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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. fastball

    It sounds like these guys are shoved down your throats....does not the electorate in America have some kind of input into the candidate selection process? (I'm not American, so I'm just asking).
    If you people aren't entirely comfortable with the level of faith in your candidates – can't you just say "hey, we would rather have candidates that are more interested in solving the country's issues than pandering to the Bible Belt to get their votes?"

    January 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • JT

      Well, they're not shoved down our throats. This is the Republican party's selection of candidates they are trying to choose to run against Obama. When it comes to the general election and they have chosen some fanatical wingnut, they will lose since, thankfully, the American people as a whole are reasonable.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • wizjinx

      What JT meant to say is that you're right, they are shoved down our throats, and the other party does the same thing. Each party features some people that run for the party's nomination, but one has to be wealthy and well connected w/in the party to even get heard. Someone like myself couldn't run as I lack the connections and money. I could say, "I'm running for President!" but no one except those that were within hearing distance would know, much less care and no one w/in my party's organization would help me in any way. So these people the parties allow to run for nomination are all we have to choose from until the general election, which pits each party's nominee against each other, along with w/e 3rd party pretender that is running. Not a true democracy at all, but really a partiocracy of two. No one really knows who the major powers are in each party, you know, the behind the scenes movers and shakers. We make guesses like "Karl Rove" or "George Soros" but the average Joe hasn't a clue. Scary really.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  2. Population Control agent

    Someone has not been Reading his memos on population control. Maybe he should send a couple of his Kids over to fight these illegal wars. Oh yeah that will never happen because he's too busy trying to send your children. LOL

    January 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • He who has the last laugh !

      While you are playing "Population Control agent" parents in, Pakistan and Yemen to name a few are bearing truckloads of children and teaching them that it is right to kill you.

      January 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  3. JP

    Well, religious people are conditioned to believe anything, no matter how ridiculous, so I'm sure this will be an easy sell for him.

    What a total load!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  4. BL

    Ultimately, he's just another hypocritical, life long, professional politician who takes what he can and hides behind a veil of fake religion.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    "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."

    Like many politicans of today Mr. Santorum has no sufficient knowledge of history or is just ignorant. Obviously he doesn't know or he ignores that the great Protestant Reformer and theologian of the last century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has condemned papacy. He equtated papacy with the rule of the pseudo-church (Reichskirche), which cooperated with the Nazis during the Third Reich.

    You can check this in Volume 14 of the DietrichBonhoefferWerke (DBW) “Illegale Theologenausbildung in Finkenwalde 1935-1937″, Bonhoeffer’s Aufsatz über Kirchengemeinschaft:

    Open page 677 and 678 of the volume, because there you can read the following:

    What if, if in a single congregation of the Roman Church or of the Reichskirche (Nazi-Church) the gospel would be preached purely? Isn’t there then the true church too? (Answer:) There is no pure preaching of the gospel independent from the whole Church. Even if someone would preach the gospel in purity like the apostle Paul and he would be obedient to the pope or the Reichskirchenregierung (Nazi-Church), he would be a heretic and seducer of the congregation.”

    Mr. Santorum should forsake the wicked pope and become a Protestant, then God would bless him.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • timothy

      amen

      January 8, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @timothy

      Which denomination do you belong to?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Why is there more than one denomination if there is only one Bible and one God?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • OuttaHere223

      One man's theological writings is hardly grounds for condemning an entire religion. While I am no fan of Mr. Santorum's attempts to inject an evangelical component into politics, I am equally not a fan of baseless religious sectarianism. You keep your Protestants faith, I'll keep my Catholic one, and everyone can live alongside each other and be happy. Now get a life.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  6. Johnson

    This will be just as bad as the marriage of Mormonism and Politics which would be unavoidable to a prostelatizing faith which sends out its youth in twos to convert.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • tony

      I've always been able to send the pair of them away from my door in tears of shame. Just ask the right questions.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  7. EPruetz

    Just because this gentleman relies on his faith to guide him in his actions and decisions in office doesn't mean that we're getting rid of the separation of church ad state. This article was just meant to give an insight into Santorum's personal life and how his Catholic faith plays into his political career. There hasn't been a Catholic president since Kennedy...this subject is human interest for a lot of people. Stop reading so much into it and getting your panties in a wad.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Jim

      Sorry EPruetz – we had a bit out of that fecal sandwich with George Bush's theocracy.

      Bush set stem cell research which could actually save childrens' lives and help spinal cord injury victims to save frozen embryos that were never going to be used anyway.

      Santorum is several orders of magnitude crazier that Bush ever thought of being.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • jim atmadison

      Mr Santorum has already told us that he is intensely interested in what all of us are doing in our own bedrooms and with our own bodies, based entirely on his preferred interpretation of Scripture.

      If my panties actually are in a bundle, Mr Santorum thinks he has a right to know about it and a responsibility to do something about it.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  8. stjdsj

    Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
    Psalm 53:1
    In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4

    January 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • bnb42

      Women should remain silent in the churches.

      They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
      - I Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV)

      January 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • bnb42

      Woman must marry r@pist

      If a man [meets] a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her ... He must marry the girl ... He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
      - Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NIV)

      January 8, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • tony

      Yes. All women should suppress their god-given brains, but never suppress any man-given fetus, even if forced upon them.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • bnb42

      properly read that bible is the greatest force FOR atheism

      January 8, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      There is no God. (Did I say that outloud?)

      January 8, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      bnb42
      That is true. Like most kids growing up I went with the flow and believed in God. Then I became a seeker, read the Bible, went to variety of churches and soon became a non-believer. The Bible is ridiculous.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Gregorio

      bnb42,

      You know full well that the Church no longer requires women to be silent in church. You take biblical quotes out of context. The men are sometimes asked to be silent in that same paragraph.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  9. Gregorio

    I like a person who has convictions and is moral. Santorum has my vote at this point in time.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      The nurse will be around soon. Just be patient.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You should check the state pen, then. Lots of folks in there who have convictions and believe they're moral.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  10. DingDongIll

    "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

    Thomas Jefferson

    January 8, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  11. DemAlways

    If he wins, the first law on the books will be to make mol esting little boys legal as long as its done in a church

    January 8, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • 4mercy

      Don't waste the space with your idiotic comment.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Northerner

      A/H

      January 8, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  12. The Central Scrutinizer

    Memo to Rick Santorum re: Intelligent Design

    The Mystery of Rabbit Poop

    Unlike most other mammals, lagomorphs (including domestic rabbits) produce two types of droppings, fecal pellets (the round, dry ones you usually see in the litter box) and cecotropes. The latter are produced in a region of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cec.um, a blind-end pouch located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The cec.um contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and may even protect the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens.
    How does the rabbit get those essential nutrients? She eats the cecotropes as they exit the anus. The rabbits blissful expression when she's engaging in cecotrophy (the ingestion of cecotropes) will tell you that she finds this anything but disgusting. In fact, rabbits deprived of their cecotropes will eventually succ.umb to malnutrition. Cecotropes are not feces. They are nutrient-packed dietary items essential to your companion rabbit's good health.
    A rabbit may produce cecotropes at various times during the day, and this periodicity may vary from rabbit to rabbit. Some produce cecotropes in the late morning, some in the late afternoon, and some at night. In any case, they usually do this when you're not watching (quite polite of them). This might be why some people refer to cecotropes as "night droppings," though cecotropes are not always produced at night. A human face is apparently an excellent and refreshing palate-cleanser, as a favorite activity immediately post-cecotrophy often seems to be "kiss the caregiver". Mmmmmm.
    Now THAT is intelligent. A mammal having to eat tasty morsels that come out of it’s butt (an evolutionary trait passed on from the fish digestive system many millions of years ago).

    Next week: Cows and that crazy “cud” double tummy thing. Intelligent Design!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • tony

      Spot on science! Well done!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I have a house rabbit and I don't let that tongue of hers near my face! LOL

      January 8, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  13. Grumpster

    Religion should have no bearing on politics. That people don't think he intends on making 'believers" out of us shows the stupidity of who America has become.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • 4mercy

      People shouldn't have to "make" you a believer. God will call you to it...you need only listen and say, "yes," to Him.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • cigarlover6

      f'up 4mercy in your rabbit hole!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  14. tony

    All "men" of "faith" should be disqualified from all teaching and political posts. If they can't get that 2+2 =4, regardless of any supposed divine intervention or "miracles", then they aren't fit to control anyone else's life.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  15. Eric

    It is really unfortunate that he doesn't pay similar attention to just war theory from the same St. Augustine (among many others) mentioned in the article. He would then know that bombing anything in sight is not really a wise or Catholic thing to do.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  16. Kevin O.

    I love how this man claims gays can't raise children and that objectifying humans based on genitals is God's plan. He's such a ZERO.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Justinstl

      Goda plan? you actually think that theres a plan and that God actually watches peoples every move..... NUTS

      January 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  17. fid

    Ever hear of separation of church and state? Keep your religion to yourself!

    January 8, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  18. TownC

    America has never favored one religion over another. That is why we have such divergent beliefs in America today. America has for over 200 years become the greatest, most powerful society on the earth where people are free to express their beliefs or lack of belief. This has all happened while Christians have run our government. It sounds as if those who want to silence religion are those against freedom.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • fid

      "those who want to silence religion are those against freedom"
      uhmmm, no. We are just tired of religion causing wars?

      January 8, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • fastball

      Seriously...you believe that? Whackjob ministers going on about burning copies of the Koran? Mosques and synagogues getting vandalized? Can a Mormon be president? Is he too Catholic? Heaven forbid, the first Jewish candidate?
      Yeah, right....America is practically the most religiously "FREE" country in the world.....as long as you're white and Protestant.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  19. bnb42

    Quick... Let's distract everyone from the real issues (Jobs, War, Economy) With religious mumbo jumbo to get everyone fired up about NON issues.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Grumpster

      Quick, let's pull one over on the sleeping American public and elect a religious bigot before they figure out he'll be the ruination of the country. Nobody will ever know.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  20. smc

    Santorum lost in 2006 because he is a total fruit loop. Even worse he prescribes 100% to the out of control spending Republicans pushed on us 2001-2006. It's an embarrassment to this country that Rick is even being discussed as a "presidential" candidate.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:28 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.