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Rick Santorum thinks President Obama had indoctrination in mind when he said in his State of the Union address Tuesday that higher education ought to be available to every American family.

The GOP presidential candidate, who is running third in the Florida polls ahead of next Tuesday's primary in that state, told an audience there Wednesday that the real purpose behind Obama's higher-education push is "undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology. ... The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left's holding and maintaining power in America." To applause, he said people should stop contributing to these universities and colleges.

In a campaign of stupidity, this will most surely rank as one of the most stupid stupidities of 2012. The candidate's opposition to higher education is nothing new. He's been hammering on that theme for quite a while. Never mind that American men who don't have a college education are making 47 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars as they did in 1969.

At the Florida venue, Santorum made the additional claim that "62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it." Is this one of the 81.5 percent of statistics that are made up on the spot? Because, as on so much else, Santorum is dead wrong on this.

According to a 2007 study Losing My Religion: The Social Sources of Religious Decline in Early Adulthood by Jeremy E. Uecker at the University of Texas at Austin:

"...those who never attended college had the highest rates of decline in church attendance (76.2 percent), diminished importance placed on religion (23.7 percent), and disaffiliation from religion (20.3 percent). Students who earned at least a bachelor's degree, on the other hand, had the lowest rates on those three factors with 59.2 percent indicating decreased church attendance and 15 percent placing less importance on religion and disaffiliating from religion."

"Overall, the overwhelming majority (82 percent) of college students maintain at least a static level of personal religiosity in early adulthood and 86 percent retain their religious affiliation."

Of course, that's just a peer-reviewed study from one of them pointy-headed intellectual types at a secular university. There's some pointy-headedness occurring, to be sure.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 03:35 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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