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. sumac61

    Dobson is about as interesting to me as Don Imus, which is to say, not at all. News, please.

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Peter E

    So now Obama thinks he will not just be our president but is also an authority to interpret the bible for us? My, what arogance!

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Jan, Knoxville, TN

    These right-wing fundamentalists are totally disgusting to me. They say they are pro-life but they continue to support the Bush Administration's war and the killing of many innocents. Also, have they ever heard of the separation of church and state? Obama is right, they are wrong!

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Matt: honestly

    Pat Riot....First of all, the founding fathers were not all Christians. And yes protect those beliefs...including freedom of speach and freedom of religion. Moron.

    June 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. WI Voter

    Dobson has made an entire career out of distorting the bible. This sounds like a desperate mewl for relevancy.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Joe Regis

    Dobson want monopoly on the bible.

    Nobody has monopoly on the bible.

    Evangelical for Obama.

    Go Obama go!

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Kraig Rasool

    Yet another person being funded by christian extremists out to pull a
    shroud over the intelligent regime about to take hold.... Its bewildering to me, that pulpit political rubbish seems to always stink up the place.
    Im sure that when this speech was made to those who were listening,
    it was appropriate. Obama is not a product of dummies, and im so sure he knows his bible better than some of the paid religious leaders.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. smokesignals


    Shame on our media, once again, for even giving this jerk a moment's notice and news coverage!


    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Martin

    Yeah. Obama is distorting the bible to fit his world view.

    Something about a pot calling a kettle..... but lets not get racial.

    The evangelical right is correct to be threatened. Distorting scripture to fit a specific preexisting worldview and set of prejudices is THEIR game.

    Unbelievable. James Dobson is a joke. What is he saying? All scripture needs to be taken literally and interpreted to the letter? I'd better let my girlfriend know that i'll have to drive her to the city limits next time she's on her period. Also, we'd better do something quickly about all those farmers in the midwest planting different crops next to each other. God might get angry and send another hurricane-punishment (this last one being the gays' fault.)

    Can you think of a more sober and reasonable statement than the one Obama made?

    The religious right has no ground to stand on anymore.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Quincy

    If you have a bible, open it and interpret for yourself, rather than listening to Rev. Dobson. having a personal relationship wiuth God would also help a great deal when these so called religious leaders speak.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Peter E

    No thanks, Obama. I'd rather interpret the Bible for myself. I won't trust a politician to do it for me.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Not an Obama Supporter

    Who cares what any of you think? I still will not be voting for Obama.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Gary

    America has had enough of these goofy, religious zealots trying to dictate public policy according to their (and GOD's) vision of the world...which they claim to know. BARACK THE VOTE AND RETURN AMERICA TO SANITY!!

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Sharon Minnesota

    Barack Obama and his henchmen have no footing to criticize Dobson. With Obama's religious background and training of radical black liberation theology with J. Wright he needs to pay attention to Dobson and learn about the US constitution. the bible and the correct interpretation of both documents.

    Dobson may be leaning to the right a little but God help us if Obama and his left leaning crazy's get a foothold in America's spiritual life. That would be the beginning of the end of a society based on a democratic constitution and our founding fathers Christian faith.

    Dobson has been a pillar in the Focus on the Family movement in this country who has contributed to US stability in our sinking moral condition. We have freedom OF religion, NOT freedom FROM religion. There's a huge difference.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Charles

    Does Dobson feel we should no longer give credibility to the Old Testament? Are we supposed to tear out all of the books which make up the Old Testament and solely focus on the New Testament writings? If so, then how can Dobson call himself a Christian or theologian? If I read correctly from the New Testament, there are quite a few references from the Old Testament, including speech directly from the Son of the God of the Old, New, and Now Testaments!

    Hey James, perhaps you should read the WHOLE Bible, including the Apocrypha, and then reflect on your own Theology, that seems to be a little immature and uneducated.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. zivo24

    Dobson has good reason to be worried about Obama.

    An Obama presidency would probably be bad for business for Religion, Inc.

    They won't have access to power and sales the White House has generated for them over the last eight years.

    GOP stands for God and Oil = Profit.

    June 24, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. DM, Arlington TX

    This is a sad attempt to distract people from what is important and to take the heat off of Mr. Black inviting a terrorist attach on America in order th help elect John McSane.....

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Obama's BodyGuard

    Obama, don't fall for the okidoke!!

    Don't Go To Iraq!!!!

    ...I hate fruitcake!

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Dolores

    So much misery has transpired over many many years in the name of religion. Though I am a woman of faith and try to be a good christian, I believe people who speak in the way of Mr.Dobson are fanatics and do more harm than good. We have seen enough of these so called preachers during this pre election year to last us a lifetime. They are not worth the media attention or that of the American people. They just keep popping out of the woodwork, as they say, and annoying most of us.
    Senator Obama is going forward no matter what they say. That is what we who support him believe in our hearts and minds.

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Of course by dismissing the Old Testament in favor of the New, Dobson is saying that Judaism is obsolete and irrelevant.

    To me, what makes Obama's religiosity palatable is that, like Thomas Jefferson and the Founders before, and Abraham Lincoln after, Obama stresses the moral lesson of the bible above the metaphysical one. In other words, we should treat one another with dignity regardless of whether Jesus is an eternal being.

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Ian

    "Don't pay any attention to that Old Testament nonsense. You should be reading the New Testament....that we wrote."

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. curmudgeon

    Nothing like the wisdom of a charlatan preacher to interject some vitriolic spite into all that ails us. Dobson and his flock of sheep probably think evolution is the creation of the imaginary devil too. Delusional nonsense.

    June 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Sam

    Wouldn't ignoring the Old Testiment be a distortion of the Bible?

    June 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Peter E

    Leave your liberal politics out of religion Obama! Or haven't you heard of separation of church and state?

    June 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Ken in NM

    re Jason,

    Orthadox christianity, nice so that must mean you're Roman Catholic?

    June 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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