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Santorum … The pick and choose from Catholic values candidate?

January 6th, 2012 · No Comments

God's Children (Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum)Many are, it seems, agag about Rick Santorum due to the devout nature of his Catholicism.  While JFK assured America that Rome wouldn’t rule him, Rick seems determined to put into people’s minds the reverse.

One of Santorum’s notable stand out features: as serious a climate denial as one can find within a pack of climate zombie Republican Presidential candidates.

Here is commentary with the doyen of Republican thought leaders, Rush Limbaugh

I believe the earth gets warmer and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 — which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas — is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd.

Santorum continued that the idea of man-made climate change may be part of a liberal conspiracy: “To me this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm. It’s been on a warming trend so they said, ‘Oh, let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer.’”

“It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life,” he added, “and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”

This, of course, was not a one-time movement into anti-science syndrome suffering hatred of a liveable economic system.

Santorum not only denies that manmade global warming is a growing concern, he denies its very existence. “There is no such thing as global warming,” he once said on Glenn Beck’s show [clip above ...], adding that it’s “patently absurd” to think a naturally occurring substance like CO2 – “a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas “ – is warming the planet. (Well, not if you understand the greenhouse effect.) He told Rush Limbaugh: “I’ve never . . . accepted the junk science behind that narrative.”

But it’s not really about “junk” science. Santorum simply doesn’t accept science. A devout evangelical Catholic, Santorum also rejects evolution and tried to amend federal law to require the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools

From the bleachers, one would think that a “devout … Catholic” would take seriously the Pope’s opinions and statements.  On closer look, it seems, Santorum seems to be a pick and choose Catholic.

It’s easy to see why Santorum might appeal Rick Santorum, Jack of Hearts - Cartoon to some culturally conservative Catholics and moderate evangelicals who are wary of Democrats but also turned off by the Republican Party’s cozy embrace of economic libertarianism and tireless defense of struggling millionaires. Santorum is more comfortable with communitarian language, has been a strong supporter of foreign aid to impoverished countries and connects with personal stories of his blue-collar upbringing.

But it’s a political delusion to think Rick Santorum is a standard-bearer of authentic Catholic values in politics. In fact, on several issues central to Catholic social teaching – torture, war, immigration, climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor and workers’ rights – Santorum is radically out of step with his faith’s teachings as articulated by Catholic bishops and several popes over the centuries.

Contrast Santorum’s perspective on the “junk science” work of 1000s of scientists with the Papal perspective on what should happen.

A little over two years ago, the Pope issued If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation:

Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change,

Rick Santorum clearly does not believe that the Pope merits listening to, rather than lampooning with commentary about “junk science”.

desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.

Environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which then, tragically, become a serious threat to creation. … When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed – environmentally and socially – as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred. The international community and national governments are responsible for sending the right signals in order to combat effectively the misuse of the environment. To protect the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-defined rules,

Consider Rick Santorum’s cashing in on his connections when he left Congress, working diligently to promote polluting coal with reckless disregard for “cost entailed — environmentally and socially …”

Less than two months ago,

Speaking to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict expressed the hope that “all members of the international community might reach agreement on a responsible, credible response,” to the phenomenon of climate change, which he described as “complex” and “disturbing”.

While Catholic bishops praised the Administration’s decision to, in accordance with court orders, issue a ruling placing regulations on mercury emissions that will save 10,000s of lives per year, Rick Santorum called the analysis behind the decision “absolutely ridiculous” and “not based on any kind of science” and asserted that the Environmental Protection Agency “hates blue-collar Americans” (that is, I’d guess, except those who would have died or suffered health problems due to the pollutants that this regulatory act will prevent).

To be fair for a moment, everyone is hypocritical to one degree or another.  An important point about maturity is to recognize one’s own contradictions and be willing to discuss them with others.  Will Rick Santorum engage, openly, about his pick-and-choose Catholicism?  Will reporters challenge him if he doesn’t?

Bibliography: Catholic Perspectives on Faith and  the Environment

Tags: 2012 Presidential Election · climate change · climate delayers · climate zombies · politics · religion and global warming · republican party

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