Rick Santorum , the culture warrior who lost his Senate seat in 2006 , is polling within striking distance of Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona, where Republican primaries will be held Tuesday. His unabashed use of his traditionalist faith in politicking and policymaking has been gaining popularity. What if he wins the nomination — and then the White House? What would life look like in Santorum’s America? How religious would his presidency be? Here, the author imagines what President Santorum would tell his key constituency — religious conservatives — as he ran for reelection four years from now.
President Rick Santorum’s speech at the Values Voter Summit,
Sept. 23, 2016
Thank you. Thank you very much for that kind introduction. As Tony mentioned, I am the only sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit, something I have done each year since I took office in 2013. I’m here today, and have been to every Values Voter Summit, because I, like you, am a values voter.
Four years ago, liberal elites said I couldn’t win. They said I talked about my faith and about social issues too much. Some even called me a bigot. They said someone like me, someone whose views were so “extreme” on matters of life, marriage and family, could not win the presidency. Well, we proved them wrong.
Because of our values, we never gave up, and under my administration we have finally defunded Planned Parenthood. No longer will your tax dollars support that abortion mill or any programs that indoctrinate young girls to be sexual libertines — programs that say, “Here’s a pill, go ahead, have fun, it’s all about pleasure.” We said no — the government cannot force us to use our tax dollars to support unnatural acts. Now that money goes to pregnancy care centers, which help mothers rather than telling them to abort their babies.
One of my first acts as president was the creation of the Presidential Commission on Religious Liberty. Since its inception in early March 2013, the commission has investigated 249 instances of infringement of Americans’ religious freedom. Its quarterly public hearings, led by Chairman Maggie Gallagher and streamed live on the commission’s Web site, have served to educate Americans about the daily oppression of our faith, in the name of tolerance, by government and individuals.
Because of the brave stands religious leaders took across the country, we stopped the Obama birth control and morning-after abortion pill mandate in its tracks. Gone. We drew a line in the sand and created a conscience exemption for religious business owners and institutions to opt out of Obamacare entirely, thanks be to God. It’s because of our values that we came close — this close! — to repealing that abominable experiment in government playing God altogether. You — we — stand in the gap, reminding Americans that our rights come from natural law, not from the government.
We have accomplished much, but there is still much to do. We have gathered support for the Dignity of the Preborn Person Act, which, if passed, would recognize in civil law what we know to be true as a matter of God’s law: that every human life, at every stage, deserves protection. This bill ensures that each life, from the moment of conception, is entitled to the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. When that bill becomes law, unborn persons will no longer be denied their personhood, their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To promote families, the foundation of our society and our economy, my administration has taken several steps: We have increased funding to the Healthy Marriage Initiativeand the responsible-fatherhood project through the Department of Health and Human Services. We’ve reinstated funding for abstinence-education programs. We’ve broken down barriers left in place by my predecessor to faith-based organizations receiving funding under these programs. My Justice Department, unlike that of my predecessor, is dedicated to defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and my solicitor general will do so vigorously when the current challenge reaches the Supreme Court of the United States.
To unleash the innovations that make America great, we continue to push for repeal of the laws and regulations that stifle economic growth: Obamacare, Dodd-Frank financial reform, the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules. Lifting the yoke of all those regulations, along with securing our borders from illegal immigration, will both create and protect jobs for America’s workers. We’ve eliminated my predecessor’s boondoggles at the EPA and Department of Energy — promoting “green” energy and “green” jobs — and instead are tapping into the great natural resources we already know exist: oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. We’ve gotten rid of wasteful, endless bureaucratic study of global warming and have placed America on the road to energy independence, freeing us from relying on sources of energy from America’s enemies.
We fight many battles here at home, but there are other battles, too, against Islamic extremists who have their sights on America, on Israel and on Western civilization — Christendom itself. I rejected my predecessor’s dangerous appeasement policy and launched our air campaign against Iran’s nuclear sites, which will continue until we ensure that this existential threat to Israel and America is annihilated.
These battles overseas are just one front in the fight against Islamic radicalism. Nothing short of the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation is at risk. That’s why I support the Defend the American Constitution Act, which would bar federal courts from acknowledging or relying on sharia law.
Friends, when I was first elected four years ago, the very core of what makes our nation great — our faith — was under assault. While the economy was unraveling under the weight of regulations and oppressive government mandates, that election wasn’t about the economy. It was about something far more fundamental than job creation and tax rates — although those things are of course important. What changed the course of the campaign and made Barack Obama a one-term president was that voters saw through the haze of feel-good Christianity and realized that we teetered on the brink. The government of the New Deal, Great Society and Obamacare was on the verge of implementing its final offensive against our most fundamental freedoms. It had become abundantly clear that if we did not stand up for our faith, we would end up sitting in the back of the bus.
After nearly four years in office, we are going in the right direction, but there is still much work to do. We must keep the White House and the House of Representatives and, crucially, regain control of the Senate, which we won in 2012 but lost in 2014. If you want Supreme Court justices who are constitutionalists, who believe that the abomination of same-sex “marriage” must be stopped before it destroys us, who believe that the “right to privacy” and “separation of church and state” were pulled out of thin air by activist judges, we need a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
When you vote this November, remember you are not just voting for Rick Santorum, but for the Senate and House as well. You can and you must vote your faith — or risk losing America as we know it.
Sarah Posner is the senior editor of Religion Dispatches and the author of “God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters.”