Santorum decries charge of bigotry
August 31st, 2011
10:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum decries charge of bigotry

(CNN) – Presidential candidate Rick Santorum defended his position on gay marriage Tuesday while speaking to students at Pennsylvania State University, and slammed CNN's Piers Morgan for questioning him as a "bigot" in a pre-taped interview that aired Wednesday night.

"I had Piers Morgan call me a bigot, because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to homosexuality," Santorum said, heatedly. "So now I'm a bigot because I believe what the Bible teaches."

In the interview, Morgan pressed the former Pennsylvania senator on his moral beliefs about gay rights, an issue he's repeatedly spoken about on the campaign trail.

Santorum said he subscribes to the Catholic Church's teachings, which deem homosexuality a sin.

Morgan argued that people have a difficult time coming out because "of the level of bigotry that's out there against them."

"And I have to say that your views you've espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren't they?" Morgan asked, adding that society has evolved in how it views homosexuality.

Santorum countered that the Church's position is founded on more than 2,000 years of history. To adapt those beliefs based on the changing ways of society, he said, would be immoral.

Santorum then lobbed a charge of bigotry back at Morgan.

"Trying to redefine something that is seen as wrong – from the standpoint of a church – and saying a church is bigoted because it holds that opinion that is biblically based, I think that is, in itself, an act of bigotry," Santorum said.

When talking about the other candidates, Santorum, who's previously labeled his campaign "the little engine that could," referred to his GOP opponents as "shiny engines" that are bound to simply come and go.

"We've seen every one of these folks who have shot to the top of the ratings end up coming back down to earth once they have to get in front of the cameras at the debate," Santorum said.

The former senator has been struggling to break into the top tier of the Republican race.

He trails Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Some polls place him behind businessman Herman Cain and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, as well.

Santorum has especially lashed out against Perry, whom he implied might cower under the scrutiny of a national campaign. In recent weeks, Perry has emerged to front-runner status, appealing to both fiscal and social conservatives–while Santorum continues to assert he is the only true social conservative in the race.

"We haven't seen Gov. Perry in a debate yet," Santorum told Morgan. "We haven't seen him do that much in the way of interviews, yet."

The social conservative highlighted his 12 years as a U.S. senator, arguing that he understands the kind of pressure that a national figure goes through on a campaign.

"There are lots of shiny engines that come out of the round house and go by," Santorum said. "And they're going to get that kind of treatment and inspection that candidates get."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Gay rights • Rick Santorum • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. TDJ

    A Catholic definition of "tolerance" may go like this:

    "
    Tolerance is that good habit – that is, a virtue – in which the Catholic Christian actively and consciously loves his neighbor, especially when the neighbor lives in grave sin, by avoiding judgment and showing him the same mercy the Lord shows us for our sins, as we choose the right means to eliminate or ameliorate the evil incurred in this world by the neighbor’s (and our own) actions, through the right exercise of the theological and cardinal virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that both our neighbor and us might attain salvation and everlasting life in the world to come."

    It has nothing to do with validating, accepting, and promoting a lifestyle that is physically, emotionally, and morally destructive of those who engage in it, society's evolving view on homosexuality notwithstanding. Bravo, bravo for Santorum.

    -Theo

    September 1, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  2. Sandra

    You will not be elected President if you cannot represent, or at least tolerate, ALL types of Americans (gays, atheists, critics, etc...) The Catholic Church has bent on other issues before (birth control, interracial marriage) and it will evolve in time. Anyone who follows a doctrine blindly is a fool. God would want you to think for yourself, and only he can judge.

    September 1, 2011 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  3. Donkey Party

    Another GOPper playing the "victim" card. So old.

    September 1, 2011 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  4. peace

    you are a bigot the bible said do not judge. God said he will judge everyone. yes it"s a sin so is lying so they can say the same thing about you sin is sin so watch out for that stone.

    September 1, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  5. Vincent J. Petrosino

    Those of us who live in PA know exactly who Rick Santorum is. As a local Pittsburgh paper called him during his defeat for the senate to Bob Casy Jr., Mr. Santorum is a purveyor of "half truths." What makes Santorum a hypocrite is that he chooses to follow a hypocritical line of thought fostered by the Catholic Church on homosexuality. He and the Church know full well that homosexuality is not a choice, it is not a disease so the APA removed it from the list of mental diseases in 1973. But just like the church elders who for decades and generations covered up, reassigned and allowed pederasts to continue abusing children and who force their clergy into the sexually abnormal life of celibacy, Santorum is a reactionary and retrogressive thinker just like his pope. Is he what we need at this juncture in our country? Absolutely NOT.

    September 1, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  6. MrManhattan

    As a religion, the Catholic Church has a constitutional right to be bigoted.

    Not the right to deny fact.

    September 1, 2011 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  7. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    He's right for once. These same carnival barker chasers ran after Trump , Gingrich and Bachmann. Snooki Palin has them hanging on her string prepared to chase her. Rick Bush has a long way to go within the wingnut circular firing squad. Give him a smoke and a blindfold.

    September 1, 2011 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  8. johnmenacherjr

    Here's one for Santorum from another catholic the church and the Bible are 2 different things get it?! You have no idea what western rite is and thats real obvious we are NOT a group of protestant evangelicals get it!?

    September 1, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  9. StandForTruth

    Good for you RICK!!!! YOU GO MAN!!! All Piers wanted the opportunity to do is to call someone a bigot on national television.
    You make a very good point. A bigot is NOT JUST someone who says homosexuality is wrong. A bigot is ANYONE who strongly believes that what THEY are doing, WHAT EVER it is, is right. It doesn't matter WHAT that belief or opinion is. It doesn't even matter what the subject matter is. So by that definition we're ALL bigots INCLUDING homosexuals.

    September 1, 2011 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  10. Louisiana Man

    What fuels these engines except braggadocio and hot air? They lean heavily on religious beliefs and when the smoke clears, the only remaining scintilla remaining is ego. Santorum and his ilk have zero to offer.

    September 1, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. Roedy Green

    The Catholic church has done many bigoted things in its history including killing "witches", torturing protestants to death, murdering innocent Muslim civilians living in Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades. To this day it indirectly encourages its followers to beat up and kill gay people by spreading lies about them. Just because a church advocates something does not excluded it from being bigotry.

    September 1, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
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