For years the GOP has placated the religious right, even as Christian fundamentalists have steered the movement to the fringe. On a national level, at least, that constituency has been heard but not seen.
Sure, George W. Bush spoke openly of his faith and helped secure a second term behind the gay marriage boogeyman, but he was a child of Washington — son of “Poppy” with a pro-choice wife.
Rick Santorum may be Catholic, but there’s never been a presidential candidate more in line with the Christian fundamentalist wing. You’ve heard little about Santorum home schooling his eight children but the religious far right has certainly noticed. And it would be foolish to ignore their influence.
The movement now sees that to reclaim America for God, it must first reclaim that tradition for Him, and so it is producing a flood of educational texts with which to wash away the stains of secular history.
Such chronicles are written primarily for the homeschoolers and the fundamentalist academies that together account for at least 2 million of the nation’s children, an expanding population that buys more than half a billion dollars of educational materials annually. “Who, knowing the facts of our history,” asks the epigraph to the 2000 edition of The American Republic for Christian Schools, a junior-high textbook, “can doubt that the United States of America has been a thought in the mind of God from all eternity?”
Santorum shares this providential view which, for example, views science as an enemy.
Santorum also said he accepts that Obama is a Christian and was not questioning his faith when he said at a campaign appearance Saturday that Obama supports a “phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible.”
He said he was talking about “radical environmentalists” who share Obama’s “worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources, because we’re going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven.” He pointed to the debate over global climate change as an example.
Establishment Republicans who wish Santorum would just go away better think again. Christian fundamentalists truly believe they are persecuted and are eager to fight. Santorum is just the first of many to rise up through their ranks.