Entries in Christianity (6)


Santorum's Rhetoric Aimed at Obama

AFP/Getty Images(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- As Rick Santorum makes his way toward a two-man race with Mitt Romney, he has ratcheted up his rhetoric, displaying an increasingly angrier tone on the stump, and painting a doomsday picture of this country that leaves his supporters with a terrifying image of the state of the nation.

The former Pennsylvania senator has almost completely pivoted the focus of his stump speech from his GOP rivals to President Obama.

And he’s introduced a new metaphor that aims to reignite the terror Americans felt during World War II by comparing Republican primary voters to the “greatest generation” and today’s failings of European financial systems to the crumbling of Europe’s cities as Adolf Hitler gained power in the 1940s.

“Remember, the greatest generation for a year and a half, sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness, while our closest ally, Britain, was being bombed and leveled, while Japan was spreading its cancer all throughout Southeast Asia,” Santorum ominously told a packed, enthusiastic crowd at the First Redeemer Church in Cummings, Ga., Sunday, before traveling back to Ohio to campaign here today.

The audience at the church interrupted Santorum at least four times with wild applause, loving the red meat he was throwing to the conservative crowd. “We’re a hopeful people,” he continued. “We think, well, you know it’ll get better. After a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who’s not so good of a guy after all. … Sometimes, sometimes it’s not OK.”

“It’ll be harder for this generation to figure it out. There’s no cataclysmic event,” Santorum concluded.

While Santorum conceded that Obama’s policies were not quite as horrific as Hitler’s war in Europe, the rising GOP front-runner cautioned that the president is “fundamentally restructuring America.”

Santorum, 53, has sharpened his rhetoric in the past week, targeting not rival Mitt Romney, but keeping his sights almost exclusively on Obama. His stump speech has always had a fearful tone at times, but his language has gotten more pointed and angrier in the past few days.

While all the GOP candidates have harsh tongues when it comes to the president’s policies, Santorum’s criticism is often more scathing and personal.

He charged this weekend that the president with “trampling on a constitutional right” by requiring religious hospitals and institutions to provide co-pay-free contraception.

“It is imposing his ideology on a group of people expressing their theology, their moral code, and saying the government will force you to do what your faith says is gravely wrong,” Santorum said.

He accused Obama Sunday of trying to “cull the ranks of the disabled” by requiring prenatal screenings, which Santorum says often lead to abortions, to be provided for free by insurance companies under Obama’s health care law.

“Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done,” Santorum told a receptive crowd at the Ohio Christian Alliance in Columbus. “That too is part of ‘Obamacare, ‘another hidden message as to what President Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country.”

Santorum said the medical community is cutting costs by refusing to treat or “minimally” treat children with disabilities.

“Let’s take a child who is high-cost and who the world, particularly unfortunately the medical profession increasingly is looking at as, well, less utility, less value than others in society,” he said in Ohio today. “It’s happening now folks, it’s happening now. This is a brave new world that we do not want to go down.”

Santorum also blasted the president for maintaining “big-education bureaucracies” that are run by the federal government.

He said the federal and state governments’ running public schools is “anachronistic,” having stemmed from the industrialization of America.

“It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms, where they did home school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories,” Santorum said at the Columbus event Sunday. “So we built equal factories called public schools.”

Santorum said the public school system has been a “failure” because it is designed to meet the needs of the state and the school, not the children.

“There’s one thing for states to help fund public education, it’s another to dictate and micromanage and create a one-size-fits-all education system,” Santorum said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We are failing the American children and we are failing our society. We need some really dramatic changes and we’re not getting that.”

Despite his white-hot rhetoric, however, Santorum told a crowd of about 500 enthusiastic Ohioans today that people are looking for a nominee with a “positive message.”

“Someone who doesn’t think that politics is the equal of mud wrestling, but a higher calling, a calling to go out and paint a picture of how your lives here in Steubenville, how your lives here in Ohio and across this country are going to be impacted as a result of the leadership and the policies we put forward,” Santorum said. “We’ve kept to that plan.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


As Popularity Increases, Santorum Makes Controversial Remarks

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Rick Santorum is on a roll. He’s drawing huge crowds on the campaign trail. The latest Gallup poll shows him ahead of Mitt Romney by eight points nationally. Even in Romney’s backyard of Michigan, Santorum looks like the candidate to beat.

Yet, his success at driving enthusiasm on the trail in the short-term may hurt him in the long run.

After his three-state sweep in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri two weeks ago, Santorum argued that it was his stance on the economy — not social issues like contraception — that was responsible for his success.

To prove he was more than just a one-dimensional candidate, Santorum and his supporters promised that he would be talking about jobs and the economy. After all, his blue collar roots and his focus on reviving America’s manufacturing sector was going to be a strong sell in places like Michigan and Ohio.

Instead, Santorum has been spending almost all of his time since his wins the other week talking about almost everything other than the economy.

Santorum appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday and sought to explain his comments that President Obama’s agenda was based on a “phony theology” — a remark that he made at a campaign stop in Ohio over the weekend.

“I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the president’s faith,” Santorum said. “I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president is a Christian. He says he is a Christian. But I’m talking about his world view or his — the — the way he approaches problems in this country and I think they’re — they’re different than how most people do in America.”

Santorum got tangled up in his words on the campaign trail on Sunday too. As ABC’s Shushannah Walshe notes, he’s been introducing new lines into his stump speech, comparing GOP voters to the so-called “greatest generation” and this year’s election to World War II.

In a mega-church in Georgia on Sunday, he ramped up his rhetoric, urging his crowd not to be complacent about the Obama administration as Americans initially were before they finally learned that “this guy over in Europe” was “not so good of a guy after all.” (Santorum’s historical analogy appeared to be a reference to Adolf Hitler.)

And he spent a series of media interviews last week disassociating himself from the comments of one of his wealthiest benefactors, Foster Friess, who joked that “back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

To be sure, Santorum’s success with very conservative voters and evangelicals is helpful in the upcoming primaries. But, in Michigan where just 39 percent of GOP voters in 2008 identified as evangelical, the economy, not social issues, remains the driving agenda.

The more Santorum spends talking about home schooling and “phony theology”, and not the economy, means that he misses the chance to expand into a real three-dimensional candidate.

Apparently hoping to change the subject back to jobs, Santorum wrote an Op-Ed in the Detroit News on Monday declaring that when it comes to the economy and the manufacturing sector, “America can do better. Much better

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry's Wife Touts Their Values in New Iowa TV Ad

Tom Williams/Roll Call(MUSCATINE, Iowa) – Rick Perry’s campaign is out with a new television ad in Iowa featuring his wife Anita Perry as she tells the story of their relationship, small town upbringing and Christian values.

“It’s an old fashioned American story.  I married my high school sweetheart, but first I had to wait as he volunteered for the Air Force and flew planes all over the world,” Anita Perry says of her husband, looking directly at the camera while wearing a royal blue turtleneck with a white scarf draped around her neck.

“I’m Anita Perry.  When Rick’s tour of duty as captain in the Air Force ended, he returned home to farm with his dad and asked me to marry him.  We grew up in small towns, raised with Christian values, values we still believe in, and we know Washington, D.C., could use some of that.”

Titled “American Story,” the thirty second ad is the first highlighting the First Lady of Texas, but it is similar to some of his other ads that stress his commitment to maintaining his Christian values.

As the advertisement ends, Ricky Perry quickly pops into the frame with his wife as she looks at him and he sweetly says, “I’m Rick Perry, and I really approve this message.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Born Again: Religion and the Race for the White House

AbleStock/PolkaDot/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Call them "born again" undecideds: Republicans exploring bids for the presidency in 2012 have ramped up their religious fervor and sharpened answers to questions about faith in an effort to court social conservative voters in key early primary states.

"I believe in God. I am Christian. I think the Bible is certainly, it is 'the' book," real estate mogul Donald Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week after catapulting to second place in a poll of unofficial GOP presidential contenders.

But as voters begin to scrutinize the lives of a wide-open field of unofficial GOP presidential contenders, several personal histories might raise red flags in some religious circles.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's transition from the Catholic Church to evangelical Protestantism in the 1990s after marrying his wife, Mary -- a move he explains in his book "Courage to Stand" as an effort to "merge my faith and my church life" -- could hurt his appeal among some Catholic primary voters, several Catholic political activists said.

Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich might have curried favor among Catholics with his high-profile conversion to the church two years ago, leaving his Baptist roots behind. Some observers believe the shift, which came as he also sought public forgiveness for his marital infidelity, could also help him among Christians in general by demonstrating that he has been spiritually reborn.

Trump has also been put on the spot by Christian evangelicals for his two failed marriages. "I'm a very hard worker, and I've always said it's very difficult for a woman to be married to me because I work all the time," he told CBN's David Brody when asked to explain why they failed.

And then there's former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormonism, which stunted his bid in 2008, and could remain a touchy subject with religious conservative voters in 2012.

Religious leaders in Iowa and South Carolina, where evangelicals wield significant influence in caucuses and primaries, praised the leading likely candidates for their testimonies of faith and orthodox positions on issues such abortion and same-sex marriage. But when it comes down to picking a nominee, they say, they're really looking for genuine religiosity, which may be a problem for some Republican hopefuls who've stumbled along the road to Damascus.

The biggest hurdles may be faced by the two potential Mormon candidates -- Romney and outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman. Thirty-five percent of Americans from across the political spectrum said in 2007 ABC News-Washington Post poll that they'd be less likely to support a presidential candidate who's a Mormon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


God's Wrath? Japan Quake Stirs Religious Debate

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- The devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week has renewed an age-old debate over God's role in a natural disaster. Though he later apologized, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said Monday that the calamity that hit his country was "tenbatsu," or divine punishment, for the wickedness of the Japanese people. In some right-wing religious circles, leaders have called the disaster a prophecy about the need for more Japanese to turn to God.

"Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God's warning to them," Rev. David Yonggi Cho of South Korea's Yoido Full Gospel Church, considered to be the world's largest single congregation, told the online newspaper News Mission.

Religious experts say that while comments blaming humans for natural disasters are not unusual, they reflect a misplaced desire by some leaders to promote adherence to certain beliefs and behaviors.

"Personal or communal suffering often elicits questions -- why me, why us? That's understandable," said University of Virginia religious studies professor James F. Childress. "Religious perspectives offer ways to help explain or give meaning to such suffering."

"However, it is one thing to use suffering as the occasion for self reflection on personal or communal relations to the divine; it is another to blame the victims of an earthquake, for example, for provoking divine wrath," he said.

U.S. Christian televangelist Pat Robertson said the 2009 earthquake which rocked Haiti and claimed more than 200,000 lives was because the country was "cursed" after making a "pact to the devil." In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans, Texas mega-church pastor John Hagee said the storm, which left 1,400 dead, was the "judgment of God" for the sins that took place on its streets. And in 2001, just two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Rev. Jerry Falwell said the U.S. shared blame for the crisis which had befallen it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Tea Party Closely Linked to Religious Right

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly half of those who identify with the Tea Party movement are part of the religious right, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll released Tuesday.

Eight of ten Americans who identified with the Tea Party were Christians and 47 percent said they were part of the Christian conservative movement, the poll found.

But the grassroots movement remains a small part of the population overall. Christian conservatives make up 22 percent of the population but those who favor the Tea Party only comprise about half of that. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 94 percent, who support the Tea Party movement were white men and more than half were 50 or older, according to the survey.

Tea Party supporters have rallied for of smaller government, lower taxes, free enterprise and individual freedom.

The poll found overwhelming support for Sarah Palin, a key figure in the movement. Eighty-percent had a favorable view of the former Alaska governor, while 75 percent held an unfavorable view of President Obama.

The Tea Party movement proved itself to be a formidable force in the primaries. Several candidates backed by national Tea Party groups successfully defeated candidates favored by the Republican establishment. But recent polls show that interest may be waning.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio