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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Rednip

    I think Santorum's basic problem is that he's one of the fools who actually believes the crap they spout out on right wing talk radio. It doesn't sound right to anyone who's not a Fox News type of information consumer and it won't play well to the average American. Oh sure in their circles it sounds great, but the 'big ticket' republicans you see on TV avoid such subjects, or at least they used to.

    In the 90's I was a Republican who saw his party become infested with such fools that I dumped them for the Democratic party in a search for a reasonable amount of sanity. Once the GOP is fully out of power another party will grow to replace it as the opposition.

    February 18, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. Beadles

    I'm confused...Mr. Santorum stated about President Obama:“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..”

    So what is Mr. Santorum doing, if not imposing HIS own values on the church?

    February 18, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Nick

    Shut up and go away. Who care about theology except religious nuts when people cannot find food to feed their loved ones.

    February 18, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. Eden O.

    I just...I don't like Rick Santorum. His utter hypocrisy knows no bounds. He's either one of the hugest political trolls I've ever seen, or he's just too stupid to understand the link between the things he says and the things he accuses Obama of doing...

    February 18, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  5. Rick

    I sure hope Obama leads with a different theology. Santorum's is ugly and mean-spirited beyond belief.

    February 18, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. kate

    OBAMA 2012

    February 18, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. jimbojoker

    This Santorum sounds more delusional all the time, his reality seems distorted, is he in control of his senses? Is he suggesting some sort of purity test for what an American is. He is beginning to sound somewhat messianic. Ideas like his are nothing new but better left in the past. This man would claim moral superiority over others keep your eyes open America. The founding fathers were very diligent about the separation of church and state. As for Mr Santorum "do not judge others lest you be judged"

    February 18, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. john

    Hyperbolic much, Santorum?

    February 18, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. MCJNY

    yawn. He has no chance with this sort of retread, made for church goers nonsense. The only thing I want to hear from these candidates is what the plan to revitalize america's economy is. All of this phantom menace bs about how obama is trying to intrude on people's personal freedoms from a republican is an insult. This is the same republican party that talks about freedom /liberty but wants to have the church of imaginary friends in our politics, wants to decide for a woman whether see can choose to be a mother or not. Wants to limit voting rights and destroy workers unions. Wants to give corporations the same rights as citizens but with no duty to the country. I told you guys before. All of these republican candidates are working for obama to get him re-elected by saying dumb things and offering us no answers to real problems.

    February 18, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. anniem

    Religion is the root of all evil...just look at the Republican candidates who profess it so loudly and you can see for yourself...

    February 18, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. Fred Riek

    This man is a low life in my eyes. He has accomplished very little other than lining his own pockets and taking every advantage of the political positions he was entrusted with. I could very easily tell in more direct words what I think of this sanctimonious jerk, but CNN would censor it. It is Christians like him that are causing Christianity to flounder and lose members.

    February 18, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. taffd

    is Santorum God himself now?? Arrogant hypocrite

    February 18, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. syd

    Obama does lead with a different theology; he's rational. Of course he won't say it but my guess is he's an atheist. He can't say it 'cause he'd never get elected in a country started people so repressed and uptight that Elizabethan England was to risque for them. People like Santorum. Simple, salt of the Earth folk. You know ... morons.

    February 18, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. Nothing new here

    Santorum = Blithering Idiot.

    February 18, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  15. Al Russell

    The president of the United States does not represent only Christians, but Americans of every faith or no faith at all, a fact often forgotten by people like Santorum. Regardless of what religion he aspires to, the President needs to be able to separate his faith from his job. Rick Santorum proves repeatedly that he is categorically unable to do this by continuing to pander to the Christian base. He is alienating the rest of the country and informing us all that he would truly only represent people that are exactly like himself should he take office. The Christians who support him should take a moment to imagine what the ramifications of this would mean if it were not their own religion we were talking about here. What if the President happened to be a Hindu or Buddhist and allowed his faith to dictate policy/ Would that be equally acceptable? The answer to that question is of course not. We cannot allow hypocrisy to rule our nation.

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  16. Sashatree

    I'll take President Obama's kind of theology over what I've witnessed from any of the GOP candidates ANY day!

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. j

    "He added that liberals on “the left” have been imposing their own moral code on Americans for quite some time."
    –Really? Because republicans definitely don't try to impose their moral beliefs on others, OR take away the rights of others to decide what the want to do.. that's for sure!

    The only thing Obama does is stop things that are intolerant of other religions and beliefs. That is hardly an attack on Christianity. You are still perfectly free to be and live life as a Christian. It scares me that people like Santorum can run, and not only run, but actually have someone LIKE him.

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. SafeJourney

    Thats right santorum, we are all different from you. thank God. You will NEVER be President of America

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. grady

    this man is certifable...a very dangerous person...

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. reithena

    What a hypocrite...he wants to force everyone into his ideals more than Obama does.

    February 18, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  21. scott o'canada

    WOW. Can you say "seperartion of church and state." I bet you can, Mr.Rogers. Welcome to The Inquisition 2.0. How many Catholics use contraceptives.... 63%. Shouldn't you guys be focusing on things like, er,well lets see... unemployment, the economy, the debt, the crisis in the middle east. The GOP is looking more and more like crusty old white guys who hate everything. Time to reboot the party after 2012. I'm just sayin'.

    February 18, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  22. Gopherit

    From the article itself it is difficult to understand exactly what Santorum meant or was implying. As for Christianity and using that as a means to achieve political ends, in the Bible accounts of Jesus' life he avoided politics involving the ruling Romans apart from noting that people should pay their taxes. His confrontations were primarily with the religious authorities who maintained their own hold over people's lives especiallin yn Jerusalem and Judea and he often cited their hypocrisy.

    February 18, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  23. Drew

    God I can't believe this POS doesn't realize the hypocrisy of accusing Obama of governing from theology

    February 18, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Informed

    Santorum is a dangerous and pointless candidate who is more interested in creating a religious state. He is very mistaken when he thinks most people share his views on the role of religious teachings in in a modern society.

    February 18, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. blake

    It is not politically expediant for Santorum to come on too strong with this. But any objective person knows that Obama embraces views that are not dissimilar to the well know view of Rev. Wright, his pastor of 20 years. It has little to do with historical Christianity and Biblical teaching. It has a great deal to do with Marxist class warfare and racial hatred.

    February 18, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18