Santorum Calls Out Washington's False Prophets

On Saturday, surging Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum attacked President Barack Obama’s governing philosophy: “It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology--but no less a theology.”

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The mainstream media, predictably, portrayed Santorum’s criticism as a revival of fringe claims that President Obama is not a Christian, but in fact a Muslim.

Yet Santorum was not attacking Obama’s religious identity. He was attacking the content of Obama’s religious beliefs--beliefs that Obama himself has put at issue.


Recently, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama claimed that his Christian faith motivated his policies of economic redistribution. At the same time, Obama claims the power to decide which Catholic institutions are “religious,” as he imposes abortion and birth control mandates.

Obama has also intervened in non-Christian faiths. A year ago, he told Jewish leaders to “search your souls” about Israel’s willingness to make concessions to Palestinians, as if Israel had not done so many times already. And when U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden last May, the Obama administration insisted that he did not symbolize Islam--but then went to great lengths to arrange a pseudo-religious Islamic funeral at sea.

What Santorum has done is to push back against the persistent religious hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and the left in general, who habitually raise false alarms about Christian encroachments on the constitutional separation of church and state while manipulating religion to suit their own political ends. Under Obama, Democrats have become ever bolder in substituting left-wing revisionism for traditional religious doctrine.

There are three essential elements in the so-called “liberation theology” of the American left. The first is the creed of social justice--the notion that it is our job to perfect the world by removing wealth and power from some and giving it to others. The second is the institution of the state--that the government is the ultimate source of moral virtue. And the third is the Prophet Obama Himself--the messenger and interpreter of the true faith.

It is no exaggeration to note that the left and its representatives in the media deified the president--“he’s sort of God,” said Newsweekeditor Evan Thomas in 2009--and Obama played along. In building up to the 2012 elections, he has made social issues important, not just to distract from his economic failures and to rally liberals, but also because “liberation theology” is a weapon against resurgent conservative constitutionalism.

Obama honed his theology in the pews of Jeremiah Wright’s church, and uses it in a strategy of divide-and-rule that often pits the political leaders of a community--who covet access to power--against the rank-and-file. When tested against traditional faith--at the Saddleback debate in August 2008, or in California’s Proposition 8--Obama’s theology fails. Yet it persists and thrives because of its self-appointed missionaries in the media.

Religious voters, left and right, are quietly outraged. The untold story of Republican Bob Turner’s win in last fall’s special election to replace Anthony Weiner in New York was that his Democrat opponent, an Orthodox Jew, had angered local religious leaders by defending his vote for gay marriage in the state legislature not just as a political view but as a true expression of his faith. That, and Obama’s hostility to Israel, fueled the upset.

It is not enough for conservatives to respond by defending the constitution alone, when Obama is undermining that constitution’s moral foundations. Rather, it is necessary for conservatives to reaffirm the simple moral foundations of our republic--defending, without shame, both the Christian roots and the universal values in which the U.S. was conceived, the rights that precede the good, the “justice” that trumps “social justice.”

Santorum is not running on social issues, even if he is not shy about defending his own beliefs. His campaign has wisely emphasized economic liberty. It is Obama, rather, who has pushed a radical religious agenda to the fore, perhaps believing that Republicans would not resist.

Santorum has stepped forward--as no other Republican candidate has done--to answer that challenge and--finally!--provide voters with the debate we deserve.


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