Focus on the Family has wrapped up its three-part series attacking Barack Obama’s faith and understanding of Christianity. In part one, FOF Vice President Tom Minnery accused Obama of having “a fierce misunderstanding of Christianity,” while in part two he called Obama’s interpretation of the Bible sacrilegious. In the final installment, Minnery said Obama has a “complete and utterly ridiculous understanding” of the role of religion in public life.
Trobee: Tom, in the next segment of the address, I think it really represents the crux of the issue. What he says, basically, is that Christians are being asked to set aside their values and basically to keep their noses out of politics.
Obama: Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do.
Minnery: Oh oh
Obama: But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. 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. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise.
Minnery: In a way, he’s right. What we believe, we believe absolutely. But no one who understands the proper place of religion in a free society believes that God’s edicts ought to be imposed on everyone. Nobody can impose anything on anyone. We understand compromise. We believe that it is unrighteous, wrong, to take the lives of innocent unborn children but we want to fight for those beliefs in the Democratic halls of the legislatures of the Congress. We are able to work back to our principle piece by piece, increment by increment, compromise by compromise, if you will. We are quite willing to be involved, as citizens, in the legislature that our civil government provides for us. We don’t want to impose any edict, any religious principle of God.
Obama: If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
Minnery: What he is suggesting here is that somehow conservative Christian people, presumably Dr. Dobson, whom he mentioned by name, wants to impose a theocracy. There has never been a suggestion from here or in any orthodox, evangelical source that a theocracy is appropriate for the United States of America. A theocracy, God’s edicts, were what the Israelites had to contend with. That’s called the Old Testament. This is called the New Testament. Salvation is open to everyone. Our Christianity is based on love. Nobody can force anyone to love anyone else. So this is a complete and utterly ridiculous understanding of how we bring faith into the public square.