Obama and the Problem of Evil
Watching how the media react to God talk and family values by politicians is like watching the spinning head in The Exorcist, depending on who's doing the God talk.
Consider the problem of evil, beginning with this statement from Barack Obama responding to Pastor Rick Warren's question at the "Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum" in August 2008:
Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. That is God's task [to erase evil from the world], but we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.
The media reaction? It was the yawn heard 'round the world.
Now from Sen. Rick Santorum:
"I'm a person of faith. I believe in good and evil. ... If somehow or another because you're a person of faith and you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we're going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president," Santorum said in response to questions from CNN on Tuesday.
Santorum was responding to questions about comments he made as a private citizen to fellow Catholics at Ave Maria University in June 2008:
And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country, the United States of America.
The Chicago Tribune headline Wednesday sums up media responses: "Santorum, under fire for Satan comments, recalls Reagan's 'courage'."
The Christian Science Monitor wants to know: "Does Rick Santorum have a Satan problem?"
Does the Monitor have a Jesus problem? He coined the term "Father of Lies."
No gnashing of teeth was heard among media when presidential candidate Obama announced his "Faith, Family and Values" tour in September 2008, having said in December 2007 that he was "continually reminded that the values that I learned at Trinity and as part of the UCC community are values that can't just stay in church but have to be applied outside of church," according to Jim Kuhnhenn, AP writer.
Obama reluctantly resigned from Wright's church just before the 2008 primary elections after videos of Wright damning America, Jews, Italians, and white people went viral, making it impossible for Obama's fawning media to continue ignoring them.
Denizens of the media's Mordor mobs shriek when Santorum talks about faith and family values. See here ("media has unleashed the hounds"), here ("too much red meat"), here ("his crusade for the restoration of traditional mores"), here ("a few Knights Templar short of a holy war"), here ("render him unpalatable"), here ("theologian in chief"), and here ("agenda for the dark ages").
No media shrieks were heard when Obama spoke about conscience and the kingdom of God to those attending the Feb. 3, 2011 National Prayer Breakfast:
My Christian faith then has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years. All the more so, when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time, we are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God. "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."
... [B]ut in this life of politics when debates have become so bitterly polarized, and changes in the media lead so many of us just to listen to those who reinforce our existing biases, it's useful to go back to Scripture to remind ourselves that none of us has all the answers -- none of us, no matter what our political party or our station in life.
Conscience notwithstanding, Obama simultaneously ordered employers, regardless of religious or moral convictions, to provide health care insurance coverage for contraceptives, including abortifacients, and sterilization.
The Catholic leaders who believed Obama's call to honor the conscience of pro-life Americans in his commencement speech at Notre Dame in 2009 helped pull the wool over the eyes of the sheep after falling for beguiling rhetoric like this:
Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.
Obama is now telling people of faith and moral conscience that they must obey him rather than God or pay enormous fines if they remain true to conscience. He needs to "go back to Scripture" and "remind" himself: "We must obey God rather than men."
When Obama says his policies are inspired by his Christian faith, the media levitate toward him. When Santorum dares to challenge Obama's theology, Santorum gets thrown out the window.
Jan LaRue is senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.