Santorum channels Thatcher: the shambles in the United Church of Christ — and America.
“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, but no less a theology.” — Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on President Obama’s agenda
“What I’m saying is that someone must force the point, say the unsayable. None of these men have the guts.” — Oscar winner Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady
Not so fast.
Yes, Rick Santorum really is talking a great deal about economics and foreign policy. The man has been both congressman and senator and has an extensive record in both areas.
Yet his critics want to zero in on Santorum the social conservative. And they may well be in for the uncomfortable surprise of their 2012 life.
The shenanigans of the American Left since the 1960s are catching up to them. And by the sheerest of political accidents, President Obama is on the verge of becoming the very symbol of — as his ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright used to say — chickens coming home to roost.
Rick Santorum is right. More than right. And Santorum has struck what could become the equivalent of a major political oil field.
He is right when he says what President Obama is about is a “phony theology.” Santorum was also right to say “I accept the fact that the president is a Christian.” But the consequences of this “phony theology” are now well beyond religion — although religion is an excellent place to begin the analysis of exactly what kind of beast Obama’s “phony theology” really is.
President Obama is indeed a Christian. While there are many accounts of a Muslim heritage (father, grandfather, step-father) Barack Obama famously selected to join the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. While the church is now immutably identified with its controversial (and now retired) pastor, Jeremiah Wright, in fact the key to Santorum’s accurate description of Obama’s “phony theology” lies not in the Trinity UCC per se but rather in the larger denomination of the United Church of Christ which Obama elected to join. Indeed, in 2007 the UCC welcomed then-Senator Obama to its General Synod gathered in Hartford, Connecticut where the liberal presidential candidate was hailed as a favorite son up from the pews.
It is thus no accident that when Senator Santorum says “we look at the shape of Mainline Protestantism in this country and it is a shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it” he is saying this at the same time he is referring to President Obama and a “phony theology.” The media tried to paint Santorum into a corner by suggesting this was an attack on Obama’s religion. To which Santorum quite specifically answered “I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the president’s faith. I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president’s Christian.”
But in fact, in a very interesting fashion that has major political implications Santorum was attacking a specific religion — the “phony theology” of which he spoke. And that phony theology is not only the President’s, it now sits atop or plays a major role in a number of American institutions including academia, the law and, in religion, the bureaucratic structure of Mainline Protestant churches. In the latter case this “phony theology” is directly culpable for leaving these one-time pillars of American religion in what Santorum again correctly says is “a shambles.”
One of those Mainline Protestant denominations is Obama’s United Church of Christ — a denomination that, wonder of wonders, happens to be my own.
For the record, I have served for six years on the Council of my own local UCC church, five of them as president, and another three years as a member of the UCC’s Penn Central Conference Board of Directors. The Penn Central Conference represents over 200 UCC churches in 19 Pennsylvania counties running from the Maryland state line to the New York border. And in accordance with the polity of our denomination, it is important to note here that in writing this I have no authority — as no member or officer has — to speak for the denomination.
So let me speak plainly. Under no circumstances do I believe Senator Santorum has somehow slighted my religion, much less insulted it. To the contrary. While he is a Catholic, I believe Senator Santorum has done the United Church of Christ an important service.
Perhaps the best way to say it was expressed in the now-current film The Iron Lady, the film version of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s life. In the film, actress Meryl Streep, who won an Oscar Sunday night for her portrayal of Thatcher, says these lines as Thatcher makes up her mind to challenge the entrenched male leadership of the British Conservative Party:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online