January 30, 2012

"She’s had a miraculous turnaround."

Said Rick Santorum.
"I know how she got through it... It was with the hands of these doctors and the prayers that guided those hands."
Religion and politics. Children and politics. Medical problems and politics. When is it too much? When will you say it's too much?

58 comments:

netmarcos said...

While I sympathize with Santorum's views on prayer, family, and divine intervention, I think he does it a bit to high-key for my tastes - and with the incredulous media amplification, it comes across a bit too trite to be palatable.

WV: inies - a non-protruding navels

MadisonMan said...

The breathless media reporting on this -- as netmarcos says -- makes anything Santorum seem saccharine.

Less is more in this case, I think.

I hope his daughter is on the mend.

phx said...

What am I supposed to say? I'm supposed to be exasperated because one of the candidates took a couple of days off to be with a sick daughter?

Apparently it's over my head. Why highlight the quote "She's had a miraculous turnaround"?

Is it an ironic swipe at libs/Dems because we know how they are with religion and Santorum? Something else?

Sometimes you completely lose me Althouse. I admit I can be dense sometimes. Are you encouraging people to feel negative over a sick child?

Jay said...

Is this really children & politics as commonly understood?

Meaning: like when the union slugs brought kids to the Capitol to protest the Walker budget.

Santorum nor his child asked for this story, and I'm sure are unwilling participants.

TMink said...

Sick children, spouses and other loved ones lead some of us to prayer. And we thank God for his answers.

Is that so difficult to understand or tolerate?

Trey

Joe said...

It's one thing to pray, another to give God credit for the work of doctors. This was good medicine, not a miracle.

traditionalguy said...

The antibiotics are still the miracle drugs when we face bacterial pneumonia. Her miracle is mostly being born after 1945. And in the age of abortion on demand it is being born at all.

While I accept anyone's religious faith based upon scripture, I have to agree that a lot of religious talk is untrue. And untrue is boring.

NYTNewYorker said...

I always thought that good medicine was entwined with miracles.

David said...

This is not too much.

Santorum believes in miracles through prayer. That seems far fetched to me, because I do not believe in a God that solves individual problems.

But what should he do? Not speak to the media about it? Not express his beliefs when he does?

And why do people who do not share his beliefs feel the need to slam them when they are expressed?

Lyssa said...

I have to agree with phx here. I'm not crazy about Santorum and his religion/politics mix in some matters, but I really can't see how any reasonable person could have a problem with his religious statements in this particular circumstance. I'm glad that things have improved and hope that they continue.

As an aside, I've long said that I don't think that people who have young children are really fit for the presidency/presidential candidates (yes, that goes for both Mr. Obama and Ms. Palin as well - I think that the Bush twins were probably old enough, but only just). Putting the kids in the public eye so much, and taking away that parent's attention so strongly just isn't right, IMO.

Lyssa said...

David said: because I do not believe in a God that solves individual problems.

Could you elaborate on that (what you believe God does do, and why)? I'm curious, not trying to start a debate or anything.

phx said...

Seriously?

I think Santorum would be a worse disaster than Dubya was, and mostly because of his politics+religion mix. So I wouldn't spare any quarter attacking Rick's brand of theocracy.

But the guy's dealing with a sick baby. Jesus, have a little mercy. Whatever gets him through that, why criticize?

What kind of people do that? Don't you spare anybody from all your cleverness?

Ann Althouse said...

"I have to agree with phx here."

What are you agreeing with? I asked 2 questions. I didn't answer them.

You're answering them, but not particularly distinguishing between question 1 and question 2. Interestingly, that's a way of answering question 2 -- the answer is implicit in your conflation of the 2 questions (and in your imputing an answer to me for having asked the questions).

pm317 said...

Rick Santorum the candidate would overdo it, after all his appeal is to the God-fearing 'conservatives'. Put God and miracle in the same sentence and get a bounce and a few more votes. Call me cynical.

themightypuck said...

It all depends on what you mean by miracles. If miracles are things that cannot be explained by science then the word is way overused. If miracles is just a synonym for the hand of God then Santorum's use seems fine.

pm317 said...

Why couldn't he have simply said 'these fine doctors did their job and I am grateful to God that my child is fine'?

S said...

Jay says, "Santorum nor his child asked for this story, and I'm sure are unwilling participants."

I think that's the key distinction. Maybe Santorum has used his daughter as a prop at some point in the campaign and I haven't noticed, but that's not what this is. Not only did he not choose this, I don't particularly see him going out of his way to milk it. He's simply being open about it.

To put it another way, how else could he have handled it? Should he have said, "I'm taking this Sunday off and the reason is a secret"? Should he announce his child's recovery without mentioning God, even though he always talks about God?

Chip S. said...

If Santorum claims subsequently that this medical miracle is an indication of Divine support for his candidacy, he'll have gone too far. Otherwise, phx and TMink have said everything that needs saying here.

That's my answer to both parts of your questions, btw.

Original Mike said...

"I know how she got through it... It was with the hands of these doctors and the prayers that guided those hands."

I don't see anything remarkable about this statement. Was there more?

pm317 said...

If you didn't think he wordsmith his message, you are too ignorant. Or does he always speak like that? Maybe the way he is struggling to catch up in the polls is God's way of telling him he is not the One.

Chip S. said...

@pm317--There's a fine line between "cynic" and "asshole". Don't trip over it.

S said...

pm317, if I can paraphrase how your comment reads to me: "why can't he simply say what I would have said instead of what Rick Santorum would say?"

I and most of the politicians I support talk about God a lot less than Santorum does (though if I had a really sick kid, I think He would come up). But I think Santorum's religiosity is sincere and I don't fault him for it. If I thought it were insincere, I would.

Richard Dolan said...

"When will you say it's too much?"

"Too much" is a term of measurement, implying (as Goldilocks instinctively knew) that somewhere there is a mix that is just right. So what scale are you using? Once we know what the scale is, we can figure out what you imagine the golden mean might be.

Is it a matter of taste ('too much' meaning in this context, basically 'tilting towards tacky'), or some political notion the prizes unifying themes (religion is a 'divider not a uniter' idea so be careful when you go there), or perhaps a cause-and-effect materialism peeking through (we all know religion is useless in these circumstances)?

Whatever. Santorum is a deeply religious guy. It makes perfect sense for him to talk about the world using the concepts he uses to frame his view of it. It's just what any sensible person would do. Would you prefer that he hide his views? Is this a post in favor of hypocrisy?

David said...

It is not clear to me what God does. I do think God is capricious and unpredictable, an ADD deity if you will.

God had a hand in the creation of the universe. God probably understands how the Big Bang happened, and where the stuff that caused the Big Bang came from. He may be able to get his mind (or the Godly equivalent of a mind) around the concept of what happened before time began. God may regret overdoing it, what with billions of billions of worlds throughout the universe. To keep up with that God has to be able to multitask beyond imagination, since God's realm extends far beyond Earth and humans. Fortunately for us God has decided to forgive creatures who believe that they are the exclusive focus of Godly attention.

God is neither male nor female, These classifications are irrelevant to herm.

God is also amused (when he takes time to look) at facile descriptions of herm's existence like this one.

phx said...

We've just...fallen so far.

pm317 said...

Chip S. said...
-----------

Give me a break! You think these politicians are sincere and truthful. Why fault Obama supporters for falling for him then?

Only thing that requires tenderness and consideration here is the sick kid and that she got better. I am not sparing any sentimentality toward her politician dad who is running a campaign.

Chip S. said...

Give me a break! You think these politicians are sincere and truthful. Why fault Obama supporters for falling for him then?

This is pathetic.

It is quite possible to believe that a father whose little girl is gravely ill could speak from the heart about her recovery while not believing that all politicians are always truthful.

Similarly, it is quite possible to hold that view while thinking just about anything about Obama's supporters, since I am not one of them.

Set theory: learn some.

Now stop embarrassing yourself.

gerry said...

Are you encouraging people to feel negative over a sick child?

You should only feel negative - and OUTRAGED - about a sick child embroiled in politics WHEN EVIL FASCIST REPUBLICANS HAVE DEPRIVED THE SICK CHILD OF MEDICAL CARE BECAUSE OF THEIR FANATIC FIXATION UPON BUDGETS.

Until you find out the Progs were just hoaxing the disease for an election -- then just relax.

Now read this to see what really has caused stinky turds to be in Prog shorts these days.

Beldar said...

I propose another question:

Who is any of us to say, with regard to what Mr. Santorum says of his child, what is "too much"?

People are entitled to their own opinions, but that doesn't mean their opinions matter.

Martha said...

There is nothing like the illness of a child to cause a parent--even a not particularly religious parent--to start praying.
And when a critically ill child recovers it does seem to be a miracle.

I do not think Santorum is mixing religion and politics, children and politics, or medical problems and politics here. He is reacting and talking like any parent who knows his child's well-being is not always in his control but in the hands of a higher power.

Jay said...

pm317 said...

Give me a break! You think these politicians are sincere and truthful. Why fault Obama supporters for falling for him then?


Because Obama supporters believe the same lies he does.

Santorum's child almost died, and you're pretending he's trolling for votes by claiming it is a miracle she recovered.

Pathethic.

ricpic said...

"When is it too much? When will you say it's too much?"

Althouse goes all Paddy Chayefsky on us: I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

rcommal said...

Pneumonia aside, little Bella really has beaten the survival odds for kids born with Trisomy 18. Qute amazing, really.

Lyssa said...

Althouse said: What are you agreeing with? I asked 2 questions. I didn't answer them.

What I understood phx to be saying, and agreed with, is that it doesn't make sense to ask the questions here, because there's simply no reasonable debate which could be based around Mr. Santorum's response to this issue.

If you want to ask the questions more broadly and generally, sure, that's an interesting topic. But you framed it around this specific incident, where such a debate makes no sense.

mccullough said...

The medicine and politics is pretty topical these days. A liberal could say to Santorum, we're all very glad that your daughter is doing well. We would like all parents to have the reassurance and ability to be able to have the fine health care your daughter received. And the Catholic liberal adds: Jesus would want it this way for everyone.

TMink said...

"This was good medicine, not a miracle."

You certainly know a lot about this situation. You must be one of the doctors involved.

Trey

EDH said...

When is it too much? When will you say it's too much?

1.) I know if when I see it.

2.) When I see it.

TMink said...

The night after my triplets were born, with my wife cozily in the arms of her pain meds, my pediatrician and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit chief came into the room and told us (me really as my wife was otherwise preoccupied)that our son Thomas would likely die that night.

The doctors said they had contacted their friends who are gifted at prayer and they suggest I do the same. I did. I even managed to sleep a couple of hours that night.

Without prayer, even the doctors would have suffered more that night. With prayer, we still suffered, but less.

9 years later giving God credit for the life of my son is only just. His pediatrician recalls that night every time we visit.

I can accept, but am amazed that telling this central story would offend anyone. You can see me as an idiot given to superstitions and pity me, but what is offensive?

In my experience, God is alive and quite concerned and involved with us. And I thank him for healing my son.

Trey

Rusty said...

God had a hand in the creation of the universe. God probably understands how the Big Bang happened, and where the stuff that caused the Big Bang came from. He may be able to get his mind (or the Godly equivalent of a mind) around the concept of what happened before time began. God may regret overdoing it, what with billions of billions of worlds throughout the universe. To keep up with that God has to be able to multitask beyond imagination, since God's realm extends far beyond Earth and humans. Fortunately for us God has decided to forgive creatures who believe that they are the exclusive focus of Godly attention.


G*d is G*d.
That which can conceive of, isn't G*d.

Rusty said...

which you can



sorry

Joe said...

You certainly know a lot about this situation. You must be one of the doctors involved.

As, apparently, are you.

Using Occam's razor, people survive pneumonia all the time with modern medicine, ergo, it must be advanced medicine, including the facility and medical training.

Once you start crediting God for saving those who live, do you also credit Him for those who die?

Bob_R said...

Without answering the question about where to draw the line, this doesn't seem even close to it. This was a genuine personal crisis, and he talked about religion as a personal comfort and source of strength. The line with children and illness has to do with artificiality and manipulation. (Think John Edwards and "You're the only one I ever told this to...")

edutcher said...

She is a very fortunate young lady.

As for her father, yes, he has a tendency to pander, but I don't doubt for an instant he got down on his knees and begged God.

Anyone would.

Non-believers in foxholes, after all.

Thorley Winston said...

I can think of nothing more devastating for any parent than the death of a child.

I am glad that Senator Santorum’s daughter recovered and I wish her and her family well.

William said...

I would hope that God not show his love for me by inflicting my child with a mortal illness and then sparing her....There's a paradox that when a benign presence in the universe is most absent, that is the time we most fervently pray to God.

Crunchy Frog said...

Trisomy 18 is a bitch. Most don't make it to birth (my wife and I lost ours at 4 1/2 months) and of those that do, 90% die within the first year.

That Bella has made it this far is truly remarkable.

Personal note: after losing our baby, we were then faced with the issue of what to do next. She needed a D&E. Our insurance company, in its wisdom (and quest for efficiency) sent us to an abortion clinic.

I had been mildly pro-choice prior to that. No more.

TMink said...

"Once you start crediting God for saving those who live, do you also credit Him for those who die?"

Certainly.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The original is from Job. The last time I heard it was as a friend cried at the loss of his grandchild.

Jesus said that nary a sparrow falls to the ground without God. So, of course, we give God credit for death as well.

Trey

chickenlittle said...

Once you start crediting God for saving those who live, do you also credit Him for those who die?

I think that's part of the Job description.

Michael Haz said...

1. When it's done fraudulently - done by someone who is probably using it for effect only, and not out of true faith.

2. I say that it's too much when the circumstances require.

In the instance of the Santorum's (or anyone's) ill child, sincere prayer never wrong as an ajdunct to medical care.

phx said...

"I will teach thee how to pray" - God

Chip Ahoy said...

I think it will start to be too much when it gets to the point that Santorum thanks me personally for my prayers that I didn't make that evoked God to perk up and personally direct his divine guidance upon the surgeon's hands that performed a hitherto unperformed miracle of unearthly hand maneuvers that results in an immediate cure that baffles scientific observers of the child's rarest of all cases.

And then after that Gingrich claims that in 1980 Santorum was against funding research on something vaguely and remotely related to the child's case.

And then Romney says that if it were up to Gingrich then all the little children like Santorum's child would be dead dead DEAD!

Then Gingrich lashes out and accuses Sanatorum of having M√ľnchausen syndrome.

I would say that is when it will gets too much altogether, but it already has become mute-worthy.

Darcy said...

...that evoked God to perk up and personally direct his divine guidance upon the surgeon's hands that performed a hitherto unperformed miracle of unearthly hand maneuvers that results in an immediate cure that baffles scientific observers...

Kind of like He does every day.

@Crunchy Frog

Heartbreaking. But I want to thank you for sharing that.

SunnyJ said...

UW Madison Wisconsin, Dr Richard Davis, Monk Study, mapping the minds...scientific proof with efficacy that meditation, prayer, mindful awareness activates the brain, spiking areas of neuroplasticity not believed possible. The activity continues long after the action or activity.

Get educated and let go of the mindlessness of secular worship.

Phil 3:14 said...

So let me get this straight:

A daughter with a severe genetic disorder that will undoubtedly lead to her early death is hospitalized in the ICU with pneumonia. Her father is a deeply religious man and seeks the solice and guidance from his God. In short, he prays. His daughter improves and he thanks God.

So we're supposed to question his motives?

We haven't become that cynical, have we?

wyo sis said...

It says a lot more about us as voters than it does about politicians when we are unable to allow them the benefit of the doubt when they express thanks to God and skilled doctors.

I tried a similar post earlier and it didn't seem to go through so if this is a repeat I apologize.

Roger Zimmerman said...

For those who say "not too much":

Would be it be "too much" if one of the doctors - perhaps a sincere atheist - publicly took offense that Santorum was implicitly devaluing his hard work and devotion to his craft? How does "the prayers that guided those hands" not imply such?

EMD said...

This is the first I've heard of Bella.

So, I don't think Santorum (outside of the normal, look, I have a family) pimps his kids too much.

And I don't doubt that as a true believer, he would not fail to invoke God's name in such a manner. I would almost expect it of him. In fact, it's probably less dishonest coming from him than any other candidate.

TMink said...

EMD and Chip make a cogent point: It is not too much if it is genuine.

Trey