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Rick Santorum's views on Satan may scare off voters

santorumRick021412_optBY ADELE SAMMARCO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is riding the wave of recent primary victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri and is vying with fellow GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, for first place in the national polls and in the upcoming primary states of Arizona and Michigan.

Santorum’s meteoric rise has left fellow candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul jockeying for position. Gingrich, who was once on top of the polls with a win in the South Carolina primary, is said to be on the attack, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice on any perceived foibles by his rivals.

The four candidates are, in the meantime, gearing-up to face-off in another nationally televised debate. This time in Mesa, Arizona where the Pennsylvania Senator will try to reposition himself as the ultimate conservative candidate of the pack, which will leave him open to questions about his beliefs.

Four years ago, Santorum claimed "Satan is attacking the United States" and is now back-peddling, standing behind those comments after they resurfaced to much controversy, telling reporters he plans to “stay on message” and continue to talk about jobs, security, and “taking on forces around this world who want to do harm to America.”

The Satan comments are getting renewed scrutiny after several web-based publications dug-up the audio and text of his remarks over the President’s Day weekend.

While appearing at Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, Santorum said, “This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war. 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.”, according to the National Journal.

Santorum further defended his comments by stating, “I believe in good and evil. I think if somehow or another, because you’re a person of faith, you believe in good and evil [and it’s] a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president.”

However, when asked whether he still believes "Satan is attacking the United States," he shrugged off the question by calling it, “not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today.”

“If they want to dig up old speeches of me talking to religious groups, they can go ahead and do so, but I’m going to stay on message and I’m going to talk about things that Americans want to talk about,” Santorum said, “which is creating jobs, making our country more secure, and, yeah, taking on the forces around his world who want to do harm to America, and you bet I will take them on.”

To further deflect from the Satan controversy, Santorum cited his own proposal to overhaul Social Security, which is often called the “third rail of American politics” because it is dangerous for politicians to touch it", and awkwardly joked, “I’m riding the rail on a skateboard, ladies and gentlemen.”

Recent polls in Arizona show Mitt Romney losing ground to Rick Santorum, whose appeal to social conservatives has forced Romney to position himself further to the right where many still see him as the moderate former governor of a liberal state.

Satan isn’t the only remark that has thrust Santorum into center-stage spotlight.

Just last month, Santorum wondered if women should be on the front lines at war.


The year was 1973 when the United States government announced that the draft would be lifted. Today, America plays host to an all-volunteer army. That means anyone who is able-bodied can join the military.

In 1994, women were permitted to take part in combat positions, when President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary, Les Aspin, lifted that rule.

In regards to a Pentagon decision that would formally open front-line roles for women in combat, Santorum said, " I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved.", as reported by ABC News.

Since 1973, the number of women who have joined the military has risen rapidly. The share of women among the enlisted ranks has increased from 2 percent to 14 percent, and the share among commissioned officers has jumped 4 percent to 16 percent, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. 

The Pentagon wouldn’t comment directly on Santorum’s comments, but spokesman George Little said there’s “a broad consensus” in the military that they should maintain the goal of opening more positions to women.

“I believe that men and women can serve ably on the battlefield men and women of the U.S. military are focused on the mission and in protecting our nation’s interest. And I think that’s a value that we have regardless of gender,” Little said. “The presumption is that going forward that we’re going to find as many opportunities for women as possible.”

As of Sept. 30 of this year, women comprised nearly 15 percent of the U.S. armed forces, with their numbers reaching 205,000. Of the 2.4 million deployed in support of Iraq and Afghanistan, 280,000 have been women and 144 have been killed in those two countries while 865 have been wounded, according to the Huffington Post.

A number of U.S. partners in the battlefield allow women to serve in combat roles, including Canada, Israel, France and Germany.

 

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