It takes a heart: A response to Rick Santorum’s speech

Mr. Santorum’s speech last week left a bad taste in my mouth. I was excited to hear what the former senator from Pennsylvania was up to since leaving office in 2006. Evidently, he is up to no good.

Mr. Santorum’s most recent project is the America’s Enemies Project, a catalyst to further alienate the Islamic world from the message of Christ. As many students at Eastern learn in the heritage of Islam course with Dr. Andrew Bush, the overwhelming majority and near entirety of the Muslim world are not these “enemies” that Senator Santorum declares them to be. Muslims embrace family and in no way wish there to be an international tension between the West and the Middle East. This is something that Mr. Santorum evidently has not picked up on in all of his research on the topic.

There are indeed many other issues that confront the Christian community, and Mr. Santorum brought many of these to light. Besides being entirely abrasive and confrontational, Mr. Santorum was also misinformed about our community here at Eastern University. We are a place of acceptance and love, one that does not spread the good news of Jesus Christ through trepidation and reprisal, but through compassion.

Mr. Santorum assumes that we are an institution that conforms to his views. On this, he is dead wrong. The Eastern community embraces our spiritual obligations to the poor, the environment and to those of different faiths. Our application of the “Whole Gospel for the Whole World” predicates how we choose Christianity and justice over perceived morality and persecution.

Again, I was excited to hear that Mr. Santorum was coming to Eastern and even more excited to be able to introduce the former senator, but I was let down by his rhetoric of fear theology. It does not take a family or a village, but it does take a heart to heal a broken society, a heart for justice and a heart for the world.

Nonetheless, it is very important for speakers like Mr. Santorum to be heard here at Eastern, and President Black owes no apology or explanation for extending the invitation. Mr. Santorum’s views reflect those of millions of Christians nationally, popular sentiments that Eastern students must first hear before advancing to quell. At the least, it is vital for Mr. Santorum to have looked out over the crowd and seen the dissatisfied faces of young Christians who reject his message and choose a different path in serving God.

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