'm assuming that this is a bogus post just to get reactions.

      On the off chance that it is sincere, I have one question. Who are you to tell me what to believe or do?

      I have as much right to my beliefs or lack thereof as you have to yours. Your faith does not make you right. You are not special because of your beliefs. You do not rule and you have no say any more than any other group.

      January 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  8. Charlie from the North

    Jesus is the original liberal. The GOPs etxreme religious supporters are closer in action to the Pharisees.

    WRWJTA?=Whose rights would Jesus take away?

    January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  9. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    If I want to live under a theocracy, I will move to Iran.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Kim

      What if I want a Christian one... not Muslim

      January 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Jim

      Kim if you want a christian theocracy I guess you'd need to move to 15th century spain.

      It's certainly not American, and I certainly do not want Santorum making American into one.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • 4mercy

      The only thing that will save American from being overrun by terrorists or being bombed off the face of the earth is the protection we receive from God. If we completely turn away from Him, this country will be lost or at least made to suffer in unthinkable ways – you can be sure of that. God loves us and wants us to follow His instructions. If we turn our backs on each other, we turn our backs on Him.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Ryan

      take your meds, 4mercy

      January 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  10. JOHN

    In America today, agnosticism is being heralded as a superior belief system. Many of our youth are buying into humanism/agnosticism. Now "think".... what are they really saying?! We do not know... if there is a God: we do not know where we came from "theories": we do not know why we are here, purpose: we do not know where we are going. We do not know... but one thing we do know is that Jesus isn't who the New Testament states he is. Yet... even there they haven't any historical, textual support for their position. They just throw it out there and close their eyes to the tremendous manuscript evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. It appears they are so accustomed to not knowing.. that they have decided that one thing they know is that you can not know. Now there is a position that demands very little thought... thought-less?! Then they want you to join their shallow parade. The way our system of education is going this movement should be very successful!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Muri

      I apologize on behalf of the "lost" for not utterly tying ourselves to a text that was written up to 150 years after said events, has numerous obvious edits, and is quite frankly not even that good of a read.

      Let's not even get into the whole Paul debate. I mean how many different dudes were writing his letters for him?

      But you know, that's all fact 'cause it was written on REALLY old paper.....pity is what comes to mind first.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Jim

      John – You do not have to be religious to be a good person.

      I have found agnostics to be far more tolerant, loving, and compassionate to others that those in any religion. Agnositcs have no agenda to push. Sure, they'll argue that religion doesn't make sense, which offends the religious.

      An agnositcs or athiests will object to injection of religion into governemt, which also offends the religious, but those are not acts against religions or a "war on christman", merely people trying to keep other from imposing their religiion on them.

      Live you life the way you want, just don't try to force it on others. That's what America was founded on.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  11. Dayton

    Wonderful article, the best I have read on this great man. I pray that he solidifies the total Christian vote of our United States. As for all the haters and atheists, be not afraid, Our God loves you too.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Ryan

      get lost, bigot

      January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Mark

      I am very afraid of him becoming president. Understand, I have respect for your religion, my family gets great spirituality from It does not work for me, and yet I work at maintaining my spirituality. This is not a Christian nation, never has been and never will be. If our founding fathers wanted us to be Christian they would have made us that way. Your belief that society is failing religion is backwards, religion is failing society.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Jim

      Dayton – I too really really hope that Santorum is the GOP nominee.

      Then Obama's reelection will be even more likely.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • 4mercy

      Wonderful post!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Do Not Disassemble

      Wonderful article, the best I have read on this sick man. I pray that he gets struck by lightning.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  12. Vrba

    So what if he's not shy about his faith? He's grounded on strong principles. He's not making anyone change or become Catholic. I'm not Catholic and never will be. Is everyone so shallow and insecure that they think if he's elected he's going to "magically" make everybody become Catholic? I'm not going to vote for him but if he is elected my only fear is the immoral, unethical ways of Washington will cause HIM to change.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Mark

      His principles only apply if it doesn't affect his political ambitions. Thou shall not lie is one of the ten commandments. His explanation of not saying black, saying he said blah, is an out and out lie. This says everything you need to know about him.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  13. SafeJourney

    Santorums views are way to extreme. He will not win the nomination

    January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • JOHN

      Extreme?... they were mainstream 40 years ago. Have you noticed the decaying of America during the last 40 years? Boy... I wonder why?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Ramblingcrickets

      I agree. But they're not bad, so it depends on the people who vote for him

      January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • SafeJourney

      John, American was NOT a theocracy 40 years ago. I have been around long enough to know that.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  14. Kim

    God Bless Rick.... Secularism has ruined our country. Just look at those commens!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • SafeJourney

      lol, oh yes , lets have a theocracy just like Iran.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  15. Henry Mendoza

    Up to know none of the Republican candidates for President of the United States of American had appealed to me. Their lack of compassion towards the great mayority of our people, the poor and increasing disapearing middle class, was the mayor factor for my dislike. Reading your article on Santorum's bid to marry faith and politics gave a insight of his political's views and most importantly opened a window to his moral and belief positions. If Rick Santorum becomes the Republican's choice for President, I may consider casting my vote for the Republican candidate when before that possibility was null.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  16. Pete in Canada

    The Christian Republic of United States,,,kind of sounds familiar!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Kim

      God save the Queen 🙂

      January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  17. pikerover

    I was born here >>> http://www.largeprintreviews.com/jgoulding.html It's a book about "good Christians" abusing both Mothers and their children in Ireland. If Santorum was Muslim and not Catholic/Christian he would be drawn and quartered for his archaic beliefs.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  18. BigSir

    God has a plan for him to be president? Doesn't that statement disqualify him?

    January 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  19. Martina

    Atheism/Secularism is NOT healthy for our children, country and politics. Secular people MOVE OUT! This is One Nation Under God, it says in our motto!!

    January 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Muri

      Yep, and enough of us got together to take that stupid pledge out of classrooms. Sounds like we got the numbers in this debate friend.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Norps

      I bet you would like that, it would make things easier for you. too bad. You dont get what you want all the time.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • achepotle

      make us 😛 you going doooooown 😉

      January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Syxx

      I guess Martina also missed that whole freedom of religion bit.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  20. Maria Carvalho

    As a practicing Roman Catholic I am deeply offended by his lunatic ideas. This is a democracy, you do not impose your faith upon others. I also wonder about his sanity.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Martina

      You don't act like Christian...

      January 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Muri

      Actually Martina, you could take a lesson here.

      Ephesians 2:8
      You have some much needed reading to do.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Rick

      I think a lot of Christians agree with you. I have a gay nephew, and been a Christian throughout my life. Decided several years ago that I couldn't be part of any church that my nephew and his partner could not attend. Since then, I keep running across people, regular Catholic and Protestant church goers who are ashamed of all the gay-baiting their churches do. Santorum represents old and desperate ideas–he should have run for President in 1988.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Ramblingcrickets

      First of all, MURI HAHAHAH! What a fantastic comment! It's true Martina, did you even read the article?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Rick

      @Martina–read the Bible much? What about that "judge not lest your be judged" part?

      (My wife says you can always tell the worst Christians cause they have to tell you how good they are!)

      January 8, 2012 at 10:10 am |
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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.