Can Santorum (or you) Say “Satan”?

On Tuesday, February 21, The Drudge Report ran a story about a speech then-Senator Rick Santorum gave at Ave Maria University where he warned that “Satan has his sights on the U.S. ” He went on to say, “Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those voices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has deeply rooted in the American tradition.”

This caused an uproar in the mainstream media.  Among many other expressions of disgust, The Daily Beast published a follow up, “10 Outrageous Things Rick Santorum Has Said,” some of which were, in fact, common Catholic views.  To The Daily Beast these statements were so beyond the pale that they required no counter-arguments; they provided a laugh and showed Santorum to be a non-electable fanatic.

Wolf Blitzer on CNN spent all Wednesday afternoon before the CNN Republican debate sputtering over the trouble a candidate must be in if he had to defend his views of Satan.  Donna Brazile, pretending to reach out to the church crowd, spoke of how Santorum was preaching to the choir when he should be addressing the congregation.  The congregation included people of various faiths or none.  Santorum should self-censor any talk of worldviews or phony theologies, she implied, and certainly, Satan.

Political discourse in America has long been defined narrowly as to religious language.  Our nation was founded by Deists and Christians, and the Deists, who believed God never intervened in human affairs, were the dominant rhetoricians.  An unspoken compact evolved in American political affairs that God could be invoked on many occasions, but then discussions of policy should be pursued as if God did not exist—or at least matter much.  The exception to this came with wars and other tragic events where providence came into play.  At times political figures truly did see beyond the merely mortal by the light of faith.  The most profound instance of this came in Lincoln’s second inaugural where he saw the hand of God directing the nation despite the shortcomings of both the North and South.

Still, at the beginning of the nation, and especially with the Second (or Lesser) Awakening as  the 19th century got underway, a broad Christian consensus prevailed in America.  No one in politics wanted to get into the weeds of the Calvinist-Arminian controversy,  but talk of the Devil  having designs on America would have been understood by all and not taken as a laughing matter.

What’s revealing about the Santorum dust-up is the open-mouthed lack of reasoned response to the candidate’s reference to Satan—as if no response to such statements need be attempted because they are simply irrational nonsense.  Wolf Blitzer modeled this in citing the reference with stunned disbelief.  That’s a wonderful means of mockery if you can get away with it, because it immediately threatens any dissenters with shame.

The deepest power the media have is to define in advance how we are going to talk about a subject.  If I can frame political questions as I wish and even dictate the very words that are allowed in political discourse, I will win the argument every single time.  The answer resides in the premises.

For example, are we going to talk about abortion as the taking of life or a woman’s right to control her own body?  Are we going to talk about homosexuality as an “inherently disordered condition,” as the Church teaches or a civil rights issue?  Are we going to talk about the family as an institution instituted by God or a contract that can be canceled by either party at any time for any reason?  If I’m willing to grant the frame of women’s rights, civil rights, and contract law, then I have no argument.

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  • John McCarthy

    Eye opening.

  • Vic

    Mr. Fickett has nailed a growing problem in our nation; the growth of secularism that is evidenced in the growing intolerence of Religious Freedom.

  • Liturgy Lover

    Right on.  Please buy ad space in all the major newspapers in the country and reprint this article…if they let you!!

  • DeaconDonB

    Great Article!  The secular media is in denial of the truth and cannot deal with the fact that someone dares bring up that horrible name “Satan”. How dare Rick
    to have the guts to speak out on what he knows to be the truth. And what made it even more appalling was it was said by a Catholic who are all radicals in their beliefs. Aren’t you glad to be in that number? I know I feel blessed to be a radical Catholic.

  • servantofcharity

    Great article.  It’s a scary condemnation of the current predominent mindset in our country, particularly the media, and it shows why it’s so hard for a serious Catholic to reach the highest office.  It also shows why Santorum is the right man for the job.  He understands reality.

    John
    servantofcharity.blogspot.com

  • Debbie

    Fabulous article…very well stated. Thank you, Mr. Harold Fickett.

  • Mrgrt

    You are right.  And I have found people from all over are not averse to having the conversation that includes thoughtful reference to Christian beliefs. Keep it up. God bless you Mr. Fickett. God bless Rick Santorum and God bless the USA.

  • Rakeys

    Jimmy Kimmel joked about Rick Santorum saying that “Satan has his sights on the US.” His next joke was about a group of women protesting about handing out free condoms in their grade school.”How ridiculius was that?” he said. 
     It seems like Satan is still at work. 

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    The best advantage ANY enemy has is the belief they do not exist. Chalking up Satan as just a mere caricature of a grinning face with a pointed tail and horns is a childish notion of the Secularist to say the least. Satan is the force of evil at work in this world ! One has to be so self absorbed not to see and hear the results of that evil in modern society. Murder of innocent children by abortion, war, greed; the collective list of atrocities related to this evil goes on. Satan (Hebrew for adversary), is that enemy unseen except by the evident damage that is left in the wake of his obvious existence.

    Thank you Mr. Santorum for your courage to address this issue to a country which has allowed itself to be blindsided by complacency !

    Thank you Mr. Fickett for that same courage in writing this article !

  • 1985

    We need like you people to defend the religious values of life and social values of life. The main steam media may laugh at us but God will laugh with us to teach a lesson to the main stream media. God bless you.
    Sen

  • chaco

    God plus 1 is a Majority. History is replete with empirical evidence that God uses a remnant Church to bring Glory to himself. Who is better company; God or “Powers , principalities & rulers of this dark age” (Eph. 6: 12)?  Don’t ever give in to feeling lonely or outnumbered. When our “Good Company” left in bodily form (Ascension), he assurred us; “I am with you always”. [Surrounding ourselves with those who havn't been duped by historical ignorance is a way to experience "God with Skin on".] The War is already won; “Now the ruler of this world will be cast down” (Jn 12: 31). All that is left is to stomp out the remaining “Brush Fires”. Our recent Shepards ( Popes; Italian for Papa) and Fatima assure us that a “New Springtime” of Faith is in us & growing in the world (see Phil. 4: 7  & Jn. 14: 27).

  • chaco

    Heavenly Clue;  Imagine how pleasing it is for God to see his Mama’s smile – especially when she beholds one of her children ( us; Body of Christ) being harmed. Heaven’s  Peace Plan, given at Fatima, is to console / “Make Reparation” to Mary’s Heart ie; “Rejoice Queen Mother, your son – our God has ventured into the depths of darkness & illumined it with the Victory of Divine Mercy. It has penetrated the hardness of our selfish vanity & softened our Hearts into Praise & Thanks for God [who longs to share his Glorious Love with us].”  Use this clue and see your garden / “New Springtime” bloom & grow.

  • 1Nancie

    Santorum  is now talking against President Kennedy and says the separation between church and state does not exist.  The man is giving religion a bad name. Who would want to believe in the judgmental god of Santorum?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=774759390 Timothy Lehmann

    SANTORUM is of course talking to the choir… he is not the nominee as of today. So he IS appealing to his base to win the nomination. Santorum will NOT speak this way if he get the nomination in order to appear more centered. Just as all politicians have, dems and repubs, for years and years. 

  • AnnaMarie53

    Thank you, Mr. Fickett, for your thoughtful and truthful editorial on Rick Santorum’s frank speech about the existence of evil in our fallen world.   Mr. Santorum has the intestinal fortitude to speak (as the secular press loves to say) “truth to power.”  If back-talking the liberal, self-satisfied, Obama-backing national press on the issue of Satan’s reality isn’t talking back, I don’t know what is!  If you don’t believe evil exists, talk to your local policeman.  They encounter it every day.  If evil exists, it must have a personality, and the only thing to have personalities are sentient beings.  Therefore, the Devil exists.  To argue otherwise is to spit in the face of not only every believing human being, but also every human being…period.
    Reporters and politicians, in the main, love to call evil “crazy.”  As for me, I have ceased to call every evil-doer by anything other than their right name…evil.  Give “credit” where credit is due…Satan.  God bless you Mr. Fickett, and you, Mr. Santorum, for speaking out in truth and courage.  And for all that is true, God bless America!

  • Wgsullivan

     I believe Santorum may be saying he won’t check his faith at the door. Something Kennedy was all to willing to do.

  • 1Nancie

     You have to remember the times when Kennedy was elected. People were very afraid of a Catholic in the Presidency. because they were afraid the Pope would be dictating policy.  Kennedy made a historic speech making it clear that he believed in the Separation of Church and State and that his beliefs as a Catholic would not interfere with his decisions as President. Kennedy was, in my opinion, a great President. Like many great men, his personal life got him in trouble.

  • coopertrish

    The US is fortunate to have Rick Santorum , a man willing to stand up and speak the truth. Amazing with his  smaller budget(compared to Romney) he has been able to garner the support that he has. When i see the  comic satirists , and  mainstream  journalists jump all over this remark , it is not surprising. The modern world got rid of Satan, sin and the notion of  an absolute right and wrong years ago. I think Mr. Santorum should stay in the race as long as possible, as it keeps these conversations going, hopefully will make a few more people ponder and hopefully reconsider their ill considered philosophys. .   So please Mr. Santorum keep speaking, we need you .

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