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. Ken in NM

    If there is Biblical distortion going on, it's coming from Dobson. I have to say that one of the many reasons why America is great is because our constitution protects as from "fruitcakes" like Dobson!

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Obama does have a point though. Who is this Dobson clown? Another nobody trying to get his 15 minutes.

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Bart, Terre Haute, IN

    Interesting take, Dobson. So, then, you should, in turn, drop your references to Leviticus when defending the right-wing stance on gay marriage. That would only be fair.

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Carlos in Miami

    How is it not absolutely clear that the crazy right-wingers and the Clintons are the bad guys. Finally, a leader we can believe in.

    Don't submit to these crazies... Don't help Hillary with her debt, either!!!

    Obama/AnyoneOtherThanClinton '08

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Citizen

    A guy who distorts the Bible for a living, is accusing another guy of distorting the Bible. Will they please remove the not for profit status off of these Churches that are not more than political organizations..

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Daughters over Party

    well if you rememer correctly, Obama is a secret muslim anyhow, what what difference would it make how he used the scriptures?

    DUHHHHHHH...i wish ALL the religious "fruitcakes" would stick to their jobs...practicing religion and stay out of the political arena.. There is a seperation of Church and State for a reason people!

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |

    The Republican party is the hallmark of racism and all other biases that exist in the US today. These so-called high moral standards they wear openly, but behind closed doors are involved in everything that they condemn others for. It's called discretion, and what is discretion to them but acts of immorality wrapped up in good breeding. At least Democrats have enough since to know that people are going to do what people are going to do anyway.

    June 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Mark Cary, NC

    Yes, but it is okay for Dobson to quote the teachings of the Old Testament when we is condemning the gay and lesbian community. WHAT A HYPOCRITE! Just another example of the Extreme Christian Right hi-jacking the Bible and Christ, for it's own interpretations, intents, and purposes.

    June 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Al, NY NY

    And these zealots DON'T distort the Bible to back up their ridiculous beliefs????

    June 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Kelly

    This country was started to get away from combining church and state. And now we have idiots like Dobson interjecting this garbage in a national election. I'm a Christian and I hate it when politicians talk about religeon. Draw the line people, it's very simple

    June 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. NO john mcinsane

    People like dobson are evangelical terrorists and we need to watch out for them. They are no better than muslim radicals.

    June 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |

    Who the heck cares about this! The only people that do are those who never considered voting for Obama from the beginning. This mix of politics and faith is only going to backfire this election year. I think most Americans are so sick and tired of fear taking first place in our politics. Americans are smarter than this.

    Time for Democrats to unite and take back the White House.

    Barack for Prez of the USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Texas Trail Dog



    June 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. DOH....

    What about Dobson's fruitcake interpretation of the bible?

    June 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Bulldog

    Dobson is a perfect example of a superconsertative who wants to push all his religious beliefs on everyone and force them to abide by what he believes in. All Obama is saying is that we live in a free democratic society and people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of thinking need to try to come together rather than constently fight with each other with one trying to defeat the the other. Dobson's theory is immoral, my way of thinking needs to be forced on everyone else period. I'm fine with Dobson believing in his beliefs but trying to force people to believe the same way is wrong and immoral.

    June 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Vote Nader

    Nothing in this world is scarier than religion, excpet when you mix religion with something else.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Glenn

    I believe that Dobson is the fruitcake! It's rather shocking to read Dobson's comments. Dobson, a so-called Christian evangelist, spews out hateful venom. It seems that a follower of Christ would not be so judgmental of others. I don't hear Christ's message of love and forgiveness coming out of his mouth. Christian parents and followers would be smart to carefully consider the credibilty of a purported Christian leader who espouses Christian principles out of one side of his mouth and then spews hate out of the other side of the mouth.

    June 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  18. Heather

    That speech was brilliant. CNN, why aren't you linking to it? It's context and it's spot on.

    Unless we don't think that God advocates tolerance. That's just great.

    June 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Joe B.

    So does this mean that Dobson is no longer against gay marriage? After all, isn't it Lewiticus that is always quoted...man shall not lie down with man (or something like that). Or is it still OK to go by the Old Testament on that one?

    June 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Nate S

    I'm a Christian and Dobson does NOT speak for me. He has a narrow minded approach to faith and interpretation of the Bible. In addition he is completely off base and would rather have a country completely goverened by the Bible, he's a nut! My vote is for Barack, and my prayer is that more Christians will wake up and realize that Barack is the best candidate if Christians chose to vote because of their faith. The Republicans are going to have a very difficult time convincing Evangelicals that McCain has their values in full view.

    Barack '08

    June 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Amy

    Yet the good pastor still uses Leviticus to slam gay marriage. It's always so nice to be able to pick and choose what bothers you from the text you think is canon.

    June 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. DOH....

    Church does not equal State.

    Get a life Dobson and stop hanging on Barack's coattails for your 15 minutes of fame. So Rev. Wright doesn't have a lock on kookiness.

    Obama 08

    June 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Ryan

    why is it that the right has such a huge problem with homosexuals getting married? one minute they'll use the bible to bash you, then when you point out the weirdness of it, they accuse you of quoting a "fruitcake interpretation" of it... hypocrites. all of them.

    June 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Chris from NY

    Having been a Christian pretty much all my life, I have issues with people who think that their interpretation of the bible is the only way to understanding the bible. Dubson is a man who doesn't support McCain because he disagrees with him on many issues and is now sowing discourse among evnagelicals so they can't supoprt Obama.

    Who told this guy he has the right to decide for others on what they ought to think or believe? Christ was born for all nations and for all people. For one man to lay claim on God like he knows God more than any one else is not only ludidcris but out right unholy.

    I have always said that the people we expect to see in heaven may not actually be seen in heaven. Not for anything than the fact that they can't remove the log in their eyes before trying to remove soem else's speck in the eye.

    June 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. W.D., Silver Spring, MD

    Dobson argument and accusation is troubling at best. It is my belief all preachers of the faith should stay out of political discourse and If Dobson truly have a spiritual problem with Obama he should meet with him and discuss his issues. Dobson is belittling himself and his personal spiritual credibility! His argument is to nuanced and vague. It almost sounds like he wants to criticize Obama just for the sake of showing a political attitude of disagreement.

    June 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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