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. Frank from Peterborough

    It's idiots like Dobson who serve to verify my opinion that man created God and not the other way around and make me comfortable with the realization that when I die I simply cease to exist. Just look at the money I save not being tricked into sending these con artsists all my money.

    June 24, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. political teen

    i am christian and am wise enough to know that the country doesnt entirely agree with my views- this is what obama was saying -dobson is nitpicking and looking for attention

    June 24, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Linda31

    Maybe Dobson should read the bible as well. Last I checked you were not the final authority on this. Maybe he can explain why we then have many interpretations of the word.

    June 24, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Butch Rankin

    Dobson's more of a man then Obama can ever dream of being. Obama's nothing more than a power hungry liberal.

    June 24, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Chut Pata

    How dare Dobson refer to the laws of Kosher as "antiquated dietary codes". The biblic dietry laws are not antiquated. They are still fresh and practiced by Jews (and even Muslims).

    It is just that government should be run on bibalic interpretation of some self-righteous moron like Dobson.

    I demand an apology.

    June 24, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Dennis

    I guess we should all be most grateful to this man Dobson for letting us know that some parts of the bible are no longer relevant. What a scoop! I for one had not been notified of that but no surprise because obviously I do not have his inside track. Perhaps he knows of other parts which have become irrelevant and can now be ignored. When he gets down off the mountain, maybe he would be kind enough to use this medium to provide Americans who do read the bible, with a comprehensive listing of all of the parts which can now be disregarded as irrelevant. Lets face it, nobody wants to waste his time reading stuff you are no longer required to believe.

    June 24, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. J-M

    This is the greatest compliment Obama could have ever received...

    June 24, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Mark

    Don't those same Old Testament reading that Mr. Dobson says are antiquated provide the basis for the Christian right's views on gay marriage and abortion? Does't this seem a bit hypocritical?

    June 24, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Tom, Flagstaff AZ

    Dobson is an idiot. Why do we pay any attention to an idiot?

    June 24, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Nick

    If Jesus was on earth right now, TODAY, spreading the same message that is portrayed in the Bible, Dobson would be railing against him, saying that he was "distorting" the Bible. You know what that makes him? A PHARISEE, exactly like the ones who said Jesus himself was distorting religious law. Who made this guy the authority on what parts of the Bible to cherry pick and declare them as the "genuine" Christian law? This guy is an absolute MORON, as is anyone who seriously listens to him!

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

    Obama's position, essentially, is that we do not live in a theocracy and views such as Dr. Dobson's cannot be imposed on America any more than views hostile to religious faith can be imposed on Americans. Dobson is frustrated because many evangelicals are thinking for themselves and supporting Senator Obama.

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Reality

    dobson is a religious nut !!!

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Jgian

    The bible?? Ok, how about the part that says a woman should not speak in church? That's new testament, mr dobson, do you advocate that women should be seen but not heard?

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Brian, IL

    Dr. Dobson; maybe you need to read the Bible again yourself. Try a page out of the New Testament.... lets look at.... say..... Matthew 7:1-5

    1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    You got a big plank in your eye "Dr". How about you remove that before you go picking sawdust out of other people's eyes?

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Ryan

    Wait.. so he is accusing Obama of distorting the bible because two years ago Obama pointed out that our government is not run by the bible and that there are some stupid laws in the bible that no one follows???

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. RC

    The Bilble is a distortion. So it is a distortion of a distortion.

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Brad

    I agree with Obama's words.

    Here is the message to Dobson, ever heard of separation of church and state?

    Men and women like you are hypocritical in nature and I am surprised you got a say in politics!

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Sherri

    Shame on you Mr. Dobson. You have just stepped into the political fray. If your organization is tax exempt, that privilege should be revoked immediately.

    Thomas Jefferson said, "Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State" (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802).

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Sara

    Isn't Dobson PROVING Obama's point here? ...that the bible SHOULD NOT be used in politics because EVERYONE INTERPRETS IT DIFFERENTLY.

    ...oh, but wait, I forgot, Lou Dobson is God and knows everything.

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Barackthe vote - Barackour world

    CNN you won't post this - last time I'll bother to read your "news."

    Why is this "news" and how does it enlighten the electorate and advance the discussion about the candidate best suited for the presidency?

    Why didn't the article fail to put Dobson's foolish comments in the context of "separation of church and state?"

    Do you have a copy editor? This article's headline on your homepage is misleading. A mistake?

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Stewart

    Honestly, Barack Obama's rise to prominence has led me to be sadder and more depressed about America than ever before. At a time when we should be celebrating the chance to have a drop of diversity in presidential politics, we are instead regressing to our most vicious and ignorant tendencies. I see much of the attack on Obama as out-right racism. When you hear people say things like "they're is something about him," or "I just don't know about him," those are euphemisms for saying "I don't like the idea of a black man in the White House." Hearing people talk about his candidacy has been a reality check for me in terms of where we are as a country. As for Dobson's comments, well there isn't much to say besides that they are clearly coming from an ignorant man. Obama was simply making the point that the Bible should not guide policy or dictate our actions. To emphasize the point, he referenced a few instances in the Bible that couldn't possibly be implemented in our society. Doesn't seem like he's distorting the Bible to me. Unfortunately, some will agree with Dobson and his vile opinion, just like some mindless dregs believe Obama is still a muslim. We just aren't ready yet as a nation...... ***sigh***

    June 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Amazed

    James Dobson has been distorting my Bible for years.

    June 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Ilove America

    Hahahah, Dobson's more like a "fruitcake interpretation" of the constitution and a distorted view of the bible, huh? I love these guys. To all good christians: Follow your nose, not nutballs like this. The man upstairs sees all. That includes you , Mr. Dobson.

    June 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Chuck

    I am a devout Christian, but I truly believe that overzealous preachers like Dobson may become America's ayatollahs one day if enough of their kind take over the reins of our government. Now, that's scary.

    They need to stay out of politics altogether and tend to their churches and their flock.

    June 24, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Michela

    So, if the Old Testament is antiquated and no longer relevant, the question is just how relevant is the "New" Testament which is nearly 2,000 years old? Face it, both book were written, edited, and selected by mortal men. They were irrelevant before the ink dried in the original draft. Follow teh goodness in your heart and soul not the words and deeds of other men.

    June 24, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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