Santorum blames colleges for indoctrination.

Rick Santorum has a problem.  You see, he wants people to believe in a thoroughly ignorant and out-dated position and, as people become more educated, they become less susceptible to ideas like inequality is a good thing or a group of nomads from an especially ill-educated portion of the world in the first century were privy to insights that trump those of modern scientists.

So a populace more exposed to higher education, rather than being the future, is a nation in trouble.

Rick Santorum said the nation’s colleges are promoting a “sea of antagonism toward Christianity” and “indoctrinating” its youth with ideals that support gay marriage, abortion and pornography.

Santorum called in to Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” on Tuesday to talk about the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling. The conversation dealt not only with abortion but also included other “symptoms” that have changed the nation.

Perkins spoke broadly, saying pro-choice Americans represent a troubled country that doesn’t choose life, meaning “That is to follow the principals, the teachings, the instructions of God … You see that as you’ve been in Washington, D.C. There is a rejection of this idea of truth, and that there is a foundation or morality, which needs to be upheld.”

Santorum agreed, adding that less young people devote themselves to Christianity. “If you look at the popular culture and what comes out of Hollywood, if you go to our schools and particularly our colleges and universities, they are indoctrinated in a sea of relativism and a sea of antagonism towards Christianity.”

“Abortion is a symptom. Marriage is a symptom. Pornography [is a symptom],” he continued. “All of these are symptoms to the fundamental issue that we’ve gotten away from the truth and the ‘Truth-Giver.’”

Because in Rick Santorum’s world, college education is indoctrination and packing kids into church to be told what to think because god said so is education.  When “following the principals, the teachings, the instructions of god” means denying yourself knowledge, god is either not on our side or (far more likely) you have been taken by a blatant scam.

He is right though: education is the antithesis of religion.  Anybody sharper than a bowling ball would then conclude that if a religion is at odds with education, the smart move is to keep education and get rid of the religion.  The problem for Rick Santorum is that it’s the smart move.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    “All of these are symptoms to the fundamental issue that we’ve gotten away from the truth and the ‘Truth-Giver.’”

    Then why is the Bible full of lies and contradictions?

    • http://researchtobedone.wordpress.com ResearchToBeDone

      Thinking critically?! Looks like the educational system’s indoctrination has already gotten to you, you heathen!

      • Glodson

        I know. If only I had adopted the lies of religion as a young man.

        Wait, I did! But I was just curious, and learned about the scientific method and the importance of evidence. It only took me about 30 years to apply that to the religion I learned as a youth, complete with the threats of hell, the environment that discouraged questions, a line of thinking that I still have a hard time dislodging, the social pressures to keep believing thanks to the tentacles of faith reaching far into my social structure, the countless apologetics I looked into with the hopes for finding a sound reason for believes instilled into me by others for as long as I could remember.

        One might suspect that I was indoctrinated as a child to be a christian and turn a blind eye to any faults in that line of thought with the threat of Hell for non-believers and the demonization of those on the outside of the faith.

  • smrnda

    He seems to pick an odd trio (abortion, homosexuality and pornography) but that’s probably just because he’s obsessed with sex himself. Among other things I learned in college are that leaving things up to ‘the market’ just guarantees that the only things that will be done are things which rich people place a high priority on, and that people display racist thinking and behavior even when they allege they are not racist, and that it’s a mistake to confuse obedience to authority with morality. Along with those things, I also learned a lot about probability and statistics.

    If Santorum is threatened by what they teach in college, he should do a better job explaining what is taught and what people will do as a result of this new knowledge and why it’s bad, but that would require the type of nuanced analysis that his fan base doesn’t want to hear.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      explaining what is taught and what people will do as a result of this new knowledge and why it’s bad

      I think we’ve got us here one o’ dem indoctrinationers. Real Americans don’t need explaning, reasons and understanding. Real Americans are told what to think, and, by God, they think it only when they’re told to by their pastor or radio talk show host!

  • eric

    …and particularly our colleges and universities, they are indoctrinated in a sea of relativism and a sea of antagonism towards Christianity…

    He’s absolutely right. All my college chemistry lab write-ups had to have a Methods section, a Results section, and a Why I Hate Christians section.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      In my school Why I Hate Christians went in the abstract.

  • SB

    Why not just force everyone to become Amish! ;)

  • MrK

    Delurking just to say this: If Santorum were spewing this crap here in Europe, he would be pointed & laughed out of the stage.

    • eric

      We got him off the important stage. Before: Senator, candidate for President. Now: private citizen.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com The_Schwa

    “…pro-choice Americans represent a troubled country that doesn’t choose life, meaning “That is to follow the principals, the teachings, the instructions of WHAM!”
    Fixed it.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani J. Sharmin

    The antagonism expressed towards education and colleges by some of these Republican politicians always baffles me, in some ways more so than anything they say about evolution or LGBT people or people of other religions. It surprises me that they are able to get votes by saying this kind of thing about education. The ignorance of evolution can be explained by lack of opportunity to learn about it and the attitude can be explained by learning hatred from family or ideology. (This does not excuse it, but it’s an explanation for how it came about.)

    However, I would like to think that no matter how much a person might not know about science and no matter how much misinformation they might have about certain groups of people, they would still want their children to have a better future, more job opportunities, and not have the same financial challenges that they had. Whatever else I may disagree with my family about when it comes to Islam, if someone tried to stop their kids from getting a good education (especially in the sciences, which my parents and several of my aunts aunt and uncles specifically encouraged their kids to study) they’d be furious.

    • RuQu

      There is a strong patriarchal history here on the subject. While many people do want their kids to have more opportunities than they had (and at one time that was sort of the implied definition of the American Dream), there is also an undercurrent of the Patriarch. The Pater Familia. That the children will speak only when spoken to and that it is disrespectful to correct your elders, even if they are spewing ignorant bullshit. In that climate, you want your kids to get educated and get better jobs, but only if that means educated to think exactly what you think and believe what you believe so they won’t question you. And thus you see them trying to replace education with religious indoctrination (ie the Intelligent Design movement) so that their kids don’t come home one day and point out that their religious beliefs are absurd.

      My maternal grandmother was a Young Earth Creationist. It did not go over well when I was 7 and we got in an argument over dinosaurs.

    • Hypatia’s Daughter

      I think the old timey GOP’s thought like this. Education ad science was good for business and good to defend the US from the commies in Russia and China.
      Reaganites courted the Religious Right, thinking they could use them to get elected then ignore them. Instead the RR has taken over the party and the GOP has sold out to them. The RR’s thinks the sole purpose of politics is to further their religious goals. They really don’t care if the economy fails and science withers and dies. Jesus is due ‘real soon now’, the world will end and nothing in it really matters (except for keeping themselves safe and comfy until that happens).

  • TGAP Dad

    College: making a whole generation of snobs!

  • Adam

    Ah, little Ricky. He never disappoints.

  • Kevin McKee

    I want to state up front, I am a Christian, I am an academic and I see no problem in being both. I find Santorum’s views antiquated and ridiculous. But I also disagree with the author that religion and education are opposites, this is an equally antiquated and ridiculous view. The truth is that I was able to acquire 4 degrees (only one in theology), but able to retain my religious perspective. Why? Because like Christians throughout history, but unfortunately not so much in the US, I have no fear of truth, for I believe that God is interested completely in truth and growth for human beings.
    As a result, the challenge for me is not to reject education and new knowledge but rather to work to integrate what I believe, know and experience of God, in the context of additional information, recognizing none of us will ever fully comprehend all truth and all knowledge. As a result, for example, I have no fear in considering the concepts of evolution and in fact embracing them, because my understanding of Scripture is not limited to a literalism that fears additional information.
    I agree wholeheartedly with the criticism of Santorum, he is a fool, but he does not represent all Christians, in fact he does not represent all Evangelicals, in fact he is an embarassment, but I ask that you reconsider the comment that education and religion are in opposition.

    • RuQu

      The idea that they are in opposition is not antiquated. Strange choice of words considering that the Bible is the repository of the knowledge of an ancient herding people.

      With education, proper education, comes learning to ask questions.
      With education, proper education, comes the desire for facts and data to answer those questions, as opposed to authority and tradition.

      Religion provides neither, and so, with education, becomes obsolete.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      What are you doing to keep the ignorance-friendly segment of Xtianity from destroying the US’s educational system, McKee? It’s all very nice to say that you, personally have no problem harmonizing new information with your beliefs, but you know damn well that there’s a non-trivial percentage of your co-religionists who absolutely do have a problem with that—and those ignorance-friendly Xtians go way the hell out of their way to fuck over education.
      Us atheists can and do fight against this sort of thing, but it’d sure be helpful if more of you Xtians decided that maybe Xtianity ought to start marginalizing the ignorance-friendly yahoos. No matter how low the odds are of said yahoos paying attention to you telling them they’re wrong and they’re screwing up, it’s even less likely that they’ll pay attention when an unbelieving Tool of Satan™ tells ‘em that.

      • Kevin McKee

        First, I never said I was American, I am in fact Canadian. What I do is teach. At University, where I lecture on public policy and government ethics. In Church, where as a volunteer pastor, I work with young people to teach them to think critically on issues and to not be satisfied with the pat answers provided by some Christians and some materialists. I am curious, why do you, Cubist find it necessary to not refer to Christians by there proper name, is this intended to be insulting, if so it does not work. I also by the way right articles for Christian journals that challenge the thinking of the right wing of Evangelicalism, which by the way, I find more to be libertarian than Christian. I also believe and state so publicly that they act out of fear, not out of confidence in our beliefs. What more would you have me do? If I was in the U.S. I would have campaigned for Obama and I encouraged my friends and acquaintances to reject fundamental libertarianism.

        • David Hart

          I can’t speak for Cubist here, but I know if I was having to type ‘Christian’ as often as they are, I’d be tempted to use a handy abbreviation – for those who don’t know, the ‘X’ is not really our letter X, but the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in the Greek spelling of Christ – this is also why Xmas is a shorthand for Christmas – the X stands for Christ. There is no need to presume insult – just like the Mormons do not need to presume we are intending to insult them by calling them ‘Mormons’ rather than ‘Latter-Day Saints’, or the people of no religious preference do not need to presume insult when they are categorised as ‘Nones’.

    • Nate Frein

      JT has stated multiple times why he feels that religion and education are, at their core, irreconcilable.

      Religion is about faith. And faith is believing, ultimately, against all evidence to the contrary. in ideas that have no grounding in physical science. To restate: All of our accumulated knowledge of science has shown, consistently and repeatedly, that there is no physical evidence for the supernatural having interacted with the natural. Every mystery of life that we have solved has been solved by our own sciences and has been shown to not be caused by anything but actual, measurable actions and reactions.

      Which means that the very dangerous thing about faith is that you are quite literally teaching children to accept something “just because”. At best you teach children to accept something “just, because you had a fuzzy feeling in church that one day” (or something to that effect). When, in fact, science has given us a pretty good understanding of what those fuzzy feelings are, why we get them, and why they are one of the WORST POSSIBLE WAYS of interpreting events in a rational, skeptical way. (And, funny story, many religious leaders understand that. It’s why they want access to soldiers in boot camp: Because it is very easy to hook an unwary soldier when he or she is cold, tired, and hungry, and the end of training seems so far away. A charismatic chaplain putting the right spin on things can do a lot of damage to an exhausted mind.)

      Ultimately, faith and education are not “two great tastes that taste great together.” By insisting and teaching that faith can walk hand in hand with critical consumption of knowledge, otherwise rational people create this massive blind spot: Religion. This (not so little) black box that cannot be unpacked. Cannot be questioned. Must be respected.

      And from that black box comes worldwide persecution and struggle, simply because “faith”. Because too many people have this nasty bit of bad code in their heads that leads to nasty execution errors that they cannot look inward and question because even if they were taught to think critically, they were told to stop thinking critically when they got to their faith.


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