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. Dave Christensen

    Sen. Obama must be doing something right to receive such an angry reaction from Dobson.

    June 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Chris, Bethesda, Maryland

    Agree with Obama. Good on you for reaching out to religious voters, keep doing what you're doing.

    June 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. he should know

    And when it comes to making stuff up.... Obama should know all about it.

    June 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Ken

    One can not confuse what these people are saying with seeking attention. Can you?
    I hope he doesn't go to Obama's church this time around!

    June 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Dobson making stuff up. What a shock. Dobson is news for what reason?

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. jon

    james dobson is a slob and his opinion shouldn't matter in politics.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Joe

    I wonder which Law School the Reverand attended? For that matter, which Divinity School? He attended neither? I'm shocked!

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Robert

    Could we please have a McKain article? Have you noticed all the articles are on Obama? Some of your readers really don't care about his campain.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Clinton/McCain

    Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday night evangelical leader James Dobson was “making stuff up,”

    Hmm. Somehow I have a hard time believing Obama. I notice he likes to lie.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Tully

    lol Obama accusing someone else of making stuff up. Thats like Bill Clinton accusing someone else of being an adulterer.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Erich

    Thank God we have a candidate who is willing to stand up to these people. I did a happy dance when Falwell bit it, and I think it's about time for Mr. Dobson.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. boered1

    People like Dobson are idiots, ever since the Radical Right took over this country during the Reagan election we have begun our descent into a third world nation. Like Rome, that fell, not when they accepted ALL religions, but when they mandated Christianity as the state religion, we are falling because we have lost the ability to see ourselves in others. Dobson ahs shown himself, during the bush selections, to be more concerned about politics than he is about religion and he does not have either of them right. He has twisted the words of both the Bible and the Constitution to support his radical rightwing agenda and ahs convinced his followers that he is correct by using their prejudices and fears. There is NO ONE who can show me anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said homosexuality is bad, I can show you where Jesus said that the old laws are gone that he is the new way, he has spoken out on MANY of the old sins still as sins but he NEVER mentioned homosexuality, the only references were made by Paul (as anyone who has studied their bible will know he was a VERY conservative Jew who was changed by meeting Jesus but never changed his deeply held beliefs in the "old traditions" ask your priest or pastor to see if I am not teling the truth) AFTER Jesus had died. So Dobson is WRONG about his stance there.

    As for the Constitution DEobson points to the words "endowded by the creator with certain inalienable rights" as proof. I would point him to the WRITINGS of Jefferson (I care not if a man worships 1 God, 100 Gods or no God at all so long as he is a good man), Franklin, Washington, and the MANY others who made a point of pushing through the clause in the first admendment concerning the separation of Church and state. But then the radical right (muchg like the clintonistas) do no let such minor details as reality, thought and truth interfere with their beliefs as they try to force their agenda (or candidate) down our throats. I for one will not stand for it!

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Eli

    Obama distorts everything he says and touches. I can not in good faith vote for a man that is not qualified and a person I think was shoved down our throats by the media and the DNC.

    June 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. jon

    and doesn't it say in the bible that gluttony is a sin, Mr. Dobson is quite overweight.....can you so hypocracy

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Eric

    Obama should read his Bible and stop talking like he knows anything about it.

    -He has no problem with women killing their unborn children. Maybe Obama should read Jeremiah 1, Psalm 127, Psalm 139, the 6th Commandment etc...
    -He is obviously ignorant of what the New Convenant means and how Jesus came to fulfill the law.
    -Homosexuality is a sin. Yet doesn't Obama think that it is OK? Obama should read Matthew 19, 1 Cor. 6-7 and more to get in sync with what the Bible says on that issue.

    Obama you are a hypocrite to tell others to read their Bible when your stances on issues are wicked. Repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus will help you understand that Bible the way you're supposed to.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. vrayfield

    I think Obama had been reading his Bible he would have seen that Leviticus is a book of laws God gave to the Isrealites for their day and time. It is not intended to be the laws that govenr today. A person with faith in God and a commitment to reading and studying their Bible on a daily basis would know that.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Molly

    Anyone who uses religion or God to pontificate hate does not understand God or the Bible. Dobson is not the authority on religion. Dobson is mean, caluculated, and the farthest thing from Christian that I know.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Moodysgoose

    Sen. Obama's perspective is right on. We have seen what distorted Christianity does to this country. No more!

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Ron


    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Obama spins again

    Obama is a snake among snakes... so he is not one that can talk after all the blatent lies he has spun.

    Ask HRC- He twisted everything around about her.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. judi in NJ

    James Dobson arguing that Obama, a constitutional scholar, is
    using a "fruitcake Inturpretation" of the constittion is embarrasing .. to James Dobson!
    Also, as a minister's daughter, Dobson's use of the Holy Bible as as weapon is dispicable. I do believer the good Doctor doth protest too much. Looks like he is fighting Mr. Obama's ability to talk to the young Evangelcals in their own language and is threatened.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Don

    Barack Obama=Flip Flopper=Typical Politician=Panderer=Political Expediency. Now he needs the Clintons. He painted the Clintons as racist and Clinton era as a failed presidency.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Mackie

    It seems to me that Obama's critical interpretation of the bible may owe more to writers of the West Wing than anything else. Am I the only one who thought that his references to Leviticus stank of President Jed Bartlett's smack down of Dr Jemma Jacobs, the biggoted but ficitional talk show host? Time to get real and original, Barack.

    June 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Harry in Houston, TX

    Please! His comments illustrate the differences in reading the Bible and understanding the Bible. Implying the Old Testament be used as governing rules has been invalid since Christ died giving us the new deal, the New Testament. I guess his lack of understanding comes from 20 years (?) of listening to Rev Wright' shameful.

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Saad from NJ

    I think so too.... but I don't think he is doing it on purpose. He actually believes Obama is distorting the bible whereas Obama's intention or purpose is not that.

    But then again, the accusations of this sort are so common. IT only matters to the people who blindly follow that particular individual, Dobson in this case.

    June 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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