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. Jessica

    I am amazed at the amount ot people on here who have no idea what the separation of church and state is. Try researching it before you use it as your defense.

    June 24, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Christian, Tampa FL

    Actually, Obama's right. There are plenty of Christians out there who would implement Old Testament, Ten Commandments law instead of Christ's "Two Commandments" (Love God, Love your neighbor) Law.

    People haven't been reading their Bibles, and that's why we have things like the war in Iraq, neglect of the environment, social injustice, and inaction on terrible situations like Darfur. We're all guilty.

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Amy Kathleen

    I'm a Catholic, but come one, we all know that Focus on the Family are nutters if they believe this country should make all laws in accordance with the Bible.
    Which was what Obama was saying in a more diplomatic way.
    I don't care if Dobson feels he can discount the Old Testament, which he wouldn't, btw, if he had studied the Bible more closely, but that doesn't matter. it still doesn't mean the New Testament should be the standard for legislation.
    You do realize that when you support McCain, you support this lunacy, don't you?

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |

    Dobson just called a man who is a Constitutional Scholar and Professor, a constitutional fruitcake......

    code word, yes...

    credibility in that statement.... ZERO

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Anyone ever heard of "Separation of Church and State?" Apparently, James Dobson hasn't!!! He appears to be a "fruitcake" himself!

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Tony

    Not again!!!!

    Add one more "whacko" Evangelical fool to the pile.

    James Dobson deserves a place right up there with Sharpton, Jackson, Wright, Ralph Reed, Falwell, Robertson, etc. etc. etc.

    They are getting out of hand, just like any city with a nasty rodent problem. Someone please call the exterminators!

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Lyndse

    He's like "Blah blah blah Obama doesn't understand the Bible, Leviticus and Deuteronomy aren't relevant any more." But these are the same people that quote Leviticus when they say that gay sex is a sin. Talk about a "fruitcake" interpretation: it's okay for Dobson and those like him to pick and choose what THEY want to recognize from the Bible, but not for Obama.

    The sole reason for this is to defame Obama's religious beliefs and make him a scapegoat. They just want to put another religious right-winger in the White House.

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Crystal

    The phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state.
    Research, people...the phrase "separation of church and state" is NOT in the Constitution. Those of you who want separation of church and state are totally ignoring the fact that the founding fathers were God-fearing men. They didn't want a theocracy, but they also didn't want to cut God out of the government.
    As far as Dobson, everyone has the right to express their opinions. Why is it that when right-wing Christians do it, it's unacceptable?

    June 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Dwayne - L, OH

    I'm getting a kick out of you people who take this stuff way to serious. I'm in tears laughing at some of these comments. Really, no one cares who you're voting for. This is for comments you psycho. Stop crying in your beer. 🙂

    After reading some of these comments, I've come to the conclusion that some of y'all just need jesus period.

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Allyson

    It is time for a leader who is capable of recognizing the importance of incorporating acceptance and the separation of church and state. Focus on the family is one of many, many, fundamentalist groups who preach hate and discord to anyone who will listen. They are of course, entitled to their beliefs, but anyone with a brain won't isten.

    OBAMA FOR CHANGE!!! Get the religious right outta here!!!

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Out with Obama

    Hey, OBAMA RULES ALL THE WAY TO WHITE HOUSE, you don't think Obama is rich???? Obama is a dangerous man, he will lead us to conflict if he gets in the White House. Some of the ignoramous out there think he's just like JFK, I think he's going to be a lot more like Jimmy Carter and it's going to take us years to clean up his mess. What is Obama going to do so you're not a "STRUGGLING AMERICAN"? Is he going to hire you to do something? I wonder what, perhaps clean his office from all the BS that comes out of his mouth.

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. What?

    Please show me the "Separation of Church and State" in the Constitution!
    The first amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    Congress may not establish a religion – we are all free to worship as we please, but "Separation of Church and State" is an idea put forth by Jefferson in a letter – not part of the Constitution!

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |

    People will do anything for press.

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Just Pat

    The string of comments here in response to the article and obvious allegence sure do paint a picture... dark and bitter come to mind.

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. peacelvn

    Like only he will know!

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Steve

    An insane evangelical calling somebody else out for supposedly distorting the bible is hilarious.

    June 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley Missouri

    Every Christian group reads the bible differently, and interprets the bible's meaning differently. Translations over years that have varied, and been changed to meet the needs of individual Religious groups, have also made interpretation of the bible suspect.

    Dobson and his group believe in a Fundamental Belief that the Bible is the absolute word of God, with no variance, with no questioning allowed. For most Christians, the bible represents a tool, with important messages and teachings in it. However, a small, but growing group of Fundamentalists, believe that only the Bible's Rules and Laws, are what moral standards should be set by.

    Simple enough... except, NOT all Americans are Christian, and most don't believe the same way Dobson and his group do.

    Keep your personal beliefs to yourself Mr. Dobson... teach to those who will listen... and love all others, whether they believe in your belief's... or not... it's not the job of Christian Groups to condemn...

    Only the Lord can do that... And fundamentalists have a hard time understanding forgiveness, and love... and continue to condemn those that don't believe as they do.

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Nancy McGreevy

    James Dobson is the fruitcake. Interesting how we are often talking about ourselves when we criticize others–

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. P. Morrison

    I have been a Christian for over 50 yrs., of the Southern Baptist denomination. I cannot believe what I am hearing from Dr. Dobson! It would be interesting to know how many times he has quoted and taught from the book of Leviticus or how many times he has used the 10 Commandments in his sermons. I do not understand his position on the relevance of the Old Testament to the New Testament-it's all the word of God. I have always believed that a man called to preach is supposed to lead people to Christ-not drive them away from him. I HAD a great deal of respect for Dr. Dobson-not anymore.
    Pat, Greenville, SC

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Gerry Dantone

    I think the only sensible point, which neither person, Obama or Dobson, seem willing to make, is that the Bible is utterly useless as a moral guide.

    Obama is right that Leviticus calls for bigotry against gays but also calls eating shrimp an abomination and contains rules that condone slavery. So if Dobson wants to persecute gays based on the Bible, he must also picket Red Lobster and buy slaves.

    But here is the conclusion that both should admit but will not; the Bible is the product of primitive humans, has nothing to do with a god and is not divine. It's just another book and not even a good one when it comes to ethics.

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. What Happened to Love?

    all I see is a bunch on scared children, using big words to puff out their chests. You call for separation of church and state, yet you call for the silencing of a private citizen.

    Dobson purchased this airtime and as such, is free to speak, just as Obama is free to speak.

    There is a way which seems right to a man,
    But its end is the way of death.
    Proverbs 16:25

    If we only spent more time loving as Christ loved us and less time trying to match the hate of those who hate us. Change is coming and unfortunately, I highly doubt any of you will be happy with what you get.

    You decide what side I'm on.

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Susan

    This guy is a total nut...along with Karl Rove and the rest of the "the boys"! Wake up America...is this really news or just another Republican ploy to divert our attention from "CHANGE".
    GO OBAMA in 2008!!!

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Disgusted

    Many of you speak of supporting Obama and want an end to war and want our country to return to it's place of honor in the world and yet in the same breath you lambaste a guy (in this case, Dobson) and call for his head because he has a DIFFERENT opinion. How is that attitude going to help return our country to a place of honor? If you honor the Constitution and the Bill of Rights you'll allow him to speak his opinion just as you do. It seems that intolerance is NOT just found in the religious camp; on the contrary, I find more hate and contempt and intolerance in the non-religious sector that keeps calling religious (Christian) people "zealots", "nutcases", "intolerant", "bigotted", etc. How can you stand there and call someone these things when in order to do so, you're exhibiting the very behavior you seemingly claim to abhor? If you want to see hypocrisy, look no further than a mirror if you feel that the best way for America to move forward is to SILENCE those who oppose you. Seems to me Hitler did that too.

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. JR

    Dodson is the "fruitcake".

    June 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Down with Obama

    There are a lot of people praying that Obama doesn't win! Nevada!!!

    June 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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