Tag Archives: santorum

Evangelicals voting in record numbers in GOP primaries

By David Gibson
Religion News Service

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

Making up half of Republican primary voters, evangelicals appear to be turning out to support Rick Santorum’s resurgent campaign in record numbers and are increasingly influencing the shape of the party.

Perhaps just as important, conservative Christians are increasing their crucial financial support and volunteer hours as Santorum tries to keep his momentum heading into Tuesday’s (March 20) Illinois primary.

According to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, headed by longtime evangelical political activist Ralph Reed, evangelical Christians account for just over 50 percent of the turnout so far in the Republican primaries, the highest rate ever and a significant increase over the 44 percent evangelical voting rate in 2008.

Moreover, Santorum has won a third of those votes, compared to Mitt Romney’s 29.74 percent and Newt Gingrich’s 29.65 percent.

Faith and Freedom based its analysis on the entrance and exit polling data from 16 primaries and caucuses. The data show that some 4.29 million evangelical Christian voters have cast ballots so far — or 50.53 percent of the 8.49 million total votes cast.

Reed said the turnout is up across the board, and not just in the South, where conservative Christians helped deliver a two-state primary sweep of Alabama and Mississippi to Santorum last Tuesday.

“Conservative people of faith are playing a larger role in shaping the contours and affecting the trajectory of the Republican presidential nomination contest than at any time since they began pouring out of the pews and into the precincts in the late 1970s,” Reed said.

They are also putting their money where their values are.

Santorum is collecting nearly half of his donations from donors who gave less than $200, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Campaign Finance Institute — a higher percentage than any of his Republican rivals.

And while Santorum has trailed his rivals in overall fundraising, he may be catching up fast. Politico reported that Santorum raised $9 million in February compared to Romney’s $11.5 million, Santorum’s best month yet.

Santorum’s campaign also said that in the wake of Southern primary victories, Santorum raised $1 million over a 24-hour period through a grass-roots “money bomb” drive. That is in addition to some $1.8 million pledged by wealthy conservatives, many of them evangelical Christians, at a Santorum fundraiser on March 9 in Houston.

The Susan B. Anthony List also announced on Thursday that it would move its bus tour and mobilization effort for Santorum to Illinois — the kind of “on the ground” efforts that have brought Christian conservatives out for Santorum and upended the predictions of polls and pundits.

“I think there has been a long-term political impact beyond the endorsements” of big-name Christian leaders, said John Green, an expert on religious voting patterns at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Green likened the evangelical support for Santorum to black voters in the 2008 Democratic primaries, who initially backed Hillary Clinton but coalesced around President Obama once he took Iowa and got on a roll.

“There is a pent-up demand for a certain kind of candidate, but that candidate has to demonstrate that they can win,” said Green. Big endorsements, he said, act as a kind of “pump primer” to get voters — in Santorum’s case, Christian conservatives — ready to jump on board.

Whether that can carry Santorum to a win in Illinois on Tuesday is uncertain. The former Pennsylvania senator is close behind Romney in most polls, and Illinois’ downstate Republicans tend to be conservative Christians like those in the deep South.

Ironically, Santorum would get a huge boost by doing something he has not yet done: win the votes of his fellow Catholics. Santorum is often mistaken for an evangelical by GOP voters; a recent Pew Forum survey showed that among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, just 42 percent of Catholics know that Santorum is himself Catholic.

But as James Warren wrote in The Atlantic, Santorum graduated from a Catholic high school in Illinois, Carmel High School outside Chicago. That could give him a leg up in Obama’s home state, and a critical win over Mitt Romney.

“A Santorum victory in Obamaland next week would be stunning — but it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise,” Warren said.

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Santorum is not the best Christianity has to offer

By Contributor Sam Fletcher

Sam Fletcher

Last week, I attended Rick Santorum’s rally in Spokane Valley as one of a few protestors, a mixed group of Occupy Spokane and local clergy standing up for liberal, pro-humanity values. This article is partially a critique of Santorum, but I’d like to use his values as a springboard to talk about what values would be better than Santorum’s, and the conservative right in general.

At the rally, Santorum offered a philosophical dead end that decried science, education, climate change and values that affirm freedom and enfranchisement of all Americans regardless of gender, creed or income status. In other venues he has called for an end to the separation of church and state, an end to contraception and a hostile stance against the Middle East. He has even spoken against couples enjoying sex for more than procreation.

Santorum, deeply committed to his own faith, may be one of the most extreme in his views, but he is certainly not alone. As a liberal Christian, I think Christian values can contribute greatly to informing and shaping a better society for everyone, without succumbing to the compulsion to dominate and dictate. I believe it is an opportunity and a calling to a new generation of Christian leaders.

Rick Santorum speaks at New Life Church/Tracy Simmons

The tide is already turning, of course, and the conservative “establishment” is painfully aware of it. I believe the vicious return of culture warriors is partially due to the fact that the establishment was not successful in passing its values to the youngest generations, and is fighting a last-resort war, which will be followed by their long, slow decline. Younger generations of America need a plan in place as the cultural shift nears completion.

I invite you to consider my proposals for some of the values that characterize good society.

We will be social. Not as in socialism, but as in social life. In contrast to the “each man is his castle” ideals of libertarians and the GOP presidential candidates, we need to relearn that the only sources of happiness are others. Science shows the only true, lasting happiness comes from a state of connectedness and community with others — not money or material goods. Infrastructural changes such as demolishing sparsely populated areas of urban and (increasingly) suburban blight and rebuilding them into denser areas with integrated areas of local business and local food production would help people not only psychologically and economically, but environmentally as well.

The challenges to overcome are the fear of each other that has been instilled into us for the last half a century; and the fear of “dangerous” ideas. In America, we have given up dense, urban housing and communities for spread-out, walled off enclaves. We have given up dialectal discourse for intellectual echo chambers. Let’s get back to a healthy village life, even if only because it makes us happier and more tolerant.

Our foreign policy will be development, not war. Like many others on the right, Santorum has called for war on Iran, and promoted the idea we are, as a nation, more in danger of foreign threats than ever before. This is simply an egregious factual error. We are actually in a more peaceful time than ever before. Our foreign policy needs to change — and fast — to accommodate this new reality. We simply do not need large, expensive power projection anymore. Let’s spend the money developing resources that advance trade, education and infrastructure such as sewers, banking and clean food and water. This will make us safer. In the words of Jesus, those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Let’s spend that $700 billion military budget on something more life-affirming and productive.

We will value education as a currency, and a healthy habitat as wealth. Santorum, Sarah Palin and others on the extreme right have publicly decried education as some sort of corrupting influence on our populace. Quite to the contrary, education is the one thing of value that can never be taken from someone who has it. Education not only affords a better living to individuals, it drives a sustainable, innovative and agile economy. Education also helps to inoculate people against charlatans and demagogues (perhaps why Santorum is so outspoken against it). Think of what life would be like if the uneducated were considered “poor” and the educated considered “wealthy”? With nothing but knowledge to impart, how easy would it be to advance one’s own “wealth portfolio”?

Education is not the only “alternative wealth” we have. Clean air and water, green places and a healthy climate are also valuable to us, and we are rapidly losing them. Christians should reclaim the value of caring for creation, not exploiting it.

We will uphold healthy sexual norms. Folks, it’s time for this. The recent debate over whether contraception should be available to all women, and the resultant “slut shaming” (or, shaming of all women) by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, has highlighted a long-standing injustice. Christians have sadly promulgated much of it. In the good society, sex is a part of life, to be enjoyed and celebrated in healthy, loving relationships. This isn’t to imply the necessity of sex only in marriage, heterosexuality, and sex for the sole purpose of procreation. Those values demonstrate their impracticality by the simple fact that so few practice them. Sex is a biological need, as much as hunger, thirst, shelter and activity. It’s not really an optional thing, and in striving to encourage overall health in our citizens, we need to allow consenting adults to live out their sexual lives in dignity and respect. This includes allowing homosexuals to enjoy the same marriage rights as straight couples.

All human behavior can be subject to pathologies and sex is no exception. But it is time to treat the pathologies and problems with science, compassion, experi and understanding instead of shame and taboo.

We will remember that Earth does not exist for the shareholders. Perhaps this is the most important item on this list. God did not create the world so that the rich may profiteer from its abundance (in fact, Jesus said the rich will have a hard time in the kingdom of heaven.) We are alive on this planet so that we may be happy. Not happy from material things — happy because of experiences, sharing and connections to others. If we look at things this way, money and material goods serve their purpose but are not the overwhelming goal of all existence.

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.

BRIEF: Group plans to protest Santorum

Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

UPDATE: SANTORUM TO HOLD RALLY AT 3 P.M., THURSDAY – NOT NOON, AS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED.

Wikipedia Photo of Santorum

Upon learning that Rick Santorum would be in Spokane this week, a group of activists organized an impromptu protest.

The group will be at  New Life Assembly Church from 12 to 3 p.m. Thursday — the same time Santorum is planning to be at the church hosting a rally.

According to the protestors Facebook page, “This is a non-violent protest and people of any political background who believe Santorum’s views are dangerous or bad is invited.”

Monday’s Religion News Roundup: Oscar religion; queasy Santorum; Bevilacqua shredding

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

Wikipedia Commons Photo

Not much religion at the Oscars last night (unless you count celebrity worship).

The documentary about the woman who kissed Elvis and then became a nun did not take home the golden idol. She did have a cute line, though.

“Believe me, this is much different than being in a monastery,” Mother Dolores said in a red-carpet interview before the awards ceremony. I dearly hope no one asked who she was wearing.

In the foreign film category, Iran’s “A Separation” bested Israel’s “Footnote” and several other films, which Iran state TV portrayed as a defeat of Zionism.

Speaking of Oscars, “Boys Town” founder Father Edward Flanagan, who was played by Spencer Tracy in a Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, is officially a candidate for sainthood.

Read full post here.

Fat Tuesday; “Catholic” Glenn Beck; Southern Baptists’ name

By David Gibson
Religion News Service

Lent started a couple days early for the ESPN editor who wrote a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin that recalled an ethnic slur against Chinese.

Anthony Federico, 28, was fired on Sunday for the gaffe, which he said had no racist intent. “ESPN did what they had to do,” said Federico who, like Lin, is a devout Christian.

“My faith is my life,” Federico told The Daily News. “I’d love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake.”

Speaking of J-Lin, his pastor tells the WaPo what he’s really like. It’s all good, don’t worry.

New York archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was the “rock star” of the Vatican consistory that created 22 new cardinals, may need a bit of self-denial: he fell off the diet wagon while in Rome, and now can’t take off the new gold ring Pope Benedict XVI gave him on Saturday.

Read full post here.

Friday’s Religion Roundup: Drive-thru edition

By Kevin Eckstrom
Religion News Service

All eyes are on the White House today, where ABC is reporting that POTUS will try to split the baby (so to speak) with religious groups over his mandate to offer contraception coverage to employees. VPOTUS Joe Biden(a Catholic, it’s worth mentioning) says he’s “determined to see that this gets worked out.”

Meanwhile, the NYT reports that U.S. Catholic bishops had anticipated their fight with Obama months before he rolled out the policy change: Hours after President Obama phoned to share his decision with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York … the bishops’ headquarters in Washington posted on its Web site a video of Archbishop Dolan, which had been recorded the day before.”

Mother Angelica‘s EWTN Catholic cable network has filed at least the third lawsuit by a religious group against the contraception mandate. Rick Santorum says the contraception mandate has “nothing to do with women’s rights” (and also thinks female “emotions” could get in the way of military combat). On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants everyone to just “calm down” already.

Or, as Mother Jones points out, is this all really much ado about nothing? “The central mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade.”

Things are getting downright weird in Philly, where there are calls to make sure that retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua didn’t die of foul play just one day after he was deemed fit to appear as a witness in a major sex abuse trial.

Read full post here.