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

Friess apologizes for birth control comment

Six members withdraw from Waters probe


Filed under: 2012 • Ohio • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. 40acres

    I don't think it is Obama that is trying to "impose on everyone else" their particular brand of morals. Is it Rick?

    February 19, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  2. NukeTim

    Looks to me like the Republicans are slowly imploding.....

    They need to call Stella; to find out how to get their GROOVE back....

    February 19, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  3. steve

    This president has only now begun to attend church after 3 years. If one doesn't want to attend so what, but why wait till an election year?

    February 19, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  4. VesperG

    stop using the bible to run this country! It is called politics for a reason. NO PAPACY! NO THEOCRACY! I do not vote based on religion. I vote based on ability, original thinking, and those who are not greedy, self-righteous, pompous pretentious jerks! If a woman wants to abort let her, we are not man's spiritual judge and juror. Seriously stop using the bible to run the country.

    February 19, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  5. Cliffk

    Is this guy serious??? Since when is the Presidency run by the Christian's bible? I'm Jewish and am totally outraged by this idiot Santorum's announcement that if a President does not run the country according to Santorum's own biased and aborted version of the bible, then that person should not be President The Tea Party is way way too over the top of prejudice, discrimination and outright perversion for anyone of liberal, moderate or normal conservative values. Santorum should be running for President in Iran, Syria, Venezuela or Cuba.

    February 19, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  6. some guy in New Hampshire

    Why should anyone take theological guidance or authority from a politician? I don't go to my dentist for a lecture on metaphysics; I don't ask my auto mechanic for an understanding of Chinese medicine. the idea that a politician of all people is going to become a trusty theologian is absurd. Santorum is a "Scalia Catholic" - someone with a strict, literal, authoritarian view of church teachings. If you're into that, then make Santorum your faith guide. Otherwise forget it.

    February 19, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  7. Post American

    You have to feel sorry for the Grand Old White Party! This is the best they got? LOLZ

    February 19, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  8. Corwin7

    Well I WAS wondering how long it would take before Santorum imploded under the weight of his own ego...now I know!

    February 19, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  9. Grey, Atlanta

    Santorum needed to come up with something to set himself apart from the rest of the Republican candidates. So, he decided to use Christianity. He has become a Crusader who is going to protect Christianity in America from "other theologies". This is curious enough in and of itself because the majority of far right wing of the Republican party -the Evangelicals – do not even consider Catholics to be Christians, but rather a cult, just like they consider Mormons.

    If the voters have to choose between Santorum and Obama in general election, keeping a religious Zealot out of power will trump all the shortcomings that Obama may have. The pool of candidates that the Republicans came up with this time around speaks volumes about the crisis in the American political system.

    February 19, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  10. TJ

    Is Santorum running for President or Ayatollah?

    February 19, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  11. RexCraigo

    If Santorum would die in a plane crash I would be very happy.

    February 19, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  12. SixDegrees

    ...and to no one's surprise, the most rabid, dangerous theocrat in the country comes out swinging with...a theocracy based attack.

    I bet the DNC is pumping millions into the Santorum campaign. They'll make their investment back a hundredfold in the general election, when they won't have to spend a dime thwarting the opposition.

    February 19, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  13. True Beliver (not)

    Santorum is one sick puppy. Divide and conquer; yup its a great strategy. It really drives home how important it is to keep him and his ilk in the minority.

    February 19, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  14. Dave - Phx

    Religous people are the scourge of this earth. Keep your crappy idioitic beliefs away from me and my family you crazy whackos.

    February 19, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  15. Anonymous

    lol a republican thinking someone else is shoving religious values on others. god does have a sense of humor. how i love americans and there non sense

    February 19, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  16. GJGVT

    this is very funny... the left is "imposing" their moral beliefs? now that is rich, even more rich than Romney! How about you reverse that Rick, the right is imposing its beliefs, the left is letting you believe what you want.. sort of like, less government control over your day-to-day private lives.. so much for the GOP being the party of small government!

    February 19, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  17. clarke

    So that is what Rick thinks of Obama, That is how Rick judges him. Well Rick the entire country does not think as you, but I suppose you will try and change that.so we will all think as you do and read the same bible. Is that how you plan on running this country based on your religious beliefs and your bible. I think not for you will never be elected by the people. Your comment and judgement was distateful .

    February 19, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  18. ronald raygun

    my fairy tale can beat up your fairy tale.... apparently freedom of religion does not exist in this country anymore

    February 19, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  19. Peggy

    I see Santorum is still aiming at the deepest fears and bigotry of his followers. Obama "is not one of us," he is saying. I am still trying figure out who "us" is. Obama seems to have the same beliefs I have, so I must not be "one of us" either.

    February 19, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  20. ML

    He can make up as much of this stuff as he wants. It show the public just how much the GOP will lie to get elected.

    February 19, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  21. john

    This man is soooo dangerous and out of touch, doesn't he understand that if it were so, he wouldn't have the freedom to slander the president's theology, and that we do not live in a theocracy......

    February 19, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. Mike

    Please don't lead from the Bible. We will all be doomed. Nut.

    February 19, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  23. diridi

    This idiot has no brain, so bringing religion...ha..ha..ha...ha...what a nasty thug.

    February 19, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  24. Dylan

    The last I heard U.S. Citizens were free to 'worship' any religion they wanted OR NOT, and that applies to President Obama too. If it were up to me I would discount ALL religions as they are all based upon delusional thinking.

    February 19, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. albert

    What a hypocrite. Very typical of these born again / make pretend self righteous Christians, who make a mockery of God.

    February 19, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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