Kathryn Jean Lopez: The UnKennedy ... We’re More American for Santorum’s Run

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Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through United Media.

Rick Santorum was a warrior returning home from battle.

In Washington, D.C., 1,000 Catholics gathered on April 19 for the eighth annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. This year, it was all about religious liberty. The former Pennsylvania senator — now former Republican presidential contender — was in the audience and was introduced from the main stage, eliciting a warm welcome and a standing ovation.

The embrace stood in contrast to electoral reality, as Santorum did not win over a majority of Catholic voters. In state after state, he won with evangelical voters instead. A number of years ago, in fact, he was named by Time magazine as an influential "evangelical." What was that about? People will tell you — certainly it’s what they tell me — that it’s because he comes off as "judgmental." But what does that mean? As far as I can tell, it means that he has clear moral standards, tries to live up to them, and has the courage actually to talk about what he believes. It also means that he is not a "personally opposed" type of Catholic in public life.

"I almost threw up" is the irresistible sound bite from Santorum’s account of reading John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on faith and politics. But that doesn’t quite do justice to what Santorum has had to say on the topic...

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