Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Whatsoever Things Are True

My first politically-oriented post on this blog concerned the remarkable speech Barack Obama gave concerning faith and politics at the Call to Renewal event in 2006. You can hear the speech here.

For some reason, Dr. James Dobson has just discovered that speech and taken it upon himself to alert his listeners to its "dangers." Problem is he either deliberately or ignorantly (I won't speculate about intention) distorts Obama's words and message. The issue here is not politically- or even biblically-based opinions. We can disagree in some of those areas. The problem is the total distortion of a man's words to say the opposite (We've seen this before!) of what he was conveying. The result is not just misinterpretation, it is also misinformation. Whether or not the intention was malice, the carelessness and the ungracious characterizations are malicious and don't reflect Christian relationship.

I've been working on my thoughts, but some other good Christian brothers and sisters have given a great start to a response over at Below is an excerpt from that site. Later I intend to offer more of my thoughts.

“What [Obama is] trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe” (Focus on the Family Broadcast, 6/24).

"Indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition" (A Call to Renewal).

“I think [Obama is] deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology” (Focus on the Family Broadcast).

"And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope" (A Call to Renewal).

"But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth" (A Call to Renewal).

“And if I can’t get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. That is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution” (Focus on the Family Broadcast).

“Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?" (Focus on the Family Broadcast).

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all” (A Call to Renewal).

“We do not have to go to the lowest common denominator of morality, which is what [Obama] is suggesting” (Focus on the Family Broadcast).

"If we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny" (A Call to Renewal).

“I'd just like to ask your viewers if they've heard a single comment made by the three Presidential candidates on any occasion that even mentioned the well-being of this most basic, social institution (family)” (CNN).

“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation… But if we are honest with ourselves, we'll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it” (Father’s Day Speech, Apostolic Church).

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