Rick Santorum’s “Christian” Values Aren’t Very Christian

Not unless you consider Confucius and Aesop and Plato Christian, anyway.

I don’t mean to keep going after Rick Santorum, but Lord, he makes it easy. Over the weekend, he stepped in a great big pile of doo by claiming that President Obama practices “some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.” In essence, he was telling the President: “I know Jesus, and you’re no Christian.” Per usual, he then backpedaled frantically, insisting that he’s never doubted Barack Obama’s faith and telling his followers, “I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the President’s Christian.” What a huge relief it must be to Obama, Rick, that he’s got your imprimatur!

Seriously, what kind of man goes around telling other people who’s Christian and who’s not? Golly, let’s see … could it be the kind of guy who donates a whopping 1.8 percent of his adjusted gross income to charity, as Santorum does, as opposed to the 14.2 percent the Obamas give? Rick, whatever happened to “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor?” Didn’t Jesus say that? But why pick on Jesus? Confucius had something to say about calling others out: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Gee whiz, that sounds an awful lot like the Golden Rule. But how can that be a Christian value? Confucius never heard of Christ, who lived centuries later than he did. You know who else had “Christian” values? Aesop: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” But Aesop was a heathen Greek. And what about Homer? “A young man is embarrassed to question an older one.” Lao Tzu? “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.” Plato? “No human thing is of serious importance.” There’s a lot more to virtue than Christian virtue, Rick.

The truth is, people have been following their own consciences toward goodness since long before Christ, and long before Moses. The “Christian” values are human values—the same ones, like humility and generosity and forgiveness and loyalty, that mark a life well lived. Jesus never said a word about homosexuality or abortion or censorship. In fact, Jesus never said much at all. There’s been a lot more said by people like Rick Santorum about what Jesus believed than Jesus ever said. Here’s one thing he did say: “Judge not, lest ye be yourself judged.”

There’s an argument to be made that nonbelievers who practice “Christian” values are actually more “Christian,” since they’re not motivated by the fear of Hell and a blazing hereafter. Their concerns are for the well-being of their fellow humans here on Earth. If that’s a phony theology, you know what, Rick? I’ll take it over your prideful, disdainful religiosity any day.

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