Delaware GOP Candidate: Ask Liberals Why They're Nazis

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell may be getting all the attention these days, but Glen Urquhart, the Republican candidate for the state's open House seat, apparently doesn't want to get left out of the action.

The Tea Party-backed candidate appears in a video in which he says: "Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they're Nazis." Democrats have seized on the comments and labeled Urquhart an extremist, The Hill reports.

Urquhart's full comment:

"Do you know, where does this phrase separation of Church and State come from? Does anybody know? ... Actually, that's exactly, it was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. He was reassuring that the federal government wouldn't trample on their religion. The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they're Nazis."

The phrase does appear in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. The passage reads, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

As The Hill notes, Urquhart's spokesman said Urquhart has apologized for the comments. The candidate "believes 100 percent in religious freedom for all Americans," the spokesman said, and was speaking against the "oppression of religious freedom in the name of separation of church and state."

Urquhart's comments are not the only controvertial Nazi-related statement this week: Pope Benedict XVI, appearing in Scotland, yesterday cited "Nazi tyranny" as an example of "the sobering lessons of atheist extremism in the 20th century," as the New York Times reports.

The comment prompted the British Humanist Association, an atheist group, to complain that "The notion that it was the atheism of the Nazis that led to their extremist and hateful views, or that it somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today, is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God."

It also comes as comedian Jon Stewart announces a "Rally to Restore Sanity" which calls on both the right and left to stop comparing those they disagree with to Hitler.


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.