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. blake

    Obama is a nominal Christian. He does not have a faith that he is committed to. He has a faith of personal convenience and political expediency. Obama's core ideology is that of a secular Marxist. He is a typical political leftist.

    February 19, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  2. David

    I guess Santorum is saying that he does not care what we do to the earth. We can pollute it to our heart's content, strip mine it so it lays barren, destroy our rivers and oceans. What a legacy to leave our future generations.

    This actually tell me who he truley cares about, industries that are owned by the likes of the Koch Brothers. He fullfills the mindless president that the CPAC is looking for!

    February 19, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. Norm

    Fellow tea partiers, of course I didn't mean to imply that the President is a Muslim (wink, wink).

    February 19, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. John

    Maybe some of us have a theology that teaches respect for God's creation.

    We are stewards, not owners.

    February 19, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  5. GI Joe.

    When you're explaining, you're losing.

    He "mis-states" a lot.

    What a JERK. We got the dog whistle a long time ago radical wingnut.

    February 19, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. Bill, NY

    Wake up Rick! When we harm this planet, we harm ourselves.

    February 19, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. jim

    yet ANOTHER conservative who doesn't understand that unpolluted water is a GOOD thing. that unpolluted air is a GOOD thing. that raw oil laying around on the ground actually KILLS things. how difficult is that to figure out?

    February 19, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. mb-texas

    Just like the others say something the press picks it up name is in the news.Question about comments Santorum is
    in the news again.Then he gets to exolain on the tickers and more free air time.Santorum needs to get into the 21st.
    century.Sounds like he is on the extreme outeredge.

    February 19, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. MashaSobaka

    This guy might want to stop talking. Every time he opens his mouth he spends a few days (or weeks) trying to pull his foot back out.

    February 19, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. omar

    this is why our founding fathers established seperation of church and state

    February 19, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  11. RGCC

    Why does Santorum think that he has the right to sit in judgement of anyone else's faith. This type of attitude is just self-righteous and completely unacceptable.

    February 19, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  12. SensibleJoe

    Rick Santorum obviously needs to re-read the United States Constitution, which explicitly states that no religious test can ever be required to quailfy anyone for public office in America (Article 6). He also needs to worry far less about President Obama's "theology" and far more about how his own party's policies and behavior are completely out of sync with the teachings of Jesus, especially as regards the poor. The GOP has no religious ground to stand on.

    February 19, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  13. Easy E

    Opps. The 'good Christian' was caught in a lie.Luke 6:42, nuff said loser.

    February 19, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  14. Vin Dicated

    Rick, Rick Rick, the more you talk, the clearer it becomes that you're a dangerous fascist.

    February 19, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    The president's world view is the same view by most people in this country.

    Santorum, you're the one that's way out of step.

    February 19, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. manhandler

    Let's face it....It's the Republicans that don't belong in our politics. Let's all work to send them that message in November so that we can get on with improving the country.

    February 19, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Santorum is accusing Obama of not being a Christian because of how he is calling Obama's values into question. Just because Obama wants something of the country's landscape to be intact when we are drilling into it isn't radical environmentalism. It is saying that we need to be better stewards of the land which we own like G-d would have wanted.

    February 19, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  18. Teena

    So taking care of God's creation is not Christian? Taking care of the "lesser of these" is not Christian? what Bible are you using Santorum?

    February 19, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  19. Marshall

    Santorum, Torquemada in waiting. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    February 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. Bigereads

    This demagogue is a danger to America and someone should shut his lying face up.

    He is furthering the death of the Republican party by making them look like neanderthals and boobs who are wallowing in 30BC.

    Everything he is against is an evil of his own making. Mr. Self Proclaimed Saint diminishes the Catholic Church more and more everyday and what he is doing will actually drive people away from the church not toward it.

    He makes a mockery of our faith each time he bears false witness against nation's President and disgraces our country in doing so.

    He defames and diminishes Almighty God every day by his vile and vicious attacks on we the people calling, us names because we do not espouse his socalled living standards.

    I cannot believe that sane men and women in the Republican party have no courage in telling this fraudulent christian that he is wrong about everything, and certainly not a good Christian or Catholic. I have a Priest in my own extended family and know a few personally and I have never ever heard these men speak the filth that Sanctorum is. The more he tells all of us that we are no good and only he is the purest, the more he loses. He is a loser in God's eyes because he is using his own distortions as God's true words. He has usurped God's power as his own. Please, please, Mr. Boehnner for once in your life, tell this man he is no good Catholic, just a fraud trying to win a political race.

    February 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. John Kantor

    The problem with Christianity (as well as Islam) is that it sacrifices the real world for a fantasy of a hereafter. So why not pollute and destroy the world we live in?

    February 19, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  22. Bill Peeler

    Liberals don't really hate war, but they demonstrably DO hate freedom — and America, too. The numerous responses I got to that intentionally provocative topic were quite interesting, to say the least. Predictably, most Conservatives seemed to love the concept. Meanwhile, most Liberals really "hated" it. Funny how intolerant these Left-wing, progressive, sometimes-defenders of the virtue of universal "tolerance" can be when it's their own ox getting gored. I truly think some of these Woodstock Nation peaceniks might get a little violent if provoked. So then I got to thinking, "What else do Liberals hate?" The logical answer to that question is: Liberals hate GOD, too. I reasoned that if you love something (or someone), you usually want to keep it around, preserve and protect it, even nurture it and watch it grow strong and flourish. If, on the other hand, you hate something, you generally want to get rid of it, banish it, or maybe even kill it. Now my Mama always told me, "Actions speak louder than words." So what have been the Liberals' consistent attitudes and actions toward God? Frankly, for at least the past half a century or so, they have been pretty hostile.

    February 19, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  23. gary

    But can he accept the fact that anyone else isn't?

    February 19, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. Geoffrey Hamilton

    No Rick, it doesn't matter what religion anyone is when you, yourself are not a christian. As a catholic you digust me, as an American, you scare me. Religion should never mix with policy, if we do that makes us no better than the Taliban. Americans are not as divided as the two-party system makes us out to be, we do have one common thread, we see the religious right and the GOP as the biggest threat to personal liberties, sexual freedom, and the constitution.

    February 19, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  25. J.V.Hodgson

    I do not want a President of the USA this steeped in his religion and religious beliefs, to the extent that he discusses it in his fight to become the Republican nominee.
    What he originally said was " if obama says he is christian then he is a christian" that clearly did not say he thought Obama was a genuine christian. The bill of rights specifically excludes this kind of commentary from Politics and matters of state. He can claim whatever he want as HIS Personal stance but to undermine what another persons religion is and how that person thinks religiously in HIS ( Santorums) opinion is outrageous.
    Despite what he says he would have every catholic catechism or tenet proposed as the federal law.
    No thanks.
    Go Obama 2012.
    Regards Hodgson

    February 19, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
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