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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. Rich

    You are a nut Rick.....................god

    January 8, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  2. George

    make no mistake of it, the United States loves to hate Catholics and CNN is in line as well. Before this land became a nation biases and bigotry from the middle ages has existed toward Catholics. While our financial house is on fire the news media does its best to obfuscate the main issues (THE ECONOMY) with these side bar, irrelevant rants. Name one president who has attempted to impost their religious beliefs on the nation = 0.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Taiping

      Pretty much every president has tainted his office with imposing their personal religious views on the nation in some manner.

      When you can't justify your morals with clear reasoning, your morals are not deserving of consideration by reasonable people.
      If all you have is a book writting thousands of years ago to base your morals on, your morals are going to be pretty ridiculous.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  3. melinda appel

    Someone needs to go back to the blackboard and do an article about Mr. Santorum's political activism during the Bush years down on K Street in DC. As a leader of the K Street Project, he worked actively to purge anyone from gaining influence among national associations who did not agree with his extremist agenda. "Anyone" included all registered democrats, anyone who believed in gay rights and anyone who did not fall in line with his views on women's reproductive rights, among a host of other things that affect American's everyday lives. Threatening letters were sent to each association stating that diminished influence would be the punishment for groups that did not adjust their leadership to include only registered republicans. When asked, Mr. Santorum does not deny his involvement in this modern day persecution of those who differ with his views (refer to a January 6, 2012 article in the Washington Post. People with radical agendas are a threat to democracy, not a pleasant change of pace.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • George

      We don't have an extremist in the white house. When the government took over GM they forcibly closed dealerships that were not Obama donors and they freely gave unions unearned ownership in the company as payback, taking it away from shareholders and giving bondholders a a fraction of their investment. Then we have the current Justice Dept not prosecuting black panther thugs carrying baseball bats in front of polling places but denying the Church the means to facilitate adoptions. Please, we have an extremist in Washington – Barrack Hussain Obama.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Mirosal

      Until us men develop a uterus of our own, NO MAN should have any say AT ALL about women's "reproductive rights". If Mr. Insanitorium feels so strongly about it, tell HIM to give birth, or at least get pregnant, then he might have something useful to say.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Rick

      @ George. You making up phony stuff will not cut it with most Americans. Obama is not the real extremist who publicly declares his purpose as president will be to tear down the wall between state and religion and legislate his prefered fashion of morality, Santorum is. He thinks he has a 'higher purpose'. Fortunately ignorant extremists like you are few and Satorum has the same chance of getting elected as president as a snow ball has in hell.

      January 9, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  4. Dave

    Ya! Well I should be president – I am more Christian than all of you and God loves me more!!

    January 8, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Dave

      Religion makes poor goverment and goverment makes poor religion. The founders were wise to build a firewall between them.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Taiping

      poe

      January 8, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  5. anthony stark

    I don't know Santorum. I don't "know his heart" but I fundamentally disagree with him on his stance on the separation of church and state. True morality is. Something isn't right because "God" says so. It's right because it always was right. In our observable universe alone, we have over 6 billion stars, and I assure you that on other other thousand or so planets out there with intelligent, civilized, life, the moral codes are similar.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Taiping

      You can't assure us of anything like that, troll.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • ann

      To assume that every group of non religious people will come the exact same conclusion on what is and is not moral is pretty far fetched.

      First of all there are very few civilizations I can think of that didn't have some form of religion. So religion generally does influence what that society deems as moral.

      Secondly people are not identical and what one group decides is likely to be different for another group. And generally there are subgroups within the society that hold a different point of view than what the general populace feels.

      One example might be the thoughts of criminals. I've seen where a non religious father son criminal duo committed murder and did not see anything wrong with doing so since they were poor and needed the money they was paid to commit the crime. They both however, said that they would never ever ever steal as that was totally wrong and something they deemed as unforgiveable.

      Humans have a way of rationalizing their actions if they feel something will benefit them or is pleasureable to them. For some that will be only for small things like taking home a pencil from work. Whereas others it can much worse.

      If all things moral always were and always will be, then one would assume that all people would know what those are and be able to easily identify and agree what they are.

      January 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  6. paul d

    another religious nut

    January 8, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 8, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • jemzinthekop

      Such as what? Famine? War? Disease? Please tell exactly what prayer does? And please explain for an omnipotent creator makes decisions to alter the outcome of life based upon the number of hits he gets in the prayer inbox?

      Prayer is the true definition of the actions of the insane.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • jemzinthekop

      For the record.... trees are living things as are amoeba, based on your name are you sure their religious choice matters?

      January 8, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he'll eat for life. Give him religion, and he'll die of starvation praying for a fish.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Dave

      That's b.s.. Prayer doesn't do jack; ask the millions of dying children in Africa.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Jarod47

      Praying is talking to yourself. It might have some effect, as long as you are willing to change yourself.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • badlobbyist

      Agreed. Prayer adversely changes human being's ability to think rationally.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Atheist at heart

      Do you believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause? Than believe in your God. More people have been murdered in the name of religion than any other reason. From the Inquisition to the 17th century Puritans to the 19th Century American Settlers it has always been the same. Total Murder of anyone that does not believe in your religion. Ask fifty million Native Americans that were murdered in the quest for Manifest Destiny. The founding fathers were deists not Christians. Go look it up.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      The dying children in Africa are our responsibility we are our brothers keeper. How many African children have you helped today?
      The fish you are feeding the man were created by God for that purpose. Prayer for food? Check out George Fredrick Muller.
      Prayer was used by FDR to and with the nation on a regular basis to aid the WW II war effort. Did we win?
      Prayer has led multiple thousands of doctors and scientists to cures and healing techniques.
      Prayer has propelled Christian organizations into the midst of the worst famines the world has ever seen. The Christians are on the ground distributing food well before any secular organization ever is. It is the responsibility of mankind to care for one another. Who have you fed recently?
      Trees, animals and all nature give glory to the creator God. I am reminded of the fig tree that bore no fruit as Jesus passed it.
      Of all creation only man in his or her arrogance is given the choice to accept or reject God.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      AnInconvenientTruth

      Prayer had nothing to do with any of that. Ingenuity, intelligence and invention spurred all those successes you mentioned. Further any similarity between the events prayed for and the outcome were merely coincidence. No study ever undertaken to demonstrate the efficacy of prayer has shown anything beyond the element of chance. A roll of the dice is just as effective. Your assertions that God had anything to do with any of the hings your attribute to him are just that...assertions without justification.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Bo

      @Atheist at heart: When wars are fought, or murders are committed in the name of God, it does not necessarily follow they were approved by God, i.e. the Christian Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Indian massacres, etc. Don’t give God credit that belongs to Satan.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  8. clarke

    I don't have a problem with anyone who believes or not. I feel it is a personal thing between you and what you believe. You don't need to beat the drums about it.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Guest

      Exaclty! Let your personal religion/faith beliefs shape who you are, let them be your moral compass and make your decisions. Don't force your religion or your faith down my throat!

      January 8, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Taiping

      Ah, but there is exactly where you are wrong. (someone wrong on the internet – who knew?)

      You may feel it is a personal thing, but so many believers do not keep it personal, like Santorum. He wants a theocracy. He has said so. He has stated his clear intentions of gutting the Const!tution, destroying our democracy and removing the faint remnants of our representation in Congress!

      And he would replace it with self-serving religious interpretations, oppression, and a religious police-state fascist theocracy!
      And he has no shame about this! None!

      There is a definite need to "beat the drums" when our country is under clear and violent attack from within.
      "Devout" Catholics are domestic enemies of the USA when they seek to destroy our rights in the name of their religious insanity and clearly and blatantly seek to undermine every part of our government in a bid for turning this country into a theocracy.
      If you don't care, then why are you here? Why don't you go over to lameness(dot)com and join in a lethargic tribute to ambivalence? That sounds like something more your speed.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Mirosal

      Then little Ricky really IS insane. Guess how much pull the office of the President has when it comes to changing or gutting the Consti'tution? It isn't up to him. After the proposed change, or amendment, goes through the entire Congress, it goes to the states. 38 of the 50 must ratify that change. The President has no say in it. yea .. good luck there Mr. Insnitorium.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Light In The Black

      I prayed that all of the people posting about religion would stop.
      It didnt work.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  9. Anne

    Rick Santorum is an animal rights loony who is aligned with the HSUS and PETA. If anyone is stupid enough to vote for him they are voting for a religious nut who believes no one shoudl ever own a pet or eat meat.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  10. Darb

    This man is nothing more than a bigot plain and simple. He's trying to hide that bigotry and hatred behind religion. I feel sorry for the uneducated Republicans who aren't able to see he's a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'm not a Kennedy fan, but this pathetic hater is no where near the man Kennedy was.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  11. noah7

    the world remains to be complex system where many would think america has been in the habit of getting into wars. much is true, i suppose. but without america's concept of freedoms and getting involved, i would see a more angry world. i consider myself as moderately liberal. but let me say, santorum's conservative passion to lead might just be what is needed to temper the world outside & within the US....but that's just me. obama may win, but if Santorum does, i would NOT be upset. temperance... 🙂

    January 8, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Taiping

      So you would hand this country over to the Vatican just like that, eh? They already have several theocracies under their thumb.
      And if that wasn't enough, you need to add our country to their list of slave states. Good idea. Maybe we all need to learn boy-man love with your god's approval so clear in your eyes. Yes, let's just give up all our freedoms, liberties, and rights to an organization of old child-molesters who want nothing more than to ra.pe your children and make you pay for the privilege.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      Taiping ... does this mean thst if he's elected, we'll have to have our driver's licenses, SSN cards, and our membership cards to N.A.M.B.L.A.? lol Should I throw away that pesky Mensa card I have also? 😉

      January 8, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  12. Samuel

    Has this man Googled his name?

    January 8, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  13. divi

    I can't believe this guy's gotten as far as he has politically. If he became president, you'd all be his choir boys.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  14. tet1953

    Sorry, no. I don't want a Christian theocracy any more than I want a Muslim theocracy or Sharia law.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • JOHN

      Oh what do you want... a "humanistic society". If your morality isn't based upon "theology" then it will be based upon philosopy, "human reasoning".

      January 8, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  15. Rosie in VA

    Thomas Jefferson wrote in his letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802....thus building a wall of separation between Church and State because this is what the American people declared to their Legislature.

    God forbid Santorum is elected President. Because if he is....out goes the work of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams.

    In comes the Church of America...where the heretics are forbidding to vote because they do not believe in God, fail to pray and give ten percent.

    Hillary Clinton........dump the Secretary of State job and run for President!! Your country needs you now....your the only one who can save America from the looney men who continue to destroy this great country of ours.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • mb2010a

      Clinton's time will come in 2016 & 2020 for her re-election...

      January 8, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  16. Yoski

    Dear God,
    Please save me from your followers.
    Amen

    January 8, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • James

      Just because someone 'says' they're following God doesn't mean they actually are.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Guest

      Very well said!

      January 8, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  17. Jarod47

    It is 'gods plan' that mr Santorum will have much joy in the coming months.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Light In The Black

      If God took sides, The Cowboys would win the superbowl every year.
      God does not take sides.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  18. James Edgar

    Rick Santorum is no John F. Kennedy.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Taiping

      That deserves the Understatement of the Year award and it's only January!

      January 8, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • KMW

      Thank GOD for that. JFK was a disgrace to Catholics.

      January 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  19. andre

    If someone wants to believe in the magical being in the sky, that's his business. It should have nothing to do with being one of the most powerful figures in the world, and running a large country.

    Why do politicians want to tie these two things together all the time?

    The leader of an important country should rule based on facts, not some belief.

    The sad part is the majority of Americans will fall for this, and that's why he's doing it.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Bo

      I seriously doubt that I would vote for any of the politicians that are running for candidacy of POUS. It is a sad situation that Americans find themselves in, but I don’t think any of the candidates have the qualifications needed for that office, including Obama.
      The question I have is: why do the infidels have such a phobia of a believer being the POUS. A true believer looks to his/her god for gudeance to make sound decisions based on the facts that are available, not just his/her beliefs. I’m more afraid of a person who claims a belief, but does not put that belief onto practice, such as Bush. (I was so sadly disappointed in Bush. At one time I could count as many as a dozen things where I felt he made mistakes, I have forgotten most of them now, but two that come to mind right now is the Iraq war and stems cell research. I think these were from personal agendas, not beliefs.)
      I think you are wrong about the majority of Americans. I don’t think that the majority of Americans care a bit about the candidates religious beliefs. I think most Americans are more concerned about their “wallets”. The next is about their agenda of “bedroom activities”, i.e. abortion, which I think is way out of control, but I’m not going to argue that issue.
      If a person who does claim religious beliefs does get elected, it won’t be because he has a faith in something higher, but because the people belive that he can do something about the economy, and that won’t happen.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  20. bubba

    does romney like to touch little boys too??im sure some1 will come out of the closet and reveal that they were molested by romney,just a matter of time

    January 8, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Jan Allison

      What a stupid remark! You sound like someone I would never want to know.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Michael

      First of all Bubba your an idiot for that remark. If anyone was going to be doing anything like that it surely wouldn't be Romney. The current President is a much better candidate for that type of thing, especially since he is a little limp wristed.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • KMW

      To Jan Allison:

      I totally agree with you. Bubba is a very vile woman. I bet she is also very, very ugly.

      January 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
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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.