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:

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Obama budget proposal under fire in GOP address

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Six members withdraw from Waters probe


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

    If Santorum were running for the head of the church, I might give him some credit for this discussion. But he's confusing being pope or president of his church with being president of a the United States of America, where you are free to believe in what you wish or not at all, including the man sitting behind the desk in the oval office. If you disagree with his policies, fine, oppose them. But to challenge his religion is simply hypocrisy and pandering to theocrats (anybody remember the Church of England under King George or Iran today).

    February 19, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  2. William R. Hill

    I won't draw any lines, but Santorum is among many who think their way of thinking is the only correct way. He and the other GOP candidates have put themselves in philosophical straight jackets that automatically prohibit them from having the brainpower, management and leadership ability to lead the country. Obviously, straightjackets severely limit the flexibility required to do anything in this uncertain and constantly changing world.

    February 19, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  3. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    We can only hope that everyone elected to the office of President of the United States has a "different theology" from Rick Santorum.

    February 19, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  4. Nunya Biz

    When Santorum says "a different theology" he means that the President is not controlled by the Pope in Rome the way he, Santorum, is.
    Thank goodness for that.

    February 19, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  5. chaz8181

    i thought we lived in a unbiased and tolerant nation where we have freedom of religion. If Santorum is elected, will he take us back to the Middle Ages. when the Roman Catholic church ruled. and will we have another inquisition.?

    February 19, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  6. sara

    Dog whistling again. Ratchet Ricky nor Weird Willard will never be president

    February 19, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  7. TampaMel

    Before I thought Rick Santorum was just amusing. That he could never win the primary so who cares. Now I think he is dangerous (win or lose). It almost seems like he would he would like the US to be like Iran but using Christianity. If you need proof that the use of religion to govern is dangerous, just look at the countries that use this model and look at history, can you say, "inquisition".

    February 19, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  8. 000

    How is it that he has a problem with someone leading a secular nation secularly? We should all be glad when leaders don't let their personal religious convictions interfere with their political decision making, as it implies a level of maturity and intellect in which one understands that not everyone follows their belief system.

    February 19, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  9. Marshall

    Regardles of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, liberal or conservative, Santorum is disgusting. He is a Torquemada (the Grand Inquisitor) in waiting. Be afraid, be very afraid. If you don't know who Torquemada was look him up on your computer. It's only a click away. If you have any thought of voting for this creature do it now before it's too late.

    February 19, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  10. txwoodworker

    Santorum is the one who is different. Blind adherence to Catholicism is not mainstream religion (most Catholics are smart enough to ignore most of the church's extreme views), and it has no place in the secular world of governance. Let's get this straight, these guys are not running for bishop.

    February 19, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  11. Raven

    I don't think the Republicans can say anything about anyone forcing morals on anyone without putting their own feet in their mouths. Look around, Santorum. Keep your religion out of our government!

    February 19, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  12. Felix El Gato

    Santorum is a charlatan. He should be running for pope.

    February 19, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. mary

    I voter for President Obama because he is a Christian–up against John McCain it was "no contest"....If Santorum see himself as a Christian then he may be giving it a bad name. He and all the Tparty right wingers are an angry -vial bunch that need to go to the Bible again and check out real Christian behavior–Of course this is all about abortion which I'm against myself but I beleive and always will beleive you "CAN"T LEGISLATE ABORTION". Also–you Christians out there -you are NOT supposed to question someone else's Christianity-in other words what is in the heart of others. These are basics that God laid down for us to follow–along with respecting our leaders that God has in place -etc. Check it out!

    February 19, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  14. Anthony

    Santorum apparently does not understand that making up stuff about other people is bearing false witness. Does Santorum believe in a different theology?

    February 19, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  15. Stephen Brady

    Here's something from the Bible Rick Santorum should review:

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

    February 19, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  16. Tink

    Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Why all this religious mudslinging?

    February 19, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  17. Pete

    Obama, born into a Muslim practicing family, goes to Rev Wrights church for twenty years listening to hate filled anti America sermons and Romney's Mormanism / Santorum's faith is the big news in the left wing media. Obama says he has a laser focus on jobs then closes 1,000 GM dealerships accross America and is a hero in the left wing press. Says he wants to create jobs here in America and then confiscates Gibson Guitar's Rosewood. Action is character. The left wing media constantly tries to create character for Obama as he has none.

    February 19, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  18. Shawn Irwin

    Insanitorum wants to go to war with Iran, and, any country that is an enemy of Israel. That is all we need is another Bush clone. Make no mistake about it, he is a religious righter with an agenda.

    February 19, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  19. TRH

    I swear....every single time this guy opens his mouth it gets worse.

    February 19, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  20. Mike Barnes

    Ricky Ricky Ricky, you GOPer's are all the same. Try to invoke fear of an "outside" religion, instead of on the facts. In 2008 you the GOP tried to stoke the fears that he was muslim in one breath, then expressed outrage at the Christian Rev. Wright in the next. You all must think Americans are stupid. Yes Ricky, President Obama leads a different theology, called compassion to help more get deserved healthcare, make the top 1% do a little more since they have a lot more. You all would make me laugh hysterically if you didn't want to turn the U.S. into a christian version of Iran. Guess what Ricky, there are Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Prysbeterians, Lutherans, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Atheiests, Numerologists, etc.., and yes gasp!...Muslims in America. This is the land of the free after all, but we all know you only think there is one religion. Stoking fears is all you GOPers are good for. What a sorry lot.

    February 19, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  21. Jack

    Wrapping the issue of allowing religious organizations to force their values on others as "religious freedom" is ridiculous. I am no Obama fan, but the theocracy that Santorum wants to force on this country is nothing short of frightening.

    February 19, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  22. Ren

    WIll someone kindly point this idiot to The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11?

    February 19, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. Bobby Knob

    He said Obama has reached a “low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before.”........... Because the religious / church has never oppressed anybody.
    p.s. for the more dense, this is sarcasm.

    February 19, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  24. Micca

    Correct me if I'm wrong! Santorum is criticizing Obama for " I’m just saying he’s imposing his values on the church and I think that’s wrong,” he said. Is Santorum not doing the same thing about HIS values on the public? And... He added that liberals on “the left” have been imposing their own moral code on Americans for quite some time. Is Santorum not doing the same thing about his moral values? Do we speak with forked tongue??? Please, somebody help me!

    February 19, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  25. Jaggar

    He is simply speaking the truth. What is the story here? People need to wake up and smell the realy truth about our president. Years down the road, everyone will feel ridiculous for not seeing the man for who he really is! He is laughing all the way to the bank, and Africa so his wife can get in touch with her roots on our dime, and Hawaii in two separate planes to spend more of our money, and giving all of the borrowed money from China to help other countires!

    February 19, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
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