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.

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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. mike

    Rick Santorum is a perfect example of why there is a separation of church and state, there is always someone out there that says they are "THE TRUE CHRISTIAN". It is very, very close to saying "believe in me and I will lead and save you from yourself".

    Yep! Here we go again.

    February 19, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. Mark

    I just love this guy. He's so distorted, disturbed and to the extreme right, that he's going to have life-long republicans voting for Obama. Keep up the good work Dick, I mean Rick.

    February 19, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  3. Ricky

    Is time to say good bye to this i d i o t. At this time and age, to listen some re-tar-ded talk about theology when talking about politics is insulting. This is what the Republican party has turned into, an Americanized Taliban!!!

    February 19, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Dude

    I'm convinced Rick Santorum is a time traveler from the Dark Ages.

    February 19, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  5. Attila, The Hun

    Santorum just more stupid every time he opens his bigoted mouth. Keep it up FOOL and you will flame out just like the rest of the retards in the GOP = GREEDY OPPRESSIVE PARTY have done. The only reason RoMONEY is still it is because of all his MONEY!

    February 19, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. Ricky

    It's time to say good bye to this i d i o t. At this time and age, to listen to some re-tar-ded talk about theology while trying to run for president is insulting. This is what the Republican party has turned into; an Americanized Taliban!!!

    February 19, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    I don't remember anything in the bible about trying to increase your consumption, Rick.

    Why is it that conservatives get away with wrapping themselves in Christianity, when they plainly have no interest in living humbly, as Jesus spent his life advocating, according to their beloved bible. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God". I also don't remember Jesus saying anything about cutting off government assistance for the poor, as the free market economics crowd loves so much.

    Do conservatives just not know how to spell "hypocrite"? Understandable, I guess. It's not an easy word, and they're not big on reading, professors, or learnin' stuff in general.

    February 19, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. Anonymous

    religion, religion, again!

    February 19, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  9. SilkWhisker

    Santorum is right. Obama keeps talking in circles, saying he's all about what makes America great; and at the same time, he is undermining business start-ups with heavy and expensive regulations. Obama talks about Christianity when convenient and then undermines brotherhood by, as the Bible calls it, sewing discord among brethren, with the envy of class-warfare.
    Obama is ok with Christian conscience until it butts up against his secular, Utopian world-view. Obama's ideals, carried out to their logical conclusion, will make the U.S over into something like Cuba over the long term.

    February 19, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. Muhammad

    He is not of his father's religion rest assured! Are you impying Bush rulled us with the bible? Well let me tell you it wasn't working either!

    February 19, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  11. refuse

    religion, religion,again! Does it matter how I spell it?

    February 19, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  12. Nate in CA

    Vote Santorum in 2012: Inbred, idiotic, anti-woman evangelical– what a combo for the 21st century.

    February 19, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  13. DJohns

    Well I suppose if your party is responsible for the current economic mess and you have no solutions, you have to resort to this sort of rhetoric. Santorum is a disgrace to both his party and his religion.

    February 19, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  14. jbird

    Santorum stated today that Obama's stance on abortion, means he hates the disabled. Excuse me, but WHO threatened to shut down SS if he became prez?! Sounds like Santorum hates the disabled more than anyone!

    February 19, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  15. Frank

    Our president doesn't lead by theology. If you want that, move to Iran. It sounds like a Santorum presidency would require everyone to believe just as he does.... That's not what America is about. And to cast aspersions on a fellow Christian, Santorum just doesn't seem like a good Christian himself.

    February 19, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  16. housla

    Santorum should also get his theology examined against Jesus teaching at the Sermon on the Mount. Let us not too
    quickly draw any conclusion. We will be in for a surprise.

    February 19, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  17. Gillian

    Excuse me? I thought we were electing a president here. Separation of church and state is part of what this country was founded on.

    February 19, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  18. MW

    He's such a weak candidate. I can not believe he is a front runner. Are there that many people in the U.S.that want an oppressive puritan society?

    February 19, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  19. Angela Birch

    Santorum has basically gotten to the stage where he will say anything no matter how far removed from reality.

    February 19, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  20. Jamie

    Normally I would just read the comments or read the article, but what Mr. Santorum said don't make senses to me. Anyone who is running for any office or in office, will have an agenda that is not all bible based. This is because they will have to represent all the people of the land, and make a compromises with some who don't believe the bible. So to says President Obama agenda is not based on the bible, is a unfair statement. It's funny how politicians stand in front of us, and proclaim such high morals, but in truth they are all the SAME.

    February 19, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  21. Canadian Jim

    Freedom of religion, does not mean freedom from religion – religion is always going to be in there, because humans evolved into a religious species. It must have played some part in propagating the species or it would not have stuck. But like the vestigal tale serves no purpose any more. It will die out, but in the last throes of death, it will wail scream and moan as it clings to life. We simply need to suffer Santorum and his ilk, for a generation more and then they will be gone.

    February 19, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  22. TheTraveler

    The GOP makes me sick, and Santorum in particular. I know where Romney, GIngrich and Paul are coming from but this hypocritical POS makes them look like choirboys (pun intended). He's taking a page right out of the GOP playbook, when you don't have anything solid or constructive to offer the voters, start up the FUD (Fear, Uncertainly and Doubt) Machine and let it run ... The guy gives me the creeps just thinking about his sleazy butt sitting in the Oval Office.

    How low will we go America?

    February 19, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  23. Mike

    Okay... a little dingy here. Remember... people that have worked with him are not endorsing him, and that includes Republicans. Just read his quotes in this article. Many people would say that these exact same statements about him and the GOP right as well. Red flags here, folks... lots of them.

    February 19, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  24. jb1963

    Santorum is the male Palin. Just BS no substance.

    February 19, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  25. jamjam108

    It is ludicrous to hear Santorum and other conservatives talk about liberals wanting to impose their values on others. GLBTs want the right to marry whom they choose, and have no interest in others adopting their values. Most women want the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion and access to birth control, and have no interest in imposing their choices on other women. Educators want to teach the only scientifically supported theory of species development, evolution, and have interest in telling evangelicals what to teach in church. In fact, it is the neo-cons who want to impose THEIR beliefs on the rest of us. They don't believe a woman should have the right to choose, so it must be outlawed. They don't believe GLBTs should be able to marry, so it must be outlawed. They believe in a literal interpretation of the bible (creationism) and want to shove it down the throats of the rest of us. In fact, these folks represent the greatest threat to freedom Americans have ever faced. Meanwhile they are funded by one percenters who couldn't give a rats __s about any these issues. Instead they are solely concerned with conservatives willingness to help them to continue to exploits Americans and amass still greater wealth.

    February 19, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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