Until all the rest of the no-hope candidates dropped out, Senator Rick Santorum was a third-tier candidate. When they had a larger selection to choose from, Republican voters preferred nearly anybody: Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry all had their rises and falls before Senator Rick did. The only candidate who was below Senator Rick in the polls consistently in December was Jon Huntsman.
The reasons are these. Not a lot of people knew the name and many of the people who did know the name knew he was a very creepy religious nut.
The very creepy part of his persona cannot be kept quiet for long. Yesterday in Ohio, speaking to a group of Tea Partiers, he was quoted by Reuters as saying 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."
When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Senator Rick said, "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."
And this is exactly what's wrong with the idea that America is a Christian nation. Most of the people who founded the country did proclaim a love for Jesus Christ, but they also hated and distrusted the people in the church across the street, people who "said they were Christians", but believed some strange and not really Biblical theology.
In the 21st Century, the schisms among the sects really haven't gone away. The remaining Republican presidential candidates are comprised of one Baptist, one Mormon and two Catholics. One of the Catholics (Gingrich) has a lifelong problem with keeping faith, now on his third wife and his third religion. R-Money is really not making a fuss about his Mormonism, though that is where a huge amount of his charitable contributions go. (It would be interesting to see his tax returns from the year Proposition 8 was on the ballot in California.) Senator Rick, on the other hand, is a seriously doctrinaire Catholic, not only against abortion, but also quality of life options at the end of life, contraception, vasectomies and hysterectomies. And if you happen to take a different view, you are obviously biased against Catholics.
I'm a non-believer by nature. This means I'm not an atheist, because an atheist believes there is no God. I don't know what's out there and don't even have a good idea where to look for evidence one way or the other. Freedom of religion protects me as well. There is no point to freedom of religion without freedom from religion. The idea of separation of church and state is that none of the flavors of Christianity could force their beliefs on others, the people who went to that false un-Christian church across the street that had a cross on the roof just for show.
In a sensible presidential campaign, Senator Rick's latest upward trend would just be a blip, because his new followers aren't sending him much cash just yet. R-Money, Gingrich and even the no-hope Dr. Ron Paul have much larger war chests than he does. But this campaign has shown very little sense. If the Tea Party really is the tail wagging the Republican dog, he may yet emerge as the True NotRomney, and then the race will become even more unpredictable. But President Rick Santorum would be a disaster for this country and a disaster for the free world because in his heart, he is a Catholic first and an American second. That won't do.
Here endeth the lesson.