Santorum rails against Maher on 'Christian madrassa' comment
March 13th, 2012
05:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum rails against Maher on 'Christian madrassa' comment

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum hit back against Bill Maher Monday night after the liberal talk show host criticized Santorum for home-schooling his children, calling his home a "Christian madrassa."

Responding to his comments, Santorum, a devout Catholic, said on Fox News that "folks on the left" are out there "trashing anybody who stands up for Christian conservative values, anybody who dares to actually teach their children faith in their home."

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Maher made the remarks on his show Friday, saying that Santorum was sheltering his children and educating them in the home rather than in public out of fear they "could be infected by the virus of reason."

"It's no coincidence that the type of tree which God forbade Adam and Eve eating from was the tree of knowledge. Rick Santorum home-schools his children because he does not want them eating that (audio bleep) apple," Maher said. "He wants them locked up in the Christian madrassa that is the family living room, not out in public where they could be infected by the virus of reason."

The comedian has drawn criticism from many on the right for his comments against top Republicans. In response, some conservatives, including Sarah Palin, have called on a super PAC supporting President Barack Obama's re-election bid to return Maher's $1 million donation. The group, Priorities USA, has not indicated it would give back the contribution.

But Santorum on Monday, pointing to the uproar over Rush Limbaugh's comments last month against a law student who advocated for contraception coverage, said Maher's remarks were an “absolute double standard" from the left.

"All of a sudden, if you're instilling faith and teaching them about God in your home, you're a Madrassa, according to these folks, as if reason doesn't take place in these homes," Santorum said.

The candidate then argued his son, one of seven children, could take on Maher.

"Our children will out-reason him. My 12 year-old will out-reason Bill Maher when it comes to understanding how logic works, 'cause (Maher) is completely illogical," Santorum said.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (761 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "All of a sudden, if you're instilling faith and teaching them about God in your home, you're a Madrassa, according to these folks, as if reason doesn't take place in these homes," Santorum said."

    The funniest part of all this: the Ayatollah Santorum's umbrage stems directly from his own negative stereotypes of Madrassas, which the analogy forces him to perceive as being turned back on his own method of religious schooling and indoctrination. All his temper tantrum will prove is what a bigot he is towards muslims. Nothing more, nothing less. Jokes on you, Ricky...Maher just pushed your "prove I'm a bigot" button.

    March 13, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Focus, Rick... FOCUS. I admire your principles... but you're falling for the oldest trick in the democrat playbook – "Operation Change The Subject". FOCUS on Obama's dismal performance on the economy. FOCUS.

    March 13, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. JD

    Sounds like a perfectly reasonable comment from Maher to me.

    March 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Don - Chicago

    Funny that Santorum offers up his 12-year-old kid to outreason Maher...because Pops can't?

    March 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    yes and Bill should issue a public apology and have many sponser pull out after such a remark. How dare him.

    March 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    "Our children will outreason him . My 12 year-old will outreason Bill Maher when it comes to understanding how logic works, 'cause he [Maher] is completely illogical,"
    ------------------------------------------------
    I watched Real Time Friday night and Bill pretty much summed it up. People who actually go to college, tend to believe less in God. Most hold true to their faith, but some are more enlightened to the b.s. that you people call relgion. It's 2012 and we're having a discussion about home schooling? Really?!?! Show me a home schooled child, give them a SAT or ACT test and let's see how well they do.

    March 13, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Sanity in Arizona

    When is it education and when is it indoctrination?

    March 13, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Dan from Tx

    Santorum should understand by now that arguing with comedians that poke at political power is a waste of time. Even when the comedian is right...

    March 13, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Orchid333

    Oh this is so rich. Um, Bill Maher is a COMEDIAN and there is no comparison between him and Limbaugh! If you're going to attack one comedian for making people laugh, then you might as well attack them all, including Saturday Night Live for making fun of Sarah Palin or Stephen Colbert for satire on the Republican right. The fact that Santorum is even addressing this shows what a wimp he is. And if any of you watched Maher's show in context, he was making a point about Santorum's stance against public schools, which is deplorable.

    March 13, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Its surprising that Santorum did not choose to send his kids to Catholic schools: they are usually of high quality in terms of academics, and the communities within the schools are very supportive and nurturing. The evangelical Christian schools are no different from madrassas, since they teach alternate histories, sciences, and their track record is no better than public schools.

    March 13, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. KMW

    In my opinion, Bill Maher is an idiot and should keep quiet about things he knows nothing about. I am glad Rick Santorum had the courage to take him to task and I am sure his twelve-year old is smarter than Maher. If Rick Santorum wants to teach his kids about the Catholic religion, I applaud him. I am also Catholic and take my religion very seriously and I think Bill Maher has a lot of jealously issues. I lilke Rick Santorum beacause he is not afraid to speak the truth. I will be voting for him when the primary in my state occurs. Keep going Rick! By the way, there are many educated Americans who agree with me but you would not always know this by the very liberal comment board represented here. This is typical.

    March 13, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Logic N LA

    Gee Rick- changing the context much? He said that by homeschooling your kids, you were keeping them from learning about life in the world. that we as poepel learn from interfacing with all types of people and that by keeping them n an isolated environment, you were actually doing them more harm than good.
    Frnkly- after listening to your speeches, child endangerment issues come into my mind at the thought that your poor kids will only have you as an example of how to think. they will never learn that it's OK to think outside YOUR box. Chrsit went out and talked to the masses, let your kids!

    March 13, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    No, he is just taking on a hypocrite who took state reimbursement money for his kids to attend a private school, and then withdrew them from that in order to "home school" them and indoctrinate them in Pre-Vatican II teachings. When are you going to tell your Evangelical Protestant supporters what the Opus Dei teachings that you follow really say about them? How they will all be condemned to the pit for failure to follow the teachings of the Bishop of Rome?

    March 13, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. george of the jungle

    well he didn't call them any awful names like rush did. I have talked to teachers who say home schooling is not good for children and if they get children in class who have been home schooled it is a real problem and the children really act out. And have no sociaal skills. I guess it depends on who you talk to. Ol rick is pretty good at slinging the mud too so I guess if you think Mahar was offensive what the heck.

    March 13, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. Emmy Skaddittle

    The big difference between this Maher and Rush is that Maher is a comedian and rush is... I really don't know what he is

    March 13, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Just Saying

    it is highly unlikely that what the Santorum children are getting at home is anything like a balanced education. it is far more likely that they are being brainwashed into believing a lot of religiously-inspired nonsense – the earth is flat, the earth is the center of the universe, the earth is only 6,000 years old, fossils are God's way of testing our faith rather than the remains of ancient creatures that went extinct millions of years ago, etc.

    these are some of the falsehoods being taught in so-called "Christian" so-called "schools" all across the Bible Belt. calling these operations, and similar home-schooling, "Chrisitan madrassas" is accurate.

    and Rick Santorum would not recognize sound logic if it walked up and slapped him across the face.

    Just Saying...

    March 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Mr. Pants

    Yikes. Mr. Santorum, you know that Madrassa means 'school,' right?

    March 13, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Howard's Daddy

    Maher got it right. Santorum is just a rabid Ned Flanders. I do somehow agree that Maher is off-base because the comparison is an insult to madrassas.

    March 13, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Something is wrong with Santorum logic for him to compare what Maher said to what Limbaugh said.

    March 13, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Larry L

    I'd like to hear one of the Republicans talk about some specific issue rather than "rail" about comments from Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, or any other celebrity. Tell me what your REAL plan is for Social Security, Medicare, immigration, the war, the deficit, taxes, energy, environmental protection, education, and jobs. I simply don't care what you think about abortion, gays, guns or god. That's your business so keep it to yourself.

    March 13, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Debbie

    I was a Republican for 35 years, 2 years ago I became an Independent. I was raised Catholic and left when the Church did nothing about Priest Pedophiles. (Still today they really have done nothing.) I take offense to Santorum's statement. I'm not on the left and Maher is an entertainer not any different than Limbaugh. Perhaps Santorums statement should be the same to Maher as it was to Limbaugh, "absurd." Santorum lumping all people that do not vote center left as: "trashing anybody who stands up for Christian conservative values, anybody who dares to actually teach their children faith in their home." is prejudiced and biased. He has pre-judged and has a bias of opinion of all those who are not like him. Since the country is divided very much at the time I see no way Santorum can lead all of the USA or Congress by even 55%. It is offensive to me and against my religious beliefs and conscience that Santorum has turned Christian values (Following Christ) to make Christ a political pawn.

    March 13, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. dontmesswithme

    I love Bill Maher and I pray that he will have the St. Paul's experience and use his talent to testify for Christ. Haven said that I do not think that it is right to compare Bill Maher to Rush Limbugh, it is like comparing Shaun Hannity with Jon Stewart.

    March 13, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. V in Chicago

    What about teaching your children how to fit in in with the rest of the world? I have relatives who home schooled their children and none of them were ready when it came time to meet the real world and all the diversity that makes it up. This cause them some major issues when they finally did leave the "bubble" and try to make it on their own. They did not have the tools they needed to be a part of society as a whole. I think it is ok to teach your children your moral values, your religion and those types of things at home, but to seclude them from the rest of the world and keep them from intermingling with others of varying faiths and beliefs is wrong. How can a person make an informed decision about religion or any other personal stance/issue, unless you (even in limited amounts) expose them to the beliefs and customs of others? I'm not a big Maher fan, but he pretty much called it for what it was this time.

    March 13, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Blake

    Here's where the comparison to Rush Limbaaugh breaks down:

    Maher is an entertainer, comedian and humorist with heavy political leanings on HBO. He admits as much and doesn't tell you how to think. He just tells you what he thinks and on his show, has a panel of other people (with a Republican 90% of the time) to agree, disagree or even bash him (which happens now and then and he actually loses an argument). He also isn't loose on facts and isn't quoted or proped up by the democratic party. Maher may blow up facts like he does on religion, but his numbers and factual basis are always sourced and not misleading. Maher is actually against what's happening to Limbaugh because he thinks it's wrong to make someone "disappear" after saying a controversial thing, even if that thing is hideous or disrespectful. Also, I have never seen Maher go after anyone really hardshly who's off the street per say. Only very important public figures and for very clear reasons.

    Limbaugh is an entertainer that stirs up people's passions with things bordering on constant hateful and misleading speech. He also misleads people on what he actually is by declaring himself a powerful voice and leader of the conservative movement – essentially a one man "truth" squad. Not to mention leadership on the right actually props him up on this, unlikle the left who treat Maher as just a comedian with a good political show. Limbaugh is always telling his listeners what to do, how to think and how to disrespect the other side. Also there isn't any humor in what he says or factual basis for that matter (just look at his comments on birth control and think you have to buy a pill everytime you use it). Limbaugh would, and probably will if he hasn't already, direct blame at Maher and try to declare himself a victom of media while Maher should be silenced. Hypocritical.

    This is, again, just a deflection strategy where one side doesn't take responsibility for their actions, tries to deflect and by doing so, make it about someone else and about them taking responsibility instead. Hopefully it becomes their issue and everyone forgets about the initial "Scandal" so you don't have to say "sorry, that was wrong." The problem with that is you actually have to find something equal or worse to the original hiccup. The right is having a harder time doing so the more extreme they get.

    March 13, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. son of the pig

    Couid someone tell me can these kids ever learn to deal with the real world at least their not learning how to baptise dead people

    March 13, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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