Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said Tuesday in a fundraising email he was "thankful" that an atheist group attempting to shame him.


The American Atheists purchased seven billboards in Texas to highlight what the group describes as bigotry against atheists. One of the billboards featured Santorum along with his quote, "Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God's law."

"I know, it is shocking," Santorun wrote in the email. "And you know what I said back to the American Atheists who purchased that billboard? Thank you. Thank you for helping me publicly express my strong belief that we need to continue to be one nation under God. And I think you would agree with that statement."

Other billboards purchased by the American Atheists feature former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, and Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress. American Atheist president David Silverman said Monday the billboards were designed to "shame" the public figures for opposing the separation of church and state.

"This is also a reminder that there are strong forces against the fundamental beliefs that you and I hold so dear," Santorum added. "They are organizing with determination to transform the very fabric of our country. The stakes are simply too high for us to sit back and ignore the progress they are making."

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[Image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]