Monday, March 03, 2008

Barack Obama quotes the Bible (sort of)

Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) quoted the Bible in Ohio yesterday. Unfortunately, his references were sloppy, slippery-slope distortions of God's Word.
According to CNSNews.com, Sen. Obama was at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, when he was asked about homosexual marriage. His reply: "I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans."
Say what?
It is not clear what he meant by the reference to the Sermon on the Mount, since Jesus' sermon, recorded in Matthew 5-7, never mentions homosexuality. Perhaps Obama was referring to not judging others (Matthew 7:1) or the Golden Rule, doing to others as we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12). The only thing that is clear is that there are no clear references to homosexual marriage in the Sermon on the Mount, although Jesus does teach faithfulness in heterosexual marriage (Matthew 5:27-32).
As for the "obscure passage in Romans," the Illinois Senator was obviously referring to Romans 1:24-27. Hardly an obscure passage, the apostle Paul begins his greatest theological treatise by stating that men are "without excuse" in their sin, and illustrates this with the sin of homosexuality, which the apostle describes as degraded, unnatural, shameless and a perversion.
Thus Senator Obama dismisses a clear passage of scripture as "obscure", and then makes his own obscure reference to another passage. If anything is "obscure," it is Senator Obama's ability to interpret God's Word.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pastor,
It's obvious which side you were not on, and of course, I'm sure you know, that it's easy to pick apart anyone's words, especially if you already don't like them. I just hope you don't treat your friends or family or members of your own congregation that way.
Perhaps you should read Matt. 7 again.
Obama is not perfect, but I believe He is a man who truly cares for people. I'm glad we will finally have a president with such a heart. And yes, a Christ-like man.

Brother Bob said...

Dear Anonymous,
It is not a matter of whether I agree with Obama's politics are whether or not I like him. (By the way, I find him to have a very winsome personality).
I didn't say that he doesn't care for people. I'm sure that he does.
See my "Post-election thoughts" post where I talk about our duty to support our new president (posted at http://brotherbobsblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/post-election-thoughts.html).
Nevertheless, I stand by my original analysis of his sloppy Biblical interpretation. He referred to a passage as supportive of homosexuality, when the passage does not refer to homosexuality, and he dismissed a Bible passage from Paul's greatest theological treatise as "obscure." What else would you call that kind of Bible interpretation?

blendininn said...

not a liar like Obama..sorry but you must pull your collective heads out of the sand about Obama..
ever heard of this one?
"thou shalt not lie"?
apparently either has Baracko as he has lied about nearly everything he "promised" in his campaign rhetoric and every other things he has has said..
there are lies..more lies and dam lies and Obama does um all!

Anonymous said...

Brother Bob, I have just come upon your blog and this quote from President Obama and your response. I am a university teacher of the Bible and I find your hermeneutics to come up short. You appear to be a literalist and a "flat Bible" believer, that all of the Bible is equal to all other parts. Surely you cannot possibly believe that.
In addition, in studying the Romans passage closely, we can see that the Romans were famous for their orgies including uncontrolled behavior, whether homosexual or heterosexual. There is no understanding of homosexual orientation in any part of the Scriptures. Can we not infer how Jesus would relate to a homosexual person by the way that He treated people?

If you have a hermeneutic that says that we look at all of Scripture throught the eyes of Christ or the Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount certainly gives us a reference for interpreting all of Scripture, including Paul.

The most important aspect of this conversation is the attitude that we have toward people. I am deeply concerned that some who call themselves Christian demonstrate such a hateful attitude toward homosexual persons. Jesus guides us. I beleive that he guides President Obama also.

Brother Bob said...

Dear Anonymous,
You feel that my Bible interpretation is "literalist" and "flat Bible." I presume by literalist you mean that you feel I take all of scripture literally, even parts not intended to be literal. I presume by "flat Bible" you mean that some parts of the Bible are of greater truthfulness than others.
To the first charge, I am not a literalist. I understand that poetry is symbolic, that proverbs are meant to have one point, that parables are stories to teach a lesson, that Revelation is full of symbolism. However, Romans is not poetry, proverb, parable, apocalypse or some other non-literal genre. Romans is a straightforward narrative letter written with clear moral and theological instruction.
Regarding the second charge, I do believe that all of the Bible is inspired, from Genesis to Revelation. I understand that our final revelation of truth is in Jesus Christ, and that Jesus fulfills all scripture. I do not see how that negates the truthfulness of the words of the apostle Paul.
I am puzzled by your statment, "There is no understanding of homosexual orientation in any part of the Scriptures." Since homosexual behavior is understood and condemned in Genesis (thus our term "sodomy"), Leviticus, Romans and other passages, I can only guess that you mean that while homosexual behavior is forbidden, homosexual orientation, that is, homosexual tendencies and desires, are not discussed. I think that's a cop-out. Obviously, homosexual behavior is forbidden, and scripture frequently tells us to avoid lusts and desires of the flesh, which would apply to homosexual orientation.
I agree that we should ask how Jesus would treat them. I think we have a good guideline in how he treated the woman caught in adultery. He cared for her, did not condemn her, and told her to go and sin no more. Jesus did not condone her sexual sin, or say, "Oh well, it's just her orientation and she can't help it." Likewise, we should love the homosexual, rather than judge him, and seek to aid him in his struggle to overcome this sin. But I do not believe Jesus would condone the sin of the homosexual, any more than he would condone heterosexual sin.

3:16 said...

BROTHER BOB, I'M GLAD THAT WE HAVE CHRISTIANS LIKE YOURSELF WHO ARE ABLE TO ARTICULATE THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE SO WELL. AS A CHRISTIAN MYSELF I'VE BEEN TAUGHT TO HATE THE SIN AND NOT THE SINNER. I AM REMINDED IN 1 CORINTHIANS 6:11, AFTER PAUL CONCLUDES HIS LIST OF SINFUL BEHAVIORS DESERVING OF JUDGEMENT, THAT WE OURSELVES WERE SUCH AS THESE. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." I CAN'T TREAT HOMOSEXUAL SIN ANY WORSE THAN ADULTERY. I AM A FORMER GANG MEMBER WHO HAD TO REPENT AND TURN FROM MY SINFUL BEHAVIOR. PRAISE GOD THAT HE GIVES US THE POWER TO OVERCOME OUR SIN. BROTHER, KEEP ON PREACHING AND LOVING PEOPLE.

Brother Bob said...

Thanks, 3:16. God bless you.

8D lover said...

For all of my friends that find solace in the words of Brother Bob. Numbers 22:28-35

Oh, and 3:16,

It's unfortunate that the only way you can articulate anything is by using capital letters.

Primo Corno out.

Dr. Bob Rogers said...

8D lover, I assume from your quote above that you are calling me a donkey. But then, when people run out of logical arguments, they usually resort to name-calling.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Brother Bob! GOD Bless You! You are certainly a patient Brother in CHRIST! A frightening thought that a U. Teacher is propagating such an angle as to make you into a bigot & lack such a profound lack of biblical understanding. YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY, BROTHER BOB! IN CHRIST, Dale

Dr. Bob Rogers said...

Thank you, Dale.