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. Garrado

    People who speak with two tongues are themselves probably worse than those they speak about. Talking out the side of your mouth instead of stating what you mean does not mean people won't pick up on what you say. I am glad that the ability to comprehend is still a skill that some people have.

    February 18, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  2. chicago7

    Obama is a Christian. Not that that's a qualification for public office one way or another. But the real point is this: No one else's religious beliefs are any of Santorum's business, whatever they are. Doesn't he have any actual understanding of the kind of country he lives in? Attacking and lying about someone over religious belief is un-Amercan.

    February 18, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  3. nash

    Just when we thought the foot in the mouth disease was over! Last time I checked my God is greater than your God crap did not work. Anyone remember multiple pastors that prayed for Obama to lose the election in 2008? I wonder what God they were praying to because if we use that logic, I can see Obama being re-elected again this year.

    February 18, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  4. longtooth

    Is Santorum running for president or pope?

    February 18, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. N Vinny Veritas

    Thou shalt not bear false witness...
    Stop the lying.

    February 18, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  6. Athena

    Got some news for you, Rick. Any and all theology–bible-based or not–is phony! This is not and never has been a Judeo-Christian nation. Does Madison's "no religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office or public trust, under the "United States" mean anything to you or the other rabid miscreants that want to replace a republic with a theocracy? You would stifle any voice of dissent and shackle humanity with death warrant of your equally rabid bible and its brutality and insanity. I can think of few things less moral than the bible. Rick, get a vasectomy and then lots of therapy. You're friggin' insane!

    February 18, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  7. Mike

    Oppression of religious freedom, Santorum, is when your employer decides that you do not have the same rights to the same healthcare benefits as others, simply because those benefits do not adhere to the employer's religious beliefs. Obama's compromise works, and allows the preservation of dignity on all sides. Deal with it.

    February 18, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    I see again.
    Its fair game for Santorun to question Obama's "moral values, theology, secular values," and that Obama's views even if "christian; if he says he's a christian he's a christian."
    For me it's a good Job that Obama is a christian who knows how to turn the other cheek for a slap and more insults.
    Why is it that this guy supports the Catholic churches anti contraception views when 77 % of Catholics use them. With the greatest respect and humility toward Mr Santorum the Presidents public policy is imposing nothing on any ones moral values or whateve label he chooses, all the options remain open to each individual and seems like almost less than 1/5th of all religions appear to think Obama is " imposing some kind of new Judea christian moral code" is fallacious.. Obama is not he is just respecting the majority public reality not a 14th /15th century encyclical.
    Regards,
    hodgson.

    February 18, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Barb

    This nation was founded by people of different religious beliefs and some that were atheist. Our founding fathers did not want dislike, distrust, or hatred between religious groups and they also did not feel that any specific religion should govern any nation. That is why there is separation of church and state. Religious views and beliefs should have no baring on who is to be our president, it should be based completely off his/her specific morals (not religious ideologies), and his/her political stances.

    February 18, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. pikerover

    This piece tells me two things. Santorum knows nothing about oil and OPEC and he is playing the "Obama is not Christian may be a Muslim" card. How Catholic of him.

    February 18, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. Thomas A Martinet

    I had no idea that god talked to Rick Santorum and told him of the only philosophical approach to "Salvation".
    Must be nice to have that kind of contact.
    This guy is scary as hell!!!

    February 18, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  12. TomNPitt

    Ricky, Ricky – let's not play the oppressed religion card so early.Wait until the fall when it's closer to Christmas and O'reilly gets on his "The World against Catholics at Christmas Anniversary Tour".

    February 18, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  13. PTBarnumboy

    I'm ready for life in a Rick Santorum theocracy. NOT!!!!!

    February 18, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Tyler Durden

    “It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said.
    “You may want to call it a theology, you may want to call it secular values,” he clarified.
    Secular: adj. = non-religous.
    TRICKY RICKY, YOU ARE CONFUSING ME WITH YOUR PALIN-LIKE BRAIN BURPS.

    February 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. Steve

    This is not your father's republican party. The claims: He was not born here, he is a socialist, a muslim, an atheist, wants death panels, he wants to turn the US into europe, he is an appeaser. Now the latest claim is that Obama wants a "war against religion". What planet are these people living on? How far into conspiracy land do these people want to go? Do facts matter? I am not big fan of Obama either, I think his tenure has been mediocre, but when I look out at right wing land I see a bunch of nutbar's that I would be too frightened to vote for. There are much in the way of worry about extremists in Iran getting the bomb. Should we start to worry about it in the United States too?

    February 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. witchiepoo

    this is not a country of christians, so why are you trying to force your religion into my Whitehouse, little rickie?

    February 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Johnny B. Goode

    Rick Santorum is leaping right out of the 12th century. He's a religious extremist and nut-case.

    February 18, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. chedar

    If you believe what Santorum say, then you must agree that " life begins at erection" (Bill Maher).

    February 18, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  19. kevin hickson

    I find Santorium's comments so strange. I have no idea what he is talking about. I have never heard the president say anything about forcing his morals on anyone. Every person has a set of morals and has their own beliefs and last time I checked, we do have freedom of religion. The last time I checked the term liberal means open minded and I guess Santorium has a diffent view of that. What beliefs are the liberals forcing on society? A liberal is a person that respects the rights of others and I'm tired of people telling us what we are to think. I am liberal thus I think and I don't try to scare people and have them live in fear. In closing there are many intelligent people in this country and they see through these scare tactics. Maybe Santorium would feel at home during the Salem witch trials. Don't tell me what to think, I think for myself.

    February 18, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. howlyn

    Santorum is a protofaciast string of excrement. He is an embarrassment to all of humanity and to all things decent and moral.

    February 18, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. John

    Rick Santorum Is truly scary. He would push his social agenda’s before all else. Economy, jobs, taxes, nothing else would be more important to Santorum than the establishment of his view of Christian values throughout as much of government as he could push it. I really believe he would try to establish a Christina Taliban in America. He should not have a position of power.

    February 18, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Jay

    "I'm not saying he's not a Christian, I'm just saying he's not a Christian."

    Anyway, last I saw most churches were pretty solidly behind enviromentalism; if God created the world, why would you destroy His creation instead of reveling in its perfection.

    February 18, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. TR

    Just shut up with that holier-than-thou crapola. Santorum would let children die if they couldn't afford insurance. I don't he can claim any moral highground.

    February 18, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  24. paulwisc

    The reason why Santorum should never be allowed to be President.

    February 18, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. timz

    Rick Santorum is the real "American Taliban" and wants to impose his own version of sharia law in America.

    February 18, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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