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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. SHAIARRA

    US CONST.ART.6,SEC.3
    "....NO RELIGIOUSE TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED AS QUALIFICATION TO [ANY] OFFICE OF PUBLIC TRUST UNDER THE UNITED STATES..."

    January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  2. SHAIARRA

    Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992:

    "When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."

    January 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  3. SHAIARRA

    (MAINTAIN THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE, BEYOND PRAYERS RELIGION BECOMES TYRANNY)
    DO NOT LET RELIGION GO BEYOND PRAYERS, OR A REPEAT HOLOCAUST WILL HAPPEN IN THE USA!!!

    "...I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires..."

    Susan B. Anthony

    January 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • LibrePenseur

      I agree. The Vatican accusing the Jews being Jesus' killers for almost 2 thousands years was one of the main ingredients leading to the Holocaust.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  4. israel

    lets put it this way: if the broncos win against the steelers, there is a god

    however anyone who doesnt realize that rick would be a very dangerous president has only been blinded by the light

    January 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • BNB42

      Denver 14 Pittsburg 6.......(so far)

      Just saying

      January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • bnb42

      Denver Wins! 29-23 in OT...

      I guess I've been wrong all along and God does exist.... Who'd new

      January 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  5. LibrePenseur

    Recent studies shows that the level of intelligence of a person is inversely proportional to that person's religious fervor. Religious fervor also goes hand in hand with intolerance and bigotry.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • nbgb

      Unfortunately this seems to be the state the GOP: My religion is better than yours, etc, etc, etc

      January 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Simon N

    When those undereducated candidates like Santorum and Perry are unable to debate real issues they pick up the Ghost. It is really stink.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  7. ashrakay

    Can the rapture please happen already so we can be rid of these christians and get back to reality here on earth?!

    January 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bob

      I so hear you.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  8. Romans

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0DT6uljSbg&w=640&h=360]

    January 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bob

      So what created your creator then?
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&w=640&h=360]

      January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Blue

      God existed from the beginning , have you heard of infinity? Is your brain capable of comprehending infinity?
      God is the Alpha and the Omega!

      January 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Bob

      As to what my mind can comprehend, you would be way out of your depth. I'm a quantum mechanic. Keep that in mind, stupid.

      Answer the question. It has an answer, and it's not the answer you want.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Blue

      Your degree means nothing, nada, zilch, zero.Although, you might peek my interest if you had told me you were a Nobel Laureate.
      The question u raised was who created God, read my earlier post. Take a deep breath, read once, try to assimilate, read again if you still don't get it. Keep repeating this process till you grasp the fact that God is Alpha and the Omega.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Ivy

      The scriptures clearly state-'professing themselves to be wise they became as fools.'

      January 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • SafeJourney

      Romans, READ a book and learn something besides religion. "A Universe From Nothing." You can google it or order it on amazon.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  9. NJBob

    I'm a proud atheist. I know exactly why I'm a proud atheist. And I'd love to have the opportunity to tell Santorum and all the other sanctimonious hyper-religious Republican blowhards what they can do with their religion.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • newsreel

      Hold on, I also have a message for him, would youo pass it through ? According to him:

      quote <<>>

      So, just because you don't believe in his faith, he thinks you have sin ! What kind of a facist thinking is that ?? Is it any different than the TALIBAN who call you "infidel" because you don't follow Islam ? Tell him all religious extremist like himself are dangerous., the same rank as terrorist, would you ?

      January 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  10. Fallacy Spotting 101

    Prior post by Chrism is the common ad hominem fallacy.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

    January 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  11. BNB42

    We do not want an official state church. If ninety-nine percent of the population were Catholics, I would still be opposed to it. I do not want civil power combined with religious power. I want to make it clear that I am committed as a matter of deep personal conviction to separation.

    – John F Kennedy, Interview, CBS-TV, "Face the Nation," October 30, 1960

    January 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • csam18

      Yeah, we see how that's been going with the world of Islam.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • newsreel

      Kennedy will live forever in history. Santorum can only quote Kennedy, but can never touch his shoes, let alone his legend.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  12. NJBob

    How refreshing it would be to have a candidate refuse to talk about religion because it's no one else's business. Imagine some candidate saying they would let reason, logic, and humanistic principles of the Enlightenment guide their decision making! Too bad someone that rational would also be unelectable.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  13. Socrates

    Santorum is comparing gay relations to both incest and bestiality. How a candidate to the presidency of the US can say such stupidity. If I were gay or lesbian I will be very mad about this guy. Santorum, you are not preaching in the church, you are running for the presidency, get real and leave the Bible at home. Grow up.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      he's catholic and it's a well known fact that priests, bishops and popes were gay. The ones not gay were pedo. And less than .05% were actually celebate, they left once they found out the catholic church is a scam.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      and they still are gay. Gay is no big deal, lying as the catholick church does is.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • NJBob

      When Santorum talks about gays, it makes his priest blush.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Folks like Chad and Chrism have every right to believe whatever they want and live by their beliefs. They do not, however, have any right to require that the laws of a secular nation conform to or be based upon those beliefs. They can vote for someone who thinks that church and state should not be separate. That's their prerogative. I don't think the majority of the American people share such opinions and have confidence that Santorum won't even be a dim memory by the time the election rolls around.

    If he is, Obama will win in a landslide.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, I hope that you are right. Simlilarly, I think and I hope that most Americans are smart enough to see right through the inane crap that Chad and Chrism spew.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I believe most people on this forum see right through their nonsense. It's my opinion that most people in the US don't care nearly as much about the president's religious beliefs as they do about his ability to run the country. The people who post here that hang their hats on religion are not the norm.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Ancient Curse

    Question to the folks who believe the United States is a Christian nation: Which branch of Christianity are we? Catholic? Baptist? Mormon? Jehovah's Witness? Do we take communion? Do we speak in tongues? Do we dance with snakes? Do we believe in faith-healing? Or do we prefer to call it "exorcism"? Thanks for any clarification you might provide.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Agnes N

      Many people say USA is a Christian nation because the majority (80%) are Christians, the culture, holidays and most history and presidents are that.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Real America

      The answer is "yes" to most of your questions. In sum, most Americans are Christian. As individuals we believe a lot of things. It is a country of believers. Do you feel unwelcome, Ancient Curse?

      January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Chrism

      Why does the question concern you? I thank God for all faithful believers. And I respect that others are on their spiritual journey. I was an agnostic for 29 years. The point for me is to uphold what is good in the country. The Christian founding fathers fought for a moral and just nation. If you're an atheist at least do them the honor of not trying to change the declaration of independence which states our rights are endowed by a creator. At least don't pretend the p0rn industry should have the right to hide behind the first amendment. If gays want a civil union fine, but in the world, in the founding of the US and most certainly in the Christian bible, marriage is for man and wife. The bible says husbands love your wives, not your "partners.". Jesus said a husband shall not divorce his wife, not his "partner.". And go crack open an embryology textbook. You don't have to be of any faith to know medical science says human life begins with conception.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Santorun Schmantorun

      Chrism,
      Go crack open an Anthropology text book. The origins of morality are not in religion.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Socrates

      The most horrendous crimes against humanity were committed by the Christian "Spanish Conquistadores" against the Aztecas, Mayas and Incas in the fifteenth century in Central and South America and they did it in the name of God. Many Indians were forced to became Christians and then executed to be ready to enter in the Kingdom of God. The real God for this conquistadores was GOLD. Any religion doesn't make any sense at all. It is just a tool to control people. Imagine how Jesuschrist will feel if he comes back and see the luxury in which the Pope and his cardinals live. Probably he will have a heart attack. Going back to Santorum, he is a fanatic Christian who has made his money using his contact as a politician to lobby for big businesses, and this guy wants to become president. Such a joke, another one.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      Interesting responses. Thanks! And no, I don't feel unwelcome as a non-religious person - the umbrella of religious freedom covers us non-believers as well. That was one of the great gifts the founders gave to us. "Out of many, one." They knew that an individual's beliefs were very personal, and were not things to be dictated by the state. They also knew that they didn't want the United States to be considered a Christian nation, as is spelled out in Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli (1797):

      "Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

      It's nice that we have this statement. We hear from the founders themselves here, and they are very clear. Sorry, folks.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why does the question concern me?

      Wow.

      I didn't really think you were that stupid.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  16. Agnes N

    What do atheists think when ort.hodox jew.ish ra.bbis suck babies p.en.is blood when they get cir.cu.ms.tized?!

    January 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      seems they do a lot of d-i-ck related stuff. Next is Bar Mitzvah.. No wonder some think they are brought up to sc-re-w everyone

      January 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The religious in this country are loud, wealthy, and influential, but don't represent the mainstream. They wish they did, but they never will. Because most Americans are educated, and actually paid attention in history class, we can't be tricked into going back to the religious abuses of the middle ages. Nice try Santorum.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  17. FreeThinker

    What can I say but '6-6-6' !

    January 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      good numbers.. My favorite religious character is satan. The guy never hurt anyone, yet the bible god was freaky cruel. I go with satan, the good guy.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  18. Fallacy Spotting 101

    Post by Chrism contains instances of both the circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacy and the common ad hominem fallacy.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

    January 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Chrism

      Fallacy, God. Bless you. I am blessed by your false personal (ad hominem) (ergo hypocritical) attack. Have a great rest of your day. 🙂

      January 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Santorun Schmantorun

      Chrism,
      You seem to have a lot of free time this weekend. Not on call ? Nothing better to do ?

      January 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • SafeJourney

      Chrism, did you even read what was on the web site that was provided? Or do you even want to know?

      January 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  19. Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

    catholic church has the highest % of pedos, coming second only to child p-o-rn filmmakers.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Agnes N

      What about when ort.hodox jew.ish ra.bbis suck babies p.en.is blood when they get cir.cu.ms.tized?!

      January 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Santorun Schmantorun

      Timmy Tebow likes to chop baby wee-wees too, in the Philippines, at mommy and daddy's mission.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  20. onoudont

    If I hear one more person say that everything that happens to him or her is God's plan, I will go nuts. Things happen, good things, bad things, God has nothing to do with any of it.

    January 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      you would need to prove a god exists first, that still remains unproven.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:06 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.