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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. Patricksday

    The Taliban believes they have the best interests in Moral Citizens, but this is America and we have FREEDOM from Religious oppression. Santorum would never win, there would be such an uprising against him.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  2. Lenny Pincus

    Santorum says Iran shouldn't have the bomb because its leaders believe the next life is better than this one. So someone, please, ask Santorum if he believes the same thing and if that disqualifies him from controlling the button.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  3. Iqbal Khan

    Iran: It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

    By Aijaz Zaka Syed

    Little seems to change in..... http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30176.htm

    Imminent Iran Nuclear Threat?
    A Timeline Of Warnings Since 1979

    By Scott Peterson

    Breathless predictions that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability, or – worse – acquire an actual nuclear bomb, are not new. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30177.htm

    January 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Reality

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      January 10, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Muneef

      R

      Hmm. 🙂

      Smell some body burning...watch out from high blood pressure the issue is not worth it ;

      After all they say we all together descended from Adam family where a brother killed his only brother in coold blood out of jealousy to end up all nation descending from the murderer and his two wives..(His and his brothers confiscated one)..  
      -
      And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. (5:27)

      If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah , Lord of the worlds. (5:28)

      Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers." (5:29)

      And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers. (5:30)

      Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, "O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?" And he became of the regretful. (5:31)

      Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. (5:32)
      -

      January 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  4. Iqbal Khan

    The New York Times is Misleading the Public on Iran

    By Robert Naiman

    AIPAC is trying to trick the United States into another catastrophic war with a Middle Eastern country on behalf of the Likud Party's colonial ambitions, and the New York Times is misleading the public with allegations that say that the country is developing "weapons of mass destruction". http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30187.htm

    January 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  5. Iqbal Khan

    Santorum: Iranians' 'Principle Virtue' To Die For God
    'Is An Encouragement For Them To Use' Nukes

    By Eli Clifton

    Santorum's Iran policy appears to be framed, in no small part, by his extremist views on Islam and a belief that the Islamic Republic's leadership is inherently irrational and suicidal.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30191.htm

    January 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  6. SPQR

    God bless The United States of America.

    President Obama 2012 !

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

    January 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Grey Goose

      Obama and JFK and RFK are all ShytBags.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  7. Iqbal Khan

    The New York Times is Misleading the Public on Iran

    By Robert Naiman

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30187.htm

    January 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  8. bigdakine

    Aren't we tired of politicians drunk on jesus juice?

    January 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  9. Paulo

    The worst type of hypocrite is one who uses his so called faith or religion to further his own interests. These are called evangelical republicans.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  10. Bob

    Chrism, your statement that most presidents have been Christian is like prior common statements that most scientists have been religious. The reason for those cases is simple, and it is that there has historically been huge pressure for such people to be religious. In the case of science, the pressure was even threats of torture. For most politicians, it is merely unelectability. Hopefully in time more people will see through sick supersti-tions such as Christianity, and such supersti-tions will become a political liability rather than an asset.

    Fortunately, as people see through the sheer silliness of beliefs such as the Christian ones, we might one day see a non-religious president. That would be a great day for our fine country.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    January 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  11. Cyle

    We need to only elect atheists into office. We won't interfere with your rights to believe in whatever fantasy makes you happy, but we will tax the religions and their properties. We will put the country and it's prosperity above all else.

    January 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  12. BNB42

    Why can't Santorum be more like our founding fathers?

    The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.
    – Thomas Jefferson, to Jeremiah Moor, 1800

    January 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • abnguy

      Thomas Jefferson may not be the best example. He advocate the states to deal with religion. "No power to proscribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the Federal Government. It must, then, rest with the States." Thomas Jefferson

      January 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Learn the joy of prayer at twilight
    Retire in conversation
    With God

    January 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Sir

      Praying does/changes nothing. Things happen/change because we as humans do things to make that change.... Not because of any god.

      January 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Rick

      You believe whatever you want and so will I and so will any other American. Do not try to impose your belief on anyone else. That is going backwardsd to the Dark Ages and the Inquisition.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • bigdakine

      So if your kid gets sick, just apply *faith healing*. That will clean up the gene pool in a jiffy. Or you can contnue to use the fruits of *atheist* science in medicine. Never ceases to amaze how some want to return to the dark ages.

      January 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • longisland

      Well, if prayer changes things, what is the point of believing that God has a divine plan? If he has a plan, he's not going to change it. If something if God's will, then all the prayer in the world won't change that.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Nonimus

      "Prayer changes things"

      What 'thing' exactly has prayer ever change?

      January 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  14. jrhodeisland

    How quickly forgotten this country was founded by people risking life and welfare for religious freedom from persecution. The mighty tried to control the religious practices of others. The President and Congress have a lot of might, they must leave their own faith practices at the door and understand that the majority of sane, educated, compassionate Americans expect the laws of the land and spending of resources reflect what being American as a society means. I watched the Saturday debate, and was sickened by how ALL the candidates avoided committing to an answer to the simple question regarding the drastic cuts made in fuel assistance and oil near $4.00 a gallon up north. Basic Answer was: that tells you how important it is to drill and explore our own natural resources,...WRONG ANSWER... People will be cold and sick when the heat/oil is shut off.. some will freeze to death..before any lowering of fuel costs would occur. Not one of them was honest or seemed to understand the end effect on some

    January 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Try some real history. Those people you refer to were seeking the freedom to persecute others who didn't believe as they did. They could, without the blink of an eye, send children into the wilderness to perish for having parents of the wrong faith. From being persecuted they learned only to persecute.

      January 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Rick

      @ sqeptiq You got it exactly right, just read the History of the Salem Trials

      January 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  15. Barbara L

    How can this guy condemn the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a democratically elected party, yet want to do something more drastic with his religion in the US? This guy is scary.

    January 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  16. Tridentine

    Our Republic still stands strong even after having Presidents with varying degrees or practically no faith.If you want to Catholic bash have the guts to say that is what you are doing.Dont try to be cute and imply that our country would fall apart because the person running is Catholic.

    January 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Murgatroyd

      Just being Catholic doesn't automatically mean you can't do a good job at something.
      But Santorum isn't a regular sort of Catholic. He's an extremist fundamentalist and has already stated that he intends to make this country into a theocracy.
      A theocracy that would have the Pope as the head, not the President.
      JFK didn't have this extremist sort of Catholicism, so we voted him in with no problem.
      Santorum, on the other hand, should never be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. Ever.
      The Catholics have been trying to get more people from south of the border to come in and give them a bigger voter base.
      The Vatican seeks domination of the world. They will kill, cheat, lie, steal, and do anything to get more money and power.
      As the last remaining Superpower, we are their prime target. They already have many people in place.
      They probably think all they need is someone like Santorum in the WH to clinch the deals they've been making behind the scenes. They'd be wrong about that.

      January 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Rick

      @ Murgatroyd I do not think that Santorum no matter what his religion is would get any support from Catholics 'from South of the border', besides being a fundamentalist he on many occasions has been rather unsuccessful in hiding the fact that he also dislikes hispanics, blacks and jews.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "He's an extremist fundamentalist and has already stated that he intends to make this country into a theocracy.
      A theocracy that would have the Pope as the head, not the President."

      Citation please.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Well just wonder if those were under some hallucination or was that a smoke of some developing fire?

    They Once Said: With Strong Faith You Can Move the Biggest Mountains...

    http://wn.com/The_Objective_trailer

    January 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      They once said that but it isn't true. Faith can't move anything. People with faith are tough to move because they usually are very fat. Obesity is high among the goddies, especially the fundieundies, so god kills them with heart attacks a lot and then they rot and turn to worm food.

      January 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      That comment above is not of my words,it was some one used my screen name to spit his cowered hate words...

      January 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  18. M1sf1ts

    Gay Coupling is NOT Marriage.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • BNB42

      No but Gay Marriage is.....

      January 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • M1sf1ts

      BNB42, there is no such thing as a Gay Marriage. The joing of a gay couple is simply a poor imitation.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • maniacmudd

      and neither is yer easter bunny

      January 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • M1sf1ts

      maniacmudd: I am a Christian, I worship neither a bunny, nor a tree. I have no use for Pagan rituals.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      You merely worship a different bunny. He's no honey either.

      January 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Tell me how does you bigotry taste? This article isn't even about gay marriage yet you feel the need to inject it into this thread.

      January 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Scott

      Many Christians love to insist that you must believe in and experience god’s love before you can intelligently comment on the beauty and importance of the bible.

      I think they should take their advice to heart. They should believe in and experience gay coupling so that they can intelligently comment on the beauty and importance of love

      January 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • rick

      "I have no use for Pagan rituals"

      Good for you. Now, keep your religious beliefs out of the law of the land.

      January 10, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • rick

      "You merely worship a different bunny."

      Every bunny
      wants some bunny
      to love

      January 10, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      And neither is heteros.exual coupling. Do you have a point?

      January 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Muneef

      Again my screen name above is being misused by some one throwing words of hatred...

      January 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  19. Kelsey

    With all these candidates outright claiming or strongly inferring that god told them to run then I guess these same folks understand how another religious group can claim god told them to do so and so....even if it is killing other people. They have just as much reason to believe god is talking to them as these guys do....even Santorum. I personally think all these guys (left, right, up or down) who claim god, any god, is telling them to do anything. Just an excuse for doing exactly what they want to no matter what it is.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  20. Dan

    "We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and State are and must remain seperate." – Ronald Reagan

    January 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Brett

      Amen!

      January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • maniacmudd

      proof the right does not obey it's gods...

      January 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • abnguy

      "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John Jay first cheif justice

      January 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • backatyouguy

      "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."
      -Treaty of Tripoli

      January 9, 2012 at 7:42 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.