Santorum rails against Maher on 'Christian madrassa' comment
March 13th, 2012
05:30 PM ET
3 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. Brian G

    Santorum is so quick to take the bait. Why won't the GOP candidates focus on the economy? Let's talk about reproductive rights, focus on voter fraud, and get involved in the back and forth "name calling" within the media.

    March 13, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Lee

    Yeah...spend your time replying to what some comedian says about you, attack Obama, and ignore our requests for information of what YOU would do as president. That will cement the independant vote.

    March 13, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Big Jilm

    Sanitarium, do not use the word, "logic" as I don't think it means what you think it means.

    March 13, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Rick Santorum should worry more about the issues, not what a Talk Show Host is saying.

    March 13, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Woman In California

    I'm certainly no fan of Santorum but I have no respect for Maher either. IMO his treatment of religion is disgraceful and the main reason I or my family members don't watch his show.

    Obama 2012

    March 13, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Sniffit

    Maher sometimes goes a bridge too far.

    Limbaugh just burns them.

    March 13, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Katie

    There is No difference! Get the church out of government!

    OBAMA 2012!

    March 13, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. pa10sion

    Thank you Bill Maher for having the courage to say what logical people think.

    March 13, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. cali girl

    I wonder if Santo has thought the Presidency through. If he gets in the White House, he will have to work, I mean really go to work. The wife will have to also. First Lady has lots of responsibilities. So where does that leave the children? Yeah, they would have to go to school. Some school, private or public, but school anyhow. Isn't all of this against his religious plan for himself and his family?

    March 13, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Mike

    This is the guy that basically called people that want their children to go to college SNOBS. And he is talking about logic and reason? PLEASE!!! He also said President Obama wants everyone to go to college so they turn out like him. Well, isn't that every parents dream for their children? Harvard graduate, US Senator, President of the United States. Thank God this guy has no shot to win a general election. Come to think of it, he couldn't win re-election as a US Senator either.

    March 13, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Kristine, MI

    Santorum has referred to colleges as "indoctrination mills." He also said that most people who go to college with a faith commitment leave without it. I suspect he's referring to his own Christian faith commitment. I say kudos for those who have a mind of their own, teach their children to think for themselves, and practice any religion (or none at all). And does Santorum have any data to back up the idea that higher education is causing a problem in society? I suspect just the opposite is true. Maher is right.

    March 13, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Max Powers

    Making the comparison from right to left isn't sane in this case, as Madrassa isn't a bad word. It literally means, "a place where learning is done. Santorum, if he knows this can only be offended because the word is Arabic and he is racist. I don't like Mahr, but I agree with him in this case. When Christians homeschool their kids, they are brainwashing them.

    March 13, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Ann

    "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."

    Is this the response of a serious presidential possiblility? NO!

    For months he has been showing his true stripes, in that he lacks control. I would not want this person leading our country, because if something is said that offends him he could start a war, without reasoning it out first and seeking intellignet insight. He is a danger; an emotional and unpredictable person.

    March 13, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. DIANA

    It's funny when a known comedian says something it's an attack but when it's somebody like Rush who says something via against women – he's just an entertainer. Where were you Ricky when Rush was attacking women?

    March 13, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Robert

    Bill Maher is spot on. Muslim kids waste their time in madrassas memorizing useless verses from the Koran. Christian kids waste their time in their Christian "madrassas" being brainwashed with creationism and believing science is a "conspiracy". Meanwhile, secular atheist Chinese kids are mastering math and science, and will triumph over both Muslim and Christian kids.

    March 13, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Jules

    How about some ideas, Rick. Bill Maher is a Catholic raised athiest and that's his right. He also can say whatever he wants. I don't agree with him on the subject of faith and religion, but just like Rush Limbaugh can say whatever he wants, so can Bill Maher. I do find Bill Maher much more factual on his political commentary and quite entertaining. How about some job plans, Rick. How about some ideas on what you would do to fix the economy. You better get going because your trying to change the worlds social values isn't going to work – that is not a plan.

    March 13, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. John Mueller

    I applaud Santorum for his response to Bill Maher’s ridiculous and inconsiderate comments.

    I was home-schooled K-12 and am very proud of it. I am extremely grateful to my parents for allowing the Bible to be part of my curriculum, and for teaching me the importance of loving God and loving other people.

    As a senior at North Dakota State University, I will be graduating this year with a double major in Emergency Management and Economics. Far from what Maher suggests, my parents have always encouraged me to pursue knowledge, reason, and wisdom. The Bible also has much to say about this subject:

    Proverbs 2:10-11
    For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.

    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    James 1:5
    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

    March 13, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Daniiel

    Even Santorum just suggesting that he would place his 12 year old son in a debate against an adult, to me is a form of child abuse. I guess its a Catholic thing.

    March 13, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. EuroTrashhh

    You would think a presidential cadidate would have more important things to talk about. This never ending blame game gets everyone going nowhere.

    Obama 2012!

    March 13, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Dan

    Folks the BIG, BIG and BIG difference between Maher and politicians, is that Maher is a paid comedian first and foremost. He is paid to be controversial and push the boundaries. Santorum is a creep running for the highest office in the world. His views, his actions, what he says all SHOULD be scrutinized, as so should Palin, Bachman and the rest of the crazy GOP. If you don't like Bill Maher, fine... don't watch HBO. But if Ricky get's elected, we can't simply turn off the TV to escape his awful presidency.

    March 13, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Robert Holt

    As is often the case, Bill Maher doesn't know what he's talking about.

    March 13, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. roscoe

    Keep talking about this kind of stuff and you're giving the election to Barak. There is little difference between Santorum and a muslim extremist.....both are fanatics and fanatics are dangerous.

    March 13, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. wwf

    Santorum is way too far to the right for me, but I agree with him taking on Maher. Maher's statements were over the line. I do not agree with much of what Santorum pushes, but there is nothing wrong with home schooling ones children in a religious home.

    March 13, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Brian Dodge

    Faith and God are what people rely upon, when they have no reason because they are willfully ignorant, no logic because they have been trained not to think, and are incapable of recognizing their ignorance.

    Science teaches us what is and what is not, and strives to extend the bounds of what we know. Santorum believes in creationism; science knows the earth is more than 6000 years old, and that humans evolved just like all the other life on earth. Santorum believes global warming is a hoax; climate science knows that it isn't the sun, or cosmic rays, or natural cycles, or a myriad other mythological reasons that are causing the world to warm, and the weather to become more extreme. Santorum believes that record floods on the Mississippi, and Thailand, and Australia, plus record droughts in Texas and Australia, and record heat waves that have killed tens of thousands in Europe, Russia, Pakistan, and India are signs that "God works in mysterious ways"; science knows that fossil fuel emissions of CO2 are capturing more energy and making the weather more extreme.

    Santorum is anti-science and anti-reason – and, as Spock would say, "highly illogical".

    March 13, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012, Maher is on HBO. His only "sponsors" are those who pay for HBO and watch his program. If you don't like him, cancel your HBO subscription and your problem will be solved!

    March 13, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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