Every Christian on the front lines of the culture wars should read this book—as an example of how not to go about it. Santorum, a two-term Republican senator from Pennsylvania currently engaged in a tough battle for reelection, is a devout Roman Catholic who was named by Time magazine as one of "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America." As one of the strongest conservative voices in the Senate, he has taken leadership on a number of key issues, including abortion.

Conservatism and
the Common Good

by Rick Santorum
464 pp.; $25

We urgently need leaders who unapologetically defend traditional family values in the context of the common good. At times, It Takes a Family achieves this goal, with well-reasoned policy recommendations and telling anecdotes. But from the start, this book has a divided heart. Santorum's contemptuous references to "liberals," "village elders," and "the Bigs" (this from a candidate who boasts Wal-Mart as a major donor) are pitched to the right-wing choir. One moment sneering in full talk-radio mode, the next moment sanctimoniously quoting Tocqueville, Santorum wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

It didn't surprise me when (on page 296) Santorum came to the obligatory reference to Andres Serrano's Piss Christ—"a piece of 'artwork,' funded by the National Endowment of the Arts"—that he referred to Serrano as "José." Santorum and his researchers can't even be bothered to get the name of one of their favorite villains right. We expect more than this from one who styles himself a champion of the common good.

Related Elsewhere:

It Takes a Family is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.

More about the book is available from its website.

Christianity Today interviewed Santorum who said, "I draw no line between my faith and my decisions."

Sen. Rick Santorum's website has more information about the official and his legislative efforts.

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