Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family -- who has stayed unusually quiet in this election cycle likely due to his loathing of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- will tomorrow attack Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, on Tuesday for a speech the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee delivered in 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.
In it, Dobson hammers Obama's views of religion, and says the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is trying to govern by the "lowest common denominator of morality," and calls Obama's views "a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."
Obama's original speech, delivered on June 28, 2006, (you can listen to it HERE) started with a discussion of his 2004 Senate opponent, Alan Keyes, who said that "Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama."
Obama said that he "was urged by some of my liberal supporters not to take this statement seriously, to essentially ignore it….But what they didn't understand, however, was that I had to take Mr. Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths." Moreover, "Keyes's implicit accusation that I was not a true Christian nagged at me."
The speech delves into Obama's view of the constructive role religion plays in society, beseeching "work that progressive leaders need to do" on the subject, followed by his views of "what conservative leaders need to do -- some truths they need to acknowledge."
That included "the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice," Obama said, as well as "the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
"And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama asked. "Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles."
Dobson responds, per the AP, that "I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology" and charges that Obama "is dragging Biblical understanding through the gutter."
"Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?" Dobson asks. "What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe."
In response to Dobson's comments, Joshua DuBois, national director of religious affairs for the Obama campaign responded in a statement: "Barack Obama is committed to reaching out to people of faith and standing up for American families, and a full reading of his 2006 Call to Renewal speech shows just that. Obama is proud to have the support of millions of Americans of faith and looks forward to working across religious lines to bring our country together."