Former-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., explained at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa on Saturday that social conservatives were getting beat by pop culture.
“We’re losing this debate not because of politics, let’s be honest about that,” Santorum said. “Politicians didn’t change the culture, popular culture changed America.”
Santorum pointed out that most conservatives take a more passive stance by trying to protect their families from some of the values celebrated by pop culture. At the same time, he added, their children spend as much as eight hours a day in front of a screen, and only average about ten minutes a day talking with their parents or going to church.
“Who’s raising your children? Who’s creating the moral imagination for the future of our country?” Santorum asked.
He reminded the audience that traditionally, family members, civic leaders and church communities used to be the ones telling the stories.
Santorum quoted the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, reminding the audience that he once said, “Give me the storytellers and I will control the nation and a generation.”
“For us to sit here and think we’re going to win the country back politically when the culture continues to show your children when they watch that people like them are weird, people that hold your values are bigoted or hateful, it’s no wonder young people overwhelmingly are supporting the other side because they don’t know the truth,” Santorum said.
Santorum admitted that Christian-themed films and art were often times “inferior productions” even though they reflected traditional values.
As recently appointed CEO of EchoLight Studios, Santorum said his new mission was to go out and make “faith and family films” to affirm social values.
“I say to you: Can’t we make God beautiful?” he asked as the crowd applauded. “Why can’t we tell the truth the good and the beautiful in a way that’s compelling and entertaining and inspiring?”
Santorum said he would stay involved in politics but that true success would come from something outside of the political battle.
“If we’re going to be successful as a party and more importantly if we’re going to be successful as a country, we need a revitalized culture,” he said.