Political Animal


February 17, 2012 2:30 PM Santorum to Mainline Protestants: You Are Satan’s Spawn

By Ed Kilgore

Kyle Mantyla of People for the American Way’s indispensable Right Wing Watch has come up with an audiotape of a Rick Santorum address to the students of the conservative Catholic Ave Maria University in Florida, delivered in 2008. It’s an altogether remarkable speech depicting Rick as a leader in a “spiritual war” against Satan for control of America. Much of its involves the usual right-wing stuff about the conquest of academia (outside bastions like Ave Maria) by the forces of moral relativism, but then there is this Santorum assessment of mainline Protestantism:

[O]nce the colleges fell and those who were being educated in our institutions, the next was the church. Now you’d say, ‘wait, the Catholic Church’? No. We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course 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.

Now there is no uniform definition of “mainline Protestantism,” but most people would understand it as including the religious denominations affiliated with the World Council of Churches (which claim 560 million members), or in the U.S., with the National Council of Churches (about 45 million members). That’s a lot of church-going Christians. And while it’s not unusual to hear the occasional Protestant fundamentalist or Catholic traditionalist mock us mainliners as morally and theologically lax, excessively “secular,” too “liberal,” too friendly to feminists and sodomites and so on and so forth, you don’t hear many politicians publicly talk that way, much less suggest all these Christians are really in the grasp of Satan.

I’d say Rick needs to be held accountable for these remarks, unless he chooses to repudiate them. I hope the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalists, etc., who encounter him on the campaign trail ask him about it. It’s not as though the man can claim he believes in a strict separation of religious and political viewpoints.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • estamm on February 17, 2012 2:48 PM:

    But but but but Jeramiah Wright said something bad about whites one time, and this is not as bad as that.

    captcha: done vckyou

  • Andrew on February 17, 2012 2:48 PM:

    The guy is a fruitcake. Full Stop.

  • KK on February 17, 2012 2:55 PM:

    I'm offended! Then again, every time K Street Ricky opens mouth and spews his world view I am generally offended. BTW, he knocks us, what does about Mormons? or Priests,Bishops and Cardinals with their sick coverups? (bet they never get acknowledged).

  • Tom W on February 17, 2012 2:56 PM:

    "unless he chooses to repudiate them"

    Or maybe, he'll refudiate them.

  • st john on February 17, 2012 2:58 PM:

    I have recommended this book many times on many blogs: Pope Annalisa by Peter Canova. This Spiritual Thriller addresses most of the issues facing the world, today, including global conflicts in the Middle East, intrigues in the Roman Catholic Church, radical Islam and the decline of the U.S. from an over dependence on foreign oil. This is way beyond religious/spiritual/secular issues and incorporates quantum science in the mix. Please don't succumb to the fear perpetuated by both the Republicans and the Democrats. There is another way to live in peace and harmony, but it takes making the commitment and risking some of our sacred cows of beliefs. Visit www.popeannalisa.com for some amazing resources.

  • internet tough guy on February 17, 2012 2:58 PM:

    Slick Rick worships Mammon, so he should be intimate with the idea of corrupted Christians.

  • hornblower on February 17, 2012 2:59 PM:

    Wait until he gets nominated.

  • gus on February 17, 2012 3:13 PM:

    Before I read this I had settled on the notion that those who think Santorum is a good choice, like those who endorse Gingrich, believe he can pander to that group of Tea Party people. Thatís really all any of the republican candidates are doing is saying that they are The Choice for what canít possible be a majority of likely voters.

    But, Santorum for some establishment party types and hack writers and talking heads seems to have a better shot than Gingrich, who is a louder conspiracy theorist than Ron Paul and who Looooves the word: Secular.

    If Santorum is one-upping his supporters by out Gingriching them with what he says, wow. It is gonna be tough to continue pandering when you white out that many likely voters with that broad of a brush.

  • jjm on February 17, 2012 3:14 PM:

    He's not going to be satisfied until we get some kind of holy war going. Oh wait, didn't he just endorse the Crusades?

    Given his views (and those of the VA legislature), one can see why the institution of the nunnery was an absolute necessity for women under the domination of this all male order: how else but by being the bride of Christ could they avoid forced pregnancy?

  • KazooGuy on February 17, 2012 3:19 PM:

    Ave Maria University? So pizza once again moves to the forefront of Republican politics with Rick speaking at this right-wing Catholic institution founded on Domino's Pizza money, now headed by a former Bush adviser.

  • JW on February 17, 2012 3:24 PM:

    Good idea. And while they're at it, they can also ask him how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  • Danp on February 17, 2012 3:26 PM:

    I had to go read the whole 4 minutes worth, just to be sure this wasn't another Shirly Sherrod story. By the time I was done I was convinced that Santorum has become Satan, at least by following his logic. After all, it is he that has gone after academia, then the mainline protestant churches (in favor of selected extreme stances that could be used for political gain). Now it is the Catholic church that he uses for his vanity (birth control, but not death penalty or helping the poor, etc.). And the attack on politicians? Isn't the Grover Norquist "less government" theme all about that?

  • bdop4 on February 17, 2012 3:44 PM:

    The idea that a presidential contender seriously contemplates the existence of Satan scares the hell out of me. That's a whole lot of fear going on in there.

    Being president is a very, very stressful job. I don't even want to think of the consequences should he have a nightmare where Satan is personified by some islamic group and God instructs him to smite them from the earth.

    Sends chills down my back.

  • JohnMcC on February 17, 2012 3:52 PM:

    Nothing ever changes. I'm old enough to remember this crap from the late '50s. There was a right-wing radio preacher named Carl MacIntyre who interpreted prophetic scriptures to 'prove' that the Nat'l Council of Churches and the UN (and the Catholic Church, to him) were 'the Great Harlot' and 'the Beast' and such. It's what some of the nut-cases of that era ended up with when Sen Joe McCarthy flamed out in a blaze of alcohol-soaked glory.

  • biggerbox on February 17, 2012 3:53 PM:

    Stuff like this is why it still amazes me that people are treating Santorum like an actual candidate and that he's leading the GOP right now. He's a bizarre extremist and he has been very vocal about it for a long time. Dan Savage doesn't go out of his way to Google-bomb a new definition of someone's name at the drop of a hat, you know.

    It's mind-boggling how a zealot like Ricky has risen so far.

  • Cal Gal on February 17, 2012 4:08 PM:

    Time to go back to calling the Roman Catholic Church "the Whore of Babylon?" The Catholic Bishops need to come out against this kind of hate-talk as strongly as they come out against birth-control.

  • nemisten on February 17, 2012 4:29 PM:

    Please, please, everyone -- chill. Of course RS is a raving, idiotic, dolt. We (those who want the GOP to continue right off the cliff) NEED him to help drain as many million$$$ from Willard's war chest as possible.

    For krysakes, give him all the rope he wants!

  • cal on February 17, 2012 4:40 PM:

    I wish this could have been kept under wraps and then Ricky wins the repuke nom and then it goes public. Darn. Darn.

  • mellowjohn on February 17, 2012 6:37 PM:

    as a devout atheist, i don't believe in rick santorum.

  • g on February 17, 2012 8:05 PM:

    Ricky doesn't have a "crazy preacher" problem like other candidates - he is his OWN crazy preacher.

  • Kurt Rex Cooper on February 17, 2012 8:20 PM:

    If you thought the Bush Admin was corrupt a Santorum admin would be worse, much worse. At least Bush had Ford & Reagan appointees to draw from. Who would be in a Santorum cabinet? Romnay may seem a greedy, unprincipled, Amway-type salesman eager to tell you anything to make the sale. Santorum, though, seems like one of those guys who is out of sync w society and proud of it and insists on trying to convince everyone he is right.

  • gus on February 17, 2012 10:12 PM:

    Rick Santorum.
    His own worst enema.

  • Jed on February 17, 2012 10:17 PM:

    I guess this is what Protestants get for mistreating Mormons. Now they are the ones being looked won on...

  • Jed on February 17, 2012 10:22 PM:

    *down on...

    not won on. :)

    Thanks auto-correct!

  • Snarki, child of Loki on February 17, 2012 10:56 PM:

    I want to know who all those founding Protestant Jews were,
    that were part of "a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic".

    Clearly, theirs is a story that needs to be told.

  • Rhymes With Right on February 18, 2012 8:05 AM:

    The thing is, Santorum didn't call anyone the spawn of Satan -- but since when do facts get in the way of liberals when they have a conservative to destroy.

    Frankly, what he said is pretty mainstream, and is the sort of thing said by many prominent Christians -- that many of the "mainline" denominations have gotten more focused interested in a liberal social agenda than in the actual teachings of the Bible.

    Now you may disagree with the notion that the mainline churches -- denominations which are continuing to contract numerically -- are not faithful to Scripture, but you can't argue that the view is not mainstream in American Christianity.

  • Jack Moss on February 18, 2012 8:15 AM:

    "Church going Christians". Just because you're in a bagel shop doesn't make you a bagel. Rick is right. Truth hurts.

  • Hipple, Rev Paul T on February 18, 2012 9:32 AM:

    I knew there was something about that papist I didn't like. Theres not a one of them you can trust, btw.

    Award Winning Interblogger

  • Chasmc on February 18, 2012 10:20 AM:

    Personally, I don't give a crap what he says about mainstream protestants and he may be right, but it does show that he is incredably unwise and basically inept. If he is nonminated, it will all come out. Please, Republicans, by all means, nominate this clown.

  • Aggie95 on February 18, 2012 10:31 AM:

    Well one problem ....I listened ....where does he say that I seem to have missed it ...I also read the transscript ....missed it there to ....question ...is your nose growing

  • David Dean O'Keefe on February 18, 2012 11:31 AM:

    Santorum is right, many Protestants are Christian-Lite and they forgive to quickly, some of you need 400 years in purgatory.

  • bluestatedon on February 18, 2012 11:40 AM:

    A vote for Rick Santorum is a vote for The Church Lady: