Heathen U

Rick Santorum just cannot help himself. Political pundits and strategists affiliated with his own party have been virtually screaming at him, telling him that if he wants any shot at winning in November he needs to quit the culture wars and stick to jobs, jobs, jobs. But, again, he just can’t help himself.

On Thursday, Santorum sat down with professional conspiracy theorist and right-wing radio talk show host Glenn Beck for a wide-ranging interview, during which he dropped this whopper:

I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely. The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.

The proof? For President Obama’s alleged nefarious motivations, Santorum offered none. For colleges as “indoctrination mills,” Santorum noted that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.”

62 percent? Wow, that is a big number, isn’t it? You know what’s an even bigger number? 76 percent (more on this in a bit).

We were curious, so we went looking for the source of Santorum’s information and found that the Republican presidential candidate likes his facts picked like cherries and is likely guilty of a lie of omission.

The info appears to come from this study published in 2007 in the Social Science Research Council’s journal Social Forces (hat tip to PBS for pointing us to it).

The study does say that 64 percent — not 62 percent — Yikes! It’s even worse than Santorum thought! — of students enrolled in traditional four-year colleges report a decline in attendance in religious services. But what the study also says and that Santorum neglected to mention is this:

Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.

And this:

Simply put: Higher education is not the enemy of religiosity. Instead, young people who avoid college altogether display a more precipitous drop in their religious participation.

According to the very same study cited by Santorum, colleges as secularizing machines are about as real as the mythical “war on religion” and “war on Christmas.”

In fact, the study notes there are many other reasons why young adults become less religious, but that framed diploma hanging on their walls isn’t one of them.

7 thoughts on “Heathen U

  1. Yeah, what happens is, some poor kid has a father like RtRev, then moves out into the real world and realizes dear old Dad is a sociopath.

  2. I think TFN and all other reasonable organizations/people just need to stay quiet and snicker in silence about Rick Santorum—I really do. He is my 2012 Republican DREAM CANDIDATE. We need to get this guy nominated and do something around…say…August 2012 to make him just pour his heart out to the American public about every right wing nut job issue on this planet.

    Church attendance is extremely low in Europe. I am sure there is more than one reason, but I have not looked at any research on it lately. The last time I looked, the most often cited reason was World War II. The most common anecdotal quote about why they do not attend church was:

    “How can I believe in a God who would allow something as awful as World War II to happen.”

    One of the reasons here in the Unted States is that people are tired of organized and institutionalized religion. I think most of them still believe in God and Jesus. Some have some different theological thoughts on the subject, but many others just do not want to be associated with what you might call “religious brands” and people who really get into their brand. Others do not like the sense of regimentation that some churches offer. Some do not like the hypocrisy they see. Some churches function more as country clubs than churches. Numerous others, sand grains on the beaches, can no longer stomach the massive ignorance, hatred, and indifference to the suffering of their fellow man that has come to characterize the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches.

    We are ripe for a New Reformation. It will not be a go back to the basics of the past reformation, It will be something very different. The church may abandon Jesus but jesus does not abandon the church in the end. It will evolve to something new and better that fits with the unique needs of our time. Small churches of 10 people that meet only in people’s homes and have no pastor might be one answer.

  3. When one suffers from a religious psychosis, as in the case of Santorum, everything is viewed through the lens of religion. Ken Ham refers to it as “putting on your Bible glasses.” Thus to Santorum, Kroger’s is a church and people who shop there are the congregation. The checkers are acolytes and the store manager is the parish priest. The congregation pays with money and receives salvation with food.

    It’s easy. Anything can be anything you want it to be. Universities are liberal indoctrination centers because liberals are bad and indoctrination is bad, so universities must be doubly bad.

    Actually, it makes sense. Santorum did his undergraduate degree in political science from Penn State. The political science department is in the College of Liberal Arts! This is probably the devil Santorum is wrestling with. He knows he’s only 38% conservative and he’s lying about the rest! Explains everything.

  4. Probably the main reason that they drop their religious beliefs, is that they finally conclude that they have been BSed by the churches and either revert to older churches or give it up all together.

  5. For myself and religion, I finally started thinking for myself, and then like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, it all went away.
    I can only hope Rick Santorum is the nominee, because then we will see how crazy the religionists really are – as if we don’t already know here in good ol’ Texas.
    Thank you TFN for always doing the “good work”.

  6. As a college Professor and counselor I found most “home educated students” were not prepared for college. I enjoyed Bill Moyers interview with Christian Wiman. I think he has much to say about Faith and dying. If your faith can listen and read his poetry then maybe we can have a “new language” to speak of God. Huston smith, Rumi, David whyte and others might broaden one’s perspective about faith and religion. We need to put Bush and Rick in the same box. “Democracy is a messy business”.. Blind faith is responsible for much of the mess we are suffering.