National Catholic Reporter

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Santorum: Theologian-in-Chief?

Former Sen. Rick Santorum seems to think he is running for theologian-in-chief rather than commander-in-chief. Only a day after a recording of a 2008 speech made headlines - in the speech Santorum said that mainstream Protestantism "fell out" of the world of Christianity, he attacked President Obama's theology for being at odds with the Bible. Of course, anyone of us can think of a dozen or so biblical teachings with which Santorum has some difficulty, from the admonition to care for the immigrant, to the need feed the hungry and clothe the naked, etc.
Santorum is entirely within his rights to argue that his worldview and the president's are different and that those differences may, at some basic level, be rooted in different readings of the Scripture. But, I suspect most voters do not want a political debate to be cast in such explicitly religious terms. Obviously, we religion writers would welcome such a debate for the most selfish of reasons even though we know it probably would not be good for the country. And, as the recent debate over the HHS mandates showed, it is difficult to think that most Americans can have such a serious debate, in which case it would be a war of battling sound bites and bumper stickers. I am all for Americans discussing the role of religion in public life, but I am one thousand percent sure that Mr. Santorum is not the person to start it.

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