Appearing Tuesday on MSNBC's The Ed Show, openly gay Colorado Congressman Jared Polis attacked Senator Jim DeMint's no-gay-teachers comment.

According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the 59-year-old DeMint told a crowd at a Spartanburg Baptist Church that gay men, lesbians and sexually active unmarried women are not fit to teach children, and suggested that not banning such groups would be un-Christian.

“[When I said those things], no one came to my defense,” the Republican, a Tea Party favorite, told the crowd, referring to comments he first made back in 2004. “But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down. They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”

On the program, Polis, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said the idea would destroy public education and suggested that that might be DeMint's real agenda.

“A school district should investigate the personal lives of all their teachers? Find out who their single women teachers are sleeping with?” Polis rhetorically asked host Ed Schultz. “This is contrary to our values as Americans.”

“I would say this would be a huge threat to public education. … It would destroy many of our public schools.”

“And maybe his real agenda is to destroy public education. I mean if you look where the agenda goes, gutting schools, vouchers; I mean they are looking at destroying public education.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay advocate, also criticized DeMint's comments: “I can't imagine what people think is 'moral' about job discrimination.”

A DeMint spokesman told all-things-political website Talking Points Memo that the senator was “making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion.”

South Carolina voters are likely to return DeMint to Washington in November. His rival, Democrat Alvin Greene, is considered a long-shot.