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. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    The first question should be asked who died and left him in charge. Look like Focus on the Family founder James Dobson need to read the bible himself. Truth to be told,a person can twist the words of the bible to say anything and to top it off he is a Christian.

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. White/female/age 55/Texan

    Do Dobson and his "We are always right" menions" also deny the creation story? I think not. This is disgraceful. These people call themselves Christian, but they have no tloerance for anything but their own narrow world view.

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Al, NY NY

    thanks Stephanie for your stupid addition to the discussion: "If more American's read their Bibles we wouldn't be having these discussions; Obama wouldn't even be in the running." What about people who don't read the "Bible"? Can't you people (zealots) finally realize that not everyone is following the same religion as you????? There are over 300 million AMericans and contrary to what you and the rest believe, there are a number of different religions being practiced. STOP trying to force your values on everyone!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Nicole in NE

    Some of these hardcore Evangelicals scare me.....

    Freedom of religion is in our constitution, so it amazes me that some people think this country should be ran under one faith.

    I am for seperation of church and state

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Only in Amercia when you discuss the bible in its entirety, Old Testament to New Testament and have taught Constitutional Law at a prestige University, do you get accused of deliberately distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

    Since Dobson can't speak glowingly of McCain, he chooses to trash Obama.

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Rev. Wm H.

    Ahem... Who would Jesus criticize?

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. KC

    Religion has no place in poltics. Dobson is a joke! No bible is the same it differs in every religion. Everyone interupts the bible differently.
    Dobson it just bringing up crap from two years ago.

    June 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Dekonti

    This exactly why Barack will not accept the public financing. Dobson and others have made a lifetime of using the bible as a tool to sow the seeds of division among Americans.

    Did he just hear this two-year old speech. Element of Intolerence"? (ooops, they're now friends with John McCain).

    Who gives James McCain Dobson authority over biblical interpretation?

    God help us all!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. The Lady

    what happened to judge ye not that ye shall be judged?

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Ernesto

    James Dobson and his nutty world and religious views cease to have any credibility. His dangerous mixture of theism and psychology have caused irrepairable harm to millions of his brainwashed "subjects". His right wing bigotry against gays and lesbians is legendary.

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. fairandstraight

    What year did Obama make this speech? This is outrageous to say the least. I guess the plans to turn the white race against Obama is not working so they will try the people of christian faith.

    Obama 08!!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. s

    Pot calling the kettle black. Dobson a fruitcake extrodinaire

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. JR, Plymouth

    And just who is acting like a fruitcake? A speech two years ago? As expected, the hatchet men are sharpening.....

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Will S.

    I never cease to be amazed by the sheer volume of religious figures involving themselves in politics...

    June 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. R.I.F.

    So according to Dobson he should drop the arguement of meaing against gays since it's an old testement issue. What a hyprocrit.

    What Obama was saying was that even if we named Christianity the "official religion" of the United States, it would still be tough to govern strictly by the Bible because within the Christian faith there are many interpretions of scriptures. What's "fuitcake" about that? Yet another silly arguememt from the right.

    Why is this even news? Anyone with a brain can see that Dobson is just trying to get a couple minutes of attention which apparently he's done. He's just upset that Obama is reaching out to evangeleicals more than his own republican candidate.

    June 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. AMW


    June 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Alex in TX

    Which is why the forefathers of this country implemented somthing called "Separation of Church and State."

    Too bad it exists on paper but not in practice. Whose to say which religion?

    June 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. mhg

    RIght on Stephanie!! If more people would read their Bilbes then they would know that they are about to vote for the person (obama) that is going to usher in the beginning of the end.
    Has anyone stopped to think who is this guy why does he attract so many without question? Look out people he is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. captain

    If anyone understands distorting Christianity for his own benefit, it would be Dobson.

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Not sleeping at the switch

    As soon as ANY Religous organization opens its mouth about EITHER Candidate it should be INSTANTLY Stripped of its tax exempt status. This loop hole allows them to recieve "donations" and spend monies on political messages for their favorite candidate and make silly comments like this leadhead did which make any candidate spend TAXED Dollars to respond to.

    Who follows these nuts anyway??? But then again even Charles Manson had followers right?

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Jeff

    Its interesting to note that Obama's National Director of Religious Affairs, Joshua DuBois, did not dispute Dobson's characterization of Obama's line of thinking or rationale. In the world of PR where every word is chosen carefully that is a telling response.

    If you piece together Obama's quotes from the above article with his "cling to religion" remarks it seems to imply some sort of hostility towards religious (one-issue) voters that is common in liberal circles. Is this a piecing together of words by the religious right or is this an underlying belief of Obama's? Hopefully I'll figure out in the next 4 months

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Dave in Houston

    Biblical law confers no rights, it only places obligations.

    You have no right to free speech. You are obliged to not lie and not gossip.

    You do not have the right to a fair trial. Judges are obliged to be fair.

    The takeaway message from the Bible ought to be that all people deserve respect and to be treated justly.

    Our system of government is far better than the ones put forth in the Bible. Checks and balances are necessary when real human beings who don't regularly converse with God are given power.

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Greg, Brattleboro, VT

    Where is this jerk coming from? Does he know the bible? What is he talking about? Who know the bible better than who? Why do some people think they have the monopoly of wisdom and knowledge? We are all gifted, Mr. Dobson. We all know how to read and write. Where have, Evangelicals taken the world today because of your false interpretation of the Bible?

    June 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Tess

    "45 And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, 46 'Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.' " – Luke 20 45-47

    Mr. Dobson, you too might want to read your Bible.

    June 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Dale, Chattanooga TN

    Can someone please explain to me why the "religious leaders" of this country find it necessary to spread lies and stupidity about people with whom they don't agree as they sit fat, rich, and hateful on their 501c3 tax code status?

    Everytime Dobson decides to open his mouth, there should be a brigade of IRS agents in his parking lot with search warrants and 10-key adding machines!

    June 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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