It has long been a maxim that mixing religion and politics can spell trouble. So when Rick Santorum told a partisan crowd in Columbus, Ohio, recently that President Obama’s worldview was based on a “phony theology” that drives “radical environmentalists,” he must have known his comments would reverberate far beyond his conservative political base.

Santorum was speaking of efforts to forestall the worst effects of climate change through controls on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and policies aimed at encouraging the development of renewable sources of energy. Obama, he said, was putting the Earth before the needs of humans. “It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology.”

That theology, he said, was not “based on the Bible.” At another point, he rejected as unproven the findings of the vast majority of the world’s reputable scientists that humans are accelerating climate change. Climate change, he claimed, is not about “climate science” but “political science.”

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