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. MidwstrnGrl

    wackjob...Do you think Christ approves of consumption at all costs? To consume until you deplete the earth? Wasnt it ours to take care of?

    February 19, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. NW

    If tea partiers worshiped Jesus as much they do money, we would be alot better off.

    February 19, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. Ramrod

    I sure hope that our leaders don't base their leadership on the Bible. The Bible is a book written by four Greek traveling writers based on stories passed down for about 150 years. It is a story. George Bush did not believe it: he used brute force to invade Iraq. The leaders of Israel don't believe it, they rely on their bombs for protection. Santorum has been brainwashed by the church, he is not fit to lead anything including this Country. I like the Chinese rules: you can practice any religion you like but then you can not be an official of the government. It is a true separation of church and state.

    February 19, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. nolapearl

    But Santorum has no qualms about imposing his religious views on the rest of us who have different religious views. and I think Jesus would vote for the Socialist.

    February 19, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  5. Bill

    Boy are we in trouble, in a country of three hundred million people this is the best we can scrape to lead the country..

    February 19, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  6. MidwstrnGrl

    Think he is more like the Pharisees that Christ condemned...

    February 19, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  7. susan

    As a Catholic, I suggest that Rick set "religious" and "moral" issues to the side. People who are not Catholic do not understand what he is talking about. And people who are Catholic are beginning to get confused as well. Rick should stick to the economy and foreign policy. Faith is a very private matter.

    February 19, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  8. BillyD1953

    I guess Santorum thinks the country's laws should be based on his Catholic theology. He seems to have no comprehension of a modern secular democracy, which I thought we were supposed to be. Everyone is free to have their own religious beliefs and practice those same beliefs so long as those practices do not trample on the rights of others. This is where the Bishops are totally wrong. They want to take part in our secular society and be tax-emprt but at the same time impose their beliefs on their non-Catholic employees. You can't possibly run a country with each person deciding for himself which laws he'll obey based on his own personal religious beliefs. It's stupid for the GOP to pretend that this very obvious fact is somehow a new notion put forth by Obama. This is a longstanding principle and clearly the only way to maximize people's freedom. All of our vaiour freedoms are limited to the point that we cannot infringe on other people's freedoms. As the old saying goes "Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." The freedom of the Bishops not to provide birth control ends where their employees' right to have healthcare provided begins.

    February 19, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  9. MP in VA

    Santorum is a male Sarah Palin.

    February 19, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. M.K.

    This character is one dangerous politician. He is too extreme to be a serious candidate for th most powerful job in the world. I do not want him close to the football.

    February 19, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. The Left Wing

    It is hard to believe that Santorum will be able keep is roles as a church man and as representative of the state separated if he is elected. Even if you believe as he does, you should be careful not to let such a person into the white house. Once you open that Pandora's box, it may be your favorite religion today but your least favorite tomorrow.

    February 19, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  12. A music teacher

    Someone wanna remind his frothiness about a little thing called "Separation of Church and State"...which believe it or not, was what the founding fathers intended.

    February 19, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. reinadelaz

    I don't know about anyone else, but I can't stand it when prediential hopefuls make Obama look like the better choice. Of course President Obama has a different theology than Rick Santorum. The President is not a Catholic, but a President's theology and his poiltical worldview are not supposed to be the same thing in the United States.

    God help us all!

    February 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. Freedom Fighter

    Why is Santorum relevant? The GOP can't find a platform in which to unify their base. Instead, Romney is in Michigan claiming the auto bailout didn't work, when clearly it has. And Santorum is running around talking theology. Sorry, but a President's religion is of no matter. This nation was founded on the principle of separating church and state, and while some, especially those on the right, fail to understand this and refuse to accept that, the truth is Obama leads by making intelligent and calculated decisions that have benefited America in the long run. That is proof positive in the facts.

    February 19, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  15. Uncontrived

    Is this guy running for president or pope?

    February 19, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  16. George McGlone

    What!!!???, ...... I'm convinced that this idiot is really a Democrat planted in the role as a Republican!! Where is the real debate? This is mindless hatred. I mean, the President really doesn't have to do anything, ...just keep throwing microphones out there, and some fool will pick it up!, ...WOW!!, ...Republicans can't be this stupid, ...can they!!!???, ...

    February 19, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. anthony78

    "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." – Ben LaBolt

    Repeat this line over and over and over and the Republicans will probably implode. Reality is NOT on the (R)'s side, neither is TRUTH, nor will be HISTORY.

    Obama 2012.

    February 19, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  18. CTYank

    Rick is ignorant, petty, and partisan in the extreme. In short, he's a theocratic idiot who would take it on himself to speak for his Creator. Better he go passive.
    White-eye Taliban- yes, he's that dangerous.

    February 19, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. 4truth

    THERE IS NO ROOM FORRELIGIOUS BIGOTRY IN THE WHITEHOUSE!!! True conservatives defend all religions, not just their own! Santorum with his "world view", "different theology

    February 19, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  20. Seth Hill

    Jesus is very clear: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." I don't think Rick Santorum follows that practice, nor does President Obama doesn't. The only Real Christian seems to be Newt Gingrich!

    February 19, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. claudial

    Santorum seems to be leading a GOP holy war on the country. He reminds me of another little man who had a mustache. Our founding fathers did not want an American Theocracy and they gave us laws to prevent one. Santorum must be confused. He seems to be running for Pope.

    February 19, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  22. Tom

    Santorum says that he's a Christian, but I believe he's of the Moron faith.

    February 19, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  23. The Other Dale

    Santorum's entire campaign seems to be based on the grade-school technique of "I'm rubber and you're glue." That and "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!"

    February 19, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. Chris

    Yes, but, if you are seated on a board of directors for UHS, and paid for your services to improve the image and quality of care, your obligation should, as a Christian to visit the sick. He did not. He collected his stock options, his lobby monies and his campaign monies from UHC. Did Mr. Santorum do his basic obligation? If not, he seems hypocritical, and living by a different theology, too.

    February 19, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. captcorajus

    Yes, its the theology of common sense, not some Talimbanesk assault on women's reproductive rights.

    February 19, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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