If you watched the movie “The Exorcist,” you know that the Catholic Church believes there is an active evil in the world that at times must be confronted. Thus, the Church trains certain priests to perform rites that expel evil from troubled human beings. Exorcisms are rare, but they happen.
Enter Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic who sometimes uses his faith-based beliefs to define public policy. That is causing fear and loathing among the secular press, for whom all religious-based judgments are the very definition of evil.
Speaking at a Catholic university in 2008, Santorum laid many of America’s social problems directly at the devil’s doorstep: “The father of lies has his sights on what you would think the father of lies would have his sights on. A good, decent, powerful, influential country: the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age? There is no one else to go after other than the United States.”
Santorum then went on to say that secularism is overwhelming Judeo-Christian values and even Protestant religions are “a shambles.”
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Of course, there are many Americans who believe the way Santorum does, but if he were to win the presidency, he might be the most overtly religious man ever elected. Jimmy Carter embraced Christianity, but not to the extent that Santorum does.
Most of the other presidents paid lip service to the deity, but rarely invoked Satan as an enemy of the nation.
As a fellow Catholic, Santorum’s spiritual opinions don’t bother me. But I do understand why some Americans find him over the top. We the people value individualism and the freedom to design our own lives. Nobody likes to be judged, and Jesus himself warned against doing that. As for Satan, he is best kept at bay, for sure, but blaming MTV on him might be a bit simplistic.
Santorum will likely be branded a male Church Lady (the “SNL” character played by Dana Carvey who often said, “Could it be Satan?”) by the secular press if he continues doing well in the campaign. Already, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and others are painting him as a fringe revival-type player, an honest Elmer Gantry. They see him as a threat to gays, women and atheist editors. The hysteria is growing.
But all Santorum is really doing is what Billy Joel once sang about: keeping the faith. He believes what he believes, and he sees the world through that prism. Voters obviously know that and will make their decisions about the former senator based upon his well-reported resume. They don’t need Satan or the liberal press to define him. Santorum speaks for himself, and very clearly.
Bill O’Reilly, Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.