June 24th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
13 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. Eliot from Chicago, Illinois

    James Dobson has had more than his share of time in the limelight. This is a pluralistic society and Dobson does not appreciate that point.

    The great thing about religion in America being seperated from the State is that we all can read the same words, and come up with different interpretations.

    Dr. Dobson does NOT get to dictate my morals or anybody elses in America anymore!

    June 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. nik

    I love Dr. Dobson and America was founded on Christian beliefs, yes there is freedom of religion, but if you look at the other religions, there isn't but a fraction of those religions compared to the Christian religion that makes up most of America. That's why we're in the shape we're in. Everyone adapts to the minority instead of the majority. Yes, we need a change, but Obama is not the one to do it. He is way to liberal and scares me. I really don't like McCain either, but come November, it will be McCain b/c of his Christian morals. I wish there was an Independent Prez running. He/she would be my choice.

    Also, I know I'm on a liberal website, but in my generation we talk to everyone, democrat, republican or independents. We all have our opinion. I just thought I would express mine and give a different view point.

    June 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Sarah

    Those of you dismissing James Dobson as a nobody–this guy is a major player in the evangelical scene. He has a voice, and tons of people listen to it. His comments may be completely irrelevant but it doesn't mean he won't have an eager and captive audience. He's a total lunatic, and unfortunately we can't just write him off and ignore him and those who agree with him if we're going to win this thing.

    June 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Ik from NY

    This is just a holier than thou attitude. He thinks he's holier than Obama. What is holiness except having intergrity. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and allowing him to dictate how you follow Him. That's Christianity and Obama has that. For Dubson to dictate to the Holy Spirit on how He needs to direct Obama on issues and how tell Obama on how to respond to the issues of the heart is darn right outrageous.

    June 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Jude

    I'm not sure why this is news but:
    1. I disagree with Obama's view of the Holy Word.
    2. Dr. Dobson doesn't have it right either.

    Lets try to keep this out of politics!!! The Holy Bible is true and right. Eating shellfish is an abomination to God just like sexual imorality. Study the Holy Word to show thyself approve.

    June 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. John

    Dobson has some nerve claiming that he gets to decide which parts of the Bible are relevant and which parts aren't. This is the problem with people who want to run the country based directly on the Bible – they pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to follow. Senator Obama was correctly pointing out that you can't govern based solely on the text of the Bible because there are lots of laws in the old testament which are outdated. "Dr." Dobson makes the same point, but attacks Senator Obama, perhaps because Dr. Dobson believes he is worthy of Biblical interpretation, but a black leader is not. I am a born-again Christian and I can not stand Dobson's hypocrisy.

    June 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Obama Supporter

    The idea that Dobson's perspective matters to anyone who might be considering voting for Obama in the first place, is ridiculous.

    June 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Dj

    Dobson is known for his extreme conservatism... They helped God write the Bible you know? They are the only ones that God loves too...

    If you aren't with them, your eternal destiny is hellfire... y'all know that right?

    uh, let's see how I can say this... I'M BEING FACETIOUS!

    Another republican fear tactic.

    June 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. William, from Cali!

    You must be careful, when you quote "Scripture"....................the Old is history..........to be seen as a "learning tool"..........the New is; the "Covenant", by which "we live under" now...................Read your Bibles, to learn the difference! Amen! God Bless America, and keep her always safe, from her enemies....................................

    June 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Blayze Kohime

    In case you've never read the Constitution, Dobson, let me inform you: There is ~nothing~ in it about your religion or supportive of your religion even in the slightest. You probably also wrongly think our founding fathers are the ones that put 'in god we trust' on the money and 'under god' in the pledge too.

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Bob Stephens

    Now all the religious right whackos will start coming out of their dens, for the election...

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. mary

    When the constitution was written it was by Causian men for Causian men. African-Americans and women were not even considered in the "We the People". Just the fact that Barack and Mrs. Clinton are such important figures in politics proves America has made monumental strides since the forming of the Constitution.
    CNN let's stick to real news from this point on and stop putting this kind of mess on your web page.
    Thank you,
    OBAMA '08

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Pat

    I agree with Obama in this speech...some of the stuff in the bible is either extremely outdated or consist of fictional stories that are made to prove a point or teach a lesson.

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Donna

    It amazes me that he can decipher what Obama meant when he made certain statements..I guess Dobson is part Prophet in addition to the ONLY ONE who knows how to interpret the Bible correctly...

    SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE exists for a reason..please stop giving Dobson airtime...he is a waste of space....

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Scott

    "I think he's deliberately distorting the tradition understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said, later adding that Obama is "dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

    Hello Pot, my name is Kettle

    June 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. AMW

    THE LIKES OF THE LATE FALWELL, THE CURRENT DOBSON, ROBERSON, AND SUCH "KNOW IT ALLS"–(AT LEAST IN THEIR OWN MINDS) HAVE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO ENOUGH HARM FROM THE PULPIT, NEWSPAPERS, TV WITH THEIR WARPED INTERPRETATIONS. THEY NEED TO GET OUT OF POLITICS.
    THEIR JUDGEMENTS ARE GOING TO BE ADDRESSED IN DUE TIME BY THE CREATOR. I SUGGEST THAT HELL WILL HAVE MORE JUDGEMENTAL BIGOTS, AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS ILK THAN ANY OTHER OF GOD'S CHILDREN.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. X in Ann Arbor

    HA HA HA.

    Where's the anti-gay stuff in the Bible? Oh, yeah, Leviticus. So should gay marriage be allowed now? You can't pick and choose, Dobson.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Independent in Iowa

    I dont believe the bible though I respect those that do.

    I'm please to see the evangical leaders are not happy with him. They have no place in our government. Yes, Huckabee – you need to go, too.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. John from LA

    I'm tired of BO's condesending remarks(albeit 2 years ago)-please oh please let him just GO AWAY!!!-he's the authority on the bible now!!!-Answer the question as to why you let YOUR children listen to Rev. Wrong?????-kids imitate what they hear!!!-they can't understand what a wackadoo like Rev. Wrong says.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Shon P. Connors, Warsaw, Ohio

    I like what Obama said. He is sticking with Biblical principles. Dobson needs to learn more about OUR Constitution.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Finally we get to it

    Obama's own words show us how he really feels and who he is. We have to consider this in the Person who will be representing our country to the world and making decisions that effect us.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. sonny c.

    TO ALL CHRISTIANS: Read the Four Gospels of the Founder of our Faith, JESUS CHRIST. If you do so & still vote Republican then may God have mercy on your soul on Judgment Day.

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. RRE

    OBAMA/REVEREND WRIGHT IN 2008. GO BARACK, GO REV. WRIGHT WE NEED YOU TO RUN OUR COUNTRY.......YEA!!! GO BLACK POWER AND WE WILL TURN WHITIES INTO SLAVES!!!!

    June 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. sherry

    There are so many different interpertations one can get from reading the bible, that's why there are so many denominations of christianity. I think Dobson has another agenda......Hes trying to add fuel to the fire and insinuate that Obama isnt a christian which will lead some people to think that he must be a muslim. Obama is a man of good faith and I think he will be a great leader for our country.....That's why he has my vote

    OBAMA 08

    June 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. NC Voter

    The words "Separation of Church and State" are nowhere in the constitution. It was interpreted as implicit to the establishment clause (stating that the governemnet would not establish a Church of America in the manner that there is say a Church of England) in a Supreme Court ruling. Many people debated the accuracy of such an interpretation at the time and still do today. I don't claim to have the answer, but before someone like Alex in TX starts to debate it, it'd be best to get a clearer grasp of what is actually said in our constitution.

    June 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22