In an interview that aired on CNN Wednesday night, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told Piers Morgan that suggesting that his views on homosexuality were bigoted proved that the CNN host was the one who was bigoted against the Catholic Church.

The former Pennsylvania senator began the interview by defending his accusation that gays were waging a “jihad” against him for comparing homosexuality to “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

“I don’t need to give a lot of air time to folks who have been rather vile in the way they have attacked me and attacked the position I have,” Santorum told Morgan. “And the quote that I have been, quote, ‘criticized’ for was almost identical to a quote in a 1980 Supreme Court case where the majority decision basically said what I said… that if the Supreme Court establishes a right to consensual sexual activity, then it’s hard to draw the line between what sexual activity will be permitted under the Constitution and it leaves open a long list of consensual activities that most people I think would find rather unappealing.”

“And so, that’s what I said. I stand by the comment.”

“I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?” Morgan asked.

“No. I think just because we disagree on public policy, which is what the debate has been about which is marriage, doesn’t mean that it’s bigotry,” Santorum opined. “Just because you follow a moral code that teaches something wrong doesn’t mean that — are you suggesting that the Bible and that the Catholic Church is bigoted?”

“I think that is — that’s contrary to both what we’ve seen in 2,000 years of human history and Western civilization and trying to redefine something that has been — that is seen as wrong from the standpoint of the church and saying a church is bigoted because it holds that opinion that is biblically based I think is in itself an act of bigotry.”

Before his interview with Morgan had even aired, Santorum had gone on a preemptive attack against Morgan.

“I had Piers Morgan call me a bigot!” the candidate exclaimed to a group of students at Penn State Tuesday.

“Because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to homosexuality?—?I’m a bigot. So, now I’m a bigot, because I believe what the Bible teaches. Now, what two thousand years of, of teaching and moral theology is now bigoted! And, of course, we don’t elect bigots to office, we don’t give them professional licenses, we don’t give them preferential tax treatment. If you’re a preacher and you preach bigoted things, you think you’re going to be allowed to have a 501(c)(3) as a church? Of course not! No, this has profound consequence, to the entire moral ecology of America!”

Watch this video from CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, broadcast Aug. 31, 2011.

Watch this video from The Daily Collegian, broadcast Aug. 30, 2011.