Skip to content

Right, Left, Moderate — Mitt Romney vs. Rick Santorum.

So Mr. Santorum is nearly at the level of support as Mr. Romney for the next Republican nominee for President,  The Republican establishment is blanching.  At least that’s what I’ve heard.  It is clear to me that Mr. Romney is the better candidate to defeat President Obama.  Whatever he says, Mr. Romney has shown himself to be a secret moderate.  That and his war chest should assure a battle this November.

I’m of two minds.  As a voter, I’d prefer the choice between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama.  As a progressive I’d prefer Rick Santorum to be the President’s rival.  I don’t believe that Mr. Santorum will even be able to seriously contest this election.  

And my third mind, that of a Bible-believing, church-going Christian, is also on the President’s side.  In my last post I said I thought Mr. Santorum was a Christian, serious and committed in his faith.  Pro-life myself, I have a lot of sympathy for his ardent pro-life views and his seeming determination to live that faith in public.  As we all should, you know.  

As well, Mr. Santorum is a rich man but not part of the the 1% like Mr. Romney.  I sense that Mr. Santorum knows what it is to struggle with bills, fix his own house, shop for his own groceries, to live the life I live.

Mr. Romney’s economic plans would continue to solidify and entrench he and his buddies’ place in the American class system.  More money would flow to the elites who in turn would continue to buy the politicians. Romney’s plans for president would surely serve self, whether that is conscious in his mind or not.  Even were I a Republican I cannot vote for a president who is for the elite and by the elite.

That leaves Mr. Santorum.  His social views are an anathema to most progressives and they sit ill with me at times.  But worse than that, his economic plans would favor money flowing upwards, away from the poor and needy.  Either Republican candidate could send us back into war.  Apparently, the Promised Land is any nation that opposes the United States and the way it does things.  No that’s not fair, I don’t believe any sitting president would send us heedless into battle.

I also believe most of our presidents moderate because ultimately we are a moderate nation, to lead me as well as the Tea Party the president has to land somewhere between us. Certainly our president has made several decisions I think are wimpy or kowtowing to the powerful.

That’s a good thing really.  And that brings me back to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  If we’re to be stuck with a Republican for President, I’d not want it to be either of them.

Evangelicals Rally Around Rick Santorum

An evangelical group chooses Rick Santorum.

The choice came down to Gingrich or Santorum.

It seems clear to me that Santorum was one of the candidates with real social conservative cred.  He, along with Bachmann and Perry, were the people I felt were the most genuine in their appeal to evangelicals.  Romney majestically ignores the that block of voters.  He doesn’t need ’em.  Ron Paul is not a social conservative.  I think Huntsman knows he and evangelicals aren’t a natural match.  Stephen Colbert however might be the real deal. Or not.

Gingrich appeared to be trying to fit a mold that evangelicals would recognize.  My conscience does not allow me to question his faith.  That’s not mine to judge.  Truth is evangelicals know they’re saved by grace.  They know also that they have been forgiven much.  At least I’d hope so.  Gingrich sells the story of repentance and forgiveness.  That is something we’re intimately familiar with.

I myself felt that he “enhanced” his appeal to social conservatives. I found his record much clearer on fiscal conservatism. I thought his earlier incarnations showed him to be a man of vast intelligence and cynicism, a ne plus ultra political insider.

Santorum troubles me.  Yes, I know he’s a “true” conservative, define that as you will.  He seems to have lived his faith out.  He has taken unpopular stances.  Maybe it is just that I’m not a fiscal conservative so his pay to play politics look a bit like he’s one of those believers who Jesus exhorts not to favor the rich (James 2:1-4).

Yet does it really matter?  Are there really people who do not believe the wealthy businessman will be the Republican candidate?  It surely will not be Santorum.

And Then Sometimes The Left Set Fire to a Straw Man

I guess because they like to see ’em burn.

Subtitle to my rant:  Pot taking aim at kettle.

I probably should read The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age (link is to NYT review).  But why?  Might as well enjoy fruitless speculation which is not based on fact but instead faith.  We* evangelicals are all about that.  At least you’d think so based on this book by Stephens and Giberson as reviewed by Molly Worthen.

This investigation appears to be about how evangelicals have put their brains in neutral (if not in reverse) while they try to fit science into their beliefs.  I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to that or even that I may not be guilty of that — I am.  However Stephens and Giberson appear to cherry-pick the low hanging fruit or some other mixed metaphor.

It seems their exemplars are  Dr. James Dobson and Ken Ham.  This is called shooting ducks in a barrel,  guys.  If most evangelicals consider those two to be among the pantheon of greatest thinkers nobody has told me and I’ve been of the faith for more years than I care to say.  I respected Dr. Dobson’s child-raising views and emphasis on family until he fell off the Right side of the cart.   I still call them both my brothers in the faith however though they may not claim me.

Then the book gets worse.  If the reviewer Dr. Worthen is correct, the authors continue on to mock us for disdaining scholarship and rigorous intellectual thought while we secretly wish we had all the trappings such can claim. Er, what? That’s a bale of hay right there.  Of course the reviewer is an academic and nicely separates herself from the chaff of us religious non-thinkers. Grant you this is only anecdotal but once again this whole contention is outside my daily experience.  I have never heard or read about anyone expressing these views openly or privately.  I’m sure that opinion is out there but its not common.

The reviewer (I think it is the reviewer and not the authors) twits us for CS Lewis love  (link to his foundation here).   She indicates that we admire many of his writings only because he had a “plummy” accent and was an Oxford don.  Not.  Lewis didn’t shy away from talking about difficult things and did not presume to have the only right or best or in fact any answer to all Christianity’s paradoxes.  That paragraph of the review alone encapsulates Worthen’s own snobbery and simplistic view about evangelicals while revealing how little she actually knows.

We are told the authors don’t treat evangelicals as a monolithic group. Well somebody is doing so.  Or maybe, as I suspect, they are conflating my flavor of faith with conservatism and anti-intellectualism in a simple false syllogism.  You know the kind we were warned not to make when we were in middle school?  They all ought to know better.

So for the record Dr. Worthen and Mssrs. Stephens and Giberson, evangelicals come in all belief-sets, politics, and approaches to “secular” knowledge.  Many of us do have a secular education and our heads have not (yet) exploded.  Many of us either embrace troublesome “facts’ or at least allow them into our worldview.  Many look for a deeper truth that combines all we believe into a unified faith narrative.

If Frank Schaeffer were to write this book or even review it, I’d have to pay attention but these guys are clearly sensationalists trying to sell their wares to puzzled NYT-type readers for whom my faith is an oddity.

*For the sake of this blog, I self-identify with many evangelicals and so use “we” and “us”.  Please note that my view may not represent any other evangelical except in the broadest sense.

Romney wins Iowa Caucus, Santorum wins Evangelical Hearts

Ron Paul comes in 3rd.

No, I’m not going to rant again about Ron Paul. Yes, I’m still dismayed at anyone calling themselves an Evangelical Christian voting for Paul however he will not win the nomination.

Neither Paul nor Santorum will win the nomination because the Republican establishment much prefers Romney. I guess I do. In the event of a Republican win at least he’s more moderate than the others.

I don’t know what to say about Santorum. He seems genuine. I applaud his open pro-life stance. I believe his faith is real, not a put on like some of the rest (translate this as Gingrich). On the other hand he promotes all guns all the time. Somehow this must be Biblically based? Not.

I’ll be interested to see the breakdown of votes by religious orientation.  Maybe Jim Wallis knows.

We’re Esau and We’re selling our Birthright

Like many I am watching the Republican campaigns for president.  This NYT article particularly interested me:  Appealing to Evangelicals, Hopefuls Pack Religion into Ads.

I self identify as an Evangelical.   I’m not a Republican — emphatically not a Republican.  I’m not a Democrat either, for the record.  I’ve come to the conclusion that no one political party or movement has God on their side.  God cares about the state of our spirit more than how close the Huskies made it to the Rose Bowl.

Which brings me to my post’s title.  We evangelicals seem to be so desperate to elect a Republican that many have taken to supporting Ron Paul.  Ron Paul, seriously?  As the Republican party has become the party of me-me-me, Paul’s man as god philosophy has become increasingly palatable to the Evangelical right.

Did Jesus call us to property rights and pull-yourself-up-by-bootstraps more than He preached about the poor, the widow and the alien?  If you can find the former in the Bible (without major personal interpretation) please let me know.  He calls the poor blessed.  The NT church was socialistic in its daily sharing of food and money.  The focus was not on self — Jesus clearly spoke against selfishness, against self period really (Matthew 10:37-39).  There is no way to tweak another message from His words, especially one that embraces man being his own measure.

This is a true story:  I once had a fellow Evangelical try convince me I shouldn’t be so concerned for the poor because Jesus said the poor would always be with us.  I won’t even go into all the ways that is the wrong interpretation of Jesus’ words.  Because sure, let’s make certain people stay poor because that’s what Jesus wanted.  You bet.

When I was young I was told I must vote Republican in order to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade.  Yes, the same Supreme Court that established corporate person-hood, and other egregious precedents.  Is this what I have been working toward for so many years?

Amazingly, while the me-first conservative big business/ usury friendly (Proverbs 28:8) economic policy has been supported and passed in Congress, Roe vs. Wade has gone nowhere.  It is still here.

Only it is not amazing because the NYT article cited above is right.  The Republican party has clothed itself in religion and family.  I feel sure the “sophisticated” party leadership has chuckled with their corporate masters at Evangelicals’ stupidity.

We’ve sold our political selves to save the unborn while insuring that some of those very same children grow up in want — you know because Jesus said we’d always have the poor with us and all.