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By Keith A Fournier

7/2/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Rick Santorum is emerging as a true freedom candidate

This past weekend Rick Santorum spoke at the National Right to Life Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. He received the strongest and most enthusiastic response from this crowd of men and women who have stood in the trenches in the great human rights movement of our age, the struggle to restore the Right to Life to our youngest neighbors.  This is a man who is unqualifiedly and unapologetically Pro-Life.

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room


By Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (

7/2/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Rick Santorum, Michelle, Bachmann, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Campaign 2012, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - This Monday is the 4th of July, the day when people will gather all over the United States of America to celebrate Independence. Fireworks will light up the sky, families will gather and we will all pause to remember those who gave their lives so that the promises set forth in that Declaration of Independence could inform a new Nation. Their Declaration proclaimed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights - that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men."

The Declaration of Independence is the birth certificate of the United States of America. The words are still memorized by at least some of our schoolchildren and can bring a tear to the oldest American eye with little effort. The principles they communicate have informed our history as a free people and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny. Our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the primacy of the Governance of God over their own lives and their noble undertaking.

They sought independence from a monarchy which had become tyrannical precisely because it had forgotten the implications of the primacy of Divine Providence. The principles set forth in that Declaration were a rallying cry which called forth extraordinary sacrifice. They were rooted in something much greater than political expediency. That is why those principles became a measuring stick against which all governments of men would be measured in the future.

The courageous men who signed this document were influenced by the great treasury brought to Western Civilization by the Christian Church and the Judeo-Christian tradition. They all believed there actually were truths to be held and that those truths are self evident. Those truths include the existence of unalienable rights which are given to all men and women by a Creator. They believed that those truths and those rights can be discerned by all men and women because they are revealed by the Natural Law which is written on all human hearts and is a participation in God's law.

Certainly, not all of the American founders were Christians. For example, Thomas Jefferson was more of a Deist than a classical Christian. He had a fondness for the French Revolution which was cut from a very different set of principles than the American Revolution. His Bible, with all references which he considered to be superstitious cut out with scissors, has been well documented. However, he was a man who understood the true sources of our liberties. It is Jefferson's words which still speak from the third panel of the Memorial built in his honor: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration, Charles Carroll of Carrolton, cousin of the Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, was the only Catholic signer. At the time of his signing it was illegal for Catholics to hold public office or to vote in Maryland. Yet, he still pledged with all of the signatories: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." He knew the importance of the vision of freedom, rights and liberty which that Declaration proclaimed in those three profoundly simple but supremely powerful words: "We Hold These Truths." The question which must be asked as we celebrate our Independence this weekend is a sobering one, What Truths do we Still Hold?

There are competing visions of the human person, human dignity, human rights, and human freedom at work in many of the institutions which were formed in response to this Declaration. The recognition of the preeminent Right to Life so clearly set forth in the words of this Declaration is currently being undermined by the positive/civil law of the very Nation which they helped to birth. How can a Nation which has enshrined the killing of innocent children in the womb in its positive law claim that that it still recognizes the unalienable right to life?

The child in the womb is our first neighbor. Certainly all of the American founders would agree it is wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. She is the first legal immigrant with her citizenship assured if she can make it out of the birth canal alive under the current misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. How can we read Jefferson's words, "God who gave us life gave us liberty" and not see the evil of a jurisprudence which puts the police power behind the ... intentional taking of her life by pretending to find the "right" to commit such a heinous crime as intentional abortion within a so called "liberty interest" of the same U.S. Constitution?

The second part of Jefferson's statement cries out for an answer: "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" I anticipate some of the responses to this article. Some will ask "Does everything come back to abortion for you?" The answer is "YES" because the entire infrastructure of human rights and freedoms is at risk when we fail to recognize the preeminent Right to Life. Liberty itself is at risk when there exists in our positive law a so called "right" to kill the very human person required to receive the rights we cherish or to exercise them.

Throughout my career, I have hung a picture of St. Thomas More, the patron of all politicians and public servants, in my office. As a human rights and constitutional lawyer, Thomas More has been my patron. He is an example of a faithful Catholic who always lived a unity of life and never compromised the truth. I have also done everything I have been able to do in the past to assist men and women who seek to live that kind of unity of life in public office. Those who have read my articles since campaign 2012 began know of my high regard for former Senator Rick Santorum. 

Years ago, when I first visited then Senator Santorum's office on Capitol Hill, I saw the same painting of Thomas More on his wall. Over the years I have come to know him I have also come to believe that he is a contemporary Thomas More; a man who exemplifies what we so desperately need in public service these days.  He remains faithful to his deeply held convictions.  He has a heart for those who have no voice.  He is dedicated to the true common good of all.

This past weekend Rick Santorum spoke at the National Right to Life Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. He received the strongest and most enthusiastic response from this crowd of men and women who have stood in the trenches in the great human rights movement of our age, the struggle to restore the Right to Life to our youngest neighbors.  This is a man who is unqualifiedly and unapologetically Pro-Life.

He ended his powerful speech referring to his youngest daughter, Bella, who was born with Trisomy 18. I remember when I met Bella. She is an angel who fills their home with deep and profound joy and changes lives through her smiling eyes.  He said, "In her I see how the Creator sees me. I love her unconditionally, not because she did anything but because she is. She is disabled, but in the eyes of God we are all disabled. I am fighting for every child  - to ensure their rights continue in America."

I have written several articles about Rick Santorum since the 2012 US presidential campaign began. I will write more as it unfolds. In one of those articles I bemoaned the "deafening silence" in the media concerning the Santorum campaign. That strange scarcity of coverage has taken a new turn since he formally declared and began giving speeches - such as the one he gave last weekend- which move crowds to enthusiasm. Since his media appearances, such as his recent interview on Glenn Beck's program, can no longer be completely ignored, the tactic has moved to minimizing his impact, or simply disparaging him.

However, to use an old metaphor, Rick Santorum is becoming the "elephant in the room" in the campaign for the Republican nomination. He is not going away no matter how uncomfortable he makes some in the establishment media. On this weekend when we pause to reflect on the meaning of the Declaration which gave birth to this Nation - and the rights which it enshrines - Rick Santorum is emerging as a true "freedom candidate."  He supports the first freedom, the freedom to be born and the first Right, the Right to Life. He knows that all other rights depend upon it. He still "Holds these Truths to be Self Evident."


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
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