Christian Right Attacks Senator Barack Obama's Christian Faith

James Dobson of Focus on the Family attacks 2006 Obama speech

by, June 25, 2008

Some fundamentalist evangelical Christians are responding to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's outreach by disparaging his faith. Most recently, and notably, Dr. James Dobson, who heads Focus on the Family, said on his widely aired radio program that Obama "is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

Dobson's attack, delivered on June 24th on his Focus on the Family radio program, came after Obama's religious affairs staffer reached out to Focus on the Family and had a long conversation with the group's Vice President Tom Minnery, according to the Associated Press.

Minnery, who served as Dobson's interlocutor on the program yesterday said during the broadcast that Obama was "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology." Dobson and Minnery waged their attack by taking potshots at a speech Obama made in 2006 to a progressive Christian audience. Hear the 18-minute Focus on the Family broadcast below. The attack on Obama starts 11 minutes in.

Earlier attacks
Dobson's program was the third major attack on Obama's religious faith by a prominent right-wing Christian this month. The earlier attacks were by columnist Cal Thomas and internet televangelist Bill Keller.

The attacks follow Obama's private meeting earlier this month with a group of Christian evangelical leaders, including some from the Christian right. The meeting was reported as an effort by Obama to woo evangelical voters, who have voted Republican in past elections. The attacks appear geared to discourage evangelical Christians from voting for Obama. Dobson's radio audience is said to number in millions. Earlier this year, Dobson said he could not vote for McCain.

Where Dobson took potshots at an Obama speech, Thomas and Keller directly challenge Obama's claim to be a Christian. In a column posted on the Town Hall website, Thomas wrote:

Obama can call himself anything he likes, but there is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn't meet that requirement. One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in Scripture. They are called "false prophets."

Vile video
Even more extreme was a video diatribe by internet televangelist Bill Keller, who called Obama "an enemy of God." Keller's video can, in completely objective terms, be characterized as vile because, as part of the visual content running behind his rant, Keller uses what appear to be video clips of abortions in progress. Keller makes the same point as Thomas -- contending that Obama is not a Christian by Keller's narrow, literalist, absolutist standard.

Of Obama, Keller said:

He stated in a recent interview, "I believe that there are many paths to the same place." This is the damnable universalistic lie leading millions of souls to hell that there are many roads leading to God. He also said that "he doesn't know if he is going to Heaven, nor does he believe he or anyone will go to Hell." How can you claim to be a Christian, yet not believe in Heaven and Hell?

Keller also said:

The fact Senator Obama denies Jesus is the only way to be saved, that there is no Heaven or Hell, that the Bible is not the only Truth, calls into question whether he believes Jesus was immaculately conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin as the Bible claims, or that Jesus literally rose from the dead as we are told in Scripture. Faith in Christ is not a political game, but a life changing experience that determines where your soul will spend eternity. It is time for Senator Obama to be held accountable for what he says he believes to examine if he really is a Christian!

You can see Keller's video (that's a screenshot, on the left) here, or, if you prefer, there is a transcript here. Keller claims to have a huge audience for his call-in format programs.

We wrote about Keller last year, when, garbed in what he claimed was "magical Mormon underwear," he attacked Mormonism and then presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

It remains to be seen whether these attacks on Obama's Christianity will persist as durably as the false rumors that he is a Muslim -- and whether evangelical Christian voters will be swayed by them.

UPDATE: On June 27th, Bill Keller sent out a statement on Christian Newswire, again criticizing Obama and chiding Dr. Dobson and other Christian right leaders for not criticizing Obama earlier. Keller said, in part:

It is clear that Senator Obama is convinced he can use the news media to continue declaring he is a Christian without being held accountable for his non-Christian beliefs and actions, and that Christianity has been so watered down and Biblical Truth so compromised that he can ignore those followers of Jesus Christ who still believe the Bible represents Absolute Truth. Instead he has aggressively courted those who call themselves Christians but hold liberal beliefs in opposition to God's Word as he does. Just because you call yourself a giraffe doesn't make you a giraffe!"

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family finally spoke out against Senator Obama's skewed theology and perverse use of Scripture, responding to a speech he gave two years ago after Dobson recently learned that Senator Obama criticized him in that speech. Sadly, Dobson's remarks were more aimed at defending his name than the Christian faith. His credibility was badly shaken last year when he refused to denounce and all but endorsed Mormon Mitt Romney, even though Mormon theology is inconsistent with Biblical Christianity and is viewed as a satanic cult leading the souls of men to hell.

...I understand that he is a psychologist and not a theologian, but Dobson only spoke out against Senator Obama's flawed theology after he learned of the attack on his name. Where was he months ago when people like myself were taking the heat in the national media for declaring that Senator Obama's beliefs and actions are clearly not those of a Christian? Even though he has once again failed to lead, it is nice to finally have his voice speaking out against Senator Obama's confused and tortured theology.

TOPIC: Groups, People & Background