Politics

02.22.12

Santorum’s ‘Satan’ Comments & More of His Outlandish Statements

Rick Santorum is no stranger to out-there remarks, but his 2008 comments that ‘Satan has his sights’ on Americans even turned Republican die-hards like Rush Limbaugh and Chris Christie against him. For the second time, The Daily Beast rounds up ten more of Santorum’s craziest comments.

“This Is the Spiritual War”

In 2008, then-Senator Rick Santorum gave a speech at Ave Maria University where he declared “Satan has his sights on the U.S. ” “Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those voices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has deeply rooted in the American tradition,” Santorum said. Santorum defended the comments, saying they were “not relevant” to this campaign.  But within hours of the speech surfacing, Rush Limbaugh said Santorum’s comments were “not the kind of stuff you hear a presidential candidate saying,” and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—a moderate Republican—said “anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant.”

Compares This Election to One With Hitler

Santorum seems to be fond of making sure his supporters know the stakes are high. He told a group of supporters on Sunday night that the 2012 election is similar to the time between 1940 and 1941 when Americans didn’t act against Adolf Hitler because they thought he was a “nice guy” and not “near as bad as what we think.”  “It’s going to be harder for this generation to figure this out,” Santorum continued. “There’s no cataclysmic event. Is anybody reminding us who we are, what made us great, and what these assaults are all about?” Although Santorum pointed directly to this election, he has used similar rhetoric before—and he even admitted that “the World War II metaphor is one I’ve used 100 times in my career.”  In his failed Senate re-election bid in 2006, Santorum said “we are in the equivalent of the late 1930s, and this election will decide whether we are going to continue to appease or whether we will stand and fight while we have a chance to win without devastating consequences.”

Obama Has “Phony Theology”

Despite later saying that he “accepts the fact that the president is a Christian,” Santorum’s speech at the Tea Party rally on Saturday took a bit of an un-Christian turn. Santorum told the crowd at the Ohio Christian Alliance that the president’s beliefs are based on “some phony theology,” and “not based on the Bible.”  “The president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian,” Santorum said, but added that Obama “has reached a new low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before.” When given the chance to explain the comments, Santorum took another strange turn …

Obama “Elevates Earth Above Man”

Santorum’s defense of his wacky comments are often as wacky as the original. On CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Santorum admitted that he “accepts the fact that the president’s a Christian,” despite his remarks a day earlier that the Obama’s beliefs are based on a “phony theology,” not the Bible. But, in what seems to be par for the course for Santorum, the conversation veered off-track. “I just said that when you have a worldview that elevates the earth above man, and says that, you know, we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the earth by things that are frankly not scientifically proven, like for example, that politicization of the whole global warming debate, this is all just an attempt to centralize power, to give more power to the government.” Santorum then added that he is “talking about the belief that man should be in charge of the earth and should have dominion over it and be good stewards of it.”

Prenatal Testing Encourages Abortion

In the same interview on Face the Nation, Santorum went one step further in the culture wars over abortion, saying that prenatal tests for birth defects and other problems actually lead to abortions.  “A lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions,” he said. “We know that 90 percent of Downs syndrome children in America are aborted. So, to suggest, where does that come from?” Santorum was clarifying a statement he made earlier that weekend that prenatal testing “does in fact result more often than not in this country in abortion.” Santorum stopped short of saying he believed prenatal tests should be banned, but he said that the government should not force doctors into performing any tests. Doctors have said that prenatal tests are used to have safer delivers for mothers and babies. Santorum, whose youngest daughter has the genetic disorder Trisomy 18, said that “almost 100 percent of Trisomy 18 babies are encourage to be aborted, so I know what I’m talking about here.”

Sending Our Kids to the Factories
 
The Dickensian images that come to mind when you think of the Industrial Revolution—children working 16-hour days in dark, smoky factories—is what Rick Santorum thinks of when he hears the word “public school.” In February, Santorum even referred to schools as “factories,” and argued that they are a tragic blip on the historical radar. After the Industrial Revolution, Santorum said, “people came off the farms where they did homeschool or had a little neighborhood school, and into these big factories … called public schools.” He added: “The idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic.”

New World Order
 
Climate change isn’t just a mistaken scientific view. According to Santorum, it’s closer to a coordinated hoax to take over the world. Speaking to a Colorado Christian group in February, Santorum said global warming is a plot by “radical environmentalists” to “consolidate power.” It is “an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.”

It’s the Way You Phrase It
 
It’s little surprise, especially after the Health and Human Services contraceptive battle, that Santorum isn’t impressed with Obama’s record on religious liberty. But where he looks for signs of the president’s sinister disregard for faith is puzzling. "When you have the president of the United States referring to the freedom of religion and you have the secretary of state referring to the freedom of religion, not as the freedom of religion but the freedom of worship, you should get very nervous, very nervous,” he said. Santorum added that tyrants use the phrase “freedom of worship” but refuse to say “freedom of religion."

No Sex for Pleasure

Santorum’s position on birth control reflects the official doctrine of the Catholic church, but he’d better keep as much of America as possible—and most Catholics, for that matter—in the dark if he expects them to sign on to his fringe ideas about contraception. "It's not okay, because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be," Santorum said. "They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal... but also procreative."

Black Means Pro-Life

Santorum has drawn fire for linking abortion to slavery, and really stepped in it when he used Obama’s position on abortion to challenge his African-American bona fides. "The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer—is that human life a person under the Constitution and Barack Obama says no," Santorum said on a conservative talk show. "Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say 'now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'"