Santorum rallies conservative Spokane voters

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

SPOKANE VALLEY —Rick Santorum has a lot of people praying for him.

More than 500 supporters filled New Life Assembly Church in Spokane Valley on Thursday to show the Republican candidate that they champion his Christian values.

“Thank you Rick, you’re in our prayers,” people called out to him.

Rick Santorum speaks in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

They cheered when he boasted about being a long-time conservative. They hailed when he knocked the idea of man-made global warming and spoke about unborn babies and the sanctity of life. And they hailed even louder when he slammed the Obama administration’s healthcare plan.

Santorum touched on those issues briefly, and he only had to speak about Washington’s new same-sex marriage legislation momentarily to stimulate the crowd.

“I know what happened here in Washington,” he said. “I know you feel like you’ve been railroaded and bulldozed. Well now you have a chance to speak to the country.”

And that’s exactly what 70-year-old Terry Thach wanted to hear.

“I came (today) because I like the Christian principles that Santorum stands for,” he said. “He’s taken a lot of heat from the press because he stands up to issues that are controversial…like gay marriage.”

Thatch, a member of Life Center Church, said he, an evangelical, supports the Catholic candidate, “because we learn from the same Bible.”

Rick Santorum visits with supporters/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

Before Santorum delivered his speech (almost an hour late because of travel delays), New Life Lead Pastor Steve Williams asked the crowd to bow their heads.

“We come here today with great joy in our hearts, with anticipation for the future,” he prayed. “We ask today that you lead us in a common journey to restoring truth and faith. Let it begin in us. We pray that the process our founding fathers started so many years ago would be honored in the months ahead.”

“This race is about what kind of America you’re going to leave to your children and grandchildren because big things are happening in this country, and most of them are not good,” Santorum said when he took the stage.

He said the country needs a conservative republican to take the reins — not a moderate like the other candidates, who he didn’t name specifically.

Santorum supporters sign gay-marriage petition/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

“I didn’t decide to become a conservative a few weeks ago to run for president. I’ve been a conservative and have fought in the trenches for conservative causes when they were unpopular,” he said.

He asked the crowd to stand firm for “the values that made this country great,” by voting for him on Saturday at the at the GOP caucuses.

Ron Paul is expected to make a similar plea today when holds a noon rally at the Spokane Convention Center.

View a photo gallery of this event on our Flickr page.

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12 responses to “Santorum rallies conservative Spokane voters

  1. Can anyone enlighten me as to how a single candidate can be hosted in a church for such a rally? Oh, I know Santorum’s all over the oft misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted “separation of church and state.” What about the Johnson Amendment of 1954? Are congregations and clergy simply taking chances that no one’s watching since so many despicable and gross misrepresentations of people of all faiths are being perpetuated (incited?) by hosting such events?

    The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty does NOT discount the individual and collective call and response to people of faith to fully engage in life, including “speaking out, organizing, voting and running for office.” The coalition also wisely cites Blaise Pascal: “…Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

  2. I don’t think calling anyone there at the rally or sponsors of it ‘evil’ is reflecting a posture that’s fair or productive in the political debate. I think vilifying our political opponents is a tired and an easy way out of robust debate.

    But I do agree with the question posed about ‘how’ holding a rally for one party member fits with the whole nonprofit status angle. Since you’ve been reporting on these issues for awhile, can you explain the law as it stands?

  3. If you’re referring to the word “evil” in Pascal’s quote, I didn’t read that as calling any person(s) evil but rather the behaviors and actions that are not befitting those who call themselves “Christian” when it flies in the face of the “big picture” of “love God with all your soul, all your heart, all your strength , and love your neighbors as yourself.” It is, as Jesus pointed out, that everything else hangs on those two commandments, so if the actions carried out in spewing hatred toward any who don’t think like we do can be weighed on the text that Jesus himself cited from the Hebrew texts, I think the actions to “stimulate the crowd” are less than what is asked of one who considers himself “Christian.” I, for one, apparently do not “learn from teh same Bible” as those attending this “rally.”

  4. Not that long ago (when Bush was President), the IRS put the United Church of Christ under scrutiny.
    http://www.theledger.com/article/20080301/NEWS/803010390/1326
    Barack Obama had been invited to speak prior to his announcement to be a candidate. The UCC church did NOT allow any political info to be present, such as a pamphlet or sign. They were still investigated.
    I do not know how a church can hold a clear political campaign stop, for a single candidate, and maintain tax exempt status. Perhaps Santorum paid full rent for the space, and no church leaders were present.
    I do not think Marj called any individual evil.
    The following link offers some legal clarification.
    http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/article.asp?articleid=50716

    • Thanks, Lynn, for reminding us of a recent case-in-point regarding hosting a political candidate and the intentions! Made me chuckle, actually, since I’m in the UCC!

  5. Ok, yes, Marj didn’t call anyone ‘evil’ she just quoted and by association and then accusation ie. “spewing hatred” etc. But anyway, I think that’s a game of semantics in response. My origional point stands…I find it a tired and ungracious characterization. If we are going to claim Christ and hold others to a Christ-like standard, than we need to rise higher than that, but that’s just my opinion.

    I wasn’t at the rally, so I do not know if they were ‘spewing hatred’, but Tracy was there, maybe she could respond to that point and clarify if the gathering was fostering evil religion or spewed hatred?

    • Eric, you are indeed entitled to your opinion. There was no name-calling in my post. If anything, this is an awareness of how differently you and I (and every other reader) experiences any one word, because of or in spite of our varied contexts. As people of faith (not only those who follow the teachings of Jesus), we are certainly to rise-above name-calling. I stand by the fact that Santorum and many who are applauding his “spewing” (my personal opinion) are acting out in opposition of what I personally hear the sacred texts asking of me. I can’t answer for anyone else; I wouldn’t dare. That said, as a leader in the faith community, it is within my purview to lift up the opportunities for living into our responsibility and response-ability of listening to the to the sacred texts, discerning how to act out of compassion, hope, and even example with integrity and intention. At the core, of course, will be not how anyone speaks of such things but how they live them out.

  6. Hanane Neff-Loutf

    This guys is EVIL itself. He wants me as a Muslim to get EXTRA screening at airports, he is for religious profiling specially for Muslims, it’s like what we have to go through isn’t enough for him!!!

    He is a warmonger, he thinks Iran is BIG threat to America, bs, but that’s an other subject… He is more loyal to other countries than his own. Where is the love he’s preaching?

    And I don’t think hosting such event at a church is wrong as long as it doesn’t discriminate.

    • Thanks, Hanane, for your thoughts … it IS painful on so many levels to hear the candidates lift up so much that is evil. I too have a hard time hearing anything regarding “love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself” in this particular candidate’s rhetoric. In fact, I actually feel pained that a church did host this event … it feels divisive and models so many more reasons why people might continue to either stay as far away from “church” (temple, tabernacle, mosque, etc.) as possible or are drawn in because it becomes easier to justify such thinking when in the presence of other like-minded folk. How does hosting such an event work FOR the common-good? I know, I know … there are “answers.” ;o)

      • Hanane Neff-Loutf

        Hi Marj,

        You’re right, Preaching hate and love on any subject doesn’t do this man any good other than the votes of those who support his double standards… But I believe that all politicians are liars, they have to in order to be successful unfortunately and that’s why I am a political atheist, I don’t buy any of their brainwashing speeches.
        Regarding the event happening in the church, I believe in the common and good values shared by all humanity and a candidate should be able to express himself in his place of worship with people who hold the same believe BUT he should remember that this country is a free country where people go by the constitution not by what he believes.

  7. Hanane, I love your “political atheist” pairing! And really appreciated meeting you in person last week — looking forward to your thoughtfulness here at SpokaneFAVS!

  8. Marj, I have to admit that I borrowed the expression from Gerald Celente, a very smart man who has some precise political and economic views.
    I also enjoyed meeting you and hope to see you again.

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