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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. Herne

    He was voted out of politics here in P.A. for a reason.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yes, he was. Even the conservatives in PA couldn't stand him.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  2. boeagle2

    i wonder if this guy really knows what planet he's on.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  3. rlowens1

    I never trust adults with imaginary friends and those who do not believe in death. You never know what they'll do.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  4. GAW

    Well do yo want a man who thinks like this in office?

    "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [Gay] se x within your home, then you have the right to bigam y, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to inces t, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything!"

    -Rick Santorum

    January 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Clarify

      Over time, it would happen. Give an inch, they'll take a mile.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Who is they?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Chrism

      “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

      – George Washington

      “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

      – George Washington

      “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”

      – George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

      January 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chrism, who cares what a rotting corpse had to say about law 200+ years ago?

      I don't.

      In fact, I don't care what an ignoramus like YOU has to say about anything, at any time.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  5. BuckeyeJim

    Evangelicals beware! The Romans control the Supreme Court ( just check out how many of the justices have ties to a small Jesuit college in Worcester Mass. ) and now they're shooting for the White House.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • GAW

      Your tin foil hat is in the mail and should arrive within 5-7 business days.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  6. The Flamingo Kid

    Dude needs to work on the pedophile problem in the Catholic Church before he tries to run the country.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  7. Puckles

    I thought there was supposed to be separation of church and state.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Sifleut

      Not if Santorum, Bachman and Huckabee have it their way...

      January 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Sifleut

    Religion separates people as we can see here on some of these comments.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  9. TomGI

    Domionists are not electable.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  10. viranka

    put a towel on his head and WELLA ! we have a religious fanatic running for president. better check this guys family history. just saying...

    January 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Atheist daughter

    I used to believe that this country had freedom of religion and was a 'secular' nation but NO longer I believe in that. We still impose Christian public holidays, God is mentioned in our motto and currency and our kids are forced to to pledge and mention God. We always had Christian presidents too.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Clarify

      You can go to work on those holidays. No one is forcing you to observe it.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  12. Santi

    Marrying faith and politics? Rubbish...next thing you know, they'll want to start marrying football teams, or colors or something.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  13. DumpReligion

    BAN ALL RELIGION! IT'S ALL EVIL AND DESTRUCTIVE TO HUMANITY!! RELIGION BREEDS IRRATIONAL THOUGH. IRRATIONAL THOUGHT BREEDS CHAOS!!! IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Atheist daughter

      Shut up. You're one of the reason why theists don't like us !! Show us how great us Atheists are

      January 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • GAW

      @ DumpReligion You're proving to us (many atheists included) that one of these days you may decide to kill off religious people if they wont believe what you believe. Extremism is everywhere.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • DumpTheGOP

      Atheist Daughter... what's the matter? You can't handle the TRUTH!!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Herne

      Organized religion was designed by old world leaders as a means to more easily control the mostly uneducated masses....it's still working. so your right.
      re-wording may help your cause.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      however, Atheist... They should at least keep their religion away from children. Let kids be kids without the brainwashing. Then again, they don't like that since the brainwashing doesn't stick as well unless you start in early childhood. How sad they are.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • DumpTheGOP

      @GAW You are right extremism is everywhere and it starts with RELIGION. ALL RELIGION IS EXTREMIST. All Religion breeds irrational thought. Irrational thought breeds chaos. Why to you think the World is screwed up???

      January 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Herne

      Also... religion isn't so bad. Organized religion involving itself in politics is the problem. Religion is a lazy and ignorant persons answer to life.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • southside nike

      no one is listening to you, even when you YELL!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  14. Cacol

    CNN people – why was it wrong to disparage Obama because he was black but acceptable to disparage Santorum because he is Catholic. What a bunch of disgusting hypocrites journalists and pundits have turned out to be. You want to know what will straighten you out – some Islam for you to reckon with.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      Because one is a set of beliefs that one is fully responsible for, and the other is the biological result of who your parents were and does not embody a system of beliefs (thinking that ones genetics actually do correlate with a system of beliefs or behaviors is called "racism")

      January 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • DumpTheGOP

      Santorum is a FILTHY RIGHT WING WAKKO RELIGIOUS NUTCASE!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • kyle

      Being catholic is a choice, being black is not. Espousing religious beliefs demonstrates the individuals capacity for critical thought and that is quite relevant to the job of president, attending a church (like Obama) does not say anything about what the person believes or thinks.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • newsreel

      CNN did not diparate Santorum, it is only in your BIASED imagination. Santorum is indeed criticized severely here, BY the PUBLIC. CNN article is neutral. Open your bias mind and accept the pain that religious is not accepted by the majority public. Keep it in your backyard, you have no hope of running it in public office, sorry.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  15. 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 2:17 pm |
    • Herne

      that was a great post...and educational...never knew that about rabbits.
      I don't think Rick will get it though. evolution seemed to apparently somehow skip his family genetics.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • nympha

      Fascinating! I didn't know that about rabbits. Conclusive findings that reveal a creator in such detailed creations.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      +1 😈

      January 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      nympha, I think you have figured it out – there is a creator and his name is "Rube Goldberg." All of creations' adaptations are evidence of that.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chad

      Right, sure that makes sense..

      millions of years ago, rabbits were succu mbing to malnutrition by the millions and rabbits were in danger of extinction. So, the rabbit said to itself "I"ll develop a cec.um which will contain a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients, then I'll poop a cecotropes and eat it"

      It works the same with fish if you're convinced rabbits came from fish.

      Atheist evolutionists always look at some system that is balanced and say to themselves "what a marvel of chance, "evolution" saw a need and met it".

      Course, the problem is..there were rabbits (or fish if you want to use that) before there was cecotropes (or fish digestive systems) first.. now, you already said that with out the ingestion, they die of nutrition.
      so, you see the problem right? They all died off before the cec um sprang into being through complete chance mutation.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      Chad, just because you don't understand the process (and you don't) doesn't make it untrue. I don't know how my microwave works and could come up with lots of seemingly logical reasons why it shouldn't, but they would be wrong for reasons I am currently ignorant of. If you are truly interested, try to learn a little. Even Wikipedia is not so bad a place to start. But don't expect to be simple – most things aren't.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Chad I am not sure what you read but you seemed to have completely missed the point. To be honest, I want to reply but your reply doesn’t seem to make any sense. Maybe if you could clarify your argument?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Chad

      🙂
      Darwins theory of gradualism is dead
      "Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species." – Wikipedia

      "Punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis. When significant evolutionary change occurs, the theory proposes that it is generally restricted to rare and geologically rapid events of branching speciation called cladogenesis. Cladogenesis is the process by which a species splits into two distinct species, rather than one species gradually transforming into another." – Wikipedia

      1. so, explain how a rabbit didnt die of malnutrition before they developed the cec.um
      2. explain how/why the cec.um developed (rare and rapidly) in the rabbit (remember, they were getting along ok w/out it before, or else they would have died out)
      3. explain how the rabbit then knew that eating it's own poop would be good for it

      January 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      and.. here's the hard part.. answers like "you are an idiot/stupid/ignorant/judgmental", "you're God is evil", etc, etc, etc..

      they aren't actually arguments.. they indicate that you don't have any data to offer.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Chad

      Natural Selection dead? No. Are there other factors in evolution, yes most likely.

      All your “research” is from Wiki? Okey Doke

      It is clear you don’t understand the fossil record and why it is a difficult task to build a linear correlation between gradual evolution (natural selection/survival of the fittest) and catastrophic events that create punctuated changes in the flora and fauna of a given era.

      Rabbits evolved. Like all animals and plants. They didn’t die of malnutrition because they weren’t rabbits until they were rabbits. Before they were rabbits, many millions of years after their more recent ancestors evolved from aquatic animals, the evolved from rodent-like mammals.

      Instinct.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Chad

      That's basically always the pattern...

      – insult - "It is clear you don’t understand the fossil record
      =>check

      – declaring as incorrect as sertions that I didn't make, raising irrelevant objections "All your “research” is from Wiki? Okey Doke", "Natural Selection dead? No"
      =>check

      – blind restatement of the original challenged assertion without in any way shape or form addressing the question raised - "Rabbits evolved"
      =>check

      nice job

      January 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Bless your heart Chad. You try so hard!

      January 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And yet fails so spectacularly!

      January 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  16. Proud Atheist

    Too bad since 80% of this country are Christians we have no chance of having a non-Christian president 😦 I'm moving to Scandinavia soon

    January 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Not to worry. The vast majority don't go to church. 50 % of Lutherans can't state who Martin Luther was, 50% of Catholics can't tell you what is meant by "transubstantiation". (Pew Research Poll 2011) 😈

      January 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Ahhh, Scandinavia. One can be a Huskie-sledder in the wild, clean air of Swedish Lapland. Another can revel in the Scandinavian secrets shared by one of Denmark's Michelin-starred chefs.

      An active family covets its inspirational Icelandic encounters with Midnight sun, waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes and of course, Finnish design. Just for you dear.

      The new Oslo Opera House. A small child proclaims her wonder at meeting Santa Claus and his elves.

      Each Scandinavian tale is unique. What will yours be? More about Scandinavia

      January 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Worms into wine.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      @Central S,
      LOL .. close, but no cigar. You can borrow my copy of the Summa if you're really interested....it's in Latin tho 😈

      January 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Bucky

      1. Here is my thinking, Martin Luther: "Diet of Worms" translation
      2. Mix in some "transubstantiation" meaning the changing of bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Christ.
      3. Mix it up with a little alliteration and Viola!

      "Worms into Wine"!

      I would have to brush up on my Latin so I will skip the Summa lol.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  17. The Central Scrutinizer

    This country elected B-movie actor Ronald Reagan for two terms who then ran the largest budget deficit in history (a mess the Dems had to clean up) and sold arms to Iran. Don't even get me stated on his policy regarding HIV/AIDS.

    This country elected a mentally challenged George Bush not once, but twice who increased debt spending over 5 Trillion (which the Dems now have to clean up yet again) and oversaw the collapse of the banks. Don't even get me started on Iraq and Katrina.

    If this country will vote for these two dip-sh.its, they will vote for ANYBODY.

    Folks, it is time to push the GOP, Big Business, Big religion and special interests OUT and take back what is ours. Keep Obama in the white house, fill the seats with Dems. VOTE and don't be afraid to debate with friends and family. The time to be PC is over, it is time to speak out!

    (repost page 9)

    January 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Sifleut

      I agree!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • DumpTheGOP

      You got that right on!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Herne

      well put....but i don't trust ANY politicians...they ALL need removed.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  18. DumpRelion

    Santurum is a F.I.THY GOP WRIGHT WING CO.CK.ROA,CH ... Look up co.ck.roach in any dictionary and you'll see his photo.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • DumpRelion

      FILTHY

      January 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • a

      I love "report" button 🙂

      January 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Mattis

    George Washington 1776: "America is a Christian nation but we have freedom of religion"

    January 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I can't tell if this is a joke or not. For those likewise unsure: no, Washington never said such a thing.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • nympha

      Hahaha...did you ask him yourself? How do you know what he said or didn't say?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  20. conoclast

    In 2006 Santorum's almost fitful lack of dissappointment at being unseated had the odor of "spin" then, as does his flaty-untruthful charges leveled in yesterday's debate. (Thou Shalt Not Lie only applies to the little people, eh Rick?) This man, with his oft-hawked proposal of christian sharia, is plainly a committed social engineer of the same stripe as those infamous mid-century "experimenters". To the Rick Santorums the human species is by definition amoral and too weak to survive on its own without help from "above"; the species itself might just take issue with that!

    January 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.