For the last several years, every time a Religious Right leader or conservative politician or nominee was criticized for their positions or views, the immediate response from the Right was to accuse the critics of attacking that person’s faith (see, for example, the Family Research Council’s first “Justice Sunday” event.) And these sorts of direct attacks on someone’s faith, according to the Religious Right, amounted to a personal affront that was beyond the pale of accepted political discourse.
So now we have Gary Bauer writing entire op-eds for Politico directly criticizing President Obama’s use and interpretation of Scripture:
Obama has referenced the Sermon on the Mount in support of special rights for homosexuals, despite the Scriptures’ clear support of marriage between one man and one woman and its admonitions to celebrate sex inside the married relationship only.
While the Bible details that human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that life is a gift from God, Obama uses Scripture to support a mentality in support of abortion rights. Explaining his decision to lift an executive ban on federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research, Obama said, “As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”
At the University of Notre Dame, he told graduates, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.”
Obama has played the faith card during the health care debate, too. When prospects for passing Obamacare started to go south, Obama framed the debate as “an ethical and moral obligation.” “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death,” he told rabbis during a conference call to sell his reform proposals.
Life and death issues became the spark igniting the public backlash against Obama’s plans. They arose from concerns over possible death sentences for the ill and elderly should care be rationed and from concerns about tax-payer funded abortions, to name a few. Obama wrapped himself in Scripture to combat opposition to his plans. At one point, he alleged that Obamacare opponents were not just mistaken but also immoral and “bearing false witness” for worrying about taxpayer funding of abortion under his plan.
Bauer says that he believes that “elected officials should talk about faith” … but apparently that doesn’t apply to cases where the use of Scripture does not reinforce Bauer’s right-wing interpretation of it:
I don’t mean to question the sincerity of Obama’s faith. This is a discussion of language. Increasingly, it seems as though the president’s deepest belief is in his own ability to disregard his critics’ moral objections by touting abstract religious principles and embracing empty religious symbolism. Obama seems to think that Americans will accept his out-of-the-mainstream views on moral issues as long as he claims those views arise in part from his religious beliefs.
Of course, if someone were to have written that “Bauer seems to think that Americans will accept his out-of-the-mainstream views on moral issues as long as he claims those views arise in part from his religious beliefs,” he and his allies in the Religious Right would have wasted no time in proclaiming the remark to be an attack on Bauer’s “deeply held beliefs” and held it up as evidence of anti-Christian bigotry.