The AP has an article out on what Dr. Dobson is saying about Obama. This might seem surprising, but Dr. Dobson is is VERY influential with the religious right voting bloc, and his endorsement would bring a lot of voters with it.
Of course, we know Dobson would never support Obama because of one issue…Abortion. The love child of Franky and Francis Schaeffer, abortion has become the number one political issue among evangelicals. Starving kids in Africa and dead babies in the rubble of Iraq don’t quite overcome this issue.
This is hard for me to understand; as someone who is pro-life in principle but votes pro-choice more often than not. This is because I feel that there are more important issues, frankly, ones that affect millions of children worldwide and in the US. The divisiveness and ideological purity of the anti-choice and pro-death movements have done this country a big disservice, in my opinion.
Anyway, instead I’ll ignore the elephant in the room, and focus on two comments Obama made about the Bible that Dobson took offense with.
The first is actually from the Hebrew Torah; the irony of which all parties appear to be oblivious of. Leviticus is a rather difficult book to read, but not for the reasons you might think. Leviticus contains the laws for the Priests, and the laws of Holiness (In a deeper irony still, Judaism doesn’t expect non-Jews to keep these types of laws).. These are very ornate, elaborate rules involving all aspects of life. Most Christians do not follow about 99% of Leviticus, as they think Jesus came to do away, err, I mean, “fulfill” Jewish Law.
One of the parts they do not follow is this:
Leviticus 19:19 “…Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with another sort; thou shalt not sow thy field with seed of two sorts; and a garment woven of two materials shall not come upon thee.”
Oops, I meant this one, more pertinent to Obama’s statement:
Leviticus 19:20 “And if a man lie with a woman for copulation, and she is a bondwoman betrothed to a husband, but not at all ransomed, nor hath freedom been given to her, there shall be a chastisement: they shall not be put to death, for she was not free.”
to answer your question, yes, this is about the proper chastisement for having sex with your BETROTHED slave (he needs to give a ram to the priests to sacrifice, btw. Duh!). There is no mention of the proper chastisement of a non-betrothed slave, which is actually a very important point of ancient tribal law related to women as property; one I can’t cover here.
Actually, Obama was probably talking about this doozy:
Leviticus 25:44 ” And as for thy bondman and thy handmaid whom thou shalt have — of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and handmaids.”
As a BLACK man in a WHITE culture that used to BUY and OWN BLACK “BONDSMAN”, I could see this passage troubling Obama. While Jewish slaves were set free after 7 years or so, non-Jewish slaves were slaves for life, and their children were slaves too, and their children, and their children. And the Bible only makes an exception for Jews. not cool.
Secondly, Obama talked about Jesus’ sermon on the mount; which actually IS Christian scripture, unlike the previous verses:
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed the meek, for *they* shall inherit the earth”
Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Until the heaven and the earth pass away, one iota or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all come to pass.”
Wait a minute, if Jesus said that heaven and earth would disappear before the laws of Moses would be changed, does this include the laws about owning only foreign slaves? One gets the idea that Jesus had other things in mind:
Jesus then says this: “But *I* say unto you, that every one that is lightly angry with his brother shall be subject to the judgment; but whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be subject to [be called before] the sanhedrim; but whosoever shall say, Fool, shall be subject to the penalty of the hell of fire.”
To be angry with your brother is enough to warrant death and eternal judgment. One can argue about this all night, but I actually think Jesus was using the tactic of making a law so terribly strict that it can never be practiced against anyone without causing injury to oneself. The author of John seems to think so:
“But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up and said to them, Let him that is without sin among you first cast the stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Actually, Obama probably meant this:
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed the peace-makers, for *they* shall be called sons of God.”
I do not see how Dr. Dobson could be angry at using these scriptures in the context that they were supposed to be used in. Christianity was a very peaceful religion, at least up to the time it merged with Rome. Even today there are many anti-war Christian sects, like the Quakers. The message of peace and brotherly love is undeniably a part of Jesus’ message. More from the Sermon on the Mount:
“Ye have heard that it has been said, Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But *I* say unto you, not to resist evil; but whoever shall strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other; and to him that would go to law with thee and take thy body coat, leave him thy cloak also. And whoever will compel thee to go one mile, go with him two. To him that asks of thee give, and from him that desires to borrow of thee turn not away. Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But *I* say unto you, Love your enemies, [bless those who curse you,] do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who [insult you and] persecute you,”
Some would claim that it is ridiculous way for a nation to act; that Jesus only expected this within reason, or only for individuals, or only in heaven, not in the dramatic immediate way he presents it here. I remind these people that, if you believe the bible is infallible and perfect, that you are the ones denying the actual words of G-d through Moses and Jesus, not me or Obama. Dramatic hyperbole or not, Jesus meant to transform society. And Obama is right; this is not a goal our “defense” department is currently supporting at all.
I agree that we cannot always act like this, but I it is a good goal to have; one that makes us better even though we cannot attain it.