February 21st, 2012
09:07 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: 'I believe in good and evil'

Phoenix (CNN) - Rick Santorum offered no apologies Tuesday for a controversial speech he gave in 2008 when he talked about the threat of Satan in America.

“I’m a person of faith. I believe in good and evil,” Santorum said in response to questions from CNN.

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Instead the rising GOP contender defended his four-year-old remarks, made at Ave Maria University in Florida, where he said Satan was “attacking the great institutions of America.”

“If somehow or another because you’re a person of faith and you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president,” Santorum said.

Excerpts of Santorum’s speech were splashed across the conservative leaning Drudge Report for much of Tuesday.

Santorum dismissed the Drudge article as “absurd.”

"If they want to go ahead and dig up old speeches to a religious group they can go right ahead and do so. I'm going to stay on message. I'm going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about," Santorum said to CNN.

When pressed further if he believed Satan was attacking America, as he said in his 2008 speech, Santorum insisted the subject is not on the minds of voters.

“Guys these are questions that are not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today,” Santorum said.

“What we’re talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That’s what my speeches are about. That’s we’re going to talk about in this campaign,” he added.

With Santorum now leading several national polls and moving within striking distance of two game-changing victories in next week’s Arizona and Michigan primaries, the rising GOP contender has seen his recent speeches subjected to increased scrutiny.

In a speech to a small crowd of supporters in Phoenix Tuesday evening, Santorum said he can handle the pressure.

“I’ll defend everything I say,” Santorum said.

After the speech, Santorum told reporters he’s pleased with the state of his campaign, disclosing that he’s raised more than $6 million this month.

Belief Blog: Santorum and Satan – the devil is in the details

He also commented on the latest Washington parlor game: whether the race for the GOP nomination could result in a contested convention in Tampa later this year.

“I feel very good about our chances of winning this election. Feel really good,” Santorum said.

When asked about the possibility that no Republican candidate will have enough delegates to clinch the nomination, Santorum said such talk is premature.

“Obviously if nobody gets enough delegates we’ll have to deal with that. But it’s a long, long, long way to go and we feel really good about where we are headed right now,” Santorum said.

During his evening speech, the former Pennsylvania senator sounded confident about his chances in next Tuesday’s Arizona primary.

“We’re not just here to debate. We’re here to win Arizona next Tuesday,” Santorum said in reference to Wednesday’s CNN Debate.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith


Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Rick Santorum
soundoff (720 Responses)
  1. Jim J

    Everyone is free to believe and practice one's own religion; but no one is free to compel others to believe in or practice religion. In the Inquisition the Catholic Church murdered 2,000,000 people who did not measure up to what Catholics commanded them to believe. Santorum is the perfect candidate for a revival of the Inquisition. He is utterly dangerous.

    February 22, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. RichTheEngineer

    @Canuck:

    At least Bush thought he wasn't perfect, unlike the Great Pretender, the "community organizer" who has done more to divide our Citizens. Obama not only doesn't admit to mistakes, he never makes them according to his handlers and himself. Any mistakes that he has apologized for were those that the "unwashed masses" and Republicans have made.

    February 22, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Carl

    Mr. Santorum doesn't seem to get it....given his self-proclaimed position as the true social, religious, conservative candidate in this campaign, it is precisely the topics that are not being discussed publicly that concern me the most. Just how far will he go with government policy to make sure all of us abide by the man-made, man-interpreted laws of his god?

    If God doesn't allow contraception because it's considered an intentional interference with his natural plan of life, why in the world would he be okay with us using any medical treatments that allow people to live longer. He must have been fuming mad about his prolonged wait for Terri Schiavo's soul to arrive in heaven.

    February 22, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Carie

    What is controversial about him talking about Satan to a church group?

    February 22, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. kiki

    God put His precious Blood over u Rick,and give to the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit upon u. Rick,u are so right that the evil spirits has,is spreading throughh America,in all directions. God will bless u and reward for just standing up for your christian believes. Do not given to these negative non christian attacks. with all prayers.peance.

    February 22, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Trevor

    I am an engineer and have a PHd., I am NOT Catholic, nor a protestant fundamentalist but as a man of science and a student of history I agree with him. As a matter of fact Mr. Santorum did not say anything that most of America does not believe. As a result of my vocation I have lived all across the country and only in the large urban areas or amongst the highly educated would people find his words strange. Most Americans believe there is a spiritual realm and it manifests itself in either good and evil. Only a fool to his own peril would not acknowledge this.

    February 22, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. wow

    there is such a thing as good and evil, to be sure, however they are a human duality, not a supernatural projection from GOD or SATAN.

    February 22, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Marie

    He is right about one thing, though. There are a lot of Bible believers in America. If you prohibit Christian belief from running for office, you will prohibit well over half the country from ever running.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm agnostic. But I'm Libertarian also.

    I think all this stuff about religion is highly outdated. Yeah, there is good and evil in terms of people doing good things and evil things. But blaming all evil actions on the devil, rather than taking responsibility for them, is one reason why we are in the mess we're in now. People need to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming others. We need to become a nation of responsibility takers.

    February 22, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. A Concerned Citizen

    There's nothing wrong with Rick Santorum being a man of faith, as much as the godless commies of the left would like to have it be a problem. Naturally they're going to paint him as some sort of crackpot theocrat, a despotic "christian ayatollah" who's going to shove Bibles down everyone's throats. This is a pretty bad assumption, considering that no one is accusing Mitt Romney of forcing his Mormon religion on everyone, or Barack Obama forcing his Muslim religion on everyone.

    February 22, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. Cindy

    When this man said that Protestant's were the sinners and the problem with the country, this shows this man's evil intent. I would like to remind Mr. Santorum that this is a Protestant nation, founded by Protestants, and Mr. Santorum should take his religion and go back to Italy. We will not tolerate this kind of talk in this country.

    February 22, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Rachel

    Believing in good and evil is not the point. It's a 'dah' point. But when you bring 'Satan' into it, it's a religious belief that is not held by all. What this country doesn't need is another Spanish Inquisition.

    February 22, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. GaryB

    The problem with Santorum is he rarely owns up to anything controversial he says. He makes that Hitler analogy and then says "I never actually said Hitler." Although the analogy was complete bull, I would actually have more respect for him if he owned up to his words rather than did that wussified, "I can't be held responsible if people interpreted my words in exactly the way I expected them to interpret them" thing.

    February 22, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Evskie

    This is the seven deadly sins" wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony". Sounds like capitalism to me. Under that definition anybody against oversight is doing the work for Satan. To think none of those run rampant in American society and need to be controlled is naive at best.

    February 22, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Hangtownie

    Our forfathers made it very clear that a seperation of church and state must exsit. This is still true today. All canidates should answer to how they will keep that promise. Evil is when goverments use religion.

    February 22, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Matt

    In that same exact speech, Santorum said:

    "We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."

    Something like 51% of America is Protestant, why is NOBODY mentioning this???

    February 22, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. TooConcerned

    Life is/has neither good or evil, if only it were that simple. Life has an infinite number of shades of grey.

    Sure there are examples like Hitler, but if he won would we see the extermination of Jews wrong?

    February 22, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. ljjm

    All of you who might think Santorum represents the majority of Catholics–rest assured, he doesn't.

    February 22, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Just like Americans on the left and right to completely ignore the fact that the US is going down the tubes in every area imaginable and turn this election on religion, gay rights and abortion. Can we please get away from these issues because they won't really matter when we are owned by the Chinese in a few decades.

    February 22, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. david saint

    first, the thing he needs to talk about is SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, because he talks as if he has never read it. Second, STOP TELLING US HOW TO LIVE! That doesnt make me want to vote for you..tell us how you will fix the economy, how you will approach military sitations, etc..thats what we need to hear.

    February 22, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Mike in SA

    If you believe in God, you have to also believe in Satan; can't have one without the other.

    February 22, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. James

    This man is a danger to our country and our Constitution. His views are theocratic and dangerous. If he has his way, the country will be run for Christians. I'm a very devout Christian, but I understand that there are more people in this country than those who share my faith. This man is actively working to dismantle the Constitution and the country's society. We are a conglomerate people, we are not all Catholics. His views of good and evil are skewed by his own inner goals of self-satisfaction and glory. I don't care who you vote for in 2012 as long as it's not this man. A vote for Santorum is a vote for theocracy.

    February 22, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Hark

    Give it to them Rick! What has Santorums religion to do with bein g President of the U.S. He is Catholic, has faith and personally lives by that doctrine. He is not asking or telling any of you how to live your life. In fact he believes in personal choice. Let it go and quit making something out of nothing. I'd rather see a senator from Pennsylvania, who has done something rather than a senator from Illinois who talks a good game and sings a so so song, lead this country.

    February 22, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. FormerTeaPartyPerson

    I am a Catholic, and I do believe in Good and evil. However, I do not want a religious fanatic in the White House.

    Briefly, some years ago, I spent a few hours with Sergei Khrushchev as his driver while he was in our hometown, giving a speech about his Father and about the old Soviet Union. Many Americans do not realize that Dr. Khrushchev became an American Citizen, and taught at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He was a very nice gentleman that was happy to answer any question that I asked!

    One question that I asked stands out in my mind even today: How close did American and the Soviet Union come to having a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile crisis? Dr. Khrushchev told me that we were within 15 minutes of destroying life on this planet as we know it today! This is true!

    I am a Republican, and a former Teaparty supporter, but I cannot vote now for Rick Santorum! And I have his bumper sticker on the back window of my van, which I will remove tomorrow. Thank God, that JFK was President of our country at that time, because many in the military (hawks) were suggesting that we should invade Cuban during this crisis. Dr. Khrushchev further told me that the Cubans had short range nuclear missiles, commanded by Russian Officers, and they had permission to use these weapons if we did invade. To this day, I believe that if Nixon was in office, or a Santorum, or a Gingrich, or a Bachmann, or a Palin; during the Cuban missile crisis, any of them would of invaded in the name of God. THIS IS WHY GOD WILL NOT LET ONE OF THEM BECOME PRESIDENT!

    February 22, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. DeTamble

    Folks, you got to read this one again.
    President Obama wanted to give Health care to Americans that cant afford it.
    This is the response ffrom the religious right, sad and scarey.

    -----------------------------------------
    RoninIrvine

    If you want to see evil up close, study ObamaCare. Obama used absolutely illegal means to force congress to vote for it. He got away with it because Eric Holder is just as big a criminal as Obama is.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    I wonder what illegal means Obama used to try to help struggling Americans ?
    Did he hold a gun to congress head ?

    You people who not only hate Obama, but Democrats and liberals so bad
    you have completely gone off the deep end.
    You are in fact what is wrong with this country.
    There is no compromise, no middle ground.
    Its your way or nothing.
    Its not just sad, its sick.

    February 22, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Terry

    Rick Santorum is awesome! Whether you agree with him or not, he says what he believes and doesn't apologize for it. He's a breath of fresh air compared to the flip flopping of Romney, who is trying to convince himself and the American people he's a Conservative. I gladly welcome a candidate who is trying to bring back values and morals to our country, because we are sadly lacking in it!

    February 22, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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