June 24th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
15 years ago

Dobson accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/24/art.dobson.gi.jpg caption="Dobson takes aim at Obama on his radio show."](CNN) - One of the country's leading evangelical leaders is accusing Barack Obama of deliberately distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

In comments aired on his radio show Tuesday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson criticizes the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for comments he made in a June 2006 speech to the liberal Christian group renewal.

Watch: Dobson's comments on Obama

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

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asks in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay 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."

"So before we get carried away, let's read our Bible now," Obama also said to cheers. "Folks haven't been reading their Bible."

Watch: Can Obama court the Christian Right?

On the radio show Tuesday, Dobson said Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (527 Responses)
  1. Nevada

    I pray Obama doesn't win.

    June 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. K in CT


    June 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Jason Parkson

    Dobson sounds very immature to me. He is using whatever he can to discredit Obama.

    America needs to think hard about separatio of state and church. We are in recession, oil prices are shooting high and Dobson is worried about shellfish interpretation.

    June 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. william

    Would someone please point Dobson in the right direction. Between his brain and McSame's, they might come up with a half. I am a devout atheist and people like these two scare me.

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Belle

    Actually, as a non-church goer, I agree with Dobson to a certain extent.

    In that once Christ was born and began his ministry, the Old Testament (Or Old Law) was ushered in by the (New Law) or New Testament.

    So if all churches viewed the Old Testament as HISTORY, and the New Testament as the New Law, I think we all would be a lot better off...

    What did Christ say?

    Love thy neighbor as thyself...
    Love one another, this is the greatest commandment...
    Judge not that ye be not judged....
    If you have the faith of a grain of a mustard seed you can move mountains....
    Don't hide your light under a bushel....
    Ask and ye shall receive....
    Forgive those that would do harm to you....

    Unfortunately, although the "New Law" is very simple, so few of us actually practice it.

    We tend to do what Mrs. Truman says...."If you don't have something nice to say....come and sit by me honey!"

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. jason

    interesting...as are the comments.
    what's most interesting is the religious illiteracy found here. you see, obama would like his semi-religious voter block to buy into his understanding of the Christian narrative, which, i might add, is your typical liberal, all-inclusive theology that scraps traditional, orthodox Christianity. but that's fair, he is a politician. what isn't fair–and in fact, is dangerous to the Christian faith–is his insistence that this interpretation accord with his political agenda...sounds eerily familiar to the neocon tactic...

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |


    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. RH

    Pots and kettles, pots and kettles.

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Need I remind the good pastor that the Bible is left up to interpretation. There is NO ONE WAY to read or preach the gosphel. That is why there are SO MANY different Curches in the country. Each has a basic interpretation that differs from the next. We have Catholics, Baptists, Lutherns etc. I am willing that most have different variations from Dr Dobson's believes. Many have accused the good Dr. 's variations somewhat strict and FRUITCAKEY...............so there you go. That is why we have seperation of church and state in this great FREE and Religiously Free Choice country.

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Nikki

    I'm sorry, but doesn't the religious right distort the bible constantly for their own benefit, INCLUDING leviticus in the old testament????

    I believe obama's interpretation is more correct than some evangelical right-winger

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. JohnInOhio

    MHG says:

    RIght on Stephanie!! If more people would read their Bilbes then they would know that they are about to vote for the person (obama) that is going to usher in the beginning of the end.
    Has anyone stopped to think who is this guy why does he attract so many without question? Look out people he is a wolf in sheeps clothing.


    Hey! Now wait a minute, here. If you were a "REAL" Christian you would WANT to usher in the end times! Why do you think that there is so much support from the religious right for Israel. Come on, now, be a REAL Christian and hasten the apocalypse – VOTE OBAMA!

    June 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Anne

    Dr Dobson is a well respected leader in the evangelical community. You can not ask for a man with more integrity. He is not a staunch gop supportor, and has suggested he will not be voting this year for a president, and he is not thrilled with McCain.

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. jon

    Someone show me where is says anything about seperations of church and state?

    Anyone? I didn't think so...

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Debbie,Ewing,Nj

    In order to represent all of the people of this nation there has to be separation of church and state. The new testaent Mr. Dobson is written for the Church, the believer, not the unbeliever. So are you trying to say that a President should only represent the New Testament Church? This is why there is a separation of church and state. Even Jesus didn't judge the nonbeliever. That's God's job not the church and that won't happen until Jesus returns. Obama's using the old testament as an example points to practices vs faith. Stay in your lane of religion and stop trying to make this an issue. Go and lead McCain to Christianity, that's your job.

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. bridgette

    These neocons use religion as a tool. Do you really believe God cares if you are a Repulican or Democrat. I would think that he would preferr that you weren't niether. All through the bible religion is not spoken about in a positive way because it's about spirituality. These people have used religion as a tool to get what they want out of people. Not in a positive light. They don't even know what they want. The reality is if you don't agree with people like them then they will try to call you confused. I don't think most of these people believe in God and that is just my honest opionion. I think they like the power that comes from being at that pulpit. They helped Bush push this war too people.

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Trey

    A Navy HOOYAH to McCain 2008

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. COL.{retd]A.M.Khajawall

    Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and presidential Nominees,

    Please plead and request the media, pundits, and politician's to "Compare And Contrast" " Presidential Temperament" of our Presidential presumptive nominees? as we do for the appointments for the Supreme Court Justices of Our Greatgrand Nation.

    Yours truly,

    COL. [retd] A.M.Khajawall
    Disabled American Veteran
    Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas

    PS: Please talk about the " Presidential Temperament, Composer, Consistency And Caliber " is the key for our presumptive presidential Nominees. We do talk about the "Judicial Temperament" of our Supreme Court Justices nominees and so far we have failed to talk about the " Presidential Temperament " of our presumptive presidential nominees. The " Presidential Temperament " is the ultimate and in my opinion only requirement of our president as that effects every living soul here and around the world.

    Thanks once again.

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Louisiana Ed

    This fruitcake needs to concentrate on stealing money from his flock and leave the politics to the politicians!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Dave in Atlanta

    Are we FINALLY going to have a debate on the immorality of religious conservatism?

    Please tell me we are ...

    I can't wait.

    June 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Ken in NM

    re Matthew

    "June 24th, 2008 11:40 am ET

    Wow, liberal spite in this country is at an all time high. How incredibly ironic.

    As for separation of church and state, it doesn't appear in the Constitution. Good try though. I love that Obama supporters are trying to trumpet the Constitution, except when it comes to the Second Amendment, or to economic liberty, or to states' rights…Pathetic."

    Matthew my friend, I know this is a horrible thought but the Democrat is about to gain seats in the house and senate as well as take back the white house.

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Art

    The Bible is all lies anyway. Who cares

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Tom

    Dobson and his sort tolerated slavery and even made it possible in the name of the bible! Dobson and his sort can not hide from the judgement of history that their stand on slavery was wrong! For the first time in our history, we have someone that is different than Dobson and his kind trying to lead this wonderful and blessed land. Of course Dobson would not like it. Why should he? The world is falling into pieces right in front of him! No more slavery, Mr. Dobson. The hatred that you have for black people is going to keep you from entering heaven!

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Vietnam Vet

    So who wrote the new testament? – – Did they just leave out the parts
    of the old testament that they didn't like? Or someone interpreted it differently? To bad Jesus isn't around to defend his word – – to say his comments were taken out of context.

    Hey CNN you post one persons comments three times but keep deleting mine What's up?

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. AMN

    Well, you can't please everybody, regardless of your religious beliefs. Heck, you can't even please everyone that lies within your beliefs. And it's true, people don't read their Bibles.

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Jean

    Dobson should stick to his Church does he realize that there is a sepration between Church and state? It is possible that Dobson's teaching could work with core values in the general population
    addressing the moral decay of our society. Preparing citizen participants in the government with clear, fair and humane world views.

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22