Rick Santorum today responded to comedian Bill Maher’s attack on Santorum’s decision to homeschool his children.

Santorum, a devout Catholic, said on Fox News that “folks on the left” are out there “trashing anybody who stands up for Christian conservative values, anybody who dares to actually teach their children faith in their home.” …

“All of a sudden, if you’re instilling faith and teaching them about God in your home, you’re a Madrassa, according to these folks, as if reason doesn’t take place in these homes,” Santorum said.

The candidate then argued his son, one of seven children, could take on Maher.

“Our children will out-reason him. My 12 year-old will out-reason Bill Maher when it comes to understanding how logic works, ’cause (Maher) is completely illogical,” Santorum said.

How I’d love to see a middle-schooler debate Bill Maher! At the same time, Santorum’s mention of his 12-year-old son reminds me: How is it Maher got away with attacking Santorum’s parenting? Aren’t presidential children — or potential presidential children — and everything that concerns them usually off-limits? Michelle O’s primary goal as First Lady seems to be to protect Malia and Sasha from the press — and I can’t blame her. Chelsea Clinton was so sheltered and secluded as the First Kid that she might have been imaginary but for photographic evidence.

While I can’t blame Santorum for responding — and I’m grateful he did — I hope his response doesn’t embolden or empower Maher or anyone else to think that the decisions candidates make concerning their children are especially relevant to a campaign or election. Except as a piece of the overall character puzzle, it’s hard for me to see why they would be (unless they’re illegal). Most parents — including politicians — are just doing what they think is best for their children, and, again, unless they’re doing something illegal or are completely negligent, deserve to be given that consideration.

Update: Forgot to add the video earlier: