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. Jacqui

    As far as I am aware, the Bible clearly shows that God has given us all, freedom of choice. I do believe that His heart is for all of us to choose His will for our lives, because His plans for us are to do us good.

    Whilst accusing the President of imposing his will upon us, he is intent upon doing the very thing he is accusing the President of doing. I would also like to remind him that God has said in His word that we should not slander people. He also told us that He knows those who are His, and that we should not judge others because He would He is the only one, who is capable of making good judgements.

    Mr Santorum, go read the proverbs which says, that there is a people who are pure in their own eyes, but haven't been cleansed of their filth.

    February 18, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Reggie from LA

    I "severely" question Santorum's Christianity. I see a clever bully whenever he starts opening his mouth...from which incidentally, falls out the red meat of bitterness. Quite frankly, he appears to have some psyche issues. He'd do anything to win his way back from some losses he's incurred. Translates to "would say/do anything to get your vote." He whips out God in a second and many of you just eat it up. He's very interesting. Reminds me of some German fella.

    February 18, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Kevin in Atlanta

    Santorum, Romney and every other Republicans wants the rich to rule America and the poor to fend for themselves. These so-called Christians dominating the GOP are 100% anathema to everything Jesus taught.

    February 18, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. James

    Santorum is officially the biggest nut in the current republican race. Santorum won't be able to cater to Christians for much longer, seeing as more and more people are of differing religions. A Good 30% of the US is non-christian, and Santorum, simply by going around with his "bible theology is the best theology" has lost most of that vote. His opinions on gay marriage are discriminative, and destructive to civil liberties. If he is elected, he will no doubt be a stain in our history, and hurt our economy.

    February 18, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. heimdal

    we are so screwed if this guy gets in the white house. If he wasn't in politics he would be out bombing abortion clinics. Actually i'd love see someone ask him his opinion on bombing them i bet it be such a interesting response.

    He added that liberals on “the left” have been imposing their own moral code on Americans for quite some time. what the hell he call what he wants to do then he wants shove his religious beliefs down everyone throat no matter what they believe! Religion has no place in government specially not the presidency people need stop focus on what religion someone is and start focusing if they have reasonable ideas to fix things. Oh and if the person plans doing stuff only based on his religious beliefs then that should be a sign they have no business in office to begin with. They're suppose represent everyone not just one single group of people that seems to have been forgotten.

    February 18, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. MoMo

    LMAO

    with this kind of rhetoric, the GOP will lose in 2012.

    February 18, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. Stubbs

    No political leader should lead their country with any 'Theology'.

    February 18, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. KansasGirl

    Bravo Rick.

    February 18, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. Vosky

    The gift that keeps coming...Obama/Biden 2012

    February 18, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. Lenny Pincus

    Right. Like Santorum doesn't preach a "different theology." Different in that it's from the 13th Century.

    February 18, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. Brian

    The real difference is Obama governs from the POV that government must fit many faiths and beliefs, and Santorum and his ilk want to govern from a very narrow mindset of convictions – even the majority of Catholics don't support his viewpoint. 350 million people have a wide berth of religious faiths and beliefs – it's why the founding fathers were wise to keep religion and gov't separate. Pushing us back 50 years is not the answer.

    February 18, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. ben

    Here we go the racist painting Obama as "different". Santorum has a different theology also. He claims to be a Christian, but he is racist and a hater two qualities Christ was not.

    February 18, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. polite centrist

    That's a nasty thing for a Catholic to say to a Protestant!
    Or maybe he thinks Jesus wasn't rather liberal.

    February 18, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. Jeremiah

    Better Obama "try to impose his views on the church", than the church try to act as the American Taliban. Santorum is far and away the most ideologically dangerous person ever to seriously compete for the nomination of either of the two major parties. The scariest part is that Reps–the party of "smaller" government–are supporting a man who wants the government in the bedroom and who wants the church to direct government spending. I'm from Ohio and will be supporting Ron Paul; I only hope that my fellow Buckeyes reject this ideologue....

    February 18, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. Scef

    Ricky you dare bring up theology in an apparent insult to Protestentism. It is not my church who has the declining membership because they want to protect predator priests who cannot keep their hands off of little boys. The true leader of the Christian Church – Jesus Christ – our Lord and Saviour – not the pope stated at the beginning of his ministry? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. I believe it is Obama who is fulfilling his religious duties and not the narrow minded people of your ilk – are you a pharisee?

    February 18, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. Steve.

    The left has been trying to impose Their moral code on Americans. Is this guy serious. The extreme right wing faction of American Christianity has hijacked the Christian Church and has been trying to impose it 's intolerance for decades.

    February 18, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Cathy

    Anyone but Obama in 2012

    February 18, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  18. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    no we're never gonna survive, unless
    we get a lid on crazy

    February 18, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. bobg2

    Get this guy off the stage. This is just the same garbage that we've always heard from Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Dinesh D'Souza and the like. They don't think that a person can be a liberal and a Christian at the same time. These people cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, and therefore they find people with complex beliefs incomprehensible. For the record, I am a Catholic, I am a liberal, and I am a proud veteran. My personal belief is that, if Jesus were in America today, He would be a progressive. He would not, as he did not, in His own time, be loud and offensive about any political ideology, but I believe that His teachings would coincide more closely with those in our society who are trying to help other people, and not those who are trumpeting some tribal triumphalism and war-mongering. Enough with this wacko GOP!

    February 18, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  20. goalsgood

    Looks like Santorum's fanatical religious beliefs are not very different from those espoused by Middle eastern hardliners. I sincerely hope that Santorum does not end up taking America in that direction.

    February 18, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  21. Joshua

    This Santorum guy is a crackpot.

    February 18, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. Eric

    So.... if he's so against liberals pushing their beliefs onto Christians, why are Christians standing in the way of gay marriage?

    February 18, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  23. dreucalypt

    Among the things we agree to do as Americans is not to get into the business of calling everyone else's religion false. Santorum represents a threat to religious freedom, not in that he would prevent any faith from being followed, but in that his public remarks corrode the mutual forbearance about religion upon which toleration depends.

    February 18, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  24. v

    . “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.”

    What? Santorum wants to outlaw gay marriage and abortion for everyone, yet it is Obama who is cramming his morals down our throats?

    February 18, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  25. Tim

    For Santorum it would seem 'science' is a theology that he'd rather ignore. Pollute all you want – it's God's plan obviously and really, nothing bad will ever happen, at least not to those of us who believe! Now, everyone take a cup of this nice fruity punch I whipped up and we'll all be off in the spaceship in just a few minutes! Wheeeee!

    February 18, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
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