Archive for the ‘Rick Santorum’ Category

What They Really Think

March 29, 2012

From a religious-right group’s email to activists today:

“Rick Santorum is from God and will win with Christians and Catholics uniting for Santorum.”

“Christians and Catholics”? As if Catholics aren’t Christians?

Of course, it’s bad enough that religious-righters try to deify their favored political candidates (like Santorum). But the suggestion that Catholics are something other than Christians should tell you what they really think about even their supposed allies.

Heathen U

February 25, 2012

Rick Santorum just cannot help himself. Political pundits and strategists affiliated with his own party have been virtually screaming at him, telling him that if he wants any shot at winning in November he needs to quit the culture wars and stick to jobs, jobs, jobs. But, again, he just can’t help himself.

On Thursday, Santorum sat down with professional conspiracy theorist and right-wing radio talk show host Glenn Beck for a wide-ranging interview, during which he dropped this whopper:

I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely. The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.

The proof? For President Obama’s alleged nefarious motivations, Santorum offered none. For colleges as “indoctrination mills,” Santorum noted that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.”

62 percent? Wow, that is a big number, isn’t it? You know what’s an even bigger number? 76 percent (more on this in a bit).

We were curious, so we went looking for the source of Santorum’s information and found that the Republican presidential candidate likes his facts picked like cherries and is likely guilty of a lie of omission.

The info appears to come from this study published in 2007 in the Social Science Research Council’s journal Social Forces (hat tip to PBS for pointing us to it).

The study does say that 64 percent — not 62 percent — Yikes! It’s even worse than Santorum thought! — of students enrolled in traditional four-year colleges report a decline in attendance in religious services. But what the study also says and that Santorum neglected to mention is this:

Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.

And this:

Simply put: Higher education is not the enemy of religiosity. Instead, young people who avoid college altogether display a more precipitous drop in their religious participation.

According to the very same study cited by Santorum, colleges as secularizing machines are about as real as the mythical “war on religion” and “war on Christmas.”

In fact, the study notes there are many other reasons why young adults become less religious, but that framed diploma hanging on their walls isn’t one of them.

Franklin Graham’s Double Standard

February 21, 2012

Unbelievable.

Just a few days ago we told you about a good ol’ tactic right-wingers like to use: questioning a politician’s Christianity or claiming the politician is not Christian at all.

This morning it was Franklin Graham’s turn. Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe taking questions from the panel. The conversation went something like this (quotes paraphrased):

MSNBC: Is President Obama a Christian?

Graham: Ask him. I assume he is, but it’s not for me to say.

MSNBC: What about Mormon Mitt Romney, is he a Christian?

Graham: I can’t know what’s in another man’s heart.

MSNBC: Is Rick Santorum a Christian?

Graham: Oh, totally.

MSNBC: But you just said …

Graham: I know what I said. Rick Santorum is a Christian.

MSNBC: Isn’t that a double standard?

Graham: You have to look at what a person does with his life (this one is an actual quote). Oh, and by the way, thrice-married Newt Gingrich is a Christian, too.

You can watch the actual exchange in its entirety here.

If you’ve finished watching the clip and are done beating your head against your desk, click here to read about a coalition of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and religious liberties organizations that has called for an end to this kind of divisive rhetoric.

A War on Modern Medical Care?

February 20, 2012

Does the religious right want to limit pregnant women’s access to modern medical care? It’s beginning to look that way.

This past weekend Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum — endorsed by religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch in January — came out in opposition to requiring that health insurance cover prenatal testing at no cost to the patient:

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Santorum had also said that health insurance plans shouldn’t be required to cover prenatal testing, because that testing results in more abortions….

“Free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society,” Santorum told the Ohio Christian Alliance conference.

Asked by [CBS News’ Bob] Schieffer about his claims that prenatal testing leads to more abortions, Santorum insisted that this was “a fact.”

“We’re talking about specifically prenatal testing, and specifically amniocentesis, which is a procedure that actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it, and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies of a child in the womb. And in many cases — and in fact in most cases — most physicians recommend, if there is a problem, they recommend abortion,” Santorum said.

Santorum had said that because of this trend, health insurance providers should not be forced to make the procedures available free of charge.

Here’s how the U.S. Department of Health and Human services describes the importance of prenatal testing, which is a standard part of modern medical care:

“Medical checkups and screening tests help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. This is called prenatal care. It also involves education and counseling about how to handle different aspects of your pregnancy.”

But Santorum argues that President Obama simply wants to see more disabled fetuses aborted:

“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.

As repellent as such statements are, they’re hardly surprising anymore coming from Santorum.

We have noted the religious right’s hostility to women controlling their own reproductive health. One Texas lawmaker, for example, openly acknowledged last year that he and his right-wing colleagues in the state Legislature were engaged in a “war on birth control.” Santorum, who thinks birth control is a “license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,” has said that states should be able to ban access to contraception altogether. He also opposes a requirement that health insurance cover birth control.

We think religious-right leaders backing Santorum should now explain whether they also support limiting access by pregnant women to modern medical care like prenatal testing.

Santorum Uses Faith as a Political Weapon

February 19, 2012

We’ve seen this kind of thing before — right-wingers suggesting that someone’s political beliefs somehow make them an inferior Christian or not Christian at all. (And then, of course, the question they’re suggesting to their audience is: “If they’re not Christian, what are they? Their core values must be alien.”) See here, here and here, for examples of how right-wing members of the Texas State Board of Education have done it. Other religious-right leaders in Texas, such as Cathie Adams of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, have done it repeatedly as well. And we often see a variation of that smear leveled at the Texas Freedom Network and our supporters, as we noted last week.

So it wasn’t too surprising when Rick Santorum — anointed earlier this year by religious-right leaders as their preferred Republican presidential nominee — said this yesterday:

Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,” Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama’s values run against those of Christianity.

“He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I’m not going to,” Santorum told reporters.

This is a dog-whistle to right-wing extremists and their sympathizers who question the faith of President Obama and others whose politics they don’t like. And it’s yet another example of how the religious right uses faith as a political weapon to divide Americans. A spokesman for the president suggested that Santorum’s comments are a new low. Considering what we’ve seen in Texas in the past, that’s saying something.

Aspirin as Birth Control

February 16, 2012

It’s thinking like this that filters down to school sex ed policies and gives states such as Texas a horrible track record with teen birthrates:

“Back in my days, we used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

That was said today by mutual fund manager Foster Friess, who — along with his deep pockets — is supporting Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum.

Let us repeat: That was said today, in the 21st century, not a hundred years ago.

Seriously, these guys are giving us a headache. If only there was something we could take for that. If only.

Rick Santorum’s War on Contraception

February 10, 2012

It’s no surprise that Rick Santorum, who returned to Texas this week to campaign with pastors at a McKinney church near Dallas, is opposed to a federal requirement that employer health insurance plans cover contraception. But the Republican presidential candidate went even further on Friday:

“This has nothing to do with access. This is having someone pay for it, pay for something that shouldn’t even be in an insurance plan anyway because it is not, really an insurable item. This is something that is affordable, available. You don’t need insurance for these types of relatively small expenditures. This is simply someone trying to impose their values on somebody else, with the arm of the government doing so. That should offend everybody, people of faith and no faith that the government could get on a roll that is that aggressive.”

Let’s leave aside for now the issue of who is trying to impose their values on whom here. What really startled us was Santorum’s claim that contraception shouldn’t be covered by any insurance because people can afford it on their own.

The cost of contraception varies by method and insurance coverage, of course. But birth control pills cost from about $160 to $600 a year. Maybe that’s affordable for people in Santorum’s income bracket, but many low- and middle-income families might find it difficult to squeeze that expense into their tight budgets.

Of course, Santorum thinks government should be able to ban contraception anyway. We imagine that pleases the religious-right leaders who endorsed Santorum at their emergency summit meeting in Texas last month.

Religious-Right Leaders Back Santorum

January 14, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry lost a key vote in his own backyard on Saturday. Prominent religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch decided to back former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania over Perry, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this year. That decision should give Santorum a boost in his efforts to rally social conservatives behind his challenge to frontrunner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. From the Associated Press:

Surrogates for each campaign were said to have made presentations and answered questions. The goal was to determine whether conservative leaders could rally behind one alternative candidate to Romney, in hopes of ensuring one of their own wins the nomination instead of someone they consider more moderate. Many conservative leaders fear a repeat of four years ago when, in their view, a divided conservative base led the GOP to nominate McCain.

Meeting attendees said it took several ballots for 75 percent of attendees to agree on Santorum after winnowing down the field from three candidates: Santorum, Gingrich and Perry. They also said that there was some support for Romney.

The decision appears to have upset David Lane, who in recent years has been a chief organizer of efforts to mobilize conservative evangelical pastors behind selected Republican politicians. Lane helped organize Texas Restoration Project events, for example, that promoted Rick Perry in 2005. From the same AP story:

But David Lane, a California-based pastor who has set up candidate forums with ministers in Iowa, said he was frustrated with the outcome because he does not believe Santorum has an organization or fundraising capability to allow him to campaign deep into the primary season.

He said the choice to back Santorum projects political weakness.

“This country is going to hell, and the evangelical voice is meaningless,” Lane said.

‘War on Birth Control’ Marches On

January 3, 2012

Religious-right leaders say they want to limit government’s authority — except when it comes to regulating private decisions they don’t like. On Monday, for example, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said states should be able to ban birth control. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down such laws as violations of a right to privacy for consenting adults. Santorum doesn’t like that:

“The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statutes they have. That is the thing I have said about the activism of the Supreme Court, they are creating rights, and they should be left up to the people to decide.”

Such a rationale might please someone like Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, who last year declared that he and other social conservatives in the state Legislature were engaged in a “war on birth control.”

They want government “off our back,” but they think it has legitimate business intruding into your bedroom.