That Rick Santorum really sets people off. He doesn’t like gays serving in the military, or women for that matter. He thinks Satan is taking over America through rock music. People either love him or want to see him vaporized.
Is he really THE presidential candidate for true Catholics, as some of my church friends suggest? Is he really the evil, hateful soul some of my non-Catholic friends make him out to be?
The following is my take on the former Pennsylvania senator, who is giving Mitt Romney hell in the fight for the Republican nomination for president. It’s how I, as a devout Catholic, see him.
Let me be honest up front: I never liked Rick Santorum when he was a senator. I always found his passion for mixing church with state maddening. I even hated that smirk of his.
As I’ve gotten older and found my faith, I still don’t like him much. But I don’t hate him like I used to. He’s fighting for his beliefs, which is the right of every American. I still think some of his rhetoric is zany, but he’s as free to engage in stupid talk as everyone else.
In my opinion, he would be a disaster as president. But that’s just me.
As a guy who goes to church every Sunday, takes his faith seriously and spends a lot of time with people in his church community, I see Santorum as a reflection of the people I mix with every day.
I have some close friends that are far more socially conservative than I could ever be. Mine is a much more rebellious brand of Catholicism. I refuse to view homosexuality as a disease or a lifestyle choice for two reasons: I don’t think people choose to be gay, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them for being gay. I reject the idea that your vote for president should be solely based on whether the candidate supports Roe V. Wade. If you have to label me pro-life or pro-choice, I’d have to say I’m pro-life. Abortion as birth control is evil to me. But I also think the labels are stupid. Pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion as a lot of my friends make it out to be. And hating abortion certainly doesn’t make you pro-life.
But I’m not voting for someone on that issue alone. You can share my views on abortion but be incompetent in every other way. I’m voting for president, not bishop.
Like I said, I’m a rebellious Catholic. All that matters to me is that I have Jesus in my life. The rest is politics perpetuated by human beings.
Santorum is like a lot of my church buddies. Gay people make him squirm. He also gets self righteous and points his nose down at people who are not 100 percent like-minded. But I don’t think he’s evil.
A lot of the friends I disagree with on these issues would give you the shirt off their backs. We look after each other’s children and have complete trust in one another. We even like a lot of the same music. Some of the most religiously devout people I know are Metallica fans.
We don’t really discuss politics. We talk about our jobs, our families, Boy Scout activities and cigars (though I don’t smoke them anymore). We have deep discussions about addiction and mental illness, because we all have it in our families. On the rare occasion politics enters the conversation, we bust each other’s balls, laugh and move on.
I suspect Rick Santorum is pretty much the same way when he’s not in front of the cameras. He’s probably a decent human being who would help his neighbor in a time of need.
But if any of my friends ran for office, I wouldn’t vote for them.
It’s nothing personal. I just find some of their ideas zany, and they feel the same about me.
Santorum doesn’t strike me as evil. He does, however, strike me as the wrong guy to put in the White House.