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. Marc

    Really? Rick Santorum, a guy who wrote a forward for a book entitled "Darwin's Nemesis," a guy who doesn't believe in evolution but rather intelligent design, is going to take the position of scientific authority and say that Obama's ideas on the environment are not scientifically backed. Interesting move there. Generally, when I look for a scientific authority, I like to look for guys who don't believe in theories the ENTIRE scientific community supports. You're so right Dr. Santorum. How could we have ever doubted your scientific prowess?

    February 20, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. Jason

    For the love of God. We humans live on Earth and no other planets so does it make sense to mess with the only place that we've got?

    February 20, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. MimiD

    Why doesn't Santorum just say what he means; Obama is not a "Catholic" and THAT is why he has a problem with him. As a former Catholic, I can tell you that the Catholic religion behaves as if they rule the planet and everyone else is a worthless sinner that doesn't deserve the oxygen they breathe. Well Ricky, I didn't leave the Catholic Church in 1968 only to have some guy running for PUBLIC office try to force his antiquated sexist dogma onto me from the White House. Keep your prejudices, bigotry and sexist thoughts in your own house. They have no place in the governing of this country. Separation of Chruch & State!!!

    February 20, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. James

    This guy seriously cannot go 5 minutes without talking about Church or the Bible. Rick: whatever your personal beliefs, you're running for PRESIDENT, not Pope.

    If you want to lead EVERYONE, then try talking about concrete issues and take a lesson from JFK; be a President who happens to be Catholic, not a Catholic who happens to be President.

    February 20, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. Alex

    Oh, Jesus... I now know a lot about this guy – what God he believes in, and what he does with his wife in their bedroom. Of course, nobody asked me if I wanted to know this.

    February 20, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  6. Robrob

    "I accept the fact that the president is a Christian."

    Mighty big of him...

    February 20, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  7. fandancy

    You go Rick! Keep trying to lead the Republican party in their rush to proudly try to lead the U.S. back into the 18th century.
    You've got all the primitive ideas to get us there. Unfortunately for you, and luckily for us, you don't have a chance.

    February 20, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  8. AZ Wildcat

    Cliche after cliche after cliche from Mr. Santourm. Oh, yes it is a ugly remark but that is not what I really meant, wink, wink!!! But if I put that ugly idea in your mind... it is not what I really meant!!! wink, wink

    February 20, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. usualone

    Santorum is deflecting from what he said - and it will not work. He really does owe the President an apology. And what if the President were an Athiest, a Jewish person, a Moslem, a Protestant, a Morman, a Hindu - why does that matter?. The majority of Americans may be Christians but we are a secular country that should be all inclusive. People thought John Kennedy was not going to be elected because he was a Catholic and we know that he did become President. He kept away from his private religious thinking with grace and considered all Americans a part of this great country. Santorum is one whom all should call a divider.

    February 20, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  10. AmesIA

    Well Ricky, if you paid any attention to those concerned with the "health of the planet" besides oil companies, mining companies and the like you would understand that concern is one of enlightened self interest. The planet will still be here spinning after we make it into a toxic and inhospitable place in our hubris and greed.

    February 20, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  11. Zane

    I just have to laugh that some in the GOP really think they are going to beat Obama with this guy! I was excepting a fight between Romney and Obama this fall, because at least Romney had experience with creating jobs and balancing budgets. What does Santorum have? Nothing, but the title of "most corrupt" senator. I mean go ahead GOP and get the most conservative candidate in your own little "elections" but come the general election he will be crushed.

    February 20, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. Sam Adams

    Santorum is described most accurately in the Bible, the Book of Matthew 6:6.

    February 20, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  13. RAMBLE

    I recall Obama's "Christianity" ala Rev. Wright, who preached love to him for 20 years.

    February 20, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  14. GCV

    Santorum "accepts" that Obama is a Christian, it's just that Santorum is "holier" that Obama and the rest of us. If being holy means having a soul riddled with bigotry, hatred, and judgementalism, I would rather then just be a non-Christian who is a good person.

    February 20, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  15. Squigman

    What a clown. Just the fact that this mental vacuum, has the nerve to question any other persons beliefs is without question the most inappropriate behavior ever from a candidate for president. This is inexcusable, and is the very reason politics and religion should be separate. If my memory is correct, this separation is already the law of the land, and should always be recognized as such.

    February 20, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  16. Linda

    I know that President Obama is relieved to be "accepted as a Christian" by Santorum. How arrogant is that on Santorum's part? Santorum spends an inordinate amount of time clarifying his remarks and generally digging the hole deeper.

    February 20, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  17. BinMesa

    Santorum is not electable. The people that support him want to "take the country back". I want to move forward not backwards.

    February 20, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. HurtfulTruth

    OK......Does ANYBODY need to hear ANYTHING else from this WHACKJOB to figure out just how easy it's going to be for President Obama to win a second term??!!

    If we were STILL losing 750,000 jobs per month coupled with RISING unemployment, you still couldn't convince me to vote for these idiots!!

    February 20, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  19. enuff

    No, he didn't say Christianity. He "implied" that Obama didn't follow the teachings of the Bible. Plausible deniability with you to fill in the blank. And we all know how some people will fill in that blank.

    February 20, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. Dennis1020

    Santorum has to be the most angry, intolerant person I have ever heard. I REALLY hop he gets the Republican nomination because I believe the American voting public will give him a slapdown that will send a very clear message to him and his ilk.

    February 20, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. stta

    Wow- The GOP roller coaster brought up another Michelle Bachmann like, narrow minded, short sighted, and science illiterate to the to of the hill wondering if it will go down to the bottom again. They call themselves Christians acting on the me generation mindset. I am more concerned about their scorch the Earth now and leave nothing for later mindset than their religious fanaticism of don't infringe on my religious rights but I can force the government to enforce my religious morals on others. I don't know how they keep track of which side of the mouth they talk from.

    February 20, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  22. Reush

    Santorum you wouldn't recognize science if it bit you in the gluteus maximus.

    February 20, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  23. Tom

    Once again, Rick Santorum comes across as a religious doofus.

    February 20, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  24. Republican who supports President Obama

    I want to see this person say this stuff in an diverse neighborhood. They say all this crap from their safe havens – time to face the real public. I will give him my honest opinion – he is full of it.

    February 20, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  25. nolimits3333

    You are right, Rick. Obama has a different theology. He cares about the American people not just what Opus Dei says.

    February 20, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
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