Outspoken Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum is not shy about establishing his points of view in speeches on such interesting subjects as man versus nature and Christendom—all of which will be of interest to Indian country. Santorum is riding a surge of momentum heading into the February 28 primaries in Arizona and Michigan. On February 7, Santorum swept primaries in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado—the latter two states have a strong American Indian presence.
That momentum has also carried over into the main race as Santorum has jumped into the lead with 30.8 percent, ahead of Mitt Romney by 1.6 percent as of February 13’s Real Clear Politics poll.
According to the Washington Times, the February 7 results show a growing pool of support for Santorum and possible dangers for Romney as the race progresses.
With the primary season about to heat up, Santorum’s momentum could continue to grow especially in the Midwest and Mountain West, areas with large blue-collar populations according to the Washington Post. Of course, many Native issues loom large in these states.
Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul continue to be a part of the race, though neither is building momentum.
Santorum’s recent rise to the front of the Republican Presidential Candidate race has brought a new round of analysis on the viability of a hard-line right-winger in a national election. Santorum has made much of his Christian faith, which he uses to inform his contemporary views of the world. American Indians, however, may find some elements of his traditional, biblical point of view disturbing. Consider, for example, his attitudes towards nature, and philosophies that seem closely aligned with such troubling retrograde, harmful historical concepts such as the doctrine of discovery. To wit:
“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth's benefit,” Santorum told an audience at the Colorado School of Mines where he was a guest speaker February 6 at the Colorado Energy Summit. Where he called climate change a “hoax” and advocated for a fossil fuel heavy energy plan according to RealAspen.com. “We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through the course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.”
The vagaries of nature? Is he referring to dam control or perhaps Keystone XL Pipeline, or the artificial snow on the San Francisco Peaks? And what about the degradations of large-scale mining? Santorum’s stance is clearly in contrast to that of Bolvian President Evo Morales who created a law protecting Mother Earth. One area Santorum and Romney tend to agree on? Big corporations, big money and fossil fuels. Protecting the environment isn’t a high priority.
“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American Left who hates Christendom. … What I’m talking about is onward American soldiers. What we’re talking about are core American values.” Santorum shared this nugget on his South Carolina campaign stop and made No. 3 of The Week’s nine controversial Santorum quotes.
“Core American values” built from Christendom is something familiar to Natives, and how the Church tried to assimilate Indians into society.
Santorum took a very clear stance on contraception when he was interviewed by CaffeinatedThoughts.com and shared at thinkprogress.org, “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
Speaking on the topic of same sex marriages in an Associated Press interview in 2003 Santorum said,“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”
Santorum’s addresses have also favored factory work over social programs: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.”
Suffering for Santorum is a good thing and he feels Americans should suffer some, “Suffering, if you’re a Christian, suffering is a part of life. And it’s not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life … There are all different ways to suffer. One way to suffer is through lack of food and shelter and there’s another way to suffer which is lack of dignity and hope and there’s all sorts of ways that people suffer and it’s not just tangible, it’s also intangible and we have to consider both.”
Santorum’s infatuation for fossil fuels is also evident especially with comments like, “Drill everywhere … There is no such thing as global warming.”
For more information on these subjects and how they affect Indian country in particular, visit the links below.
Church and Christendom
Social Programs to assist minority groups: Obama’s latest Budget proposal