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. anon-i-mouse

    I somehow don't get how someone who wants to base all the laws on this country off his interpretation of the Bible isn't doing exactly what he says the president is doing. What the liberals in this country want is to get rid of laws that put restrictions on others based on someone else's views (gay marriage is a perfect example). This is seeking a liberty for a group of people. It is in no way restricting other's rights.

    Our founding fathers' position on freedom of religion was to make sure that no one imposed their views on others. Freedom FROM religion is probably a more appropriate term.

    Obama2012!!

    February 19, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. eddieb

    Santorum is sold out to big oil in speach the other day said electic cars are harmful then went on to glorify big oil he must go.

    February 19, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. SteveW

    If you are anything other than an extreme, right wing, conservative Christian then you are not part of Santorum's cult. How does he expect to "represent" all of the people of this great nation when he doesn't believe that over half of us can't get to his (or His) heaven? I don't want him as president any more than he would want me as a friend. Neither of us live up to the other's expectations.

    February 19, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. studdmuffins

    As conservative as I like to think I am, Mr. Santorum sends shivers down my spine. I like to follow the 10 simple rules laid down by Him. One of them reads "do unto others" which all politicians seem to ignore. Mr. Santorum especially leads one to believe he would certainly "do" to us all that which he believes is most right (pun).

    February 19, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  5. uckirby

    ..if Santorum can get folks to vote for him on them type of comments, then we in lots of trouble

    February 19, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  6. Debby

    Santorum is a complete waste of ticker space.

    February 19, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  7. NJGirl

    And Rick Santorum isn't imposing his own brand of Catholic values on us? This man is dangerous.

    February 19, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    I, for one, am simply GIDDY with what the folks in search engine optimization have done with the google results for "santorum."

    February 19, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  9. bob johnson

    So Santorum plans to lead with theology from the bible. I guess it will be the Catholic bible.

    February 19, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Can you spell "Pandering"? I thought you could...

    February 19, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  11. one11one

    Wow! Now they are playing the religion card. With 35,000 sects of Christianity, how is one to know who the "true" Christians are? I suppose everyone thinks its them and not the other guy.

    February 19, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  12. Stephen

    So Santorum's platform is "elect me because I'm more Christian?" How far does he think that will carry him?

    February 19, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  13. Dan Roper

    Believe systems are irrelevant. It's someones behaviour that is important to us all.

    February 19, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  14. Carrie

    What's the big deal? Men in the Catholic church tell women not to use contraceptives. Why would they think women might think for themselves?

    February 19, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  15. JT

    The real alarming piece is that Santorum seems to think a president should lead by their theology at all.

    February 19, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    One, Santorum and his elk seem intolerant of those that don't believe in Christianity. I am not even sure what kind he follows that demands the imposing their will and values over others through a governmental structure.

    On the second point, THERE ARE NO JUDEO-CHRISTIAN VALUES. Judaism has one set of values while Christianity has an almost completely different set. I don't understand how Christians keep screwing up that. Judaism is based on rules and text and thinking while Chrisitanty (from what people tell me) is based almost entirely on faith.

    February 19, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  17. Peter H

    Rick Santorum refuses to believe in the seperation of church and state. He is living in the middle ages. Even Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble would have more contemporary set of values than he has. His values are from the Stone Age. Go read some books on the "Enlightement" Rick and get with the times. Republicans are so ignorant.

    February 19, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  18. urouttolunch

    I, for one, am mighty glad the President doesn't subscribe to the same "theology" that Santorum does.

    February 19, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that Obama and other are trying to impose a set of values isn't total off base, but who doesn't. Everytime a rule, law or change to those is proposed, that shows your values. I don't see how Santorum and his group among other right wing groups don't see this. They have imposed their values (trying to get or keep prayer in schools; anti abortion and birth control while being pro death penalty) or at least tried.

    February 19, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. Republical Fools

    There's nothing wrong with Obama's ethics. He's one of the most ethical presidents we've ever had. What's wrong is some Christian mythologist nutjob thinking he has any moral highground when he represents the party of insider trading, wallstreet criminality and billionaire businessmen who pay 15% taxes.

    February 19, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  21. snowdogg

    NOTE: To all politicians – keep your "religion" out of politics.

    February 19, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  22. bassman

    I think we already knew this about Pres. Obama.

    February 19, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. Kayla

    What a moron.

    February 19, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. Kate

    Obama isn't a priest, he's a president. He's SUPPOSED to put his religious views aside when leading a country where you don't have to be Christian to be a citizen. Santorum saying that Obama doesn't base his policy on the bible is a compliment.. he'd be in serious trouble if he did. I wonder then... what would Santorum base his policies on... surely he wouldnt impose his "phony theology", as he calls it, on me, as that would impose on my religious freedom to take no part in his religion.

    February 19, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  25. Jodie

    This man terrifies me. If he is elected, I am leaving the country.

    February 19, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
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