Theology On The Brain

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

—Romans 8:22

Because Rick Santorum has religion on his brain, apparently full time now, he says strange and, if you don’t mind, unchristianly, things about a fellow Christian, who happens to be President of the United States and, of course, only “says he’s a Christian.

He told a crowd of teapartiers about Mr. Obama’s motives:

It’s 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.

Saint Santorum said later:

He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I’m not going to.

And then he responded on Sunday’s Face the Nation, after Bob Schieffer played the “phony theology” quote:

BOB SCHIEFFER: So, Senator, I’ve got to ask you. What– what in the world were you talking about, Sir?

RICK SANTORUM: Well, I was talking about the– the radical environmentalists. That’s why I was talking about energy, this– this idea that– that man is– is not– is here to serve the Earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. And I think that is a– a– is a phony ideal. I don’t believe that that’s what– that’s what we’re here to do. That– we– that– that man is here to– to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth. But we’re not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. And– and I think a lot of radical– a– a– a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, how does that translate into some sort of theology that the President’s theology–

RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): Well, it’s– it’s a world view.

BOB SCHIEFFER: –is not based on the Bible. I mean that suggests that he’s not a Christian.

RICK SANTORUM: No, I wasn’t suggesting that President’s not a Christian. I accept the fact that the President is a Christian. I– I just said that when you have a– a– a world view that– that elevates the Earth above man and– and– and says that, you know, we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth by– by things that are– that– that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, that politicization of the whole global warming debate, I mean, this is just all– all– all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government. And– and it’s not questioning the President’s beliefs in– in Christianity. I’m talking about, you know, his– the– the belief that– that man is– should be in charge of the earth and should have–

BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): No, but once–

RICK SANTORUM: –dominion over it and should be good stewards of it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I– I don’t want to just spend the whole program on this, but was your–

RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): Good.

BOB SCHIEFFER: –use of the word theology, perhaps, you could have had a better word than that? I mean, don’t you know that– that–

RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): It–

BOB SCHIEFFER: –or do you wonder that– that might lead some people to suggest that you were questioning the President’s faith?

RICK SANTORUM: Well– no, because I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the President’s faith. I’ve– I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the President is a Christian. He says he is a Christian. But I’m talking about his world view or his– the– the way he approaches problems in this country and I think they’re– they’re different than how most people do in America.

I presented the entire conversation just to demonstrate how an extremist interpretation of religion has infected Santorum’s brain.

So, let’s see how this works:

♦ Obama’s brand of environmentalism, which is simply that mankind should not go about fouling up posterity’s home unnecessarily, is a “phony theology.”

♦ But Santorum’s brand—”the Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective“—is the real theology, apparently the proper Christian theology.

So, let’s follow the two theologies to their proper conclusion:

♦ Obama’s theology leads to an earth that is habitable in some distant future.

♦ Santorum’s theology, to the extent it has any intellectual coherence, leads to an earth that will not be happily habitable in some distant future.

Now, which one has the most godly theology?

The obvious truth is this: Obama’s environmentalism, which is centrist in every way, is not theological but rational, not short-sighted but cognizant of our obligations to those who come after us.

But Santorum’s environmentalism is indeed theological. It comes straight from the pages of Genesis:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Apparently, Santorum’s theology includes no limits on “drill, baby, drill” and “burn, baby, burn.” If it does include limits, then how does it differ so radically from Mr. Obama’s?

Thus, apparently in any dispute between man and the earth—like, for instance, the effect fossil fuels are having on global temperatures—Santorum sides with the short-term interests of mankind and against the long-term interest of the earth, which, of course, ultimately means against the interests of future earthlings.

And if this particular theological view should ever prevail, those future earthlings will have to figure out how to live on a planet that has been governed by the religious zealotry of folks like Rick Santorum.


  1. ansonburlingame

     /  February 20, 2012

    Now this is a new tact, environmentalism and theology!!

    I will not engage is such for now but will offer ONE thought based on what Duane wrote above. He said, “Obama’s environmentalism, which is centrist in every way, is not theological but rational, not short-sighted but cognizant of our obligations to those who come after us.”

    NOW, if we could only get the President to take such a “long view” of economics, we might find so room for agreement, particularly related to “those who come after us”!!!, economically.



    • “We” don’t have to get the President to take the long view on economics, all of his views on economics are for the long view, as they seek to preserve our capitalist system. If your reference is to the national debt, remember it was your side that backed out of the Grand Bargain. Clean up your own political back yard before you go talking trash about Big O.



      • ansonburlingame

         /  February 20, 2012

        You must have missed his most recent budget submital. I don’t blame you however. It is a sorry thing to read.



  2. I believe Duane’s post is correct in its analysis. Doesn’t this provide an excellent example of why all voters should be concerned about the issue of religion as it affects the thinking of political leaders? President Obama’s environmental thinking is based on rational science, whereas Mr. Santorum’s is based on, well, the book of Genesis. I know which one I would choose.

    And, this brings to mind Mr. Romney. I wonder what’s in the Book of Mormon or the Pearl of Great Price that might affect his stewardship of our planet’s health? Maybe the planet Kolob provides a model?


    • Jim,

      From Wikipedia’s entry on Kolob:

      …some LDS commentators consider Kolob to be a planet.

      When I read that the first time, I thought it was, more appropriately, “some LSD commentators.” Now, that would make more sense to me.


    • ansonburlingame

       /  February 20, 2012


      you are so interested in the planet Kolob, I wonder if you can tell me how close to Krypton it might be. Maybe we have another Superman confronting the electorate???



      • You know, Anson, given the proclivity of the GOP candidates to self-destruct there just might be some Kolobite around from Kolob, if indeed it has exploded. It would appear to be similar in its effects to Kryptonite. However, I will defer to President Monson and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the matter. I hear they are in continuous contact with the Word.


  3. EC,

    Reading the transcript of Schieffer’s interview with Santorum reminded me of a pertinent quote by Thomas Paine: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”



  4. ansonburlingame

     /  February 20, 2012

    Yep administering to the dead. Sort of like the FY 2012 Obama budget that was dead on arrival last year. Wonder how long before the most recent one dies?



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