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. K in CT

    You hit the NAIL on the head. Too bad there isn't a reporting station that supports women. Hillary sure could have used some good press.
    I agree that religion doesn't belong in the campain, however as a united nation we are "UNITED UNDER GOD" and "IN GOD WE TRUST" ! Ahmen

    VOTE the right CHOICE – We are in a mess. T repub's arn't exactly the right choice however they won't get us any deeper or worse off than we already are. VOTE CAREFULLY – you are going to get what you ask (VOTE) for!

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. John

    Dobson has a right to say what he wishes, no matter how distorted and rooted in evil and hate. What I can't believe is why so many followers actually listen and beleive what this guy espouses. Listen to God, not Dobson; you'll be better off.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Nikki

    Are we surprised by Dobson's comments? Timing is everything. Is he trying to help McCain gain support with evangelicals because last week's news story was that Obama was fairing well with evangelicals? Obama has an extensive outreach for evangelicals within his campaign. The problem with Dobson's criticism of Obama's speech is due to there being multiple Christian sects with varying views of "what is right and what is wrong", he's asking for a slew of rebuttals.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Phil, FL

    McCain buddy spreading more types of "fear" – isn't this what we've grown used to the last 8 years?

    Think, people.

    Black said another attach would help McCain. That's the news – not this religious nutcase.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Charles Rountree

    I am afraid Mr. Dobson speaks for the "Republican Faith", no Christian church I am familiar with.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Separation of Church and State

    Get these kooks out of politics.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Trey

    Since people who don't vote Obama are automatically considered racist, what about the minorities who don't vote McCain why aren't they considered racist too? The only reason they didn't vote another race in before was because that wasn't an option then.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Clinton, NV

    Am I correct . . . This was 2006? Why comment now? I think any rational person, religious or not, would side with Obama on this one. Not familiar with Dobson but the first impression is not a good one.

    June 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. mike

    "he's deliberately distorting the tradition understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology".

    This statement, coming from Dobson, is so ironic and hilarious that I am almost paralyzed in disbelief.

    June 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Frantz (Atlanta)

    How desperate is the GOP? Last night I watched Sean Hannity connect everything the Hannity and Colmes on Barack Obama including every war the happened prior to WWI.

    Now they attacking Obama on faith issues? I thought faith was part of the GOP expertise.

    Obama was simply diving the word of God like the bible tells you do(Line upon line, precepts upon precepts).

    Obama '08

    June 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Christian for Obama

    Chris from NY,

    My dad, an independent baptist minister, use to have a simple saying:

    "You'll be surprised at who you see in heaven, and, you'll be even more surprised at who you DON'T see in heaven."

    June 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. JG

    Anybody want to remind Dobson that there is a group of people for whom the dietary laws are not antiquated, and the Old Testament is still relevant? They are called Jews. Some of them even live in the US, and deserve equal protection from our government's interpretation of the Constitution.

    June 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Peter

    Keep it up Mr. Dobson.
    Drive more and more people from the right wing.

    June 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Belle2

    As usual, I find the comments more troubling than the article. Obama's speech was, as always, political and in that speech he shows his ignorance of Christianity. That is not surprising since he did not go to a Christian church as a child; then when he began attending, his church was outside of the Christian norm. (He didn't go to church until he began attending the Trinity Church 20 years ago.) It seems to me that is what Dobson said. Of course, the Bible is always interpreted by all readers; it is just that Obama's interpretation does not fall within the same parameters as most Christian theologians. The Trinity Church is not a typical Christian church.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Vern

    Obama was not interpreting the Bible for anyone. We all have our own views of the Bible. There are some religion that goes by the old testiment so Dobson cannot say that the old testiment no longer matters to modern day believes. This is why Obama said that we need to read our Bibles...for better understanding. He never said he was an authroty on interpretation og the BIble.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Geri GA.

    I think all of you should read Michelle Obamas essay that she wrote while she was in college .

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. JLaVeck

    My goodness, what a hypocrite! This is the person that uses the "antiquated" old testiment to bash gay and lesbian citizens.

    Well, true colours and all that...

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. corin

    Ok where the Dobson come from?? This was a speech given back in 2006... actually the point is we can not frame public policy around the bible... and i am a catholic stating this!!!! Funny anthing for 2 min. of fame! CNN why are you reporting this again?! Didnt some soliders die today? Didnt my pockets just get low because i had to buy food and gas?

    OBAMA 08

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Terri in Fl

    Now who do you suppose wrote this?

    "Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity."

    "We can know God only through his works. We cannot have a conception of any one attribute but by following some principle that leads to it. We have only a confused idea of his power, if we have not the means of comprehending something of its immensity. We can have no idea of his wisdom, but by knowing the order and manner in which it acts. The principles of science lead to this knowledge; for the Creator of man is the Creator of science; and it is through that medium that man can see God, as it were, face to face."

    That would be Thomas Paine! Of which John Adams said:

    "Without the pen of Paine the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain."

    How I wish general knowledge of our founding fathers and their thoughts and principals was better understood in this great country they founded.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Travis

    First of all, all you anti-Dobson skeptics don't have a clue to what you are saying. Dobsin is right. By the way this nation was built on Christianity by our forefathers. Also, there never was supposed to be separation of church and state. That was overridden by individuals who rejected God. Those who are speaking about Christians and the Bible will be held accountable. You have to override your conscience and ignore God to post those worthless comments. How about pray and seek God for the right person in office this year. Also ask Him to save you.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Milly - Arizona

    Who is Dobson anyway? Where was he on the issues of poverty? And who told him the Old Testatment is no longer relevant. This are the same right wing nut-jobs that have high-jacked religion and pushed us to tis un-ending war in Iraq.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Phil, FL

    Come on CNN – we need to hear more about how an attack will help McShame. Do the news, not this gossipy drivel.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Bob Witt

    So if the Old Testament is "Antiquated", "and no longer relevant"as Dobson suggests , then shouldn't Dobson reject that part of the Bible?

    Of course he won't he will use the Old Testament to "prove" his point at some later date.

    Thats called "cherry picking" in everyday language.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. laughable

    Odd that Dobson would say using the antiquated Old Testament should be set aside. Isn't that the exact text that he uses to preach that homosexuality is wrong? Once again, the Christian "right" picks and chooses what should be used and interpreted from the Old Testament. I don't think anyone is shocked. How pathetic. Again.

    June 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Chris Troy

    I see... so it's okay for the religious freek-toids to pick and choose which portions of the Bible are relevant to their world view, but anyone else who does it is out of line. It's all or nothing freek-toids, and a lot of you need to start stoning your children (and particularly you Dobson).

    June 24, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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