Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was just fine with American Atheists using him on a Texas billboard as an example of a religious bigot.
Indeed, the conservative Republican presidential candidate pronounced himself “thankful” for the badge of honor in a fundraising email to supporters
Celebrating its 50th anniversary by urging people to “Go Godless Instead,” the atheist group’s billboards highlight quotes from Santorum, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law. God’s law,” Santorum said in 2011 at The Family Leader’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, a gathering of religious conservatives in Iowa. He had been asked about the difference between Sharia law in Islam and his own view, as a Christian, of the relationship between human and divine laws.
“And you know what I said back to the American Atheists who purchased that billboard?” Santorum wrote in his email. “Thank you. Thank you for helping me publicly express my strong belief that we need to continue to be one nation under God. And I think you would agree with that statement.”
He also argued that the existence of American Atheists was proof of a war on the nation’s religious foundations.
“This is also a reminder that there are strong forces against the fundamental beliefs that you and I hold so dear,” Santorum said. “They are organizing with determination to transform the very fabric of our country. The stakes are simply too high for us to sit back and ignore the progress they are making.”