Why Santorum can’t win in November

Watch this clip:

Tony Perkins’ pastor, Dennis Terry, brings the Christian nation rhetoric in a large way. Everyone else can just get out.

Can a candidate who wants to unite the nation clap at such rhetoric? Santorum did. He says he didn’t, but he certainly is clapping when the camera moves his way when Terry says the Holy Spirit will “show up” if we elect godly leaders.

I do not believe the electorate will be as forgiving to Santorum as they were to Obama over his pastor issues. I don’t think Obama’s answers about Rev. Wright were satisfactory, and I don’t think Santorum’s mere disagreement is sufficient either. Perhaps I am wrong and Santorum could win the GOP nomination while pandering to Christian nation rhetoric, but I certainly hope he doesn’t.

  • StraightGrandmother

    As bad as this is, and it is bad, I still find this worse.

    The State of Georgia

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&feature=player_embedded&v=tt3hpQ8Hris

  • Lynn David
  • stephen

    The preacher is the least of his problems.

  • Nick

    “This nation was founded as a Christian nation.”

    Let’s replace “This nation” with “America.” Thus, “[America] was founded as a Christian nation.”

    The real issue is what he means by the phrase “America was founded…”

    Argument 1: Going by the literal interpretation of the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights, the American nation-state was certainly not governmentally-founded as Christian: because we respect no establishment of religion, we’re not a Christian nation any more than we are a Buddhist or Jewish or Muslim nation.

    Argument 2: “[America] was founded…” is therefore figurative: the concept of “America” thus existed long before the actual American nation-state was established. As such, the argument is that those who helped establish the roots that eventually grew into America specifically did so with the understanding – no, the goal – of creating a “Christian” nation. But this contention emphasizes only part of the historical record. Yes, there were certainly many, many Christians who helped found this nation; but, there were also a number of individuals who contributed to the founding that were either non-religious or ‘not as’ religious as others.

    The bigger dilemma (which requires a whole ‘nother post) is whether the meaning of the term “America” is effectively more conceptual than it is governmental/legal.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    I think the reason people will be less forgiving is that Obama didn’t campaign on religious fidelity and social issues the way Santorum is. I mean, most republicans don’t even believe he’s actually a Christian; why would they worry about something his church’s pastor said? They don’t even believe he GOES to church.

  • Blake

    I really find these discussions of pastors in a political context disturbing. I don’t think people always choose their pastors, I don’t think people expect that what their pastors say will be taken as an endorsement of the position (or of the ignorance of the pastor as happened to Obama), I don’t think people should have to consider the politics of the pastor when choosing a church, I don’t think attending a church qualifies as an endorsement of everything said at the pulpit, and I don’t think visitors to a church are automatically endorsing what a pastor is saying by applauding. It was distasteful when people tried to make a controversy out of Obama’s affiliation with Jeremiah Wright & I think its distasteful to try to do the same to Santorum.

    I worry that by making pastors’ sermons an issue we are participating in the further politicizing of churches. What is an aspiring politician to do if every word his pastor ever speaks is going to be future political fodder? What is that aspiring politician to do when the philosophy of every church they visit is now tied to their political career?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      People don’t choose their pastors? Well, a pastor could come into an existing church and begin preaching something objectionable. Then the politician would have to decide how bad the objection is. However, in this case, Santorum was there to get prayed over by the guy who said non-Christians could get out. He really could have chosen not to do that. He could have walked out. He could have done a lot of things but he didn’t. I am not really judging him for what the guy said directly. But I don’t have respect for his reaction to the situation. His big brave move to stand up for rights of conscience? He didn’t clap (he said) when the minister proclaimed nonsense. How brave.

  • Blake

    I’m not saying he’s not a coward; I’m just saying this isn’t as juicy as it looks. Plus, as you pointed out, he was there pandering. There was no way he was going to walk out. If he was a man of courage he wouldn’t be a politician. If he was concerned with justice he wouldn’t be running for that party’s nomination.

    This isn’t going to stick. The pastor was NOT the guy who introduced him (that’d be Tony Perkins; which in my book is much more damning); Santorum’s already laughed it off & he’s ready to move on. Anyone who harps on this will be seen as “attacking ___________ for my beliefs” which will, in turn, keep feeding the resentment machine which keeps his campaign running.

  • Lynn David

    Warren, have you looked at the demographics of the Republican primary in Illinois – either by text-listing by county (FOX) or the AP’s map graphic on C-Span (click on Illinois)?

    Santorums base in this is mostly rural and small-town republicans. Rhetoric such as that expressed by this preacher is not going to matter to people such as that. Having heard from the German Protestant and Catholic farmers in my own county in Indiana (adjacent to an Illinois county that went better than 50% for Santorum) many of them would espouse a similar rhetoric. Likely it is a wash. It may hurt Santorum in more urban areas, however, slightly, but that may be offset by those gained in more rural areas.

    . . .


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