February 19th, 2012
07:27 PM ET
8 years ago

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Sunday denied he was questioning President Barack Obama's religious values the previous day when he said the president had a "different theology."

"I wasn't suggesting the president's not a Christian," Santorum said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I accept the fact that the president is a Christian."

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He added he was referring to what he called the president's "radical environmentalism" when it came to mining for resources in the United States.

"I just said that when you have a world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can't take those resources, because we're going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven," he said. "The politicization of the whole global warming debate, I mean, this is just all an attempt to centralize power and to give more power to the government."

He later added: "I am talking about his world view or his - the way he approaches problems in this country. And I think they're different than how most people do in America."

At a tea party event on Saturday in Ohio, Santorum suggested Obama leads based on a "theology" different from that in the Bible, leaving some wondering whether he was implying that Obama subscribes to a religion other than Christianity.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, he was asked about the comment and attempted to explain his remarks.

"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."

The president's re-election campaign has since pounced on his comments. Top campaign adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Sunday told reporters in Washington that Santorum's remarks "don't belong in our politics."

"I don't think that's what the American people want from either of the potential Republican nominees," Gibbs said.

- CNN's Chris Welch, Gregory Wallace and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations

Bachmann: GOP is extremely 'pro-women'

Paul: Santorum has an 'atrocious voting record'


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Narayan

    My son who is as American as an apple pie asked me whether he can become president one day. I told forget about it since he is raised as a Hindu and he stand no chance. He just couldn't understand what's that go to do with it. Please Mr. Santorum explain that my super patriotic 8 year old. Thanks.
    – Narayan

    February 19, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Andrew

    "I just said that when you have a world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can't take those resources, because we're going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven,"

    This statement alone should be a big sign of how Religion harms the earth. If you have the world view that Man is free to do anything he chooses, disregarding the cost to the surrounding environment because God says he can do so, there is very little incentive for conservation. Republicans are too selfish to care about how our actions will affect future generations, they only seem to care about how conservation will impact their own financial well being.

    February 19, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Margaret

    I thought somewhere in the Bible that god wanted man to be a good husband of the earth, or did I misread that/ To me that means taking care of the land, the animals, the oceans and all things in it. Given the state of the oceans, the pollution of the streams and rivers, the land, and decimation of the species of animals, I would have to say man has made a mess of everything he has touched.

    February 19, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. ReligionIsStupid

    Man, if Santorum represents the mindset of a large number of Americans, then America is doomed. Welcome back to the 13th century, folks.

    February 19, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Dieter Zerressen

    Obama is just not Christian enough or the right kind of Christian.

    February 19, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. notafan

    So preserving the environment is a theological debate. Who knew.

    February 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. snydergal

    saintorum is a card-carrying, certifiable, obnoxious liar...he is a flip-flopper, a Catholic zealot, a holier-than-thou fake, one who would destroy a woman's right to do anything but be a baby factory...a crackpot clown who, along with all other ultra-conservative teavangelical/repub religious right wingnut candidates, would take this country back to a time when men clubbed women and dragged them into caves...he would do absolutely nothing if a woman was raped or was a victim of incest and became pregnant...he wouldn't bat an eye at the trauma and life-long scar these abuses would leave...he would deny women contraceptives not only for birth control, but also for any hormonal issue that could easily be stabilized by the pill. He would allow a woman to die if she were critically ill and pregnant...leaving a child without a mother...but I wonder how he would feel if it was his wife, daughter, sister, mother or aunt who was violated...or if a decision had to be made for his wife or daughter to die to save an unborn child. Contraception and right to chose is not a political or religious issue...it is family planning and a woman's authority over her own medical care...no man can dictate these issues to a woman.

    February 19, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. Steve

    I think Mr. Santorum is squirming in his own messes.

    February 19, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. Sparko

    Hey Santorum, God made this world for humans and we are to care for it. If we continue to pollute our home, we do so at our own risk. He gave us ONE earth, yes we are to live in it, but we are to be good stewards. Perhaps your "theology" to use up the earth with no regard for the consequences is counter to God's, not Obama's.....

    February 19, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. Tam

    A legend in his own mind. How did he get this far?

    February 19, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Robert

    My father used to say, You can't take spoken words back, so be careful of what you say
    Rick knew what he was saying, and he knew the audience he was saying it to would embrace it

    February 19, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    Radical environmentalism! sounds like 'radical humanitarianism,' or 'radical philanthropy.' it's amazing how these repugs can make even the best things people do sound bad. yes, there are a few fringe environmental groups that give the rest of us a bad name. but the environment is what keeps everyone, including Rick Santorum, alive! only a genuine idiot doesn't see the importance of protecting it. and the choice between the economy and the environment is a false one. there are plenty of good jobs waiting in the new green future, and financial ruin if we let climate change run amok. last year, there were ten disasters that each cost over a billion dollars. guess the repugs don't think that's bad for the economy.

    February 19, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. rosebud400

    He is mean little man, so far to the right he irrational even for the C's

    February 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. Docmartin

    Oh please.
    I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that Obama is a marginal "Christian". His continued preferential Muslim sympathy gives doubt about it!

    February 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    "And I think they're different than how most people do in America." I think what Santorum means here is "most people" that he knows or has managed to seduce. A man whose own party is afraid that he can muster up enough support to keep his campaign alive...contra to what the GOP wants. He represents a resurgence of T Party rabble rousing that has haunted the GOP, even those far right. I guess he feels that his controversial demeanor will garner support from the fringe. And it will. However, "fringe" is the operative word. A vile individual attempting to USE God. God remembers all.

    February 19, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. Greg

    Man, Santorum is one scary in-duh-vidual.

    February 19, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Pat in IL

    How dare he question anyone's "theology"! He is the one who interprets the bible in a very archaic manner, does not believe that all humans are equal (men and women, for one thing), and has the gall to judge. What a jerk.

    February 19, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. mk1

    Oh man this is going to tick off an awful lot of his supporters. He'd better watch our how far from the extreme right he swerves, it could be doom for him.

    February 19, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. CedarRapids

    "I just said that when you have a world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can't take those resources, because we're going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven," he said.

    You have to be kidding me. What does he think? that we can do whatever we want to this planet without causing harm because 'god' made it that way or some such nonsense? The guy has no clue, no clue at all.

    February 19, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  20. Erik

    This guy is a liar and just plain dangerous.

    February 19, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. hankers

    "I don't think that's what the American people want from either of the potential Republican nominees," Gibbs said. >>> he is implying that there are only 2 viable candidates, otherwise he would have said 'any' rather than 'either'. How does Newt feel about that I wonder?

    February 19, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  22. MrManhattan

    If he doesn't like America, he can always move to Vatican City.

    February 19, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. n2video

    He added he was referring to what he called the president's "radical environmentalism" when it came to mining for resources in the United States.

    What? I mean WHAT?????????

    "...when you have a world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can't take those resources, because we're going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven."

    Don't you. Ricky Boy, DARE even hint that man is above Earth and can exploit it at will. Man LIVES on the Earth, and can only survive if the Earth is habitable. Man is very quickly making the Earth uninhabitalbe. You, Mister Santorum, are a very dangerous man. Go home...go to bed...but before you go to sleep, you'd better PRAY that your children and grandchildren have breathable air and drinkable water.

    February 19, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. beardance42

    God may be entitled to judge our faith and virtue, Senator Santorum, but you are not.

    February 19, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  25. benji

    He is a liar. He just wanted to "get it out there" in order to paint Obama as "different" for the racist who follow this loser.

    February 19, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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