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"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

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The Left Is In Love With The Proxy Baptism Thing, Cracks In The Santorum Armor

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:33 am, February 17th 2012     —    4 Comments »

My little web-crawling spiders today that look for the words “Romney” and “Mormon” came up exclusively and voluminously with stories on Weisenthal’s comments on the Mormon ordinances.  I’ll only link a couple of stories, because it is old, it is tired and it is pointless.  I have to say it is perhaps the most unique area of oppo research ever.

It is absolutely fascinating to me that this story is leaping around the left like a hot potato and no one, I mean NO ONE, on the right is going near it.  An evangelical friend of mine said to me the other day, “Romney has as much to do with Weisenthal’s parents posthumous baptism as Santorum does with the pedophile priest scandals in Roman Catholic church.”  Very true, but apparently, to the left, posthumous baptism is weirder and more dangerous than pedophilia.

The right seems to have learned that Mormon attacks will backfire.  The MSM is aiding them in their silence because they don’t want Romney as the nominee either.  So, it is left to the British press to point out what is going on:

Evangelicals spread the gospel of Rick Santorum in blue-collar Michigan

But do they know what they have gotten themselves into?  The Sanotrum organization remains very weak.  Santorum carries some pretty heavy baggage.  Santorum is even sounding a bit “gingrichess.”  Some of his supporters are getting silly.  But there are two stories that need to be covered in detail here.

One – Sanotrum voted for funding the NEA:

When social conservatives were fighting to stop funding the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1990s, Rick Santorum was in Congress voting to preserve taxpayer funding — pitting him against many of the high-profile culture warriors with whom he is now most identified.

NEA funding became a hot-button issue during the first President Bush’s term and on into the Clinton years, featuring prominently in that decade’s spending battles, as both fiscal and social conservatives argued against taxpayers subsidizing such art as the infamous “Piss Christ” photograph.

Do we remember that photograph?  Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

Piss Christ is a 1987 photograph by artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art‘s “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition,[1] which is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects.

Lovely, isn’t it?  There are a couple of take-aways from this story.  Firstly, you dig into any candidates past and you can call their political ideological purity into question.  Secondly is the utter disdain with which the left holds ALL religion  – trying to make hay with a Mormon practice born of concern for the deceased and to literally urinate on a Catholic religious symbol.  Our religious battle is with the left, not each other.

And now the second story line we need to cover, Santorum’s charitable donations.  The Santorum’s gave slightly less than 2% of their income to charity.  One blogger points out there is no Catholic obligation to tithe:

Jennifer Rubin, a pro-Romney conservative blogger at the Washington Post, knocks Rick Santorum for giving too little to charity — less than 3 percent, despite his high six-figure salary.

Rubin writes: “He apparently believes in church doctrine about contraception but not about tithing.”

But to my knowledge, there is no Catholic “doctrine” about tithing. Look in the catechism. Look in code of canon law. You won’t see tithing, or 10 percent show up.

Fair enough – and the last thing I want to do is turn this into a discussion of character or charity – both men, Romney and Santorum, are men of excellent character.

But there are a couple VERY important things to note here.  Tithing is plain letter in the Bible.  (See Leviticus 27 for starters.)  For there not to be an obligation, you have to consult books other than the Bible.  True, the catechism and code of canon law do not claim scriptural levels of authority as does the Book of Mormon, but that is a pretty fine line in this particular discussion – as they are certainly being used in the same fashion.

Secondly, here is  a place where Roman Catholic doctrine is quite divergent from Protestant/Evangelical thought.  I personally have never been to a Stewardship Sunday where I was not urged, and urged hard, to tithe.

I do not want to turn this into a theology or scripture debate – what I do want to do is illustrate the variety of religious expression, even Christian expression.  What I do want to do is point out that backing Santorum over Romney for “religious reasons” is an arbitrary choice, not really a religious one.

Which takes us back to the headline about Evangelicals in Michigan.  There is no “gospel” here.  There are two good men running for the Republican nomination for POTUS.  This is purely a political calculation.  That math is not nearly so complex as the media would have you believe.  Just check the link about Santorum’s lack of organization.

Think hard, and take religion completely out of your thoughts.  There is no room for it here.

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