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. Tommy Mack

    1) Obama is a real Christian, unlike many who say they are. 2) Jesus Christ himself wouldn't vote for nor espouse Santorum and would probably use him in a parable of how power and riches can lead someone astray.

    February 18, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  2. Agarqr

    Yeah, and Santorum's idea of Christianity includes bringing a stillborn home and parading it around the house. He's the freak in my opinion.

    February 18, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Jim

    Santorum is a complete jerk – and I am an atheist and a Republican!

    February 18, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  4. savitra

    this man is shameless. hopefully, people are aware that obama's positions are much closer to those of the leaders of the catholic church – santorum's church, of course – than are santorum's, with the sole exceptions of abortion and birth control.

    February 18, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  5. Baylor Alum

    This is just more red meat for the intolerant and frightened Tea Party Taliban who form Santorum's ignorant base. More along, nothing much to see here, except a sanctimonious rabble rouser doing what he does best!

    February 18, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. Michael

    Wow, can he stick his foot any further in his mouth?

    February 18, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. Pete/Ark

    To the Grand Ayatolah Santorsharia EVERYTHING is an issue of theology...hence his drive to convert our Democracy into a Theocracy of his own design...dodge and waffle as best he can,it is clear his coded and loaded language is designed to inflame the predjudices of his followers. He hints at things intended to incite...knowing full well that any subsequent denial will have no more effect than a Judge ordering jurors to "disregard" the statements of a witness.

    February 18, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  8. J

    What a dangerously insane human being. One has to wonder if he or any of these morons that follow him have even bothered to read a Bible.. Their behavior certainly seems to indicate that they haven't.

    February 18, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. Spreading more you-know-what.

    Of course he thinks Obama is worshiping Satan. He's a nutcase. Santorum wants the states to be able to outlaw condoms, for Christ's sake.

    February 18, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. BADGUY

    This man has no shame. He talks like a theocrat, he acts like a theocrat, he quacks like a theocrat. I guy like this we DON'T need!

    February 18, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. MashaSobaka

    The joke's on you, Mr. Santorum. President Obama's (admittedly imperfect) ability to keep faith out of politics is one of the best things about him, and a lot of people agree with me.

    February 18, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. David Tillman

    Senator Santorum, It called FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!! How many people have fought and died for it in our courtry. How many years did you put your life on the line for FREEDOM. How many times did you risk your life in the protection of Freedom. No organization should dictate to any individual what they should do with their life; they only have the right to guide and advise them. This choice is between the individuals and GOD. The church is only a representative of GOD, not GOD.
    President Obama only asking all hospitals to offer reproductive freedom to women without discriminating against their religion of choice.

    February 18, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. Harold

    So no one is allowed to have a different theology then Santorum? And he is supposed to make some one believe he wouldn't let his version of his faith rule his administration?

    February 18, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. tokencode

    I don't want a leader who leads by "theology" at all. Santorum is the US equivalent of the taliban.

    February 18, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  15. maria gutierrez

    when you are in politics and acting in behalf of the american citizen you have to consider all the aspects when passing a law. that's why you have to modify and narrow the issues. We are not talking of one religion only in here and there are some people who are christians that are using contraceptive. Theology and moral values does not coincide. Theology is the study of the evolution of christ while moral values is the teaching that is against the will of God. people nowadays are liberated and you can't dictate women if they choose to use contraceptive and it's they free will so as a woman they have the right to be covered too irregardless of religious background. Lets not be hypocite just to get the attention of the voters. You can't please everybody that's why the president have their own advicers. Its a collective ideas.

    February 18, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  16. The Dude

    Come on America, we deserve better than this. Santorum is a fool.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  17. tokencode

    I don't want a leader who leads by "theology" at all. Santorum is the US equivalent of the t@liban.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. Clint, Wa.

    Mr. Santorum, Mr. Romney, and all the rest of you religious fanatics. If you would like so much to be come the pope go and campaign again him, or if you what to continue fighting things such as birth control and women’s health care become a lawyer. Right now what is at stake is our country, you know the U.S.A. and how to best govern it. Like how to fix the economy, create jobs, elect competent people to do so, and it is obvious that the Republican Party has no such person at this time.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Peter Principle

    Some free advice for Santorum: When stuck in hole, stop digging.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. tokencode

    I don't want a leader who leads by "theology" at all.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  21. Tom

    Santorum is right: there is a big difference between every normal Christian's theology and the tea party's. The vast majority of Christians believe in Jesus, as in when he told the story of the good Samaritan, where the good Samaritan helped the man who had fallen to thieves along the road. Christians believe in Christ's teaching where He says whosoever does this for the least among us is doing it for me. Christ loves people, even to the point of giving His life for all of us. Seriously ask yourself if Christ would want to end Medicare? Social Security? He might not have spoken of these specifically, but the gist of His message was to help people in need. The tea party is more like an angry clan.

    February 18, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. AmericanSam

    Where does Santorum get his critiques from? It's just way out of right field. Different theology? He was calling him an elite snob a few days ago. There's no substance to it, and it's obviously just smears.

    February 18, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  23. Greyman

    Accusing others of pursuing 'theologies' and imposing views on others. The ability of Republican zealots to project never ceases to amaze.

    Bottom line is this. Us evil leftists always fight for women to have access to contraception and abortion if they so choose, while religious zealots aligned with Republicans strive to take those choices away. THEN blame those evil lefties of imposing our views.

    And while these same zealots were screaming their heads off over the notion that special exemptions to a law shouldn't be made for religious groups, they don't hesitate to scream bloody murder when Muslim groups obey the law and go through all the regular channels to have mosques and stuff built.

    February 18, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. MEB

    Ok Rick. Let me ask you about the Christianity you follow.
    1. Where in the Bible does it say it's OK to molest boys and cover it up for decades and still not bring any of them to justice?
    2. Where in the Bible does it say that priest/ministers should not marry?
    3. Where does the Bible provide an example in the Bible for Christians to get involved in setting governmental policy?
    4. Where does the Bible say we should make government to be pro-Christian?
    5. Where does the Bible say that you should go to a priest to confess your sins?

    So as far as I'm concerned, you practice a different theology than the Bible teaches.
    This President has shown more of "Love thy neighbor" that the Bible says is the second greatest commandment than you have. So do you really want to start throwing stones. You are remind me of the Pharisees in the Bible. Big on talking the talk, but have no clue how to live it out.

    February 18, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Easy E

    This Santorum dude is one crazy Jackwagon...he belongs in a white house alright – a group home for the mentally insane.

    February 18, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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