Santorum talks faith with Texas pastors
Supporters pray over Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum during a campaign stop at the Bella Donna Chapel on February 8, 2012 in McKinney, Texas.
February 8th, 2012
03:05 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum talks faith with Texas pastors

McKinney, Texas (CNN) - The day after winning a three state primary sweep, Rick Santorum largely avoided politics during a visit to the Bella Donna Chapel and instead talked candidly about his faith before a crowd of more than one hundred local pastors.

Due to several last-minute TV interviews added to his schedule on Wednesday morning, Santorum arrived at the chapel nearly an hour late, which shrunk the amount of time his campaign set aside for midday fundraisers in this wealthy, predominantly Republican state. The delay forced him to rush out after his address, skipping a planned visit with several hundred supporters who had gathered outside the chapel, unable to get in to the invite-only event.

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Inside the chapel, Santorum made only a veiled reference to his GOP opponents, telling the pastors that the problems he sees in Washington D.C. are located at the root, and are "not issues of management" - a clear reference to Mitt Romney, who has consistently highlighted his experience as a manager to position himself as the candidate best-prepared to help steer the nation's economy.

"There's not a management problem in Washington, alright," Santorum said. "There's a more foundational problem there that goes to the basic concepts of who we are as a people. And those are deeply moral questions."

In his remarks, Santorum explored what those questions meant to him, discussing the death of his son Gabriel just hours after his birth and the health problems that have plagued his youngest daughter Bella, who was born with the genetic disorder trisomy 18. He also talked in depth about his faith journey, charting a path from the time he was first elected to Congress when faith "wasn't central" to his life, straight through to meeting his wife Karen and the growth of their faith together.

"The institution of marriage saved my life," Santorum said. "Without my wife Karen and the journey that we walked on together, I wouldn't even be near the state of Texas right now. This was a turning point in my life."

Santorum married his wife the same year he was first elected to Congress, and he described how the growth of their religious faith has shaped him into the candidate he is today, a candidate who sees no boundaries between faith and politics.

"I have seen the interaction with faith and public life and to me the bounds there are not boundaries at all," Santorum said. "I can't and I won't check my faith at the door because it motivates me to do things that I believe are best for our country. It motivates me to stand up for those that are the most vulnerable. It motivates me to stand up not just for the unborn child but for that working guy who doesn't have the kind of job that can support his family."

Contrasting this with what he called the "secular left," Santorum railed against the administration of President Barack Obama and its allies for "ostracizing" those who disagree with their secular ideology.

"The intolerance of the left, the intolerance of the secular ideology, it is a religion unto itself, it is just not a biblical based religion, and it is the most intolerant," Santorum said. "Just like we saw from the days of the atheists of the Soviet Union, it is completely intolerant of dissent. They fear dissent. Why? Because the dissent comes from folks who use reason, common sense, and divine revelation and they want no part of any of those things."

"They want their world view to be imposed without question, and if you question them, you're haters, you're bigots, and you should be as a result of that ostracized from the public square," he added.

The message of a war between believers and non-believers was well received in the small chapel, and many in the audience were brought to tears by Santorum's personal stories. Following the event, the chapel's pastor Richard Ellis called on the audience to pray for Santorum's candidacy. But rather than simply bowing their heads at their seats, Ellis directed Santorum to walk to the center of the small congregation and the crowd of pastors stood in concentric circles around him, arms touching, heads bowed, as they called on God to guide the candidate in his campaign for president.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • Texas
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. An Observation from North of the 49th

    @Obama's Snake Oil on Sale – Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    Time to get a grip, perhaps you can start by getting out of your parents basement ... don't know what parallel universe you're living in

    February 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. russ

    Yep, let's pray the country out of this recession. What a bunch of morons. The blind leading the blind. Pray, pray, pray. I have yet to see anything come to pass that anyone I know has prayed for. I've see a whole of bad things happen to them. When I ask them why, I mean you prayed for something good to happen, their answer is "God wanted it that way." If that's what praying does for you, I'll pass thank you very much. KEEP YOUR GOD DAMN RELIGION OUT OF MY GOVERNMENT!!!!!

    February 8, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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