June 25th, 2008
11:49 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama says Dobson 'making stuff up'

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(CNN)— Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday night evangelical leader James Dobson was “making stuff up,” when he accused the Illinois senator of distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

“Any notion that I was distorting the Bible in that speech, I think anyone would be hard pressed to make that argument,” Obama told reporters on board his press plane Tuesday night.

Obama's past comments came front and center Tuesday when Dobson criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee’s June 2006 speech on his Focus on the Family radio show.

Watch: Schneider reports on Obama v. Dobson

In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

Earlier: Evangelist accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asked in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?"

Obama responded Tuesday saying the speech underscored the notion he is a man of faith and highlighted the importance that people like him who find faith important “try to translate our concerns in a universal language so that we can have open and vigorous debate.”

UPDATE:
Responding to the comments, Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus Action, said "There is no need to 'make stuff up' as it relates to Sen. Obama's interpretation of Scripture and the role of religion in the public square."

"His statements and record make clear his questionable perception of both. To argue that the Sermon on the Mount invalidates the Defense Department - as if Jesus Himself didn't have anything to say about the existence of good and evil and the need to combat evil - is about as deep as anyone needs to go to understand where the senator is coming from," Minnery also said. "He is editing God's word to fit his liberal worldview, and the more exposure his views on these matters get, the more obvious this will become to American Christians."

soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Debbie , Cinna NJ

    There is no "debate" on the bible...This Obama guy is so dangerous!! But I see now why the Bible states it will be so easy for the Antichrist to sway people...I have never seen people so "sucked" in by anyone...including the media...In this "American Idol" society we live in, it's not a wonder this guy with no credentials to be President is doing well...I doubt George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Truman or Roosevelt could get elected in the world we live in today...it's all about "charisma" now, nothing else...they would be "too boring"...

    The media would be wise to scrutinize this guy more...I remember how they were in the tank for Bush..I was screaming my head off at the time, "why, why why? Also they never questioned the reasons for the war enough...look what happened. NOW they are in the tank for Obama...and will be wrong again...PEOPLE don't let the media pick our president please!!! It's not their job...these people are no longer journalists...they are shills for whatever agenda they are trying to push..

    I will vote for the guy who loves this country the most and spent 5 1/2 years in a POW camp for this country...was allowed an early release and didn't take it...who has sons in the military and one in Iraq....can anyone IMAGINE the great Obama in a POW camp for 5 1/2 years? I know I can't....

    I did not vote for Bush and could not wait for him to be out of office...But at least I have the sense not to go in the exact opposite extreme and vote for a far left liberal who our enemies are rooting for!!

    June 25, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Marie

    This guy is so hatefull. Enough of this jerk. There is so much more going on in this economy and the wars we created to spend any air time on this idiot and what he says or doesn't say. CNN try and get some qualty content to your ratings. So far this morning, There is nothing to see here!

    June 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Dave C - NJ

    You should all see the Dobson religious kooks on the FOX blogs claiming that Dobson is correct. LOL!

    It's 2008 people. Keep the bible out of politics. Washington is backwards enough without tossing an ancient text into the mix.

    June 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Eric

    Be careful Barack, you are walking a difficult road, talking rational and with intelligence about a topic that has been kept hostage for decades by some freaky right-wing evangelicals. Most of them won't even understand what you are talking about but some will probably cast their vote for you, if they listen well and start thinking.

    June 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Senator Obama's comments did not distort the Bible....they reflected the tradition of religious tolerance and religious liberties that have been at the core of American life since its founding.

    It is unfortunate that Christian extremists like Dobson would ask that we use the Bible, not as a religious text for personal salvation but, rather, as a code for civil law. This is actually no different from how the Taliban have sought to use their interpretation of the Koran in Afghantistan. I would imagine that, if Dobson and his ilk were to be successful, the same type of civil liberties disaster would occur here as has happened in Afghanistan.

    Parenthetically, I am a devout Christian who reads my Bible and prays daily. My faith is vital to me. However, as Roger Williams (founder of the Baptist movement in America) said, "Forced worship stinks in the nostrils of God." That sentiment applies both for government-mandated religion (as in Williams' day) as well as the effort to translate the Bible as a dictate to civil law (as Dobson advocates).

    I will pray for both Mr. Obama and Dr. Dobson.

    June 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Angus McDugan

    I still am amazed how this snake oil salesman (Obama) has gotten so many people lined up behind him. I am also amazed at how everyone who has anything negative to say about Obama is instantly labeled as racist. At least he has leadership. I just hope he is leading in the right direction...

    June 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Mike

    What else is new. Dobson is just like the Republican party. A RACIST.

    June 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. NJ Republican

    I guess it is only okay if Obama speaks out about religion...but when someone challenges him it is labeled as an attack on his character. If he had any character no one would have to challenge him!! Funny how Liberals only want to talk about religion when the bring it into the National arena....

    Did he run to the teacher and complain as well when the kids didn't let him play kickball in recess on the schoolyard?!

    What a joke....he keeps this up and the silent majority will rise. He is waking a sleeping giant....The Evangelical Christians who believe in Bible the mocks!!

    McCain '08!!

    June 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. RMJ, Charlotte NC

    Now who's making things up? Really, now. Mr. Obama, I was being open minded in the coming general election, watching and listening closely to the candidates and wanting the best man for the job. However, now you have made my choice a little easier. To say that this country, which was establised under the authority of and belief in God Almighty(The true author of the bible) should not run under the rules set out in the 10 commandments is ludicrous. You are simply finding scripture from the old testament and trying to twist what Dr. Dobson was trying to convey.

    You are no longer a candidate for this voter.

    June 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. The Dove

    This Dobson fellow has already stated that he can not support / vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama.

    We, as a nation, can no longer afford Dobson's brand of INTOLLERANT BICKERING. Right now, we've got too many BIG ISSUES on which we, as pragmatic citizens, primarily agree on. Now is not the time to get bogged down in the weeds over his pet peeves.

    He's comming off as a fanatical crackpot that is not worthy of further discussion.

    June 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Really?

    Isn't Dobson one of McCain's "agents of intolerance," I mean, McCain supporters?

    June 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Dan - Atlanta

    Obama should agree to not distort the Bible in the future if Dobson will agree not to distort American politics in the future. I have more confidence in Obama to keep such an agreement than I do in the Pope of Colorado Springs.

    June 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. nosky

    A man of faith, huh??? This is the man who favors partial birth abortion, supports a bill that allows babies born alive to die, is for gay marriage, is against the marriage protection plan, and sat in a church for 20 years listening to the preaching of hate. Exactly what faith is he???

    June 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. joe

    Dobson might have picked from her namesake Dob Lou of cnn!

    They all might be against Obama but we are with Obama all the way!

    June 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Conor

    Once again showing that the Dem nominee uses reason to inform his judgement and not a book written 1700 years ago by countless different people who had a political agenda. Bravo Obama.

    June 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Maryann Rose

    All this hubbub with the religious right makes me wish for an atheist to run for president.

    That will never happen, of course.

    I wonder if Jews are offended that this 'preacher guy' totally discounts their 'Old' testament as rubbish?

    The entire bible is hogwash, in my opinion. An archaic book of fairy tales does not have any place in modern politics.

    I really wish CNN would ignore all these preachers.

    June 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Marilyn

    Since the bible is fiction anyway, anything taken out of it is "made up stuff". Anyone who would govern based on the bible is an idiot. This whole discussion is pointless.

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Obamessiah

    However, worship of Obama is permitted.

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Kevin

    Obama did not even have to respond to this bigot. Most people know what a joke this guy is, I hope he doesn't pander too much to the religious right like this. Just focus on what he can do, stay away from religion.

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. John

    It is interesting that Dobson would chastize Obama for quoting the Old Testament as opposed to the New. It is consistently the Old Testament that Dobson and the other Conservative right-wingers quote when bashing gays.

    As for the constitutional argument. The point is that church and state are separate. Everyone is free to interpret scripture as they are inspired. That means Christian, Jewish, Muslim and any others! The constitution does not mandate or advocate for any particular religion – or any religion at all if that is one's personal choice.

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. kevin

    mattew25.org thats all i have to say not all christians interested in the political process are hateful conservitives who cant take look at a more liberal point of view...poor dr. dobson trying to stay relevant with his hateful rhetoric reminds me of old mccain....go obama and please every one check out matthew25.org for a different perspective and keep in mind its not ran by the obama campaign but endorses him......

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Harry

    Another reason to contribute to Obama to fight these kind of smears!

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Dobson long ago showed himself to be a mouthpiece for corporate America. He has spouted anti-labor, anti-environmental and pro-neocon garbage for years now. I’m an evangelical and I told Focus (Target) on the Family to stop writing me years ago. Clowns like Dobson do not tell me how to practice my faith – or my politics.

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. Allison R.

    1. Separation of church and state is for a reason–it doesn't just protect those of us who don't want religion crammed down our throats–it also protects religion from being regulated by government. Why does no one realize this? Keep it separate! Shame on the media for even giving this guy any airtime when it pertains to politics. Respect the constitution.
    2. Obama's right. Anyone who has read the bible knows that it indeed refers to stoning your neighbors, selling your daughters, and the proper treatment of your slaves. Is Dobson saying that he agrees with the literal word put forth by the bible? He has children–did he sell them? This guy is a disgrace to true religion.

    Stop giving him airtime!

    June 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Hello!!!

    He has been making it up as he goes along since last year......
    Go McCain!

    June 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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