Christian right leaders anoint Santorum

A conclave of leaders of  social conservative organizations and evangelical political activist groups voted to rally behind Rick Santorum:

A week before the pivotal South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum’s quest to emerge as the chief alternative to Mitt Romney received a boost Saturday from a group of evangelical leaders and social conservatives who voted to back his candidacy in a last-ditch effort to stop the GOP front-runner’s march to the nomination.

About three-quarters of some 150 pastors and Christian conservative political organizers meeting in Texas sided with Santorum over a home-state favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — an outcome that illustrated continuing divisions within the ranks of conservatives who make up the base of the GOP.

The gathering also reflected the lingering dissatisfaction with Romney over abortion rights and other issues, and the belief of conservatives that they need to unite behind one contender before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary if they are to derail the former Massachusetts governor they view as too moderate. Romney leads narrowly in polls here after victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“There is a hope and an expectation that this will have an impact on South Carolina,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who attended the Texas meeting.

It’s unclear, however, whether conservative voters will heed the advice of these leaders and back Santorum particularly with other conservative candidates still in the race. The backing of a chunk of conservative leaders could help Santorum, who long has run a shoestring campaign, raise money and set up stronger get-out-the-vote operations.

via Santorum Backed by Social Conservative Leaders – ABC News.

Much will be said about Santorum as the evangelical candidate.  Remember, though, that he is not an evangelical.  He is a Roman Catholic.  Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!

I know the complaints about Santorum, as have come up in the discussions here, is that he is a big government conservative, that he wants to use the power of the federal government to promote his moral agenda (however laudable that might be).  What would be an example of that?  His opposition to gay marriage and abortion?  His favoring constitutional amendments to address those issues?  Isn’t it the government that has been pushing gay marriage and abortion?  The constitution limits government, so why isn’t working for a constitutional amendment an appropriate tactic?  Or are you thinking of something else?

Also, in other election news, Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    “Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!” – Dr. Veith.

    Or how desperate to keep their moral agenda front and center in an election that’s all about jobs, and a declining middle class.

    From the article: “‘This country is going to hell, and the evangelical voice is meaningless,’ [David] Lane said.”

    Agreed.

  • Tom Hering

    “Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!” – Dr. Veith.

    Or how desperate to keep their moral agenda front and center in an election that’s all about jobs, and a declining middle class.

    From the article: “‘This country is going to hell, and the evangelical voice is meaningless,’ [David] Lane said.”

    Agreed.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Backing Santorum will only show how ineffective this religious group is. They’re backing a loser (politically).

    In my opinion, if religious leaders feel the need to enter into politics it would be better to speak to issues rather than endorsing candidates.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Backing Santorum will only show how ineffective this religious group is. They’re backing a loser (politically).

    In my opinion, if religious leaders feel the need to enter into politics it would be better to speak to issues rather than endorsing candidates.

  • Micheal B.

    “Much will be said about Santorum as the evangelical candidate. Remember, though, that he is not an evangelical. He is a Roman Catholic. Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!”

    That’s not by choice, but rather out of desperation. If it’s not obvious, social conservatives have lost a lot of power. Right now, it’s looking like the absolute best-case scenario is a Mitt Romney win. Romney’s credentials on the issues they care about are questionable at best. Social conservatives would probably vote for a Buddhist right now if they thought he disliked abortion and gays as much as they do.

    (Looks like Tom Hering beat me to my point, I just read the comment. )

  • Micheal B.

    “Much will be said about Santorum as the evangelical candidate. Remember, though, that he is not an evangelical. He is a Roman Catholic. Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!”

    That’s not by choice, but rather out of desperation. If it’s not obvious, social conservatives have lost a lot of power. Right now, it’s looking like the absolute best-case scenario is a Mitt Romney win. Romney’s credentials on the issues they care about are questionable at best. Social conservatives would probably vote for a Buddhist right now if they thought he disliked abortion and gays as much as they do.

    (Looks like Tom Hering beat me to my point, I just read the comment. )

  • Tom Hering

    Michael @ 3, I might have beat you to the point, but your last line was a lot funnier than anything I said. Loved it. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Michael @ 3, I might have beat you to the point, but your last line was a lot funnier than anything I said. Loved it. :-D

  • Dennis Peskey

    The evangelicals could try preaching Christ crucified – then they could offend both the republican and democratic nominees equally.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    The evangelicals could try preaching Christ crucified – then they could offend both the republican and democratic nominees equally.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Bob

    Evangelicals and RCs have been working together in the so-called “culture wars” since the 1980s when Francis Schaeffer got the former involved in prolife issues. The RCC was involved with this issue well before the evangelicals were.

    I also loved the last line of Michael B’s #3, 2nd paragraph.

  • Bob

    Evangelicals and RCs have been working together in the so-called “culture wars” since the 1980s when Francis Schaeffer got the former involved in prolife issues. The RCC was involved with this issue well before the evangelicals were.

    I also loved the last line of Michael B’s #3, 2nd paragraph.

  • Tom Hering

    “Also, in other election news, Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/10/us-stephencolbert-jonhuntsman-idUSTRE8092JV20120110

  • Tom Hering

    “Also, in other election news, Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/10/us-stephencolbert-jonhuntsman-idUSTRE8092JV20120110

  • Cincinnatus

    Santorum is like George W. Bush on ‘roids. Anything that Bush did to upset a wide swath of the American public–preemptive wars, “compassionate” (i.e., big government social) conservatism, pandering to an evangelical base, etc.–Santorum did and would do in an amplified fashion. Santorum has literally been campaigning on a promise to invade Iran. Thus, at this point in history, I can’t see how it would be morally responsible to vote for Santorum.

    “Isn’t it the government that has been pushing gay marriage and abortion?”

    Abortion, yes, via Roe v. Wade and associated decisions. But since that is a Court decision, there is little that the President could do about it. Any President who promises to “overturn” Roe is pulling your leg.

    Gay marriage? No. Since when was the federal government “pushing” gay marriage? Gay marriage is only legal in a handful of states as a result of state-level processes. A DOMA or a constitutional amendment “protecting” marriage would be an absurd abuse of the intentions of a constitutional document, along the lines of Prohibition. How is a federal, constitutional amendment effectively banning gay marriage a “limitation” on government?

  • Cincinnatus

    Santorum is like George W. Bush on ‘roids. Anything that Bush did to upset a wide swath of the American public–preemptive wars, “compassionate” (i.e., big government social) conservatism, pandering to an evangelical base, etc.–Santorum did and would do in an amplified fashion. Santorum has literally been campaigning on a promise to invade Iran. Thus, at this point in history, I can’t see how it would be morally responsible to vote for Santorum.

    “Isn’t it the government that has been pushing gay marriage and abortion?”

    Abortion, yes, via Roe v. Wade and associated decisions. But since that is a Court decision, there is little that the President could do about it. Any President who promises to “overturn” Roe is pulling your leg.

    Gay marriage? No. Since when was the federal government “pushing” gay marriage? Gay marriage is only legal in a handful of states as a result of state-level processes. A DOMA or a constitutional amendment “protecting” marriage would be an absurd abuse of the intentions of a constitutional document, along the lines of Prohibition. How is a federal, constitutional amendment effectively banning gay marriage a “limitation” on government?

  • DonS

    “Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!”

    Hmm. Not sure anything has changed in terms of politics. As has been pointed out elsewhere on this thread, evangelicals have worked with others of like mind on particular social issues for decades. It was Roe v. Wade which galvanized the relationship between Catholics and evangelicals on the issue of life, for example. And, why not? They’re not worshiping together — just working together on matters of common interest. During the Proposition 8 campaign here in CA, evangelicals worked side-by-side with Mormons to pass that proposition. I don’t see a problem with that at all.

    As for Santorum, he is toast. It’s over — too little, too late.

  • DonS

    “Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!”

    Hmm. Not sure anything has changed in terms of politics. As has been pointed out elsewhere on this thread, evangelicals have worked with others of like mind on particular social issues for decades. It was Roe v. Wade which galvanized the relationship between Catholics and evangelicals on the issue of life, for example. And, why not? They’re not worshiping together — just working together on matters of common interest. During the Proposition 8 campaign here in CA, evangelicals worked side-by-side with Mormons to pass that proposition. I don’t see a problem with that at all.

    As for Santorum, he is toast. It’s over — too little, too late.

  • The Jones

    While Santorum’s moral stands are well documented and impressive, I have been more impressed by his refusal to pick up whatever weapon is available to him to beat the snot out of Mitt Romney and instead his faithfulness to his policy issues and philosophical convictions.

    All this Bain attack stuff is ridiculous. It was expected from Obama (since these type of statements would be faithful to HIS policy issues and philosophical convictions), but it is absolutely ridiculous coming from the likes of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.

    Perry was questioned by Laura Ingrahm about why he calls Mitt a “vulture capitalist” for his firm, but then takes in money from those same types of firms himself. His best answer was that somehow (he didn’t go into specifics) they were different, and Mitt’s Bain firm was worse.

    Gingrich, who excoriated Romney in debates for his Super PACs ad, which earned “four Pinocchios” from a fact-checking organization for inaccuracies about Gingrich, has an ironic new role in this saga. His Super PAC has release a MOVIE about Romney and his Bain fortunes, which has earned, you guessed it, four Pinocchios from the same organization. I think Charles Krauthammer’s Captain Ahab ad becomes more and more fitting as time goes on.

    Rick Santorum on the other hand, has stayed out of that. He talks about how the breakdown of the family is connected to economic issues like poverty. He keeps talking about the importance of manufacturing in America, and everyone still sees him as “the social conservative.” He is derided as a “big government conservative” by many people who support… ….Mitt Romney. This is just weird. I don’t feel I’m getting a fair representation of the race from the right. This is not just a Main Stream Media problem. This is a general Everybody Believes What They Want To Believe problem.

  • The Jones

    While Santorum’s moral stands are well documented and impressive, I have been more impressed by his refusal to pick up whatever weapon is available to him to beat the snot out of Mitt Romney and instead his faithfulness to his policy issues and philosophical convictions.

    All this Bain attack stuff is ridiculous. It was expected from Obama (since these type of statements would be faithful to HIS policy issues and philosophical convictions), but it is absolutely ridiculous coming from the likes of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.

    Perry was questioned by Laura Ingrahm about why he calls Mitt a “vulture capitalist” for his firm, but then takes in money from those same types of firms himself. His best answer was that somehow (he didn’t go into specifics) they were different, and Mitt’s Bain firm was worse.

    Gingrich, who excoriated Romney in debates for his Super PACs ad, which earned “four Pinocchios” from a fact-checking organization for inaccuracies about Gingrich, has an ironic new role in this saga. His Super PAC has release a MOVIE about Romney and his Bain fortunes, which has earned, you guessed it, four Pinocchios from the same organization. I think Charles Krauthammer’s Captain Ahab ad becomes more and more fitting as time goes on.

    Rick Santorum on the other hand, has stayed out of that. He talks about how the breakdown of the family is connected to economic issues like poverty. He keeps talking about the importance of manufacturing in America, and everyone still sees him as “the social conservative.” He is derided as a “big government conservative” by many people who support… ….Mitt Romney. This is just weird. I don’t feel I’m getting a fair representation of the race from the right. This is not just a Main Stream Media problem. This is a general Everybody Believes What They Want To Believe problem.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    That is sooo good —preach Christ! What an unusual concept for some Christians.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    That is sooo good —preach Christ! What an unusual concept for some Christians.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    That last comment of mine is a response to #5 — awesome!

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    That last comment of mine is a response to #5 — awesome!

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    No, a President cannot overturn Roe v. Wade. But he can appoint justices who can. Santorum is far more likely to do so than Romney. Also, a President can adopt policies, such as Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, that can prevent Federal funding of programs that perform abortions. While Santorum is a strong supporter of the 10thAmendment, he recognizes that the 10th Amendment is not the foundation of our government. The rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independance are the foundation. Therefore, you cannot use the 10th Amendment to say the DOMA is a violation of state sovereignty; the DOMA is protecting those individuals who do not wish to recognize and legitimize same sex marriage. Prohibition was an attempt to regulate individual behavior. The DOMA does not regulate behavior, it regulates the legal institution of marriage.
    Evangelical leaders have never had the clout to elect individuals. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, when most Evangelicals were democrats, Evangelicals voted for whom ever they wanted to without regard to that candidate’s position on pro life issues. But Evangelical leaders have been successful in enacting legislation on the Federal and State level; cases in point: the ban on partial birth abortion and ballot initiatives supporting traditional marriage. They will continue to do so, no matter whether Santorum is the nominee or not.

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    No, a President cannot overturn Roe v. Wade. But he can appoint justices who can. Santorum is far more likely to do so than Romney. Also, a President can adopt policies, such as Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, that can prevent Federal funding of programs that perform abortions. While Santorum is a strong supporter of the 10thAmendment, he recognizes that the 10th Amendment is not the foundation of our government. The rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independance are the foundation. Therefore, you cannot use the 10th Amendment to say the DOMA is a violation of state sovereignty; the DOMA is protecting those individuals who do not wish to recognize and legitimize same sex marriage. Prohibition was an attempt to regulate individual behavior. The DOMA does not regulate behavior, it regulates the legal institution of marriage.
    Evangelical leaders have never had the clout to elect individuals. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, when most Evangelicals were democrats, Evangelicals voted for whom ever they wanted to without regard to that candidate’s position on pro life issues. But Evangelical leaders have been successful in enacting legislation on the Federal and State level; cases in point: the ban on partial birth abortion and ballot initiatives supporting traditional marriage. They will continue to do so, no matter whether Santorum is the nominee or not.

  • SKPeterson

    John,

    The 10th Amendment is part of the foundation of our government as it is part of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution which sets up the form and order of our government. The Declaration of Independence is not and never has been. It is a document setting forth the reasons why the American colonies were separating from the Crown. While it is based upon certain principles derived from British common and constitutional law and derivatives of what might be termed Whig or liberal political theory, the Declaration does not provide for any particular form of government at the national level. In fact during the period during the Declaration’s adoption, the rest of the Revolution, and several years thereafter, the United States operated under the Articles of Confederation (a better system IMHO as the Constitution has been abused almost exactly how the anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry said it would). Now, to be clear the actual rights that the Constitution was based on, were not exactly those of the Declaration. Much evil has come about from the misuse of “the pursuit of happiness” which is why a prudent and small-government loving person eschews the phrase. The better right, which is truly part of the bedrock upon which our Constitution rests is Life, Liberty and Property. Even if you want to go with the rights evoked in the Declaration, I’m not sure one can actually do so and disregard the 10th Amendment.

  • SKPeterson

    John,

    The 10th Amendment is part of the foundation of our government as it is part of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution which sets up the form and order of our government. The Declaration of Independence is not and never has been. It is a document setting forth the reasons why the American colonies were separating from the Crown. While it is based upon certain principles derived from British common and constitutional law and derivatives of what might be termed Whig or liberal political theory, the Declaration does not provide for any particular form of government at the national level. In fact during the period during the Declaration’s adoption, the rest of the Revolution, and several years thereafter, the United States operated under the Articles of Confederation (a better system IMHO as the Constitution has been abused almost exactly how the anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry said it would). Now, to be clear the actual rights that the Constitution was based on, were not exactly those of the Declaration. Much evil has come about from the misuse of “the pursuit of happiness” which is why a prudent and small-government loving person eschews the phrase. The better right, which is truly part of the bedrock upon which our Constitution rests is Life, Liberty and Property. Even if you want to go with the rights evoked in the Declaration, I’m not sure one can actually do so and disregard the 10th Amendment.

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    SK, I don’t think you read my comments closely. I never advocated disregarding the 10th Amendment, nor did I claim that the Declaration of Independance was a legal document or that it set forth the form of our government. What I wrote was that the rights enumerated in the Declaration are the foundation of our government that the Constitution was formed to protect, the Constitution is the means, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the ends. Jefferson’s understanding of happiness included the right to property. The same can be said for those who worked on the Declaration with him as well as for those delegates who voted for it. What Jefferson understood is that property is a means to a higher end, human happiness, which in the thinking of the time included the ability to do good to one’s fellow man. The fact that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” has been abused simply reveals the ignorance of some and the intellectual dishonesty of others. The responsibility of all, and Conservatives in particular, is to recover the original meaning of the term and educate the public concerning it, not elevate a means to attaining happiness, in this case, property, to the end in itself. Look at the Commerce Clause; would you do away with it because of how liberals have abused it to vastly expand the scope of government? The Articles of Confederation were certainly abused when it was the form of government. The framers of the Articles never anticipated that the individual states would refuse to honor the laws of the other states, including the contract and property laws of the different states. With such a system, the U.S. would never had developed a national economy built on the ownership of private property. By your logic, the adoption of the Articles would be just as lamentable as the adoption of the Constitution as the Articles themselves were abused. In fact, Patrick Henry, the author of the 10th Amendment, softened in his opposition to the Constitution after its adoption. At his death, he was preparing to become a member of the Supreme Court, nominated by Washington, that ardent proponent of the Constitution. The rights in the Declaration are the foundation, the 10th Amendment is the means to secure them. Human rights always takes precedence over economics. Santorum understands this, while those such as Ron Paul do not.

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    SK, I don’t think you read my comments closely. I never advocated disregarding the 10th Amendment, nor did I claim that the Declaration of Independance was a legal document or that it set forth the form of our government. What I wrote was that the rights enumerated in the Declaration are the foundation of our government that the Constitution was formed to protect, the Constitution is the means, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the ends. Jefferson’s understanding of happiness included the right to property. The same can be said for those who worked on the Declaration with him as well as for those delegates who voted for it. What Jefferson understood is that property is a means to a higher end, human happiness, which in the thinking of the time included the ability to do good to one’s fellow man. The fact that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” has been abused simply reveals the ignorance of some and the intellectual dishonesty of others. The responsibility of all, and Conservatives in particular, is to recover the original meaning of the term and educate the public concerning it, not elevate a means to attaining happiness, in this case, property, to the end in itself. Look at the Commerce Clause; would you do away with it because of how liberals have abused it to vastly expand the scope of government? The Articles of Confederation were certainly abused when it was the form of government. The framers of the Articles never anticipated that the individual states would refuse to honor the laws of the other states, including the contract and property laws of the different states. With such a system, the U.S. would never had developed a national economy built on the ownership of private property. By your logic, the adoption of the Articles would be just as lamentable as the adoption of the Constitution as the Articles themselves were abused. In fact, Patrick Henry, the author of the 10th Amendment, softened in his opposition to the Constitution after its adoption. At his death, he was preparing to become a member of the Supreme Court, nominated by Washington, that ardent proponent of the Constitution. The rights in the Declaration are the foundation, the 10th Amendment is the means to secure them. Human rights always takes precedence over economics. Santorum understands this, while those such as Ron Paul do not.


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