Santorum rips Obama on social agenda
February 19th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

(CNN) - Rick Santorum continued his offensive against President Barack Obama while speaking Sunday night to a church in Georgia ahead of the state’s primary next month, portraying the president as a leader intent on starting a cultural war.

As the audience roared with applause, the former Pennsylvania senator called on the country to build a foundation that will "defend the church, defend the family, defend the nonprofit community, defend them from a government that wants to weaken them."

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The rising presidential candidate has ramped up his rhetoric in recent weeks on social issues that have largely remained out of the presidential race until now.

Mostly, he's railed against the administration for a provision that would have required religious institutions to cover contraception in their health insurance plans, regardless of some faith-based teachings that oppose certain forms of birth control.

The White House in response announced it would amend the rule and require insurers to offer contraception at no charge, rather than force religiously affiliated employers to pay for the medication.

Santorum, a devout Catholic, has used the occasion to pin Obama as a president willing to override religious freedoms in order to further his own agenda.

Despite the administration's compromise, Santorum said the original policy was evidence of Obama’s world view.

"It is saying government knows better. It is imposing his ideology on a group of people expressing their theology - their moral code - and saying government will force you to do what your faith says is gravely wrong," Santorum said.

The candidate also made headlines on Saturday when he said Obama had a different "theology" than that found in the Bible, leaving some to speculate whether Santorum was questioning the president's Christian faith.

But the former senator on Sunday morning said he was referring to the president's position on what he called "radical" environmentalism and did not mean to imply religious tones when he used the word "theology."

Also see:

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Bachmann: GOP is extremely 'pro-women'

Paul: Santorum has an 'atrocious voting record'


Filed under: Faith • Georgia • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    I am a life-long Democrat, but presidential candidate Santorum is ONLY telling the truth and nothing but the truth. I guess the current president CAN NOT/WILL NOT change his stripes. This president and his lapdogs are a shameful/hypocritical/divisive bunch.

    America, only WE can change the destructive direction in which our country is heading.

    Stand tall, speak your mind, educate yourself about the REAL issues and, above all, be unafraid!

    February 20, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. hilreal

    Are their really non-evangelicals who will vote for this guy?

    February 20, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  3. mommytwice

    This guy is all about the church, and not policy to strengthen our country. Maybe he should become a priest and leave the country alone.

    February 20, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. KimK

    Wake up people, this isn't about Obama, these attacks are against Romney. It's the unspoken next line, if Obama isn't playing by the "true" bible, then, hey, what in the world is Romney reading.

    February 20, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  5. Wyobob

    Rikki is sounding more lile a mormon than a catholic.

    February 20, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. SilverHair

    All the wing nuts need to stay out of my bedroom, doctor's office, church, clinic and restaurant. I have enough troubles without their inquisition goals.

    February 20, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  7. Republican who supports President Obama

    I want Ricky to attend a townhall that is not in his "safe haven". I would love to see his face turn red when he is called out for the stupid comments and mistruths spewing out of his mouth.

    Time for facts. Fact is the GOP is a disgrace and they need to change.

    February 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. TheTraveler

    Santorum is pandering to the religious fundamentalists, the right-wing core of the Republican party. I'll quote a paragraph from Canadian psychologist Robert Altemeyer's book, "The Authoritarians" which has a wonderful description of the kind people Santorum wants to reach:

    "They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often hypocrites."

    Altemeyer also makes this observation:

    Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result.... And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.

    Sounds about spot on to me.

    February 20, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. Vlad

    Santorum beating Romney would be a gift from heaven for Obama campaign.

    February 20, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. ????

    Yeah, just what we need, another right wing religious zealot running this mess. How did eight years of the last one work out?

    February 20, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. Dave

    the·ol·o·gy/THēˈäləjē
    Noun:
    1.The study of the nature of God and religious belief.
    2.Religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed: "Christian theology".

    Now, why would anybody think he was refering to religion when he used this word?

    February 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. beevee

    This moron needs to get his head examined. There is nor room for religion in the affairs governing a country. don't mess up the country.

    February 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. HappyAtheist

    I am so glad that Santorum is surging based on his far right theocratic agenda that sends so many conservatives in a frenzy! As a resident of PA, I am soo looking forward to cast ANOTHER vote against him!

    February 20, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    As the roller coaster goes up, up, up, Santorum goes more and more extreme, figuring that if a little worked, a whole lot ought to work a whole lot better. But guess where the roller coaster always goes?

    I don't care who the GOP runs; you're going to be reminded about this issue in October – by the Democrats!

    February 20, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  15. A.B.

    There is a reason the founding fathers of this country wanted a seperation of church and state. Political desions based on religious theology inherantly allows for descrimination of other people who do not have the same basic set of beliefs or "faith" as whatever religous order is in control. Political desicions and policy should be based strictly on what is best for this country or any other as a whole. Government and it polices should be as equitable and fair to the people it governs as possible.
    Leadeship should hold its faith as a moral compass of what is right and wrong, not as a pulpit from which to launch attacks on others either individually or as a country. Take a look at the turmoil in most of the middle east where the world is coming apart and people are dying and you will see what religion does when its allowed to control government.

    February 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. mabear87

    Typical. The main issue is the economy and we are talking about contraception, WHICH IS NOT BEING FORCED ON ANYONE! The people have a choice whether to use it or not based upon their beliefs. Obvously he and the rest of the GOP have no solution for the economy, have no interest in investigating increasing gas prices, while profits increase exponentially, and would rather spend committee time investigating birth control. Who cares? How about justifying your election by helping the public instead of worrrying about worthless social issues? This man is dangerous and will take us back to the days of English rule, forcing his religion on all of us under the guise of freedom of religion. Please drop out of the race Mr Santorum before you ruin America.

    February 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  17. trex

    Could someone please tell Ricky that because he is married to a woman, he cannot be POPE.

    February 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  18. TSM

    Then by Santorum's reasoning, if it is forbidden in some Muslim religions for women to show their face; then it is wrong for the government to require that they uncover their face for a Passport of State ID photo.

    February 20, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Anthony

    The person who intends to start a cultural war is the one who can't stop talking about it. That will be Santorum.

    February 20, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. Anonymous010

    Either Santorum is lying or he doesn't know what the word 'theology' means. It explicitly has to do with religion, and considering he used the word 'bible' in his attack, I have to believe that he knows the word 'theology' relates to religion, not political ieaology. Therefore, Santorum is lying when he says his comment doesn't relate to Obama's religion.

    Santorum seems to think the public is dumb enough that he can say whatever he wants, true or not, then 'clarify' it (backtrack his way out of it) later. Hopefully, he's wrong.

    February 20, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. Puddin

    Santorum is "portraying the president as a leader in beginning a cultural war?" What utter nonsense! His bashing of Pres. Obama would be funny if it weren't so pathetic. He needs to come up with something from inside his brain instead of off the top of his head.

    February 20, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. liz

    I don't know in their wildest hopes and dreams that the Democrats could have come up with this one. Congrats to President Obama.

    February 20, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. RML

    He may want to look up the word " theology " if he honestly believes it has nothing to do with religion. If the chruches want the goverment out of their business when are they going to stop taking their tax breaks and preaching politics
    from. The hyprocisy is rampent.

    February 20, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  24. Candy

    According to Webster, the definition of theology is
    "the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God's relation to the world".
    Wonder how Sanctorium explans that!

    February 20, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  25. logic

    I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
    -Presidential oath of office

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" – The Bill of Rights

    Someone should point out to Mr. Santorum that freedom of religion is included in the constitution that he will have to swear to defend. That is freedom of ALL religions, not just his.

    February 20, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
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