Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James Dobson Pontificates on Obama's Theology

Two years ago Barack Obama spoke to a Sojourner's sponsored rally. At that rally he spoke of his faith and how it influences his moral and political decisions. It was, at the time well received. He spoke of the importance of faith -- opposing those who feel that faith has no place in the public square -- while making sure that any politician or politically active person understands that religion by itself can't be the argument. You have to use reason as well. Indeed, moral statements need to be set forth in broad terms, because this is, after all, a diverse nation.
For some reason James Dobson just discovered the speech and has denounced Obama. Dobson says that Obama distorts the Bible and offers a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution." Now, Dobson, who is by training a child psychologist, has no theological training nor legal training. Really, we shouldn't have to even be dealing with this "johnny-come-lately" attack. What has Obama done to warrant Dobson's wrath? He suggests that to simply claim the Bible as support for public decisions is difficult. Leviticus, as he points out, supports slavery and condemns the eating of shrimp among other things, while the Sermon on the Mount might prove problematic for the Pentagon. So, he asks, which texts should we make preeminent? As for the Constitution -- Obama's crime is simply to uphold the idea that church and state are two different entities.
Why the attack? Well, many Evangelicals are looking closely at Obama. Dobson is afraid that Obama will break apart his two-pole platform (anti-gay rights/anti-abortion). He fears a broadening of the conversation because a broader conversation makes it more difficult to cultivate a zealous, narrowly focused coalition.
Will it work? I think Dobson's days as an influential political force is in the past. At this point, no one's listening! And so, maybe the press should stop focusing attention on him.
The problem with Dobson's views -- and those of his cohorts -- is simply this. They have hijacked the Bible and the church and insist that if one doesn't read the Bible in the same wooden way as they do one isn't a Christian and is distorting the Bible. My belief is that it's they who distort it by not taking it contextually and historically. Reading the Bible and interpreting the Bible are two different things.


Mark said...

James Dobson's ship has sailed. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell are dead.

Dr. Dobson should stick to teaching us how to give our children self esteem. He actually did a great service to the church in the 70s by telling ministers not to neglect their children for church work.

I can understand how some Christians could think that abortion is an issue important enough to sway their vote. (Although war is also a life issue, and senator Obama was the only one pro-life enough to vote against Dubya's war).

But McCain is pro-life and Dobson won't support him either--McCain has committed the sin of believing in global warming.

Since Dr. Dobson is boycotting the presidential election, he should also abstain from commenting on it.

Danny Bradfield said...

James who?


JP said...

I am no fan of Dobson but if I could add my 2 cents especially concerning what mark said.. Yes, abortion IS the biggest issues (not the only important one) when innocent lives are being destroyed all in the name of choice, something is wrong.

"At that rally he spoke of his faith and how it influences his moral and political decisions"

I find that humorous as Obama's stance on abortion is foreign to anything moral

John C said...

I don't think Dr. Dobson's time has passed. He still has an audience of millions with tremendous influence. I welcome his views on social and political matters. He highlights issues that, sad to say, the mainstream media blatantly ignores.

I understand Senator Obama's comments from his speech two years ago, and his comments are typical of what you'll find on many liberally religious websites; it's nothing I haven't heard before.

In the end, Senator Obama (judging from his voting record) is the most liberal member of the senate - period. If you share those perspectives, then he's your man.

Why somebody with a moderate to conservative leaning would even consider voting for someone like that - who CLEARLY has a different worldview than you - is beyond me...