Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fanning the Flames of Culture War

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The Republican Tea Party presidential primary is in flux.  Rick Santorum had previously been discounted by the politic pundits until he recently started winning among the voters.  Santorum is now the new GOP Tea Party frontrunner.  The most recent Gallup national tracking poll shows Santorum with a 6-point lead over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

In his recent campaign speeches, Santorum is repeating his assertion that President Obama’s agenda is based on a "phony theology."  Santorum is claiming that the Obama administration is anti-church. He was quoted by the New York Times.
“It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said. “But no less a theology.” 

In later comments to reporters, Mr. Santorum said while there are “a lot of different stripes” of Christianity, he believes that “if the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.” 

“I’m just saying he’s imposing his values on the church, and I think that’s wrong,” he said, adding that he did not believe Mr. Obama was less of a Christian for doing so. 

But the Obama campaign called the comments “the latest low in a Republican primary campaign that has been fueled by distortions, ugliness and searing pessimism and negativity.”
Assertions that Mr. Obama is not a Christian, or that he is not an American, were rampant in the 2008 campaign. 
Rick Santorum's words are carefully chosen. His ideas are deliberately framed. The effect is knowingly to fuel the flames of a culture war.
Santorum isn’t really advancing a theological argument. He’s fanning the flames of culture war, speaking in a code that is easily deciphered by those determined to paint Obama as something other than a real American, those who want to believe he is a crypto-Muslim, those for whom his birth certificate is less than valid proof of his citizenship.
Santorum has many more novel, unorthodox and narrow minded ideas. He also believes that large-scale public education is an outdated idea.  He believes that any form of contraception is “not okay.” And he has  stated that he didn’t want to “make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Of course in true hypocritical Santorum style, he later claimed that he didn't say the word 'black'.  He actually said the word 'blah'.  

Many Protestants may looking at Santorum in a different light once they understand culture war extends to them.  Back in 2008, here is what Santorum had to say about the state of Protestantism.
In a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University, Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, warned about the dangers of “the NBA” and “rock concerts,” but also said that while Protestants founded America, mainline Protestantism is in such “shambles” that “it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it”:
We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it. [...]
Whether its sensuality of vanity of the famous in America, they are peacocks on display and they have taken their poor behavior and made it fashionable. The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a rock concert or whether it’s on a movie set.
Listen here: 


Meanwhile, the rest of Santorum’s speech dwells on his now-typical hyper-puritanical warnings about “Satan,” and the dangers of “sensuality,” “rock concerts,” and “the NBA” that sound like they were plagiarized from Dana Carvey’s Church Lady skits on SNL.
To that I say, Rick Santorum is a turd.  Oh, I didn't say turd, I said Rick Santorum is a 'blah!'

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