June 25th, 2008
11:49 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama says Dobson 'making stuff up'


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/25/art.obamadobson.gi.jpg caption="Obama says Dobson is "making stuff up.""](CNN)— Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday night evangelical leader James Dobson was “making stuff up,” when he accused the Illinois senator of distorting the Bible and taking a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

“Any notion that I was distorting the Bible in that speech, I think anyone would be hard pressed to make that argument,” Obama told reporters on board his press plane Tuesday night.

Obama's past comments came front and center Tuesday when Dobson criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee’s June 2006 speech on his Focus on the Family radio show.

Watch: Schneider reports on Obama v. Dobson

In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

Earlier: Evangelist accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asked in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK 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 - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?"

Obama responded Tuesday saying the speech underscored the notion he is a man of faith and highlighted the importance that people like him who find faith important “try to translate our concerns in a universal language so that we can have open and vigorous debate.”

Responding to the comments, Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus Action, said "There is no need to 'make stuff up' as it relates to Sen. Obama's interpretation of Scripture and the role of religion in the public square."

"His statements and record make clear his questionable perception of both. To argue that the Sermon on the Mount invalidates the Defense Department - as if Jesus Himself didn't have anything to say about the existence of good and evil and the need to combat evil - is about as deep as anyone needs to go to understand where the senator is coming from," Minnery also said. "He is editing God's word to fit his liberal worldview, and the more exposure his views on these matters get, the more obvious this will become to American Christians."

soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. America for Obama

    Imagine that, a person who believes in magical sky fairies was "making stuff up". Of course he was making stuff up, anyone that preaches religion is making stuff up or repeating stuff that someone else made up. Silly religious fanatics. The bible was written by prehistoric humans with absolutely no concept of science what so ever. To think that in today's world a silly fictional book like the bible is still taken seriously is laughable! James Dobson and every single other priest, rabbi, preacher, etc. are all misleading humanity with delusional sermons about mystical sky fairies. Can we please move past believing in fictional BS please, thank you.

    June 25, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Glenn

    I am a Christian first. I am also an American, a Methodist, a Democrat, a Texan, a male and a 63 year old retiree. I support Obama. Dobson is supposed to a Christian evangelist. If so, he should be promoting Christian unity, oneness and love. Catholics view communion differently than most Protestant denominations, but that doesn't make them more or less Christian. Baptists view baptism differently than other Christian denominations that don’t make them more or less Christian. We are all believers in the same God and the same Jesus Christ. What I worry about is when one Christian evangelist believes that he possesses the "correct interpretation" of the Bible and criticizes anyone who thinks differently than he does or "accuses anyone of distorting the Bible or accuses anyone of anything!". Dobson is a man that we need to love but hate his behavior and actions and encourage him to emulate Christ's behavior and action. He needs to love God first and love his neighbor as himself. He needs to drop being a judgmental authority over other people and worry about the log in his own eye. We all need to pray for him

    June 25, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. David Goldman for OBAMA



    June 25, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Ria

    I think the question is not what the point he was trying to make in his sppech. He may very well be trying to make the point he says he is. However, the manner in which he refers to the bible and how he has interpreted the scriptures, and even in his tone (especially in referencing the sermon on the mount) – shows that is misrepresented the bible, he distorts the understanding of the bible, and his tone was somewhat offensive.

    June 25, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. randy

    Yes i belive you obama.the pastor is trying to get his 15 seconds of news coverage.

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Robert in Seattle

    Religion as a whole is making stuff up, whether it be Thor, Kali, or whatever. Enough mudslinging over who's mythology is better and who's interpretation of such is correct. Both Mcain and Obama have it wrong.

    Myths are not truths, and have no place in our politics! Stick to what actually means something!

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Richard

    Obama needs to re-read the bible that he may have skimmed in elementary school.

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Crush Rush

    Dobson and his group should be TAXED to the max.It would go along way in solving our debt.

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Jim

    Obama seems to be throwing anything related to god under the bus; including his pastor and church. Can he not stand up for something insteading of sheding it to suit his political purpose. What a fake!

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. tidho

    Obama is correct, but he'd be better off just walking away.

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |

    Black Liberation Theology is NOT Christianity, they are not linked in any way.
    Obama is correct that he should not use the Bible to govern..he does not understand it, he does not believe it.
    His claims to be Christian are false.
    Leave it at that.
    He needs to remain secular, as God has no place in his life.

    June 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    They just keep trying to put fear into the educatied and uneducated..............Enough already! The GOP is so shocked and stunned that they are loosing. Obama and the suppoart of the US will help put the US back on the map and clean house. It is so sad what the GOP has done to the US. Bush and Cheney ought to be ashamed. The US was once looked upon as heaven on earth. Now we are the laughing stock of the entire world.

    I am so disappointed in where this country is and what they have done to it. We have a chnace to make a difference this election season.

    June 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Steve from Dallas

    Not likely....

    Dont support Dobson, but Obama's "Black Liberation Theologoy" is based on pure racism.

    That's why for the first time in almost 30 years, i will not support the Democratic nominee.

    June 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Terry

    Dobson is a quack, this must be some GOP attack.

    June 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. jerome

    Dobson – what a loon.... the whole idea of governing via religion is wrong wrong wrong.

    Look what it does for all those Muslim Women?

    June 25, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. John from NYC

    I dislike more things about Dobson than Obama, but Obama's mischaracterization of the bible is astounding. The more he speaks, the more obvious it is that he does not respect Christians (you know, those backwater, country folk who cling to guns and religion?). Now we are superstitious murderers too? The principle of Jesus establishing a new law (i.e., so we do not have to live under Leviticus and Deuteronomy) is a pretty central theme of the Bible. No one is perfect (and I am far from it), but Obama keeps making fun of my religion, which I find pretty offensive.

    Hebrews 10:9: …He took away the first covenant to establish the second.

    Hebrews 8:13: In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    Hebrews 7:18-19: A former commandment is annulled because of its weakness and uselessness, for the law made nothing perfect; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

    Hebrews 8:6-7: Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better than the old covenant, since it is founded on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

    Hebrews 7:22: This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

    Hebrews 9:15: He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant…

    Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

    Colossians 2:14: Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

    2 Corinthians 3:5-6: …our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    Romans 7:4-6: Therefore, you also have become dead to the law through Christ… Now that we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

    John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

    Luke 16:16: The law and the prophets reigned until the time of John: and since that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man strives to go in.

    June 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. FreedomFromFear-Florida

    I am an evangelical who SUPPORTS CLEARMINDED THINKING on the bible. I SUPPORT OBAMA, not the malicious NAME CALLERS who happen to have the audacity to CALL THEMSELVES RELIGIOUS LEADERS. Shame on you Dobson, you make us look foolish.

    June 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Michelle

    "Making Stuff Up"

    Shouldn't that apply to Obama? His whole campaign platform is just a bunch of made up slogans and fantasies.

    TinkerObama will wave his magic wand and the war will disappear.

    Latest AP article from
    "Voters say McCain better suited to handle Iraq than Obama."

    CNN, would you please post this comment and the above AP article.
    Thank you.

    June 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I am troubled by the pandering of politicans to people of faith, and believe the constitutional doctrine of a Wall of Separation between church and state applies more broadly than Obama appears to construe it. We are a secular society from the very beginning, when the Founders deliberately chose to protect religious freedom for individuals while insulaitng the government from religion. Especially radical religion like Trinity UCC and Dobson's flock.

    June 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. R.I.F.

    I can't believe that this story even received the attention that it did. Obama was making very obvious and strong points in his speech two years ago when he was basically saying that law can't be soley based on one's religious beliefs because this a very religiously diverse nation and also, there is a lot of diversity in terms of interpreetation of the Bible even amongst Christians. Mr. Dobson was just try to get in the headlines which you naive media outlets welcomed. Mr. Dobson's clearly the fruitcake on this one. Even ultra conservative pundits had a extremely tough time defenfing Dobson on all of the shows that I watched last night. I'm sure Fox didn't but that's not a real news channel anyway.

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. John

    Dobson is a self serving hypocrite, whose only goal is to keep his flock ignorant of the real issues.

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. rupa

    who cares!
    stick to the Issues

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. sally

    It would be more impractical to govern based on the Bible because we live in a multi-cultural society where a large percentage of people are not Christians.

    Separation of Church and State, it is not fair to have the religious people imposing their views on the rest of the country.

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I think that Dr. Dobson is in NO position to insult Obama on his interpretation of the constitution.......after all Sen. Obama is a professor of constitutional law. I am not aware of any church or church leader who can boost of their constitutional law backgrounds. This is an attempt to prevent any crossover from our Conservative Christian Family to the Obama ticket. Shame on Dodson for publically getting involved with politics................I think that his role on this earth should be demanding enough and he does not need to be the bearer of a political banner.

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Bob b

    I believe Dobson on this one. Obama has spent the last 20 years not being fed the true WORD of God. If you look up the web site for Obamas (now old ex) church you see the staff all have Theology degrees from a paper mill college. Look at the study material and you find NO biblical/doctrinal/study.

    June 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
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