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. Rogue351

    Obama may not hold true to biblical standards and ideologies, but do you as a US citizen really want that ? Rick Santorum also does not hold 100% true to biblical ideologies or standards. If he did the USA may be acting more like the Taliban and Al Qaeda than a nation set on capitalism and the standards of we come first no matter what. Which I would like to add is not by any means a perfect ideology. However, religious fundamentalism is not the answer either. Take a look at the popularity of govements in the middle east at the moment. Obama is leading just left of center. Santorum will lead a great deal further right than Obama has ever swayed left. And typically what I have seen from past administrations leading from the right strips more people of American rights that does leaning to the left does. I want everyone to think of their age and then ask yourself this question. How many years of my life has the USA been involved in military conflict ? The answer for me is far to many. And if you don't think that Santorum more than likely will lead the USA into yet another war in Iran or Syria before Obama would you are sadly mistaken. I am willing to bet that "God" will tell him to do it. And what exactly is the difference between "God" directing George W. Bush or Rick Santorum and "God directing Osama Bin Linden ?

    February 20, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  2. snowdogg

    Santorum is a smarmy, right-wing, zealot who would, if elected, attempt to impose his concept of "values" on America. This type of potential tyrant is dangerous and not the type of President we need.

    February 20, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  3. huh?

    "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," [Santorum] said.

    What?!! What age are you living in?!!

    February 20, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  4. anagram_kid

    Just another way to say President Obama is 'different'.

    Obama 2012

    February 20, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  5. 66Biker

    Typical Republicon... Uninformed and unimpressive.

    February 20, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. grady

    keep talking Rick...the hole you are creating just gets deeper.

    February 20, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  7. Sam

    The 2012 election should be the easiest for the republicans to win but for some reason we have people like Santorum and Newt left in the race and Santorum is actually leading in polls. I find it hard to believe that the republicans couldn't find better candidates than these guys. If Santorum wins the nomination I think Obama will win hands down. Santorum has a good fiscal policy but his social views will turn people off. He needs to realize that its 2012 not 1812. Do these guys actually think most americans agree with their views? You're surrounded by far right supporters which is great now but people with those views are not the norm in america (just like the far left is not representative of most americans).
    Can we not find a candidate that is fiscally conservative but moderate on social issues. Why we are arguing over abortion, gay rights and whether global warming exists is beyond me.

    February 20, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  8. Speak The Truth

    Sanctimonious Santorum reveals once again his own bigotry at christians who think differently than he. Rather than focusing on putting forth his own agenda, Santorum belittles the beliefs of others. we don't need a president who doesn't respect others. We don't need a president who can't uphold the worth and dignity of other Americans, regardless of their religion, or even atheism. He is no better than the Taliban.

    February 20, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  9. cgs

    Republicans don't be stupid! Santorum cannot win swing voters. A vote for him won't stop the Obama agenda. Romney is the best chance we have. He is the turn-around-guy and the only candidate with actual governing and executive experience.

    February 20, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  10. Kris

    Santorum's remark needs no clarification – he meant what he said. He wants to tout his honesty and forthrightness and so I believe every word he says. Isn't that what he wants us to do?

    February 20, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  11. Vance

    REALLY?! Theology and Environmental issues all wrapped into one Ricky? You explanation needs and explanation.

    February 20, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  12. Bee

    If Santorum were to check his Bible, he would see that human kind is told to be good stewards of the Earth. Taking care of the environment is one of our solemn duties. He cannot wiggle his way out of this, and he should just fold his tent and go home. He does not have the intellectual capacity to deal with the issues he is making pronouncements about.

    February 20, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  13. bassman

    Once again our media jumps to the defense of Pres. Obama. Santorum never questioned Pres. Obama's faith... but our media thought he did. This is getting old. Good grief.

    February 20, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  14. Utter Disregard

    Santorum is a perfect example of everything that is terribly wrong with the Republican/Right, and the RELIGIOUS Right in particular. He's an ignorant, hateful, bigoted, fear-mongering thug – cloaked in a sickly guise of religious piousness. He's got a toxic, fearful, hateful, pathetically ignorant message for his followers and he's a terribly humiliating insult to good, sensible Christians. I, personally, am not religious.. and people like Rick Santorum are a big reason why. He's bring very swift destruction to this country. That being said, I really do hope he gets the GOP nomination. Obama is gonna have this pathetic fool for lunch.

    February 20, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  15. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Santorum seems to believe that anyone who does not agree with Catholic tenents is following a false theology. Despite his denying this, he keeps saying that anyone who does not follow his religious tenents is inherintly wrong in their base beliefs.
    I do not want anyone who wants to impose their religion as law for President. Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Pentecostals, Buddists, methodists and even Atheists would be forced to live under the rules of the Pope if Santorum has his way.

    February 20, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  16. David Mann

    Santorum doesn't want President Obama to impose HIS theology on the country, but Santorum will happily impose his OWN theology on Americans. Religious radicals are the same everywhere, be they Islamic or christian. God save us all from organized religion and its haters and bigots.

    February 20, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  17. SixDegrees

    Lame. He meant Obama isn't a Christian and he, Santorum, is. Because Santorum has stated repeatedly that he wants to establish a theocracy in place of the United States and govern by Biblical rule instead of the Constitution. He'll need a lot more than a 12 golf ball toilet to flush away his years and years worth of such statements.

    February 20, 2012 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  18. 12genamerican

    Santorum is backpeddling faster then Gingrich and that is pretty fast

    February 20, 2012 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  19. Only1pbj

    Santorum's walk seems more like those of the Pharisees than those of Jesus. I think he needs to spend more time studying his Bible than shooting off at Pres Obama. Many of his accusations are so exagerated, they're essentially lies. These Republicans are making Christianitiy look ugly. Either they get their act together or God will do it for them. These are the same folks who cheered about the rate of Texas executions and laughed as Gingrich joked about those in need of food stamps. Very sad!

    February 20, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  20. Tony P.

    What Gibbs meant to say is, "Those kind of remarks have no plae in politics...Unless it is Obama making them."

    February 20, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  21. kayce

    The Press should hold these Morons to what they say. One minute he is accusing the President of have a theology not based on the bible and next he says was referring to the President's environmental policies. Please the media should ask him and hold him responsible to that statement. I am baffled how politicians can get away with statements like this and at the same time accuse the press of media bias and gotcha questions.

    February 20, 2012 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  22. Mike Souza

    Slamming the President for his theology has nothing to do with his religion? See this is what happens when you use Google as a dictionary.

    February 20, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  23. Cynthia W.

    He's a loser who denies global warming in support of large corporations an his almighty dollar. Fortunately for sane people he doesn't stand a chance of being president. Take your greed and narrow-mindedness and go home!

    February 20, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  24. PadreSJ

    I think the take away here is that Rick Santorum doesn't understand what "Theology" means.

    Theo-logy :: The study of God (or gods) relationship with the world.

    If you're talking about secular values, you're talking about Mr. President's philosophy... instead you used the word, "Theology."

    Now I have no problem believing that you simply misspoke, but your track record on separating your theology from governance tells me that this not be the last time you'll misuse a religious allusion.

    February 20, 2012 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  25. Frank Ambro

    This guy is one sick puppy...

    February 20, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
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