Obama & Religion
The following TV ad has hit the news again:
The phrases spoken by Obama here are extracted from the following:
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about 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? So before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles. Folks haven't been reading their Bibles.” – Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., June 28, 2006
First of all, Barack Obama is obviously NOT anywhere near an expert on religious matter… especially Christian faith and the bible. However, there are a few statements here where he isn’t so far off – he just doesn’t understand their implications.
“no longer just a Christian nation” – Even though there are many faiths and religious practices in America today, this is STILL a Christian nation. The founding fathers intended for the Christian faith to be the faith of the people. Yes, there were and are other religions practiced. And yes, they knew that there would be. But the Almighty God of the Christian faith is the God referred to in all national art, architecture, government documentation. Words like blessings, providence and divine have been used in federal and state documents of state to refer to and honor the God of the Christian faith. We ARE a Christian nation and God deserves ALL the glory for that.
“Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok” - Let’s look at the passage in Leviticus Obama is referring to:
“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.”
Yes, the bible condones slavery… in a certain context, not as Whoopie Goldberg would have us believe.
Please understand that I do not condone slavery at all in our society or any other in the world today. As referred to in Leviticus, slavery was considered a humane option for enemies of the Hebrews who would be either destroyed or banished to a certain cruel death in a brutal wilderness. There were also slaves who were the Gentiles that either followed the Hebrews in the Exodus from Egypt or joined them along the way. The “humane” aspect of this was that a bondservant was the complete responsibility of the owner. That means that the slave had to be fed, clothed and sheltered by the owner. The slave owner was to protect the slave and the slave’s family as a member of his own family and the Levitical laws were to be applied to slaves as well. Again, this is not an endorsement, just an explanation of biblical history.
“eating shellfish is abomination” – Leviticus does describe eating shellfish as an abomination.
“But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.” – Leviticus 11:10
Again, let’s look at the context. The MacArthur Study bible says, “All of the reasons for the prohibitions are not specified. The major points were: 1) that Israel was to obey God’s absolute standard, regardless of the reason for it, or the lack of understanding of it; and 2) such a unique diet was specified that Israel would find it difficult to eat with the idolatrous people around and among them. Their dietary laws served as a barrier to easy socialization with idolatrous peoples. Dietary and hygienic benefits were real, but only secondary to the divine purposes of obedience and separation. (MacArthur, John Jr: The MacArthur Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville : Word Pub., 1997, c1997.) But Christians, as Obama claims to be, know that the Levitical laws are covered by the sacrifice or and their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Again from John MacArthur, “More than just abolishing the Old Testament dietary restrictions, God made unity possible in the church of both Jews, symbolized by the clean animals, and Gentiles, symbolized by the unclean animals, through the comprehensive sacrificial death of Christ. (MacArthur, John Jr: The MacArthur Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville : Word Pub., 1997, c1997.)
“stoning your child if he strays from the faith” – Verses in Deuteronomy about stoning children don’t say anything about straying from the faith. However, for a child to get as bad as described, faith would have been lost because obedience to the Fifth Commandment was shunned by the child.
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
What Barack Obama doesn’t seem to understand that the parents would have been raising this child as commanded by God. That included all sorts of effort after effort and effort to discipline him to eliminate his rebelliousness. When that wasn’t able to be done, then the evil the child had become had to be eliminated and that included the child himself. Another thing Obama doesn’t seem to understand that with this verse as with the Leviticus reference, those laws apply to Jews, not Gentiles. So they wouldn’t matter to which Christianity was followed. Furthermore, Jesus came to fulfill those laws by His grace and glorious sacrifice.
“the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application” – I don’t even need to reference anything to answer this one. But here is a link to the Sermon on the Mount.
If the people of this world were all followers of Jesus Christ and obeyed the Ten Commandments and practiced the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, there would be no need for a Defense Department in any nation.
Barack Obama was being rhetorical in his statements. But when discussing the bible, why be rhetorical? We are commanded to spread the Gospel of Christ and using the bible is one of the very best ways. Obama may not have been intentionally mocking the bible, but in his ignorant ramblings, along with plenty of other liberal positions he touts by using the bible (out of context) to justify those liberal positions.
Christ was not a liberal or conservative. Nor was he democrat or republican. Jesus is the Lord and Savior of the universe and no matter who wins whatever election is being held, it is Jesus who is the master of all!