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. Jack V

    I probably spend more time in church each week than Santorum does. And when I hear him get mighty, I want to puke.

    March 13, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. Satberry

    Like I said Willard the south will give you your walking papers.Willard is unelectable,anybody but willard.

    March 13, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Mason

    How is this guy even being considered?

    March 13, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  4. Larry L

    Santorum and the rest of the Christian right-wing need to understand that their free pass is nearly expired. Their tax-exempt status, when most are little more than political lobbies, keeps money in the pockets of televangelists and out of the tax coffers to reduce the federal debt. Their constant whining about perceived religious persecution is outright ridiculous – when the only persecution in our society is caused by evangelicals trying to impose their will on everybody else. Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Don't like gay people? Don't marry one. Don't want to use contraception? Fine... but don't be looking for tax exemptions or welfare for children you can't feed without the government's charity. Want freedom? Great! Now let everybody else have the same.

    March 13, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. Earth dweller

    Santorum is an embarrassment to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is an embarrassment to religion. Religion is an embarrassment to the people of this Earth.

    March 13, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Jonathan Michael Brouillette

    Standardized test results for 16,000 home educated children, grades K-12, were analyzed in 2011 by researcher Dr. Brian Ray. He found the nationwide grand mean in reading for homeschoolers was at the 89th percentile; for language and math, the 83rd percentile. This ranking means home-educated students performed better than approximately 87% of the sample population on whom the test was normed. Nearly 80% of homeschooled children achieved individual scores above the national average and 54.7% of the 16,000 homeschoolers achieved individual scores in the top quarter of the population, more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter.

    March 13, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  7. Carmella

    What excuse will Gingrich use this time? When Romney won it was he was out spent. What will be the excuse he did not win the south this time. He wasn't out spent. Why doesn't he get real. It's not a three way race, it really isn't.

    March 13, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  8. TriscuitQueen

    Ok, you don't get to point to Bill Maher and say that he's hateful against you until you speak out against Rush Limbaugh being unfair against those on the left. Fact is, BOTH Maher AND Limbaugh have helped to poison this country.

    That being said, if you don't like public schools in this country, start doing something to change that OTHER than force your religion down our kids' throats. Trying to convert kids to ANY religion instread of allowing them to follow the religion they deem is the "correct" one is absolutely wrong and has no place in our schools. It'd sure be nice if you have any plans to fix out public schools rather than plans to continue to cut funding to them.

    March 13, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. Adam

    Madrassa means 'school' and any negative interpretation of that reveals that individuals bigotry and lack of acceptance of other cultures. Unfortunatley Rick Santorum has just proven Bill Mahers point.

    March 13, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. jane

    Funny. Homeschooling kids attend debate, mock trial, and logic classes. Classic education follows the Trivium – grammar, logic, rhetoric.

    I never got this in public school. Oh well.

    March 13, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  11. Aristocles

    I'm surprised Maher can get away with using "Madrassa" as a bad word and not be called a bigot for it. A "madrassa" doesn't automatically mean "school for terrorists" or "place where you are taught to be a fanatic." The word means "a place of learning".

    Maher is pretty much bigoted against all faiths, and as he proved in his crappy "religulous" movie, he really doesn't understand the religions he insults.

    March 13, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Mike

    If only Santorum realized that madrassa just means "school." Maybe if we called it 'Sunday Madrassa' he'd have figured it out. Santorum's rise just proves the ignorance of the far-right....there must be a whole lotta bliss out there!

    March 13, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  13. pat carr

    "stands up for Christian conservative values, " = Shoving my mythical sky daddy and it's cult down everyone's throats

    March 13, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  14. Get real

    Don't trash Santorum for taking responsibility for his children's education while you abrogate your rights to the state. Santorum and all home-schooling families should be commended for devoting their resources to their children's education rather than sending them to the failing government schools. What fool willingly sends their beloved children into the hel lish halls of public schools? Those who are deceived by the teachers unions and progressives.

    March 13, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  15. Disenchanted

    Why do the people on the left argue for things like gay marriage, and then criticize for home schooling? I know a lot of families that home school kids, some of them are teachers in our public school system. This is mostly because a smarter kid is slowed down while we cater to the illegal immigrants and the lazy in our system. He has every right to home school his children.

    March 13, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. Andy

    Bill Maher is an extremely intelligent person and would shred all 4 repubs in a debate on logic, let alone an insulated 12 year old who believes that the world is 6000 years old. Maher can be a little out there far left, but at least uses reason and not defensive unintelligeable hate filled rhetoric when presenting a fact. I am pretty scared that a radical theocratic thinker can get this close to the white house and the only guy in his way is a robotic empty suit who will say anything people want to hear to pander for votes. Humans are capable of such wonder and imagination and the advances in our society are truly astounding; I do not know when progress and education became the tools of evil and demonized. I do know that Santorum and Gingrich and many on the right scare me and I mean seriously scare me. I feel like we are caught in a push to bring back the middle ages, and while not thrilled with Obama by any means on all his policies I will certainly be voting for him over the next Borgia pope or the empty stepsons suit, and leaving the country if Santorum wins. I cannot believe in a country of 305,000,000 people this is the best we can do, yet we can build satellites that can image galaxies billions of light years away and particle accelerators that can find quarks and bosons. Simply amazing that our leaders are the D students in their own home schools, scary stuff America.

    March 13, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  17. jane

    He is so ignorant (and I mean that in the classic sense of the word). Maher – "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 tree was the tree of the knowledge ... of good and evil. Not the tree of reason. The Reason for everything (Logos) helped in the creation of the world and was instrumental in its redemption. (John 1:1.) I'm sure Adam and Eve were basking in the joy of being able to reason before they ate the fruit.

    March 13, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  18. Johnny3783

    Andy,
    Couldn't agree more.

    March 13, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  19. ummm

    both are using madrassa as a pejorative... #irony

    March 13, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. Greg

    When you compare Bill Maher's comments to Genesis Chapter 3 in the bible, that makes Bill Maher equivalent to the snake in the garden. It's plain as day!

    March 13, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. John

    The most ridiculous argument imaginable from Bible-crazed lunatics is that the "United States was founded as a Christian nation." Yet, the three PRIMARY founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all despised Christianity with a passion (feel free to research it). Thomas Jefferson wrote something to the tune of "Christianity is the most perverse system in the history of mankind" and then mocked the Bible by creating his own "bible" and making numerous "concrete" assertions within it that matched the absurdity of the original Bible. John Adams wrote, "This would be the best of all worlds if there was no religion in it," while Benjamin Franklin wrote "Lighthouses are more useful than churches." Furthermore, the most revered President of all-time, and the one whose ranked as the #1 President among virtually every consensus ever taken by well-known historians, Abraham Lincoln, was a blatant atheist who also abhorred Christianity and religion in general.

    March 13, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Kami

    It's kind of funny, people say Santorum "took it upon himself" to school his kids. Um. You people arguing that DO realize he bilked the state into paying for it, right? He didn't pay much of anything to homeschool his kids. He had his home state pay for it, while he homeschooled them in another state. So basically, he grabbed money from the state that could have gone to improve the PUBLIC schools, and stuffed it into his own pockets. The guy is a sleazebag, and WAY too freaking crazy to be president. I wouldn't vote for him for local dog catcher.

    March 13, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  23. steve

    I think this material is designed to help us feel the unique hatred that characterizes the Left. Things are getting tense this election, no? We are in the fourth quarter and down by 16 trillion! God Bless us, everyone. THere is no one who does good, not even one. Have a good night everyone.

    March 14, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  24. John

    Jane & Greg,

    I'm just curious whether you are aware of the blatant historical truth – you do know that the Bible that you worship so ardently was written by men just like me hundreds of years after a man named "Jesus Christ" (assuming he ever existed, considering there is no historical or archaeological evidence that he ever lived) ever existed? It's unbelievably ironic how you quote phrases and passages from the Bible not realizing how oblivious you are to the concepts of reasoning and logic (which is exactly what Maher was referring to). Anyone who exhibits reasoning and possesses a logical thought process could instantly deduce that the "Bible" is the most fictional book alive (the talking snake, the man living in the whale for 3 days, the earth being created 6000 years ago, etc) – but, it seems impossible for Bible-lunatics to grasp that they live in the definition of a fantasy world. They've been brainwashed their entire lives – how could they possibly see the truth overnight?

    March 14, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Perhaps Maher should have, as well, pointed out that as Santorum home schooled his kids, he sucked up money meant for Pennsylvania children while living in Virginia. Guess he just thinks he can get away with all kinds of questionable things and not be accountable.

    March 14, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
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