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:

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations

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. Charlie in Maine

    Church/////////////////////////////////////////////////State.

    Thank God and Thomas Jefferson.

    February 20, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. rs

    The strange new world Republicans live in:
    "Religious freedom": making everyone do what Catholic Bishops say-whether you are Catholic, religious or not;
    "Economic freedom": for the rich- paying as little tax as possible, for the middle class and poor- being paid an insulting wage with no benefits, being unable to afford health insurance, working until death, with no unions, or Dept. of Labor to protect you.
    "Medical freedom": buying the best healthcare you can (if you are rich), dying young of preventable disease if you're not;
    "Life": begins at the door handle of the bedroom, and ends at birth.

    What's next from these forward thinkers? Prohibition? Ending a woman's right to vote?
    What losers.

    February 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. Marie MD

    I wonder if this the way jim jones started and look at how that ended.
    Kool Aid is just not for kids anymore!

    February 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    Duke 5343, your comment, "NO he is speaking the Truth, Obama is taking US into Socialism – he is a believer in Share the Wealth & spread the wealth, he has done little to help in this recession- it has become self correcting NOT from his actions" is priceless. It had me ROFLMAO, seriously.

    So Obama's taking us into socialism, yada yada yada. All we've heard since he was elected was how he's driving the economy into the ditch (nothing was Georgies fault) but now the economy is "self correcting." And I guess Osama was self locating and self neutralizing.

    February 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. Brian Ellis

    As an independent, socially liberal, fiscally conservative person, I don't know what the Republicans are thinking if they nominate this guy–he will get crushed in the general election...

    February 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Johnny B. Goode

    Ricky Santorum needs to put on a burqa instead of those 1950s sweater vests. He's the American version of the crazed Wahhabi religious nut jobs from Saudi Arabia or the Taliban from Afghanistan.

    February 20, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. Fielding Mellish

    Let's make the churches pay taxes and see how many of them last...

    February 20, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Ed Garfield

    Santorum is a religious zealot. Maybe if his supporters spent less time in church and reading the Bible and wearing their faith for all to see and being productive and get a job.

    February 20, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Let his remarks serve as proof positive of what I always say are Santorum's weakest issues. Santorum is very weak on economic issues and foreign policy. Smart people play to their strengths, and Santorum feels he is doing so now,

    February 20, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. SensibleJoe

    Santorum and the GOP are the ones trying to spark a culture war here, not Obama. And they're doing it because they're trying to generate some excitement among their base, which is rather lethargic this primary season. Let's hear what ideas Santorum and the GOP have for fixing the economy and strengthening the middle class, rather than prattling on about faux religious persecution.

    February 20, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. williamroam

    I am always surprise that guys like this even get attention, let alone be the front-runner, it is a sad statement on the republican party and on the people that actually give this guy and and his hate mongering the time of day.

    February 20, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Wasn't hitler also catholic? I am glad that I stepped away from that church, actually never liked it. From the priests to the people who think they can tell us what to think and who to worship.

    February 20, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. johnrf

    Santorum wants to impose his religious agenda on all Americans. He thinks that states should regulate birth control and ban it if they want. He promises war with Iran, just what we need, a new war. He believes that his religion encourages man to use the environment without a thought to the consequences to future generations. He would ban prenatal care since he believes that knowing your baby may have a problem might encourage you to have an abortion. He will cut taxes on the rich and cut aid to the poor, hardly what the real Jesus would advocate.
    Rick is not qualified to be president and only those that have an irrational hatred of Obama and the U.S. would even consider voting him.

    February 20, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. Malory Archer

    The church where he made his inappropriate and divisive comment should be subject to taxation – as should any church that invites politics to their pulpit.

    February 20, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. taffd

    beware of false prophets

    February 20, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Santorum's attempt to backpedal from openly criticizing President Obama's Christian faith failed. Santorum was not talking about the environment at all. He never mentioned the word, "environment", at all until he tried to walk it back the next day. He didn't even mention "environment", nor discuss environmental issues, when he tried and failed to walk it back later that same day. Santorum clearly stated that President Obama's "morals at not based upon the The Bible." I don't know how you get "environment" from that statement.

    February 20, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    Keep burying yourself Rick...like you had any chance anyway

    February 20, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. johnrf

    Sure let's elect Rick and let him impose the teachings of a church that is best known for raping young boys and then covering up their crimes. Would he help them continue the coverup?

    February 20, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    At one time, this country prided itself on taking people from different parts and turning them into Americans: part of that process was adopting an overarching religious sensibility that stated, above all, that we have more things in common than we don't have in common. Does this mean our various churches, sects and religions have always gotten along? Of course not. Santorum is encouraging disharmony by essentially stating that " the Church" is outside of the law, and that its a good thing to be outside of it. This is not encouraging civil disobedience, where one assumes responsibility for the act of disobeying the law: this is the act of saying his faith makes him better than the law. His combination of theology and legalistic interpretation of scripture would be destruictive to our society. The church and the state would become one under Santorum, and there would be no debate, no arguing: the thinking would be done. Satorum's jihad on American freedoms is starting by stating our freedoms and liberties are under attack: its him who's leading the charge on our traditions, and he's doing it with a bible, a smile and a sweater vest.

    February 20, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  20. Tom

    Rick Santorum is going to be the biggest loser in the history of politics if he wins the republican nomination for president.

    February 20, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  21. taffd

    really, the GOP need badly to come up with a candidate that's not a wacko if they want to have any hope at all. Compared to the crop they have put out so far, Obama looks like it's he that has actually been sent by God himself !!

    February 20, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. Azrael Nightwing

    CNN...stop saying it's a "Culture war" or a "Social" Conservative. Say what it is. These guys are conducting a RELIGIOUS WAR. The Republicans are waging a war against The Enlightenment. They eschew logic and want to dismantle our country and reinvent it in their Christian image. Where is Thomas Paine?! I thought we already had their dream come true once before. It was called The Dark Ages! That's why we have separation of Church and State folks. Wake up! If you truly love the Constitution and ALL it stands for, then keep religion far away from politics or you'll have a Christian Taliban on your hands. While they want to see their portfolio grow so they all can retire to Arizona, they'll destroy the environment and allow China to export dangerous products to middle class Americans (a rare species on the verge of extinction). So yes, they want to get government out of their way of turning a few tricks like the money grubbing whores they are. So what do they want to control? They want to control your body and soul! They want to invade your bedroom! They are so sexually repressed, they find ways to make sex unpleasant. You can have sex to procreate so we can fill their coffers but you can't even enjoy the process! Have some Puritan wannabe's really taken control of the Republican Party? Remember the Puritans? They were the same nut-jobs that executed a bunch of people for Witchcraft in the name of religion; the Christian Religion. They believed the rants of some sniveling, conniving little girls to have an excuse to torture and murder people. They, like their modern counterparts, were also sexually repressed. After the Witchcraft Trials, folks realized their American Dream of a religious state was an American Nightmare! The modern Puritanical Christians and their Republican mouthpieces worship at the Altar of St.s Machiavelli, de Sade, and Marquis de Sade and Sacher-Masoch. Can I get an AMEN?!

    A vote for any of these nut jobs is a vote for INSANITY!

    February 20, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. Dr Albert

    He has become the king of double talk. Makes incredible statements, and then recants with ' what I really mean is this' sort of talk. He is a fake, a fraud, a charlatan.

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

    Santorum is a self-righteous hypocrite.

    February 20, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  25. pattyo27

    Hypocracy anyone? He's complaining that Obama is forcing his ideology on Americans. Uh...no. In fact, it is Santorum who is trying to force his theological beliefs on Americans that do not share them. Obama wants options. Santorum wants dictatorship. Family Guy summarized Christianity best: Believe what I say or I'll hurt you. WHY IS THIS GUY STILL IN THE PUBLIC EYE?? Although, admittedly, I do read about him for satirical entertainment. Let him end up as the pres runner...easier for us to ensure a Dem victory. Now, we just need Dems to take back the House and we can begin getting stuff done!

    February 20, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
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