Santorum: Obama leads with a 'different theology'
February 18th, 2012
09:20 PM ET
9 years ago

Santorum: Obama leads with a 'different theology'

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) – Rick Santorum drew applause from Ohio tea party voters - but perhaps raised some eyebrows, too - when he suggested Saturday that President Barack Obama leads based on a theology different from that in the Bible.

It left some wondering whether he was implying that Obama subscribes to a religion other than Christianity.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

The comments came at an event in Columbus shortly after the former senator from Pennsylvania said efficacy and safety improvements in oil drilling technology are considered by the president to be "a dangerous technology."

"It doesn't fit his pattern of trying to drive down consumption, trying to drive up your cost of transportation to accomplish his political science goal of reducing carbon dioxide," he said.

Obama, he continued, is not motivated by "your quality of life.”

“It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said. "Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”

The White House hopeful held a press conference later in the day, where a half dozen questions centered on the topic.

Santorum told reporters that the message he was trying to convey was that the president merely holds “different moral values.”

“You may want to call it a theology, you may want to call it secular values,” he said. “Whatever you want to call it. . . it is a different set of moral values that they are imposing on people who have a constitutional right to have their own values within the church.”

He said Obama has reached a “low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before.”

Asked if he believes the president is less of a Christian than someone such as himself, Santorum said that “no one is suggesting that.”

“In the Christian church there are a lot of different stripes of Christianity. . . . I’m just saying he’s imposing his values on the church and I think that’s wrong,” he said.

Responding to a separate question on whether he disagrees with Obama when the president calls himself a Christian, Santorum said, “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

He added that liberals on “the left” have been imposing their own moral code on Americans for quite some time.

“You can call it a theology, you can call it a moral code, you can call it a world view,” he said. “They want to impose [that] on everybody else while they insist and complain that somehow or another people of Judeo Christian faith are intolerant of their new moral code.”

Santorum's comments may strike certain chords with some Republican voters who have questioned Obama's faith before, or others who saw the administration's recent contraception mandate as an overreach.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt issued a response to the comments, but did not directly address whether the campaign saw this as a direct attack on his Christian credentials.

"This is just the latest low in a Republican primary campaign that has been fueled by distortions, ugliness, and searing pessimism and negativity - a stark contrast with the president who is focused everyday on creating jobs and restoring economic security for the middle class."

Last month, Santorum was criticized by some for not correcting a voter who called the president a Muslim when she stood up to ask a question at one of his campaign town halls.

Also see:

Gingrich suggests candidacy rests on Georgia

Obama budget proposal under fire in GOP address

Friess apologizes for birth control comment

Six members withdraw from Waters probe


Filed under: 2012 • Ohio • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. ARTRaveler

    Santorium wants to impose his religious views on all of America and he has the nerve to call the president on that iissue. Get real man. Take your ideas on birth control and shove them where the sun doesn't shione. We didn't fiight the Taliban in Afganhstan to have a right-wing "christian" cult try to do the same thing in America!

    February 18, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. westward

    Santorum – Why would God pick a senator named one of the most corrupt in the history of America to represent him as president of the US? Do you even realize that question was referring to you?

    February 18, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  3. pn

    This guy is "move to Canada bad". Or "move to Iran bad".

    February 18, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Santorum had better re-examine his theology. He has said over and over that life begins at conception and 99% of Christians agree that contraceptives prevent conception. Thus, Santorum is trying to impose the will of a small sect of the Catholic Church, on the rest of the Christian denominations and the nation as a whole.

    February 18, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. WIMPY38

    He's kidding right? This from a man who brings his still-born child home from the hospital to show his kids?!!!! He's a real lulu.

    February 18, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. John in Brooklyn

    Now this is really intollerable. I have heard candidates sling mud. I've heard them even question their opponents' patriotism – rare, but the GOP made an art of it in the Bush era. However, I've NEVER heard a candidate question another candidate's faith. Not only does this establish an all-new low for GOP politics (as if we thought they could ever get any lower), he's directing his criticism at someone who is a fellow CHRISTIAN. I have to wonder...is he trying to play into the extremist myth that, because he's not a radical fundamentalist, then Obama must be Muslim? I can only imagine this is his approach, since he isn't lobbing the same not-a-Christian rhetorical grenade at Romney who would barely be considered "Christian" by most mainline or conservative Christians.

    February 18, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. imp

    It is time for we in America to find our morality & reject loudly & completely faux-Christians like Santorum! If there is an ant-Christ, it is those such as Santorum who hold themselves as model Christians yet every word they speak is the opposite of Jesus' message of love, tolerance, care for the poor & disenfranchised. How could modern Christianity, founded on Jesus' Love, turn into such a hate-filled atrocity?

    February 18, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Shame on Santorum for dragging religion into the political debate. He is only exposing his intolerance and ignorance.

    February 18, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. A Reasoner

    Have we really arrived at a point where the objective is to elect the most delusional candidate to the nation's most powerful office? Why not simply elect the tallest candidate? At least there's some truth to it and it would be much less harmful than handing over nuclear weapon systems to someone who believes in zombie gods.

    February 18, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. Jose Canyusi

    Rick's being noticeably very careful with his choice of words......sure is hard to call Barack Obama's religious beliefs into question without offending Mormons while you're widen your appeal beyond Fundamentalist Christians.....sheesh! WHY DON'T YOU JUST TRY LEADING THE WHOLE COUNTRY??????

    February 18, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Mikey

    Yes, the President's brand of Christianity is much more alligned with the teachings of Jesus that the judgmental, hateful, uncharitable version practiced by Santorum and other extreme social conservatives.

    February 18, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Myth Romney is soo Plastic and FAKE he makes Callista Gingrinch looks REAL

    Keep talking Rickky boy!

    Keep winning this election for President Obama. Thanks GOP!!!

    February 18, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Gfoos

    Absolutely frightening...stay away from my country you demented sweater best whacko!

    February 18, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. Michael

    How has Santorum won any states at all? The guy who wants to impose his moral values on everybody else is claiming that this is what Obama is trying to do. He fails to realize (or just doesn't want to acknowledge) that the contraception insurance mandate has nothing to do with moral values or religion. It has to do with the simple fact that it's cheaper to give poor people free contraceptives, then to have the tax payers pay for 19 years of healthcare and welfare. He also fails to realize that this will most likely decrease the number of abortions in this country. Everybody (including people who are pro-choice) can probably agree that a decrease in abortions is a good thing.

    February 18, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. mmac

    the last 10 presidents won the catholic vote. 59% of catholics disapprove of obama. With his mandate against the catholic church obama may have just lost the latino vote.

    February 18, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. zbx

    I don't want my president to lead with ANY theology, period

    February 18, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  17. Patrick

    Like anyone could have the exact same belief system as someone else. Faiths and fingerprints, people. We are each unique.

    February 18, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. JD

    Congrats on your nominee, GOP. Looks like a winner.

    February 18, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. William

    "Rev. Rick" is at it again proclaiming his "theology" as the only true valid one. This guy could give lessons to the Taliban about imposing religious intolerance.

    February 18, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. monkeyman

    Wait...you mean we all do not subscribe to Zombie Jesus and the Christian Crusades that killed more people than any in the name of God?

    Oh the horror of it all!

    February 18, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  21. he said what

    Santorum is a lying hypocrite. Talks about giving to charities, but only averageds 2% of his 800.000 a year. Set up a charity that took over 55% for themself. His theology must be one based on personal interest and not the interest of others... which Mr Santormum is what is found in the Bible.

    February 18, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. P.G

    "I he says he Christian, he's Christian" What are you saying Rick? Not the right "type" for you? You freaky little racist turd.

    February 18, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Jilli

    Wow, interesting view from Mr. Santorum's alternate reality.

    Shouldn't a supposed Christian at least feel some shame deliberately lying like this? Just another "phony" Christian.

    February 18, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. felix in mass

    He said Obama has reached a “low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before.” What???? How so? How has ANYONE'S religion been oppressed since Obama has been in office. People that buy this load of bs are clearly easily manipulated by fear.

    February 18, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. Prince Ali Ababwa

    Libertarian and Ron Paul supporter here – I would rather vote for Obama than see this clown get elected. Santorum can't possibly believe these things he's saying. He's saying things carefully scripted to appease the Christian crowd, things I doubt he believes in, but he will say them nonetheless just to win the votes. He's making an issue about something isn't one just to get votes. How pathetic.

    February 18, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18