Rick Santorum is back among the ever-swelling GOP presidential candidate lists.
He won 11 primaries in 2012 with his devoutly Catholic, homeschooling-dad culture-warrior campaign. On Wednesday (May 27), he declared for the 2016 race with his traditionalist moral views freshly sharpened.
Five faith facts about Santorum:
1. He’s opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage and the teaching of evolution.
Santorum served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, where he staked out positions opposing abortion, same-sex marriage and the teaching of evolution. The breakdown of the traditional man-woman family is America’s most urgent problem, he told the Homeschool Iowa Capitol Day Forum in April.
2. He would not attend a same-sex wedding.
Pope Francis may say “who am I to judge?,” but not Santorum. A Daily Beast writer called him “a few Knights Templar short of a holy war,” highlighting comments such as Santorum’s view that contraception is “dangerous” because it offers “license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” In an April interview, he told radio host Hugh Hewitt, “As a person of my faith, (attending a same-sex wedding) would be something that would be a violation of my faith. I would love them and support them but I would not be a participant in that ceremony.”
3. He appeals to evangelicals.
He can talk the talk with evangelicals who want to see politicians spell out the ties between their personal faith and their actions. Catholic traditionalist Robert P. George told Religion News Service that Santorum is one of the few Catholic Republicans who has “figured it out.” Santorum had the endorsement of traditionalists at CatholicVote.org for his “unified moral and economic vision,” according to the National Review. But a New York Times look at exit polls in the 2012 primaries showed Santorum lost the Catholic vote to Mitt Romney by significant margins in 10 of 12 states where pollsters asked about religion. It also found that more than 40 percent of Catholic voters didn’t even know Santorum is Catholic.
4. He’s not a fan of church-state separation.
The concept of separation of church and state — at least as expressed when Catholic John F. Kennedy addressed Baptist ministers in the 1960 presidential election campaign — makes Santorum “want to throw up.” In 2012 he told George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” and Santorum called that notion “antithetical” to the vision of our country. Also antithetical: liberals. He told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that the American left “hates Christendom.” According to ABC News, he also told a South Carolina town hall that the national ideal “is rooted in the Christian ideal — in the Judeo-Christian concept of the person” and not in any Eastern faiths or philosophies.
5. He works for a Christian movie distributor.
Santorum has a culture-warrior day job. In the wake of his failed 2012 campaign, he found another way to “impact people’s lives” — he’s the CEO of Christian movie distributor EchoLight. It produces and distributes Christian family movies directly to hundreds of U.S. churches. Santorum told The National Journal: “I think culture is upstream from politics, and maybe it’s important to get involved in the upstream and see what the impact can be to the country generally as a result.”