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. jamjam108

    Liberals want the right to make their own decisions. Conservatives want the right to tell others what to choose.

    February 19, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  2. Thinkster

    Santorum is an idiot – he is not an American – he's a Taliban Christian – he would force his foolish religious beliefs on all Americans – we don't need him or his hatred.

    America for Americans – not for religion. No theocracy in America.

    Obama in 2012!!

    February 19, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  3. Xugos

    Santorum is a flippin' moron.

    February 19, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  4. justice4sarah

    Freedom of religion, also means, freedom FROM Religion. We see everyday, where 3 world countries are leading by what is written in a 2000 year old book. The USA is governed by laws, not a religious book, there is a difference.

    February 19, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  5. Pete

    So, Rick, do you want to be President of ALL of the USA or just the people who think exactly like you do? Pride is a sin, there, dummy. Look it up.

    February 19, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  6. Little Jimmy Truth

    Obama did say that he claimed Jesus Christ said so. How Obama knew Jesus? Did Obama and his eyes meet Jesus?

    Nobody sees God. If Obama claimed that he did meet God. Oh snap..

    February 19, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  7. pockets

    Once again these "people" drag up an invisible man in the sky that does not and never did exist. Its a man made product, god and the bible. RIP Hitch, you were right all along, Religion Poisons Everything, and god is NOT... end of fairy tale.

    February 19, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  8. Dawn

    Oh poor Rick. He thinks he finally found his rallying cry in this issue, and he's going to ride it til it's dead, then keep on flogging it until everyone forgets about him again. Oh well, he has to mess it up somehow, might as well be this inaccurate little tizzy fit to see him out the door.

    February 19, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  9. justin

    Santorum's an idiot. How about the crusades? or how the church silences non-christian religions? That's not a worse attack on religion. All Obama has done is hold a liberal view and ask Catholics to supply birth control to people who want it. Much like every other employer in the US. Something tells me Santorum would only seek justice for Christians and not Muslims, athiests, and Buddists who are persecuted everyday. Oh. And I'm Republican, btw.

    February 19, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  10. JOhn

    It's rather sad and pathetic that the GOP is fielding such an idiot and he's leading the pack. I guess now that Obama has beat the GOP at the national security game, the GOP think they own Jesus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Jesus was into caring about the poor and the sick and throwing out the money changers. I believe that's the anti-GOP. The money changers are the Wall Streeters and the GOP is certainly bought off by them. And would Jesus cut social security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, the education budget, SCHIP funding for sick poor children, and health care for poor women? Not the one in my King James and NIV bible. Maybe the Santorum Jesus would, but not my Jesus. Then again, my Jesus said turn the other cheek, not start a preemptive war in Iraq. He said turn the other cheek, not invade Afghanistan. Maybe when the GOP says Jesus Christ, they are using the name as an expletive, because he sure seems to be against everything they're for...just a thought...

    February 19, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  11. Adam

    You wanna see true Christian theology in action? Check out the persecuted church in China or North Korea.

    February 19, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  12. Dixie Independent voter

    Santorum is as creepy/slimy as a politician can get. What makes him think he can speak for God? And why isn't he talking about political issues instead? He should be content to collect his Congressional pension and enjoy his top-of-the-line insurance coverage. He doesn't speak to the general public, but only to the wackos who are already following him. Luckily, he has alienated every other voting block.

    February 19, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  13. db

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

    Seriously, Rick? Oh how I hope this weirdo gets the nomination. What a magical gift it would be.

    February 19, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  14. A CATHOLIC AND A PERENNIAL STUDENT OF THEOLOGY

    Dear Mr. Santorum, forgive me for saying this: You definitely do not know the first thing about theology, and very little about anything else. The DEMS will love it if your are the GOP nominee

    February 19, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  15. Mike

    I bet my Baptist parents think the same way about Catholics. They consider Catholics as ultra liberal and think they have a different theology. Those who claim God is on their side are dangerous fanatics, I claim to be on Gods side.

    February 19, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  16. Brian

    Any drilling activity that causes EARTHQUAKES, as it did in Youngstown, should be of concern to the people of Ohio (of which I am one).

    February 19, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  17. Marry

    Santorum is simply the bottom of the barrel in everything he does, stands for and says! His envy and hate towards a man that shows every day again his class, intelligence, his cool, and his successful hard work for the people is so obvious! In contrast to him, the President HAS VALUES and I gladly take the Presidents values over his any day!

    February 19, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. GordyB

    Another reason why this candidate should not ever be elected to be president.

    February 19, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  19. Hark

    Very true. Look where the price of gas is today and how it has risen since BO took office. His agenda is to ignore the rising prices to further his cause for "green energy(whatever the hell that is) BO is a snake with a suit and tie that has his own agenda and the citizens be damned. T he sad thing is to see these spinless lemmings ( liberal bleeding hearts) that hang on his every word. Four more years of this bs and the spending he wants to initiate and you can kiss democracy goodbye. Be careful what you wish for. This guy is dangerous.

    February 19, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  20. LeeAT

    It is only a matter of time before Santorum has to face the same scrutiny over some of the Catholic's beliefs, that Rommney is having to deal with over Mormonism. There are some differences between Catholics and Protestants. Doesn't matter to me; whatever floats your boat, I just find it quite hypocritical of the religious right to look down on Rommney because of his religion, and then give Santorum a pass on his. Ron Paul makes more sense than any of the clowns running for the GOP nomination, and that says it all.

    February 19, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  21. somebody

    This is 21st century and people still argue about this! WAKE UP YOU RELIGIOUS FREAKS!

    February 19, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  22. Bruce

    The road to hell is paved with Republicans.

    February 19, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  23. n2video

    This guy is totally off the wall. Just proves every day that he's just like Romney in that he will say ANYTHING to rile up his current audience. Different theology? Break out the Muslim fear card once again, Rick. That's all you know, Rick, fear and anger, and you may think it's working for you, but in reality, it's working against you. I can't wait to see you in a live debate with Obama. You will go down in flames.

    February 19, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  24. nolimits3333

    Rick Santorum sent two of his sons to a Washington, D.C. all-boys school affiliated with Opus Dei, the Catholic group whose members were portrayed as sinisterly weird in the sensationalistic Da Vinci Code but in reality only engage in some mild self-mutilation, "nothing traumatic," as the group's website says. Santorum says he's not a member of Opus Dei, though he did go to Rome in 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding, and he belongs to the St. Catherine of Siena Parish, "a favorite of Opus Dei," the Washington Post says.

    February 19, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Hey CNN, all your writing is trying to protect Obama. In doing so, you twist the truth. Consider to rewrite this: "It left some wondering whether he was implying that Obama subscribes to a religion other than Christianity.". As a reader, I do not se e anything wrong with Rick comments. It is the USA, people have the right to comment anything, but do not do this, because you show people you are stu..pid and biased. I do not like Rick either, but we have to open your eye and eras... one thing I do not like Obama , and I do not trust this president anyway.

    February 19, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
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