Santorum’s Theology Three-Ring Circus
Presidential politics is always messy. I’ve been shaking my head about this year’s Republican primary for months now. As a non-Republican, I know better than to talk politics with my family. But that means I know it is crazy when my conservative LDS family has volunteered in my presence the existence of a bunch of crazies in the early race.
Still, I thought we had finally reached the end of the extreme crazies, but apparently not. This week’s lead-up to the Michigan primary has been a three-ring circus when you consider religion and environment.
Ring #1: Santorum claimed late last week that Obama believes in “some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.” Even though he was speaking in context of the environment, it opens the door for all the crazies suggesting Obama is a Muslim rather than Christian. The alternative (which Santorum actually implicitly provoked in later comments) is Obama adheres to a radical form of Christianity (Rev. Wright resurrected if you will). I can’t believe we are still having these tired arguments how many years later???
Ring #2: When asked to clarify the remark on Face the Nation last Sunday, Santorum said Obama has “a world view that elevates the earth above man and says we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the earth” and continues to go onto say that those harms “frankly are just not scientifically proven.” Beyond the fact that Santorum should be more careful to use theology and ideology in their proper contexts (no, the words are not synonyms although sacrament meeting sometimes makes me wonder if most Mormons also believe that to be the case), the craziness of questioning the existence of climate change makes me shake my head every time. I also start to wonder if I missed the magic trick where Obama was a radical environmentalist putting the ‘environment before Man.’ Did I blink? Because I’m not seeing it.
Ring #3: Of course, any time one of these candidates bring up theology and presidential politics, talking heads end up musing about whether Mormonism is Christian. (For those of you wondering, Mormons do consider themselves Christian and following Christ is a central tenant of their theology.) A reworking of the ‘anyone but a Mormon’ anti-Romney theme yet again if you would.
Obviously I’m disappointed that we are still arguing the basic facts that resource extraction harms the earth, that climate change exists, or even the basic facts of pollution and pressure on the earth from humans’ lifestyle. Does it have to involve religion too? Even more disappointing is to see that if environmentalism is rhetorically linked to religion, it is apparently fair game to question Romney’s Christianity but not obvious to question the assumption that Mormons’ are not committed to environmentalism.
Those of us who are Mormon and care about the environment have a lot of work to do.