You know, I honestly don't have a clue what Rick Santorum was thinking when he said that President Obama has a "phony theology." He didn't walk that statement back either, didn't say he misspoke or maybe he went too far; instead, he just added a list of synonyms to "theology" that, I suppose, make sense--"ideology" was one of them, and so was "worldview." Oddly enough, what he didn't try to substitute was the word I would have best understood: "politics," as in "President Obama has 'phony politics.'"
But he wouldn't have used that word because he knows the word politics is corrupt, even sinful. Besides, it would have implied that Obama's "politics" are at odds with his own, that is, Santorum's "politics," and you can be sure Rick Santorum thinks he doesn't have "politics" because he has principles--true, biblical, gospel principles to boot.
But then I think he truly believes (and all of his beliefs are true, by the way, check 'em out with the Bible) that Obama doesn't really "play politics" either. See, Obama too has principles; it's just that those principles are not biblical while his are. Really, Santorum would say, neither of them are in politics--it's much deeper that that, for heaven's sake. Both are theologians, and one is phony, a wolf in sheep's clothing.
And that's not him.
Maybe we need to think of the whole business that way. What we have now, competing for the heart of a nation, are two totally radically different theologies. Election 2012 has nothing to do with politics. Really, it is all about theology.
This nation began as a theocracy. Those hard-working Puritans and pilgrims believed their mission in the new world was to build a Christian society, God as King. They were Calvinists, and there are ton of my ilk who still rather like that idea, even though the New England "rule by God" failed miserably in not too short a time.
Why? There are a dozen reasons, I'm sure, but one of them is that it gets hard to determine who's righteous and who isn't. God does that job divinely well, but his servants have historically had more than their share of trouble separating sheep from goats. The atheists among us aren't wrong--the truly righteous have left innumerable trails of tears--think Salem, circa 1692. We don't judge others' theologies all that well because we're human. And that, I say, is biblical.
I don't know if Rick Santorum believes that theology is just another word for ideology or worldview or what. Maybe these days, it is.
He can call it what he wants, I guess--theology or ideology; but it strikes me that what the battle comes down in 2012, as it has in any other election year, is plain and simple politics.
Why not just call it that?