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

Obama says Dobson 'making stuff up'

,

(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. pigback

    I haven’t re-read Obama’s speech, but I did read it a few months ago and was overwhelmed by its clarity and general level of religious discourse for a politician and lawyer.

    The quality of Obama’s address has not changed in the intervening years, but the level of discourse has. Dobson has brought the discussion down to his level, more about misleading than having folks decide for themselves. It worries me that we’ve arrived here as a country. The question remains where we the conversation.

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Sean

    Here we go again! These right wing nuts distorting every word that come out of Obama's mouth.

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Jim Shimmer

    Republicans are a filthy bunch. They will do anything to win.

    Even sell their mama!

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. RML

    Sometimes I feel like I live in a foreign country where religion still divides nations. I think Obama makes a very good point – that it is time for us to honor the fact that we do, in fact, have freedom of religion and that should include everyone – not solely the views of evangelicals. They have become paramount in dividing our country because they have successfully managed to support the GOP in legislatiing morality as they see it. I believe Obama was just trying to make a point that we can't govern on the literal translation of scripture but we need to give people the right to believe as they wish – and respect those beliefs. Once again, Dobson won't tolerate any such notion that he is not the absolute authority on religious theology, morality and truth. His arrogance and divisiveness are anything but Godly.

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Rick FL

    We need to keep church and state separate. That concept was correctly intended to protect each entity from the other and to respect our religious freedoms in this country.

    Would Dobson want his organization's tax-exempt status revoked?

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Henry

    We’ve got to be able to talk about religion in public life, including our beloved version of Christianity, without demonizing those grappling with pluralistic society. I am sorry Dr. Dobson appeared to try to score points at Senator Obama’s expense.

    June 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Brian Jordan

    Barack was right on target with his analysis of the perils of literal biblical interpretation. For Dobson to attempt to rally the red meat evangelical wing of Christianity against such a protagonist for change, is a clear indication of the desperate straights the conservative movement is in. Those of us who are proud liberal mainstream Protestants, from a wide range of denominations, will not cower in the face of the flawed theology that the Dobsons, Hagees, Parsleys, and Robertsons perpetuate.

    Kudos to Barack for speaking truth to a declining political power, whose time has come to have the light shined on it.

    June 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. JeffRob

    You're dag-on right he's making stuff up. His whole life is centered on made-up stuff, so who's surprised?
    I'm gonna go give Barack 50 more bucks.
    Obama 08!

    June 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. John Grobe

    Finally, a politican with a practical view toward governing the country. No two people can ever have the exact same interpretation of the Bible nor should we govern the country using the Bible as the guide.

    June 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. ProundToBeRepublican

    Dobson is trying to defend his church from going down if people start to read their bible and try to understand it themselves, by not letting people like Dobson interpret for them, Peple like Dobson are there for their own benefit the more members they have the more money they make so they will try to interpret the bible they way they want to compute with other churches, Obama is right guy read your bible so you can challege Conservative(false Christians) who has been expoiting bible for years.

    June 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Beverly, NYC

    Fruitcakes like James Dobson is the main reason the forefathers were wise enough to seperate church and state.

    June 25, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. brad

    Dobson is the very essence of what is wrong with Christianity and really any religion that injects itself to this election process. It only creates divisions. Really wish religion wouldn't be an issue during elections. The person voted in is to represent all people no matter their religion, race, or background.

    June 25, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Former Hilary supporter

    Give us a break. It's Obama that's making stuff up.

    June 25, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. e

    I wasn't aware that anyone cared what james dobson says. but maybe some will think of his public words as legitimate now that cnn has put him front and center.

    June 25, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. The Dove

    The best person to confront a misogynistic man is another man.

    The best person to confront the Ku Klux Klan is a white person

    The best people to confront an instigating, scripture-parsing, politic- spouting pastor is team of logical, clear thinking pastors.

    Men ( an women) of the cloth, if you have an opinion, please prepare to weigh in.

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Republican for OBAMA!

    Dobson is just a pawn for the GOP. It’s all just "spam" used by them to distract from the real issues, which the current administration is severely deficient in addressing.

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Peter

    People will have to judge for themselves on all this. The people who reguarly listen and are influenced by James Dobson are not going to get into all of that, I suspect, but evangelicals who begin to do so are going to have some problems, I’m afraid, with James Dobson.

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Tammy, TX

    Of course he is because Dobson wants to be relevant, and right now he is outside of the GOP favor, which means he's irrelevant.

    Obama will become the next president and Dobson will continue to be hot air.

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Ray

    Obama is right. Dobson is full of BS

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Evangelical Notfor Dobson Anymore

    I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE, INCLUDING MY FELLOW EVANGELICALS, TO LISTEN TO WHAT OBAMA SAID IN THE SPEECH. YOU WILL UNDERSTAND BY YOURSELF HOW DISGRACEFUL AND LOW JAMES DOBSON IS BY DISTORTING OBAMA'S COMMENTS . I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO DOBSON 'S FOF PROGRAM MAN FOR YEARS . I STOPPED A YEAR AGO WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME THAT GOD WAS FAR FROM BEING HIS MAIN MOTIVATION.
    FELLOW EVANGELICALS, I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO VOTE FOR OBAMA, LET ME BE CLEAR. BUT LISTEN TO HIS COMMENTS AND MAKE YOUR OWN OPINION ABOUT DOBSON. DO NOT FOLLOW THIS MAN ( DOBSON)AS A GURU. HE IS NOT TRUTHFUL!!!
    "MY PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE"

    June 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Ted M. Gossard

    I was disturbed by Dobson’s misrepresentation of Obama myself. Just because Obama has certain ideas and platforms that do not cohere with the Scriptures does not mean that taking him out of context is acceptable. Nothing hardens the heart towards a person or movement more than hard-headed nearsightedness. It makes Christians look like they are out for the sake of fighting and not for truth or love. There are too many reasons to be suspicious of any politician–too many, in fact, that it strikes me silly that Dobson would feel that he needs to distort words and context. While I would tend to agree more with Dobson than Obama on most issues, I just cannot support misrepresentation.

    June 25, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Anonymous

    If we stood on the whole Word of God this nation would be in a lot less trouble than it is now, Mr. Obama. You are skilled at taking things out of context.

    Woe to the nation whose Lord is not God!

    June 25, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. joe12233446

    If we stood on the whole Word of God this nation would be in a lot less trouble than it is now, Mr. Obama. You are skilled at taking things out of context.

    Woe to the nation whose Lord is not God!

    June 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Ted M. Gossard

    I am not at all a fan of Mr. Obama, but I immediately came to his defense after I heard the ill-considered remarks of Mr. Dobson! Oh! Ted said it best: “While I would tend to agree more with Dobson than Obama on most issues, I just cannot support misrepresentation.”

    June 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. GOP IS A FRAUD

    none story

    June 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12