Rick Santorum, Barak Obama and theology

Rick Santorum, Barak Obama and theology February 21, 2012

According to news reports, presidential candidate Rick Santorum is not bringing theology into the presidential campaign. (Of course, it has already come up with regard to Mitt Romney’s LDS membership.) Apparently, Santorum has said that Obama’s theology is wrong because it favors the earth more than humanity.

Two questions come to mind. First, is introducing theology into a political campaign appropriate? CNN raised that question and asked a Harvard religion professor. His answer was ambiguous. I think it is appropriate INSOFAR as one candidate has made statements or promoted policies with clear theological implications and the responding candidate is talking to a group with theological commitments. The public square does not need to be “naked” (devoid of religious language). I get nervous, however, when theology becomes a litmus test for candidates’ qualifications for office.

Second, since when is what’s good for the earth bad for humanity? Does Rick Santorum think God created humanity but not the earth as humanity’s habitat? I suppose he is thinking that it’s wrong to protect an animal species at the expense of human jobs. That’s the usual context of such statements.

This is what occurs to me about that. I think (I could be wrong) that Santorum does not believe in “blind” evolution. If that’s the case, then aren’t all species God’s creations? Does God create anything without meaning and purpose? If someone says a species’ purpose is for humanity’s sake, that still doesn’t explain why it would be good to destroy it.

Now, IF it came down to “humanity OR this particular animal species” as a matter of survival, I suppose I would favor humanity. But is that ever really the case?

It seems to me that Santorum’s theology of creation is flawed. God created the earth and all that is in and on it for a reason. God assigned humans the task of taking care of the earth. (We have too often wrongly interpreted that assignment as permission to exploit and destroy nature.) Shouldn’t we do the most we can to preserve and protect all of creation–especially the existence of every species? We might think a particular species (e.g., a particular type of snail) is dispensible, but if we think God created it, who are we to make that decision? Isn’t that usurping God’s place?

It seems to me that all Christians, Rick Santorum included, should care about the earth and everything on it because God is the creator of it all. IF Obama is looking for ways to protect and preserve animal species without destroying people, then what can be wrong with that? IF Obama is valuing animals or plants above humans, a critic should be very specific and when and where and how that is the case. I’m not aware of it.


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