Politics

Fake scandals won’t stop Santorum

Suddenly, an old speech by Rick Santorum about Satan and sin has generated a great deal of controversy. Consider these excerpts:

“If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.”

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

“There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might.”

“The father of lies has set his sights on none other than good, decent, powerful, influential United States of America.”

But these remarks are controversial only among America’s political and media elites. Most of the media have glossed over the fact that Santorum made his remarks not as an elected official or as a candidate for political office but as a private citizen.

But even if he had held office at the time, Santorum’s comments fall well within what’s typical and acceptable for American politicians. They could have delivered by almost any of our presidents or founders. In fact, they were.

Only the final quote above comes from Santorum. The first two quotes come from William Penn and Abraham Lincoln, respectively.

The third quote was said by Ronald Reagan in his famous “Evil Empire speech,” delivered to a meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983. In that speech, Reagan not only said that “we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might.” He also acknowledged the existence of “sin and evil in the world.”

Reagan referred to communism as “the focus of evil in the modern world,” famously called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and concluded that only through “work and prayers…can we hope to survive this perilous century and keep alive this experiment in liberty – this last, best hope of man.”

The media howled with indignation then, too, but that was because Reagan boldly named the evil he saw, the Soviet Union. Santorum’s remarks were mild by comparison.

In fact, when I first read Santorum’s speech, delivered at Ave Maria University in 2008, I was confused about which parts were supposed to be controversial.

Santorum’s statement that the devil has set his sights on “good, decent, powerful, influential United States of America,” includes the assertion that America is “good, decent and powerful…” These are ideas American elites don’t believe and spend most of their time trying to dispel.

Santorum also said, “Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality…” Here again I was confused, because to our elites the controversial part is Santorum’s recognition that pride, vanity and sensuality – the vices upon which our popular culture depends – are unhealthy.

The media chose instead to exploit Santorum’s belief that Satan exists and is attacking America to portray him as a right wing religious fanatic. But Santorum was only articulating what most Americans believe.

Every major Christian denomination recognizes the existence of evil and Satan, as do most Americans. A 2007 Gallup poll found that roughly 70 percent of Americans believe in the devil and in hell.

If there’s a candidate for president who has a religious problem, it’s not Santorum but, rather, Barack Obama. The president has spent most of his first term trying to force churches to violate its core principles while ignoring the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

His appeasement of radical Islam continues. Last week Obama sent Afghan President Hamid Karzai a groveling letter of apology over the burning of copies of the Koran overseen by an American officer at a U.S. military base. “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote in the letter. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”

This incident recalls the 2009 episode in which the U.S. military threw away, and ultimately burned, Bibles printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans.

The administration’s reactions to these two incidents underscore perfectly the double standard with which it engages Christianity and Islam.

On the rare occasions when Obama acknowledges Christianity, it is usually to justify some Big Government scheme, often one that will end up making it more difficult for real Christians to practice their faith.

Earlier this month, Obama told attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast that the Bible demands that government raise taxes on the rich. Obama’s socialist distortion of the Gospel message went unchallenged in the media, many of whose members were probably too busy scouring Rick Santorum’s old speeches to notice. This fake scandal is yet more proof that if our elites had their way, the wages of acknowledging the existence of sin would be political death.

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