Rick Santorum on Religion: This is the JFK Speech that Made Him Want to "Throw Up"
On ABC's “This Week” Sunday morning, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said that a famous speech made by John F. Kennedy in 1960 about the role of religion in government made him want to “throw up.”

Rick Santorum has refused to apologize for remarks he made four years ago in which he said "Satan has set his sights on the United States" but his comments drew renewed criticism from other Republicans Wednesday.

The former Pennsylvania senator told supporters in Phoenix that the remarks were "not relevant" to the current 2012 presidential race and that he would not alter his view on religious tolerance.

"I'll defend everything I'll say," Santorum told the applauding crowd, promising to "tell you the truth about what's going on in this country."

The old speech was brought to light last week by Right Wing Watch but gained momentum on Tuesday when the popular conservative Drudge Report splashed the story across its front page.

Santorum delivered the talk at Ave Maria University in Florida during the 2008 presidential election. He told students they were living in a time when "God's Army" was more needed than ever because major institutions in society were under attack by Satan.

"This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war," Santorum said in a speech that remains available on the Ave Maria Web site. "And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country - the United States of America.

"If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America's pre-eminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers."

But Santorum moved to distance himself from the four-year-old speech during Tuesday's rally. When questioned about the recording by reporters Santorum said:

"You know ... I'm a person of faith. I believe in good and evil. I think if somehow or another because you're a person of faith you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we're going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president."

Speaking to a small crowd of supporters and press after the speech, he added that he would defend everything he said in the past but insisted any discussion about whether he believed Satan was indeed attacking America was "not relevant."

"Look, guys, these are questions that are not relevant to what's being discussed in America today. What we're talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That's what my speeches are about, that's what we're going to talk about in this campaign," Santorum said.

"If they want to dig up old speeches of talking to [a] religious group, they can go ahead and do so, but I'm going to stay on message and I'm going to talk about things that Americans want to talk about, which is creating jobs, making our country more secure, and yeah, taking on the forces around his world who want to do harm to America, and you bet I will take them on."

Santorum's remarks are the latest in a string of statements on the campaign trail that have caused concern for Republican heavyweights in recent days. Earlier this week, Santorum called into question President Barack Obama's Christian faith, and his views on abortion and gay marriage remain polarizing issues for the candidate.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a vocal Mitt Romney supporter, has urged Santorum to steer clear of a debate over religion, saying it is not a conversation the party wants to be embroiled in at this stage in the primary cycle.

"Do I think it's the things we should be as a party talking about and emphasizing at the moment? No," Christie told ABC News.

"Listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant. It is by definition relevant. You're asking to be president of the United States. I don't think [Santorum's] right about that. I think it is relevant what he says. I think people want to make an evaluation, a complete evaluation of anyone who asks to sit in the Oval Office," the New Jersey governor added.