Tuesday, June 24, 2008

James Dobson to Obama: “Have Some More Fruitcake”

Not that I really care about the religious beliefs of James Dobson. Not that I really care about the religious beliefs of Barack Obama. I just want to know whether James Dobson thinks that he is the only one who can interpret the Holy Bible to support his own social and political views, or whether we can all join in on the fun.

Obviously, James Dobson has taken great umbrage at Barack Obama’s attempt at biblical interpretation in his latest barrage of words over a speech Obama gave to the Christian group, Call to Renewal.

Two years ago.

Two YEARS ago? My, we are digging deep, aren’t we?

Obama was merely pointing out that some parts of the Holy Bible are in contravention to some of today’s values. From CNN:

“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?”
This hits home with me today because I have just finished a bowl of clam chowder not 10 minutes ago, and now find that if Leviticus is right, I have just committed a great moral sin.

“Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you”

-Lev. 11:12

Now James Dobson takes great umbrage with Obama, I think, because Obama is (or actually, was) stomping all over Dobson’s turf. Dobson is thinking this: “Where does Obama get off thinking that he can interpret the holy scriptures to the masses? That’s his job. And to prove his point, Dobson points out something that any religious dogmatist should know: the Old Testament doesn’t count. Only the book that mentions Jesus really counts when we are extracting socio-political ideals:

“In the comments to be aired 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.”
And then to underline the actual reason for unleashing his holy wrath against Obama this week, he says this:

“‘I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology,’ Dobson said, adding that Obama is ‘dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.’”
To Dobson’s mind, bending a biblical reference to support his own twisted conception of what is right and what is wrong belongs in the hands of the experts.

Experts like Dobson.


Dr. Ted Baehr said...

My name is Dr. Ted Baehr, and in addition to being the founder of the Christian Film & Television Commission and of www.movieguide.org (donate now!), I am also an associate of James Dobson and know his mind fairly well.

Senator Obama is entirely correct in his statements about the Bible. As much as we of the "Christian Right" would very much like to see America move to a less secular, more theocratic state, it is entirely true and quite disconcerting that some on the "far Right" would want America goverened by a strict and literal interpretation of the Bible.

I hold advanced degrees in Theology and can therefore state with certainty, that much of the current, popular King James Bible of mainstream Christianity should have been excised long ago. This is not a complete or living document in itself. There are contradictions, blatant allegories and metaphors, some truly terrible stories unfit for children and the weak of constitution, and a lot of outdated ideas and glaring mis-interpretations carried over from two thousand years of biased translationary work.

Until Christianity follows the suit of other, better organized religions like Buddhism or Taoism, and pares down the KJ Bible to a more sensible and manageable text, then the Bible will remain a completely worthless basis for any logical, reasonable governing structure.

Thank you.

Dr. Ted Baehr

Hal said...

Well, Dr. Baehr, that's a first. The first I've ever heard of a Christian saying that his religion doesn't have its act together as much as the Buddhists. You're dancing around the edges of secular humanism. Last year I published a piece on Buddhist family values, 32 Kamma Karana, and I wonder if in your studies you ever came across it. I listed them here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Ted Baehr,

When the Israelites greatly and persistently sinned, God sold them into slavery, rather than destroy them for their sin. When the Israelites turned from their sin, God freed them from slavery. The Bible tells the slave to be patient, because God controls a bigger picture. God telling an individual slave, who we presume to be a good person, to be patient, because they are part of a larger context, is as hard for me to accept, as it is for you; I am not a patient person. I do not like suffering for the sins of my fellow countrymen. I understand where God is coming from, but I don’t like it either.

God forbade shellfish and pork in the Old Testament, because they have bacterial dangers if not well cooked in those primitive times. God was also setting Israel apart, by diet, as his chosen people. Chosen, does not mean they get a free ticket to heaven, but means they are to be leaders, and are to live lives without engaging in the sins of other nations. The Israelites have a free-will to be leaders in good, leaders in immorality, or leaders in evil.

The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is a grave sin, “an abomination”. However, in context, the Bible wishes to save all homosexuals to heaven if they will accept God’s outstretched hand. In context, the Bible says we are all born in sin, whether fornication, malicious-gossip, or homosexuality, we are all born sinners. In context, the Bible says, homosexuals are held in homosexuality by Satan and are unable to leave the lifestyle accept by divine intervention by God.
In context, God wants to empower, change, and save every homosexual person, but all persons have a free-will, and may reject God’s outstretched hand.

Barak Obama says he is a Christian. The Bible, in context, clearly says homosexuality is a sin, if persisted in, leads to hell. Yet, Barak Obama supports homosexuality. One can hold bad Biblical doctrine that does not conflict with the saving tenets of the Christian faith, and still be a Christian, such as smoking. Homosexuality conflicts with the saving faith of Christianity. A person cannot hold the view that homosexuality is not a sin and be a Christian. Such a person deceives themselves and others.

Brian G.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ted Baehr,
Mr. Obama said the Bible cannot be applied to abortion. An unborn child in the womb has a brainwave, heartbeat, and responds to pain, the scientific signs of life. The question is whether the unborn child in the womb has a soul. The *Bible implies the unborn child in the womb does have a soul. Any newborn baby left on a table will die without care, without feeding and warmth. Prematurely born babies that died a hundred years ago, live today, because of better technology. We must protect the Rights of the unborn child. Except for threat to the life of the mother, the unborn child’s Right to continuing life takes precedence over inconveniences to the mother and father. At best, you can say, You are not sure whether the unborn child in the womb has a soul. I would not want to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and explain to God why I killed babies by abortions when I was in doubt about whether the baby had a soul. *The Bible, Psalm 139:13, “For You (God) formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.”

Brian G.

Hal said...

Brian, I really don't want to get between you and Dr. Baehr. You are both apparently experts in a book that I find irrelevant.

What I do want to emphasize is the homosexuality and abortion arguments that you make, which are based on complete ignorance. Not biblical ignorance, mind you, you have all your ducks in order there, just ignorance in what is known today.

Brian, who in their right mind would adopt a lifestyle that makes friends and family turn away from them? Causes normally sane people to spit on them? Deprives them of basic rights that we heterosexuals enjoy and take for granted? Homosexuality is neither a choice made by man or the devil. Most gays and lesbians would not want anything other than the lives that they have. Those that do are the truly haunted ones.

Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice. It is as natural for a gay person to enjoy being with one of their own sex as it is for you to enjoy ice cream. Why God chose to throw this little ado in with the rest of the mess that He created is anyone's guess. And no one's.

There is no scientific evidence for when life begins. None. You are best when you stay with what you know, Brian, which is the Bible. You have been listening to dogma, not science.

Finally, Brian, the issue here, as it always has been, is not whether to have an abortion, or not to have an abortion, the issue is whether a government, any government, has the right to make that decision for a woman. In this, I cannot fathom the consevative mind, which otherwise argues that government has no rights in the personal affairs of the individual. Except for this one thing.

Let women choose. Let them answer to their Maker on their choice, but for God's sake, don't let politicians decide for them.

We all know what saints these politicians are.