For over a week now the press has been hashing and rehashing Dr. James Dobson’s challenge to Barack Obama’s attempt to woe evangelicals. The 24 -hour cable news talk shows lined up defenders and detractors of Dobson’s analysis of Obama’s 2006 speech on evangelicalism delivered at Call to Renewal’s Covenant for a New America Conference.
Dobson accused Obama of “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology.” Dobson also criticized Obama’s understanding of involvement in the political process saying he had a “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.”
Jim Wallis, founder and President of Sojourners, which helped sponsor the Covenant for a New America Conference, used his blog to defend Obama by suggesting that Dobson thinks America is a “Christian theocracy.” Wallis wrote, “Political appeals, even if rooted in religious convictions, must be argued on moral ground rather than as sectarian religious demands….so that the people (citizens), whether religious or not, may have the capacity to hear and respond.” This sounds very much like the argument Obama made in the Renewal speech when he said, “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.” He went on to say, “Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible.”
Therein lies one of the main problems with Obama’s theology. He sees truth as something that can be hammered into a compromise position that can then become amenable, not to the set standard of a Holy God, but to the ever changing and ever compromising standards of sinful humans.
Suppose we apply Obama’s corporate religion of compromise to the sin of slavery. Would Obama be satisfied with an America that is half slave and half free? In order to forge a consensus within the public debate, would Obama agree to allow some blacks to remain in bondage to their slave masters? Of course not! Slavery was a moral evil that could not be rectified by compromise. By the same token, most evangelicals today believe abortion to be a moral evil. It cannot be made amenable or reasonable in any form if we believe that every abortion leads to the death of an innocent, unborn child.
On March 3rd of this year, Obama told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio that concerning abortion, “the bottom line is that in the end, I think women, in consultation with their pastors, and their doctors, and their family, are in a better position to make these decisions than some bureaucrat in Washington.” This kind of thinking reduces absolute truth to a simply majority equation. If a woman, her doctor, her pastor, and her family all agree that killing an unborn child is acceptable then acceptable it is. I wonder what other moral questions could be decided in this fashion? If a child molester, his doctor, his pastor, and his family all agree that his actions are acceptable does that make the molesting of child any less of an atrocity?
Truth, absolute truth that comes from God’s revelation of Himself in His Word, defies the vote of the majority. It flies in the face of opinion polls and focus groups. What makes Barack Obama, Jim Wallis, or anyone else believe the only way truth can be injected into the public arena is by stuffing it with reason and coating it with compromise?
The Bible describes God’s Word as “living, active, and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”(Hebrews 4:12, NIV). Whatever arena believers in Jesus Christ choose to engage whether the culture as a whole, society as a part of culture, or specifically, the political arena we must engage as those who are united by what is right according to God, not what is reasonable and amenable according to the political art of compromise.
In the same speech at Hocking College, Obama said he believed the Bible condoned civil unions. He supported his comment saying, “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.”
Before evangelicals run out to vote for Obama they need to ask themselves if they really want to support a candidate who says they are Christian but believes Paul’s theological capstone of the New Testament is nothing more than an obscure passage.
Many national, evangelical leaders have given Barack Obama a pass when it comes to taking on his Universalist theology and his distorted and politically correct interpretation of God’s Word. We should all thank Dr. Dobson and Tom Minnery for stepping up to the plate and refusing to allow Obama’s Universalist theology and warped sense of evangelical political expediency to go unchallenged.
Dr. Tony Beam is Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.