Santorum: Religious persecution in U.S. could escalate as high as it did under Nazi Germany

Story highlights

  • Ex-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says Nazi-like religious persecution possible in U.S.
  • Santorum: Most attacks on religious liberties are a result of government overreach
  • Former senator urges people to push back "and defend our liberties"
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, said this week that the growing threat towards American religious freedom by the government could lead to "Christian persecution," similar to how the oppression of Jews and Christians evolved over time under Nazi Germany.
Arguing that the rise of the Nazi regime happened in a stable country where it was not expected, Santorum said that a similar situation could occur in the United States where, according to Santorum, religious liberties are "under direct assault" for the first time in history.
"Germany, prior to the Nazis getting there, was a very religious country," Santorum said in an interview with the Christian Post. "It was a Christian country. It was a very sophisticated country."
"The idea that you can have this kind of persecution take place over a period of ten years -- where you go from Christians -- Jews, obviously, but also Christians -- being not just persecuted but put to death -- was unfathomable," he said. "It was unfathomable to them that (in) a country like this, this could happen. Same thing here."
While the former presidential candidate did acknowledge that persecution in America is "fairly mild" compared to what's going on in other parts of the world, he warned that it is still dangerous because "it's something that grows over time."
"It starts in a gradual erosion," Santorum said. "We're not in a dire situation right now, but that doesn't mean you can't get there. I would argue that there's a certainty that we will get there if we don't push back and defend our liberties."
"If we don't nip it here, then things get a lot worse," he continued.
Asked why such attacks on religious liberties exist in America, Santorum said it is mostly a result of government overreach.
"The government wants to tell you how to live your life," Santorum said, citing abortion and same-sex marriage issues. "You either conform to what the government says you have to believe in, or you're going to lose certain privileges."
Santorum discussed the topic as part of an interview about his new film, titled "One Generation Away," which is produced by a movie production company run by Santorum called EchoLight Cinemas. The film, Santorum says, highlights where religious persecution comes from, what it is about and why it is a danger to society.