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. Bob

    You have a right to your own "moral values", what you don't have a right to do is to impose those values on others.

    February 19, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. Manuel J.

    I can hear it already... all the "secular" people will demagogue Santorum.

    As Santorum points out, amongst the secular crowd, it's okay to belittle those of faith. The secular crowd says all people should be treated humanely and fairly.

    Yeah right. To the secular crowd.... how hypocritical is that!?!!!

    February 19, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. a in austin

    It amazes me how this man cloaks himself with his religion and chastises those who may not follow his beliefs. The Bible I read and follow states otherwise.

    February 19, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. Russ in Md

    Obama does have christian valeus. Just ask his long time mentor Rev. Write.

    February 19, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Mary Nelson

    I sympathize with Mr. Santorum's feelings that liberals are persecuting the religious Christians of America. Perhaps one day, if they work very hard, Christians might be able to elect one of their own to be President.

    Or maybe even pull it off consecutively every single election from George Washington onward, while still harboring a persecution complex.

    February 19, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. mommytwice

    This man is reaching new heights of insanity. We are NOT a theocracy! Our government isn't run based on a religion. Get it through your heads, Republicans, we are NOT the Taliban! There is a seperaion of church and state here.

    February 19, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  7. RickinNH

    Let's keep theology out of government Rick... no matter what your beliefs are... theology has no place in federal gov. What you should be believing in... 1. Greenhouse gasses will kill you and destroy the planet. 2.women have the same rights as men and should be allowed to govern their own bodies. 3. Negotiation rather than threat is the way to get along in the global environment we have today. So take your theology and stuff it!

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

    Separation of church and state?

    February 19, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. Steve

    As an Atheist I am some what perturbed that by the Government not allowing religious organizations to impose their particular brand of morality on others is tantamount to denying religious freedom. Santorum would have us believe that imposing his brand of religion on us is religious freedom while denying him that opportunity is trampling on his religious freedom.

    February 19, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  10. bodie

    Santorum calling out Obama on his Christianity? Considering most Christians view Mormonism as a cult and the Book of Mormon to be heresy...

    February 19, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  11. Moybay

    Wow- that was so confusing- i mean Rick can't even explain what he means- it like this- Rick says he saw a UFO- you ask him what it looks like and Ricky says, well it was round and flying, flying fast, and oh yeah, hairy with big eyes- Rick did u see who was fyling it- Rick- yeah- but it was flying real low to the ground, and it was big, all I saw was his shadow and he turned around and went back in his hole- Rick, are u sure your UFO was not the groundhog?

    February 19, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  12. LakeRat1

    OK, for a while, I thought Santorum was a little misguided, but now I firmly believe he is a certifiable whack job. He has a lot of nerve talking about anybody's "phony theology". His is pretty much as phony as they come!

    February 19, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  13. Stopthemadness

    This is exactly the reason insanetorum should not be elected he wants to turn thi9s country into his own little private church and other religions and beliefs are not accepted. If he is elected you can expect a modern day crusades.

    February 19, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  14. k

    Santorum wants the church to rule your life and romney wants corporations to rule your life.

    February 19, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Sid

    santorum is a joke! This country would be the biggest wuss if he wins

    February 19, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Saxo Grammaticus

    With all due respect, Senator, will you please shut the hell up and sit down? If your mind was any narrower, you'd be cross-eyed from trying to focus on a point inside your own skull.

    February 19, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Thomas

    Why do all "Christians" speak as if they are the victims of repression ? More frequently it is they who seek to repress and enforce their beliefs on others. Romans and lions long since gone . These people only believe in religious freedom if you believe as they do.

    February 19, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Gawd, I wishI could punch that over vite grin off his face. You stupid imbecilic moron. The President is not ruling with any theology!!! You dumb idiot!!!
    Will you listen to youself? You and your teapublikans are the ones telling women about contraceptives and that your religion rules and that being gay is bad. I would love for you to get the nomination because you are going to sink lower than any other candidate ever has. You will get the votes of the brainless twits who hate women just like you do. Thank everyone else's god that those who think 13th century like you are few and far between.

    February 19, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. Dave

    Seriously? Why is it so hard for conservatives to run a campaign based on ideas instead of this constant stream of negative garbage and lies? Are you people really that bitter or are you all just too dumb to come up with anything on your own? I suspect it's a little of both.

    Fact is that Santorum and the Tea Party are gifts that keep on giving. Everytime you people open your mouths, you show yet again what disasters you would be if you had any real power. I would love to see Santorum up against Obama. The beating Santorum would get would make Barry Goldwater's loss look like a nail-biter.

    February 19, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. Dilip Samuels

    The most dangerous, divisive theology for America is the right wing hateful theology that right wing Republicans advocate. Intolerance towards other religions, peoples ..just so sad and the GOP is proud of those positions

    February 19, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  21. Tom

    These guys creep me out, especially Santorum.

    February 19, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  22. David

    Obama was muslim raised, of cource he won't have biblical views.

    February 19, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  23. dabble53

    Thank god this country is not based on any theology. Otherwise we'd have the Taliban or some Sharia law.
    Besides, what's Santorum's theology? That phony Catholicism? This guy is absolutely incredible. Personally, I'm all for religion being the basis of laws in this country, as long as it's MY religion, and I get to make all the interpretations.
    Is the entire GOP this stupid? Oh, wait.....given the past entertaining several months, I've answered my own question.

    February 19, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. Independent from NH

    As an independent voter I must say I sincerely hope Santorum wins the nomination. At this point in time, and for the very foreseeable future, I will be voting for Obama in 2012. It's not my fault the Republican party has come up with nothing but a bunch of idiots for the primaries while all the real ones sit on the sidelines (Rubio, Jindal, Christie, Daniels...). This is an exact repeat of 2008. While you are at it, why not vote Pain for VP again and definitely guarantee the party a landslide loss.

    February 19, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  25. Karin

    Politics should not involve religion!!

    February 19, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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