home
RSS
February 8th, 2012
03:08 PM ET

10 reasons religious conservatives love Rick Santorum

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - For all the attention paid to the clout of fiscally focused tea party conservatives and of the primacy of jobs in the 2012 election, Rick Santorum’s trifecta victories Tuesday night are a good reminder of the powerful role religious conservatives play in the GOP. They fueled Santorum’s wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado - and his earlier victory in the Iowa caucuses.

But why, exactly, do religious conservatives love the former senator from Pennsylvania? There are obvious reasons - his advocacy against abortion and same-sex marriage, for instance - but plenty of less obvious ones, too.

Here’s my list. What would you add?

  1. Santorum’s a family man. “He’s got this big, vibrant family and he left the campaign trail last week to go back and be with his daughter in the hospital,” says Eli Bremer, chairman of Colorado's El Paso County Republican Party, centered around evangelical-heavy Colorado Springs. Santorum recently returned to Pennsylvania to respond to a health scare involving daughter Isabella - the youngest of his seven children - who suffers from a genetic disease. “I spent time with him last year, and he’s constantly thinking about his family,” Bremer says of Santorum. “It’s not just a political stunt.”

  1. He’s not averse to getting politically incorrect when donning culture warrior chain mail. “So if the baby’s toe is in you can’t kill the baby - how about if the baby’s foot is in?” he famously asked U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, in a 1999 debate over a rare, later term abortion procedure that anti-abortion groups call a "partial birth" abortion.

  1. Santorum’s a homeschooling dad. His wife, Karen, is homeschooling or has homeschooled their seven children, making them a poster family for a movement populated largely by evangelical Christians and other serious believers. “It matters because it shows he’s a real part of our movement rather than simply someone who is politically sympathetic,” says Michael Farris, an evangelical conservative who leads the Home School Legal Defense Association.

  1. He’s a devout cradle Catholic. As a kid in Pennsylvania, Santorum the altar boy would spend Sunday mornings pushing hospital patients in wheelchairs to Mass. As a U.S. senator, Santorum attended Mass at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill each day before work. That piety gets respect with religious voters, regardless of affiliation. “Evangelicals have made him an honorary evangelical,” said Richard Land, public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention.

  1. Santorum’s not Mitt Romney. Millions of socially conservative voters still distrust the former Massachusetts governor on the hot button issues - abortion and same-sex marriage. Some, though not all, are put off by Romney’s Mormonism.

  1. Santorum’s not Newt Gingrich. Many social conservatives, particularly those of the female persuasion, continue to be turned off by Gingrich’s two failed marriages and his admissions of past marital infidelity.

  1. Santorum doesn’t just talk about opposing abortion, he’s legislated on it. As a senator, he was an architect of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. He pushed the ban even in the1990s, when Bill Clinton was in the White House and the legislation stood nary a chance of a presidential signature. “He walked the walk,” Land says. “When no one else would carry our water in the Senate, he would.”

  1. Ditto on same-sex marriage. Santorum sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage at a time when many Republicans lawmakers didn’t want to touch such a hot potato.

  1. Santorum’s big on compassionate conservatism. Though he gets the most ink for controversial stances on issues such as homosexuality, Santorum has also been a leading advocate for funding to fight AIDS in the Third World and has led conservative responses to poverty. “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 Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

    1. Santorum isn’t afraid to challenge science, questioning the theory of evolution and dismissing global warming as “a hoax.” The former senator “confirms (social conservatives’) view of science as being at odds with a Christian worldview,” tweets Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College, an evangelical Christian school in Pennsylvania.

CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (2,587 Responses)
  1. Grandma

    It's so embarrasing living in a nation where 1.6% are atheists.... they should be kicked out from this nation. IN GOD WE TRUST. Don't you get it?!

    February 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Elliot

      'In God We Trust" was first put on money in 1956 Grandma. Weren't you old enough to remember that or are you just plain stupid.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • LeRoy_Was_Here

      I'm guessing Granny there never heard of the First Amendment........

      February 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • God

      I don't exist, granny. Don't lose control of your vowels now.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Jimmy

      In God We Trust was adopted by this country 200 years after we became a country....do you get that?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Elaina

      Grandma, with all do respect, you should love everyone, despite beliefs. Especially if you follow Jesus. All he spoke of was love and forgiveness. Are you so clouded with your self holiness that you have forgotten the message of your Savior, like so many Christians?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • AAAAA

      Sorry Elaina, I am a christian, but do not love pedophiles or murderers...

      February 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Elaina

      Well, AAAA, Jesus loves them. No sin is less or greater than the next.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  2. Janine/CA

    Why can't some ignorant people here face the truth and accept that they live in predominately a Christian nation, and therefore seperation of church and state should be ignored. Seriously! Our founding fathers are dead... let's move towards theocracy... that's the only way we will be greater

    February 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • God

      Go girl. You be my beotch.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  3. Mah

    They would've loved Rick Santorum... IN THE 1400S!

    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  4. Char

    If he doesn't believe in the reality of Global Warming tell him to go visit Glacier National Park or the Canadian Rockies where you can see for yourself the few remaining glaciers are that have shockingly retreated and melted in only the last 100 years such as Grinnell Glacier in Glacier Natinal Park and Athabasca Glacier in Jasper.. If you deny facts scientific or otherwise you can't possibly make sound decisions as President. This is why I won't vote for him. If you want to see proof of global warming see these links for before and after photos of shrinking glaciers due to global warming: http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/glaciers.html and http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/visit/visit32.aspx

    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • M1sf1ts

      The NOAA has proven that it can't be trusted.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      I think in fairness, it should be pointed out that most so-called global warming deniers do not necessarily deny global warming, rather they that humans play a significant role in it. I am not saying I agree, but there have been fairly significant climate shifts in the past that had nothing to do with human activity.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • AAAAA

      Maybe the natural cycle of the world?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Stan

      No climate scientist would dispute the reality of climate change - periods of warming and cooling (around 1300 A.D. it was so warm that Vikings were farming Greenland - called the Medieval Warming Period) which was followed by the Little Ice Age. Now we are in a period of warming. The dispute is about the cause and there are NUMEROUS scientists who do NOT agree that the cause is anthropogenic (man-made). Although there has been an increase in CO2, that does not mean it is the cause - As for man-made global warming (the media keeps forgetting to include the "man-made" part – which is what they are really talking about), there are 1,000's of scientists (including many meteorologists, climalologists, etc.) who have spoken out against the man-made global warming hysteria. It is a blatant lie in the media that there are only a few fringe scientists who do not embrace the catastrophic man-made global warming view. (There are NUMEROUS articles on this – but a short one is by Dr. Neil Frank, former Director of the National Hurricane Center (do search on neil frank climategate you should be steamed– or go to: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Climategate-You-should-be-steamed-1715225.php. You can also check our Drs. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, respected meteorologists who do not agree with the man-made catastrophic global warming theory.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Stan

      Okay - let me mention one more thing to help you understand natural climate change - the following legitimate article (check it out at snopes) was published in the Washington Post from a scientific article in Monthly Weather Review –BE SURE TO READ THIS. IT IS NOT A HOAX.

      The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic , while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.*

      The punchline:

      Oops. Never mind. This report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Pos (from a Monthly Weather Review Scientific article!)t Here is link to ACTUAL MWR article:

      February 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  5. sona

    what will happen to this country ? we are in the 21st century -and having a president who doesn't believe in evolution???

    February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • M1sf1ts

      Evolution IS an interesting theory.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Chirpin

      He should take his family and campaign to the museum of natural history i believe evolution is demonstrated there.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Tired of Religion

    I am not a Catholic and my morals are not his morals. I find that the rules he would lay on myself and my children ( I have sons and daughters) is just completely destructive to their human growth and spirit. I really believe in the separation of church and state and truly wish the Republican Party did also. I believe that organized religion is a destructive force of man and not really helpful to the advancement of humanity. My experience with those that consider themselves christian is generally very superficial. They seem to concerned about what is said and how it looks but not so much the actual actions taken. His disbelief of science is dismaying. His unwillingness to except any other point of view is incompatible with a country of over 300 million people, 50 states, and thousands of miles of land. Her should not be any kind of elected official (honestly his only place should be int the church he loves so much) and leave public policy of such a diverse population to those that consider others.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bob

      In reallity the word of Jesus was lost by the men who wrote the bible, and the men who rewrote the bible and the men who decided which Gospels to include and which to exclude. Our Bible is the work of man and mans prejudice whether intended or not. Jusus taught great things like Love and compassion and sharing your blessings with those who were less blessed. But these messages are too often lost in the rush to find fault in others. I now try to judge each person on their own merit, regardless of faith or no faith. Not all Good people are Christians and not all Christians are good people. Slow down, try to listen respectfully, Stay calm.

      You don' t have to agree but at least respect eachother's right to their opinion

      February 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  7. Stan

    To say he is willing to challenge science is false. There are numerous scientists who do not accept evolution. It is just that those views tend to be censored in academia. (Check out the movie - Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.) As for man-made global warming (the media keeps forgetting to include the "man-made" part - which is what they are really talking about), there are 1,000's of scientists (including many meteorologists, climalologists, etc.) who have spoken out against the man-made global warming hysteria. It is a blatant lie in the media that there are only a few fringe scientists who do not embrace the catastrophic man-made global warming view. (There are NUMEROUS articles on this - but a short one is by Dr. Neil Frank, former Director of the National Hurricane Center (do search on neil frank climategate you should be steamed– or go to: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Climategate-You-should-be-steamed-1715225.php
    So there are many scientists - including myself, who do not look at those two views of Santorum as "challenging science".

    February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • LeRoy_Was_Here

      If you're a scientist, then I'm Elvis Presley.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Stan consists mainly of Hasty Generalization, Questionable Premise, and Unrepresentative Sample fallacies.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#H6

      February 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Stan

      Hi Elvis! Yes - I am a research scientist who has specialized in climate. One of the leading climate scientists in the country, Dr. John Christy, certainly shares my view on global warming - check him out at:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy
      Also Dr. Roy Spencer:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)
      You can choose to be willfully ignorant of the numerous scientists that disagree with "catastrophic man-made global warming" if you choose, but it is fact that MANY disagree. And if you want to look at a volume from numerous scientists who disagree, check out: Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report On The Nongovernmental Panel On Climate Change

      February 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
    Until you have evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
    And thats a factual statement!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  9. CNN-Deej

    He sure needs a LOT of prayers to be even the # 2 in the GOP nomination list... Lord.. help him!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Angela

    How is homeschooling a reason to like a person running for president? I think contributing to our public and charter schools and the community is a much less selfish act.
    How is being a catholic a benefit for a president? This country was built on the principle that we could come here and believe in different religions and not have it be a part of our government.
    How is being not Mitt or Newt a benefit to Santorum…what a joke? I should hope he’s not other people; otherwise he’d be a person needing mental care.
    How is denying facts of science and global warming a benefit for a person running for president…Do you really want to vote for someone whole denies reality. I don’t.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nottosure

      You are the one denying the facts, Evolution is a theory, not a fact. If it could be proven then it would be a fact. Scientists have no way to prove it is real, so until it can be reproduced, it remains a theory.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  11. travis turner

    Lets not gloss over the fact that he also sat on the board of a "school" for children with behavioral issues and disablities that condoned the use of an exorcism on an autistic child and that this supposed "school" treated its attendees with less compassion and dignity afforded homeless people in this country. This guy does not deserve to serve this country in any manner and should be shunned for his complete lack of touch with reality. If you doubt anything said simply google santorum and exorcism. Re-elect OBAMA 2012!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Santorum may appeal to the ultra right but he will never get democrats or independants to vote for him.
      If he becomes The republican candidate Obama is a certain winner

      February 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  12. FauxNews

    His name is not one of the reasons....ewwwww.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  13. Camilo Melendez

    Why the hell does CNN let idiots post these kind of articles...

    February 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Dr EJG

      bc they are giving ridiculous reasons to which could also easily be viewed as negative things.. they are dividing opinions..

      February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  14. ignorance is bliss?

    "has seven kids" is not a qualification for president. That's shear idiocy. If anything it's a disqualification in a world where we're already seriously straining our food supply.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Dr EJG

      i, a conservative, agree 100%

      February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • AAAAA

      You are very confused. It is not him having 7 kids, it is that he truly loves them and is the ultimate role model. In a world where our morals and moral beliefs continue to decline at a rapid rate, it is VERY important that our next leader places an emphasis on family values.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @AAAAA

      Morals that change is not equal to morals declining.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • AAAAA

      Change...there goes the left and their campaign slogan of change.....

      Morals: ethical...pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong....how we do and should view morals....

      In this country...the amount of children growing up without a father is at an all-time high...crime continues to rise in all parts of the country, not just the inner cities...Divorce rate is at a scary, alarming rate...suicides are rising...Pedophiles are everywhere and repeat offenders are the norm. Abortion is no longer the norm...Multiple Abortions for each woman is....People's belief in God is dropping, and I can go on and on and on and on and on...

      February 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  15. M1sf1ts

    Santorum belives almost exactly as I do on all these topics.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Chirpin

      Well you are just as stupid as he is then

      February 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • jackiesmith

      you should hang your head in shame then, because if you agree on anything with this woman-hating disgusting man, then you're an idiot.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • M1sf1ts

      Name calling makes you look more smarter!

      February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  16. coolfungy

    these are actually all reasons to HATE Rick Santorum

    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  17. mayflower

    Why don't we just call it what it really is: religious bigotry, pure and simple. Romney is a mormon. He should be the golden boy for conservatism but for his religion.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  18. Justin

    About half of those are reasons to NOT vote for Santorum. I'm ashamed that an open bigot is getting so much support.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  19. BH

    This guy doesn't believe in Science. Yet I bet he facebooks and tweets like any other person. This guy sickens me, you can't say science is wrong and then turn around and use it for work, school, and leisure. I mean science made cell phones, computers, cars, housing, and everyday products most Americans simply can't live without. Moreover, in a country dominated by science, you want to be in charge? If this guy wins, he'll set us back years while other countries push forward and gain dominance over us. This idiot is no good for American interests and if your reading this on a computer (made by science, see the pattern yet), use your brain and think. I won't tell you what the logical choice is, but it obviously isn't this guy.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Alexishere

      Well said! See my comment below, posted just a couple minutes before yours.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Stan

      I am a scientist and I would encourage you to read some of my comments above to other posts. He is not against science - there are many scientists who agree with his views (including myself). See my other comments.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  20. Alexishere

    People outside of Pennsylvania don't realize what a crazy person Santorum is. Because of that he was practically booted out of the PA senate – he's truly scary. It took Pennsylvania voters just over one term – too long – to realize Santorum belongs in a padded room, then he got swept out in a huge wave of anti-evangelical sentiment. This includes so many conservatives who realized Santorum is certifiably nuts. Seriously...the Terry Schiavo thing pushed everyone too far. He was out of his mind during that whole thing and PA voters were thinking, "what is that insane man DOING??" Go google how he and wife handled the death of their child. They took the dead baby home for a while, introduced it to all their kids, slept with it, the whole thing. This was a cold, dead child being hugged in their bed like a doll. If Rick Santorum were to become president (never) he would impose his form of Sharia-type law on America so fast, it'd be like living in a Catholic Iran. Trust a Pennsylvanian on this.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • J

      As a fellow Pennsylvanian, I don't agree. We need a leader with morals in this country and he is right for the job. As for Terry Schivo..he made the just and conscious decision to try and defend her.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • AAAAA

      Hmmm...what is worse, showing true compassion and love for your child (dead or alive)...or actually having the ability to kill/abort a child before it even has a chance to breathe??? It saddens me that there are people in this world like you that actually poke fun at a man grieving in his own way at the loss of his child!

      February 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Shalla

      As another Pennsylvanian, I have to wonder what rock you were living under, J? The man is a hypocrite and incredibly corrupt. He's anti-abortion in all cases, although when his wife's life was in danger they knowingly induced labor too early for the baby to live. (Hey, Rick can do that, but not YOU!) He pointed the finger at his first House opponent over his residency, but then made the Penn Hills school district pay for the cyberschooling of his kids even though they lived in Virginia, not PA. My ex-bf and I were on completely different sides of the political spectrum, but the one thing we agreed on was that Santorum was a corrupt jerk that we'd both rather have our fingernails pulled out than vote for.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Advertisement
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.