Under Attack

Sometimes we say things that we regret, like the time that I said, “I’ll take two tickets to see ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ please.” Other times we regret HOW we said something, like telling my friends how I felt about “Eat, Pray, Love” by making a throwing up sound in the back of my throat.

It’s a less than shocking revelation that conservative politician Rick Santorum is under attack for saying something spiritually related in regards to America. Like most politicians, Santorum has nearly 10 years of comments that can be mined to reveal material that could be offensive to someone.

I’m a Christian pastor and he’s said things that have offended me, so I can’t imagine how I would feel about him if I were not white, straight, and employed.

While I don’t necessarily agree with Santorum’s unique blending of faith, politics, or public oratory, it needs to be pointed out that the most recent assault on what he said is completely ridiculous… like me saying that all Julia Roberts movies are terrible.

This week the Representative from Pennsylvania’s 18th District is under fire for his 2008 comments that America was under attack by Satan:

“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.”

While Santorum probably wasn’t thinking about how his words could be twisted to support an agenda like say:

“Santorum is saying that anyone who opposes his view of America is a tool of the devil!” from a social progressive,

or

“Santorum is saying that America is a good and decent country while it is clearly corrupt!” – from a pro-life demonstrator or 99%-er,

He was doing something that all good politicians do on a regular basis; he was laying down the reason that he seeks to defend America and American interests. Santorum clarified his position by saying that he was talking about:

“…taking on the forces around his world who want to do harm to America, and you bet I will take them on.”

He probably just should have said it that way the first time.

When we, like “Eat, Pray, Love”, are trying to say something beautiful, like:

“Sometimes you have to travel the world in search of yourself before you can find the person who is going to love you for who you are.”

But then completely ignore the fact that we’ve emotionally injured people because we went about searching for ourself in an irresponsible manner, we can’t exactly expect that people will be able to hear our statement as compelling.

Santorum is correct that “the evil one”, however you choose define him, is out to attack any group of people who threaten his interests in the world.

How else can you explain religious terrorism?

What about the fanatical, brutal, regimes that crush the human spirit throughout Asia?

Have we forgotten about the man who controls and terrifies the people of Iran?

Where are these leaders finding their inspiration?

Why do they threaten to bring destruction to the world?

Certainly we don’t imagine that their motivation comes from something truly righteous do we?

As Christians, Santorum and I both believe in an actual “Satan” who opposes the right believing, right thinking, and right acting of God and the people who desire to please him.

It’s because of this that we both acknowledge the “spiritual aspect” of life; believing that destructive occurrences spring from destructive persons.

Santorum’s statement that Satan is the ultimate source of destructive occurrences, because he is the ultimate destructive force and must be addressed as such, is a statement that should be offensive to just one person… whether or not you believe that he is attacking your country.

This is an issue that Santorum and I agree on, regardless of how it’s presented.

Sometimes we say things that we regret, and sometimes we regret the way that we say things. In both of those situations there are things that we can do to better communicate what needs to be communicated.

A good leader always responds to criticism by offering clarity to their words so that people who may have been inadvertently hurt have the opportunity to hear their intent… if they choose to.

Doing this keeps us from “eating, and praying,” while not actually “loving” because we bear our responsibilities in ways that create opportunities healing and understanding for others.

Santorum brought clarity to a situation of confusion that he created.

People now have to determine whether or not they believe what he said, not whether or not they like it, or the way he said it…

Even if admitting it makes us feel like making a throwing up sound in the back of our throats.

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