Monday, March 3, 2008

The Obama exegesis

In response to a question about public policy with respect to homosexual unions, Obama said that the Sermon on the Mount should take priority over St. Paul's explicit statements about homosexual acts - that it is "more central than an obscure passage in Romans." John Mark Reynolds disagrees:
The Sermon on the Mount supports homosexual civil unions.

The Book of Romans is less important and is an obscure part of Scripture.

So says Barack Obama arguing for civil unions and if he is the last best hope of America, then it must be true. But for the rest of us, who like him, but are not of Obama, these statements seem bizarre at best and messianic at worst.

Obama could be messianic, ignorant, way left of center, or just guilty of a silly blunder. Here is hoping he soon admits that he spoke badly. The other alternatives should lead Democrats to reconsider their chances in November.

It is the habit of messiahs, true and false, to clarify the ancient scriptures and to introduce new. Charity can only hope that Obama has not taken plaudits in the press so seriously that he has decided to issue his own theological reinterpretation of the Bible. ....

We already know that Obama reads the Constitution looking for what he wishes were there. Liberal ideology affirms the Constitution as “good,” but then is troubled when the actual document contradicts what the liberal believer asserts should be in a good document. If the Constitution does not affirm a right to abort, then our reading of the Constitution must be mistaken. As a result, leftists “find” their goals in ever more weird readings of the text.

Obama is doing the same thing with the Bible. He wants, like the liberal establishment, to justify civil unions so he uses the phrase “Sermon on the Mount” to stand in for all the good things he wishes were in Scripture. Sadly for him, this will not work out well.

He is using his own wishes to ignore a clear passage condemning homosexual practice (Romans 1) in order to justify a weird reading of the Sermon on the Mount that says nothing about homosexuality. This is bad exegesis and worse for a political leader. .... [more]

Update: I've revised my words in the first paragraph for clarity.

Obama: Messiah, Badly Read, Very Liberal, Or Guilty of a Gaffe? | The Scriptorium Daily: Middlebrow

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