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Satan vs. Santorum

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum sparked a media firestorm on Saturday when he accused President Barack Obama of promoting a "phony theology...not a theology based on Bible."

To many, his accusation smacked of the old smear--whispered through right-wing email chains--that Obama is a covert Muslim. In response to such concerns, Santorum publicly expressed his confidence in Obama's Christian faith. "If the president says he's a Christian," he assured reporters, "He's a Christian."

But what Santorum means by "Christian" is a bit different from the way most Americans understand it. He may acknowledge that the President worships Jesus Christ, but he regards Obama's Christian faith as polluted by secular and liberal ideals. And not just Obama's. Santorum believes that most of mainstream American Protestantism has been corrupted in both doctrine and practice.

Corrupted by whom?

In the summer of 2008, as Barack Obama and John McCain vied for the White House, Santorum delivered a speech to Catholic students from Ave Maria University. He warned them of a terrible threat: Satan had targeted the United States of America.

According to Santorum, the "Father of Lies" had lusted after America's soul ever since the Republic was founded, but our stalwart ancestors resisted his efforts. In these latter days of depravity and moral decay, however, Satan was winning.

First, Satan wormed his way into the Ivy Tower, using the doctrine of moral relativism to seduce "the elites." Then he and his new minions set their sights on a juicier target.

"What we saw this domino effect," Santorum explained, "Once the colleges fell and those who were being education in our institutions, the next was the church."

By the church, he meant the large Protestant sects that dominate the United States--Episcopalians, Methodists, and so on. In Santorum's view, Satan and company had reduced mainstream Protestantism to a shambles. "It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it," he charged, unintentionally echoing the sentiments of more than a few Catholic popes over the centuries.

But Santorum's own Catholic Church was not immune to Satan's influence. As the pedophilia scandal broke in 2002, Senator Santorum angrily decried the villains responsible. "It is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm," he stormed. Warning that Catholic seminaries had been corrupted by secular culture, he called for a "new evangelization" within the Church to combat the infestation.

With the nation's great religions under siege, Santorum warned of one more domino that was finally toppling under the cascade of satanic corruption in late 2008. The last bastion of righteousness was, believe or not, the government.

"People in political life get elected by ordinary folks from lots of places all over the country where the foundations of this country are still strong," Santorum explained, perhaps alluding to his old district in Pennsylvania, "The body politic held up fairly well up until the last couple of decades, but it is falling too."

A few months later after his speech, the last domino fell. Obama won the election, and "cultural liberals" swept into Congress.

In 2012, Santorum aims to right the dominos, starting with the White House. He regards the effort as much more than a political campaign. "This is not a political war at all, or a cultural war," he explained, "It is a spiritual war."

According to his view of America, two religions vie for the nation's soul. On one side stand traditional Catholics and evangelicals. On the other stands the "phony theology" of President Obama and all those who reject Santorum's right-wing version of Biblical morality. One side stands for God. The other stands for you-know-who.

Michael Wolraich is the author of Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual.

If Santorum is granting 'evangelicals' any dispensation, it is only to secure their votes and I would bet that deceit is part of his confession.  Probably only has to say a couple of Hail Marys and Our Fathers as penance.   After all, he is only following the beliefs of his spiritual leader from this realm as restated and reasserted just five short years ago:

 
LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.
 
Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.
 
On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass . Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.
 
Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

At the time, I wondered how Protestant churches and associations would react to a belief that caused centuries of war for their ancestors being resurrected.  Mostly they didn't.  A few tongues clucked but that is about all.  What is that saying about not learning from history?

 

The irony of heterogeneous religious movements like the Christian Right is that if the zealots actually succeeded gaining power, the various factions would quickly start devouring each other like Sunnis and Shiites.

Emma, yes, it's just so wack, because one can basically sum up the Protestant Reformation  and all who thereafter subscribed to its tenets as accusing the Catholic Church of promoting a "phony theology...not a theology based on Bible".

Except for when he is talking his right-to-life beliefs, he talks on faith matters like no Catholic I have ever known, even Opus Dei members.. (Not the least of which because of the Bible talk! Catholics are not Bible studiers! They have catechism provided by their church of many centuries development! ) He does very much talk like a stereotypical right wing evangelical Christian. To the point where I simply can't believe that most US Catholics would think he is one of them!

As he gets more national name recognition and media attention, I really do think this scenario is going to become more common: two Catholics talking, one says "did you know Santorum was Catholic?" and the other replies "no way!"

Newt the convert at least plays Catholic correctly,  comes across as a effete Jesuit cardinal.

P.S. I can't get over how un-Catholic he sounds. In my world, Catholics don't talk about "Satan;" should they get into what Christ redeemed us from, they talk about sin, the tempation of the devil and evil. The "Satan" talk strikes as hellfire-and-damnation Protestant sermons in unadorned little churches with hard benches, not the type of thing you would hear spoken of in a sensuous cathedral.

When I was a kid I went from a Catholic church in New York where the bible was a collection of stories full of metaphors to a Catholic church in rural New Mexico where they did talk Satan.  The priest didn't, actually.  But the congregation did.  Big fear of Hell out there.  On the East Coast, more a fear of traffic.

So weird Des. when I went to boarding school in Maine I used to go to church occasionally, so I could take one of the school cars out. The Church was old and beautiful, but not only did they have a Latin Mass, (never ran across that out in the west) and they seemed obsessed with being struck down because of sin, Satan and all things evil, (everything) as if Vatican II never happened! Although it wasn't different from being in Manila to me, where they never acknowledged Vatican II, it was all, you will die if you don't obey, sinners!

Good thing when I was a teenager every Mass I attended was a High Mass, so those yokels aka Priests just made me laugh hard. Hah! surprise

Well you make me want to get into some naughty & silly but fun pop psychologizing speculation about Ricky Santorum.  Santorum's Dad was an Italian immigrant, so one would think he'd be raised classic Eye-talian Catholic, but then you see his Dad's immigration was at the tender age of 7. And Dad apparently became assimilated to secular America as he grew up to be a *gasp* clinical psychologist. Oy, methinks that maybe some issues with Dad are involved? Also at the link: Ricky was raised in West Virginie, classical hellfire and damnation territory, and attended public schools there, not parochial. It wasn't 'til the family moved to  Illinois that Ricky got a year of parochial, his last year of high school. With that education and parental units, this former good Catholic girl operating under her former persona thinks: not a "real" Catholic, not enough indoctrination, confused about what Catholic means by environmental contamination (similar to those Arizona Catholics in your anecdote.) devil

re: methinks that maybe some issues with Dad are involved:

A Godless commie grandfather; whether Dad was escaping from that or simpatico , doesn't say, but does say Rick has visited in the past (and no suggestions about any attempted exorcisms of Satanic influence on relatives at the time)

I had a nice long reply that either your edit or destor's reply preempted --- and I had not yet copied it.  Oh, well.

FWIW, I grew up in one of those unadorned little churches with hard benches -- an no a/c.  Sure there were some hellfire-and-damnation sermons but mostly during the August revivals when thoughts of anything hotter had particular effect.   Never really heard much about Satan himself until studying Paradise Lost in college.  

The church was built by the community, literally, like a barn raising.  Timber was cut and milled on site and everyone showed up to work.  My earliest memories are of Sunday School every Sunday but sermons only once a month from rotating lay preachers.  That eventually grew to twice a month and eventually to a full time pastor.

From what I have seen it makes a difference when a church is community based versus preacher based.  Preacher based churches strike me as more cultish and that is the standard model nowadays.

I haven't attended church regularly in over forty years but I am forever grateful for the immunity my unadorned little church gave me to all the wack theology and glib atheism floating around. 

 

I didn't say the Protestant Reformation wasn't right. cheeky

This just published: another former good Catholic girl, Maureen Dowd, thinks he's more small-town mullah than Savonarola, but also says her very Catholic brothers disagree with me:

Rick’s Religious Fanaticism
By Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Feb. 21, 2012

[....] Satan strikes, a Catholic exorcist told me, when there are “soul wounds.” Santorum, who is considered “too Catholic” even by my über-Catholic brothers, clearly believes that America’s soul wounds include [....]

Thank goodness we have you to give little snippet quotations from years ago and explain to us what Santorum really meant.  

You're welcome. I also included links to the sources in case you're lusting for pure, unadulterated Santorum.

PS The primary source is from way back in 2008. Is that beyond the statute of limitations for satan sermons?

Did you check the label on your Satan?  Did you at least smell it?  Sorry, Genghis, but there's no way I'd serve up four year old Satan to my son.

Deviled Ham might be OK, though.

I know this is a serious thread, what with the threat of Satan taking over America and all, but Donal, your comment made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Yep. Still laughing.

I just hope Saintorum keeps reading us his catechism instructions.

I am watching the Dow climb over 13,000 whilst Newt is claiming that Obama is the single worst, single most dangerous president in history.

And Mitt likes cars and trees.

Anything can happen of course.

But the odds are that Barry ends up with another 4 years.

"I am watching the Dow climb over 13,000"

Great blog, Genghis. 

And it's a terrible decision---the choice between Romney and Santorum---with all their special religious beliefs. If Santorum wins the White House, business cannot be conducted because people will be tripping over all the staffers' kids being home schooled. If Romney wins the White House, the press corps will be inoperable because they'll all have to leave the grounds to get a cup of coffee.

Better to stick with the Devil we know. At least he's functional. 

When 'Myth', Newt and Rick reference their bible, it is not the tome that holds that title. The facts are this:

Whether Catholicism or Mormonism, each religion has their own version that has omissions and inclusions not in the actual bible.

Both seem to hold dearest (evidenced by their religious doctrines) what their individual religions have added or subtracted to suit their agendas. Such as:

The Pope? Please, we have an old white guy that is empowered to speak as God's mouthpiece and invoke 'rules' giveth and taking away the civil and human rights of mankind? Not in bible.

Mormons baptize for the dead; believe God had sex with Mary (he has human form) and thus, impregnated her with baby Jesus and that again, mortal man's judgments circumvent factual biblical tenets.

The processes of Catholic Confession where, again, some mortal man (because as always, no women are 'allowed' to be priests) has been given the 'authority' to decide your consequences for your sins and pronounce that 'God Forgives You'. So not in bible.

That to be gay is the most heinous of sins.  Gee, is their an eleventh commandment that my bible forgot to include?  

But, there is that pesky, (9.)You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 

The list goes on.

Yes, there is evil in our world and it comes in many seductive forms - A handsome Ted Bundy; religious leaders who use their church's garb and hypocrisy to sexually assault children; the charming Bernie Madoff's who without remorse destroy people's lives and the list is endless.

But, is or isn't it 'evil', for those who have been blessed with good fortune and leadership roles to  invoke their own perverted religious doctrines to negate, disrespect and denigrate their fellow men/women for the sole purpose to elevate themselves and their agenda?  

We cannot ignore or forget that their stances do lead to people suffering and dying because they cannot afford needed healthcare, housing, adequate nutrition and basic human/humane rights.

Amen.

Auntie, for chrissakes; do not you already know that white men are sent by God Almighty to tell us what we should do?

Come on Auntie. FOR HEAVENS SAKE!

hahahahah

You missed a major point.  Santorum voted in partisan lockstep with the GOP, Yea, to authorize the Iraq War, a measure which failed on the Democratic side of the aisle.

In supporting the war, Santorum violated the public pleas to not start the war, expressed by the late Pope John Paul, and the Santorum backed war set in motion the precise events that Pope John Paul warned would occur:

The Vatican has made clear its opposition to what US officials refer to as a preventive war against Iraq, saying it would not qualify as a just war, our correspondent says.

The Vatican also fears that war against Iraq might trigger an anti-Christian backlash in the Muslim world.

Since that fateful day that Bush ordered the invasion against the admonition of the Pope, Iraqi churches have been bombed, Christians kidnapped and killed, thousands have been displaced or left homeless, and Christians have been in unprecedented danger, from Pakistan to Iraq, to Egypt.  Tens of thousands of innocent Muslims have also perished in the conflict. The Christians of the region have been less able to freely practice their religion, or lead the lives they once enjoyed, due to the unnecessary fiasco that Satan, George W. Bush and Santorum set in motion with the war authorizing vote, pushed through in a pre-midterm election political jujitsu move by the GOP, in October, 2002. Iraq wasn't a political war or a cultural war. It was a real war, not a game of dominoes. Now Santorum and the GOP want to start another war with Iran.

To be honest, most Christians in the United States share a fear of Rick Santorum and Franklin Graham with many of there fellow citizens. Santorum wants you to fall into lockstep with his view of Christianity. Look at how many Christians Santorum is willing to purge from the "Church". Instead of Christian love, Santorum sees only fire and brimstone.

Watching the funeral of Whitney Houston, a sinner, one could feel the power of the belief that she was loved by God. The homegoing celebration was not denied to her because of her human flaws. I simply cannot see the Church Of Santorum doing anything but ridiculing Houston and using the funeral to criticize her use of drugs. There is no humanity in Santorum's religion. If you don't reach his view of perfection, you are not worthy.

If anyone has a phony religion, it is Santorum. The beauty is that the more Santorum talks about his religious views, the more he alienates people.

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