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. Bayousara

    Santorum is a sick, sick man. How dare he even discuss the religion of a sitting president or anyone else, for that matter.

    February 19, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  2. gclare

    Ah, Rick Santorum founder of the American Taliban. Got about a snowballs chance in hades of getting elected. On the other hand we are the country that elected George Bush the Lesser, TWICE! But this odious sanctimonious buffoon. Please No.

    February 19, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  3. Spencer

    America is based on freedom of religion. Because of this freedom, we as a nation shouldn't care if our president is Christian, Muslim, or any other religion. We need to keep religion out of politics all together.

    February 19, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  4. BMW57

    Will someone please let this zealot know that this country is not lead by any theology. Can he undersatnd that most of us wish to live free from his stifiling religious overtones. You cannot legislate morality. He is free to live as he wants but he may not impose his views on the rest of us who have decided to live in th 21st century and not in some vision of the 1950's.

    February 19, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  5. Critical Thinker

    Santorum is being dishonest and sinning when he bears false witness against the President with silly allegations like these.

    February 19, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  6. matt

    This is what the founding fathers warned us about.

    February 19, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  7. skarphace

    I predicted before that the Obama administration was using the contraceptive issue to boost Santorum in the polls. It seems to be working as Santorum is now ahead of Romney nationally and is threatening to get higher national averages than Romney has enjoyed during this entire political season. He already has won a state by over 50%, something Romney has failed to do so far.

    Obama wants Santorum. He knows what most Americans know: Santorum has absolutely no chance of beating Obama in November. Not even an economic downturn in 2012 would make a majority of Americans vote for a candidate that has said that he wants our country to be a Theocracy.

    Ironically, the group that hates Obama the most, the Teavangelicals, are playing right into his hand.

    February 19, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  8. Daniel

    Rick Sanctorum will have my vote – he'll be our best guarantee against religious and moral intolerance, from Left or Right

    February 19, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  9. Mike Daruki

    Oh you Christians are so oppressed.

    February 19, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  10. Killdeer

    There is no way I would vote for this guy. I don't want this type of hypocrisy any where near the White House. Who the heck are you, Rick, anyway, to shove your moral values down our throats? Get a life.

    February 19, 2012 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  11. Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

    That is so reminiscent of: "If you are not my brand of Christian, you are not a Christian." Obama imposing his doctrine upon us is no better than Santorum imposing his.

    February 19, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  12. Floretta

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
    -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    February 19, 2012 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  13. vince

    My deifinition Santorum is wrong. Roman Catholic theology is based on Tradition, Church teachings, and the Bible, not just the Bible alone. This is why Protestants, who have no concept of Mary as being the mother of god, dont recognize her as more than a blessed woman but not an object of veneration. Nor do we believe that weekly communion is necessary. This is the danger of having religious zealots run for President - they thing theres is the only theology and everyone else, by definition, is wrong.

    February 19, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  14. Ituri

    Religious zealots like Santorum are desperate to classify ANYTHING they don't happen to like as a "theology." Calling secularism "theology" is ridiculous, utterly, yet they will do it willfully, because they know how to DISMISS other theologies. Rampant foam-at-the-mouth Christians like him have been taught since they were young how to dismiss anything and everything from all other religions. Lately, Christians have been taught the same rampant dismissal of everything science (the parts they don't find convenient of course). And now they attempt to claim that secularism, even atheism, are religions themselves.

    It doesn't get more ridiculous, but their fellow zealots will eat it up, as they're all desperate to believe it.

    Doesn't matter this guy doesn't want women to have equality in any regard, be it work, military, contraceptives. Vote for the good Christian, because he'll give you the "values" you want. The kind that oppresses anyone who isn't a male, white, foam-at-the-mouth Christian like himself.

    February 19, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  15. Jesus

    Yet more proof that Rick Santorum is little more than a lying narrow-minded buffoon. Rick, enjoy the fact that you will never be more than a footnote in history.

    February 19, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  16. Chad%Biff

    You Establishment guys hate Santorum. I guess Mitt Romney is the Neo-Con Military Industrial Complex Bankster chosen candidate. Being a wacky magic underwear wearing Mormon cultist, Romney is guaranteed to lose in 2012, giving Obama four more years.

    February 19, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  17. J.G. Alberson

    I don't care if he wears a purple wig, a grass skirt, and dances around a fire chanting "Shakatakadoodub." Just put people back to work with real jobs!

    February 19, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  18. Mtheory

    Sanitarium...Leave me be.
    Rick Sanitarium, just leave me alone.
    -Metallica

    Ricky.....keep talking dummy.

    February 19, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  19. gar

    Santorum is worthless garbage.

    February 19, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  20. Raisindetere

    Dangerous, truly dangerous. If elected, he would: order dishonorable discharges for gay Iraq war heroes; ban contraception and even abortion for rape, incest, or to save a mother's life ("God told me it's his will and she'll go to a better place!"; ban stem cell research forcing pain and premature death on millions; eliminate the EPA (yeah, Rick, tou're right – reducing pollution is not in the bible and therefor heretical); and embolden some to resume the modern equivalent of witch trials. All these things and more with adulterous Gingrich applauding.

    February 19, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  21. Ugly Pauper

    Obama questioning the safety and wisdom of fracking at the expense of the environment, seems very much in line with the concept of social mortgage....a Catholic concept.

    February 19, 2012 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  22. BeverlyNC

    President Obama does have a different theology. It involves real Christian values he lives and doesn't have to make speeches about or run TV ads to convince others. President Obama is good and decent man with character, integrity, honor, and a real love for ALL Americans. He has worked tirelessly to restore jobs, help for struggling families defrauded by banks, making education a priority, ending 2 failed wars and helping our soldiers and their families, solving foreign policy issues without one American soliders in harms way, and despite constant Republican obstructionism has created more than 3M jobs, saved our auto industry, gave the People a fair healthcare program where no one can be denied treatment and showed compassion for the poor. He has endured constant personal attacks, a racist Birther movement, and kept his dignity and continued to stay focused on what is most important for America's future success. I stand with my President, a proven leader with proven values, that are based on fact and reality.

    February 19, 2012 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  23. Andrew

    Rick Santorum lacks any understanding of the first amendment. Obama is a smart man, he can be a christian in his private life, but he cannot bring is religious ideology into the laws that he writes or signs. It's called a separation of church and state.

    February 19, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  24. torben and tatum

    Good God! This isn't an article. Its a keyword search. Why on earth would an editor allow this complete absence of content and merit to be shown on the "supposed" leader in news coverage. You people must think we are real idiots. My wife and I are laughing so hard right now because we can't decide whether you two have no concept of article composition or if your editor just made you look completely stupid.

    February 19, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  25. Kodes100

    I am relieved to see & hear that the more Rick Santorum speaks the more he frightens the average American.
    He is a scary man!

    February 19, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
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