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Obama and the Bible

April 7, 2012

[33rd J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM and 96.1 FM in Reno.]

It’s Easter weekend of an election year, and we all know what that means: President Obama will be spouting scripture in every direction. I find the sight nauseating, not just because I have doubts about the faith of a man who could spend 20 years listening to the hate-filled rants of Reverend Wright, but because Obama tends to get his scripture wrong. He desperately wants the Bible to support socialism and when it doesn’t, he hammers the Word into a square hole anyway.

Watching our president quote scripture is like watching a fish ride a bicycle.

His favorite Bible quote is used almost daily, and dates all the way back to the moment that put Obama on the map, the 2004 Keynote Address at the Democrat National Convention where he said these words:
“It is that fundamental belief -- It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work.”
Nobody had ever heard of him before that night. Obama was a lowly state senator in Illinois, but people were enthusiastic about his speech. If they’d known they were going to hear the same speech every day for the next eight years, they might’ve been less enthusiastic. He was running for the U.S. Senate at the time, and before he was done with that election he was already running for president... so he’s been speechifying non-stop since 2004.

This is Obama on February 2 of this year, at the National Prayer breakfast:
“It makes economic sense. But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper; that as a country, we rise and fall together.”
And here is Obama last week at the University of Vermont:
“Let me tell you about values. Hard work, personal responsibility - those are values. But looking out for one another. That's a value. The idea that we're all in this together. I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper. That's a value.”
The “brother’s keeper” thing comes from Genesis Chapter 4, Verse 9. (The “sister’s keeper” part comes from Barack Obama trying to be politically correct.) Thing is, the words come from Adam’s son Cain who had just murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy. When God asks Cain where his brother is, Cain gives the equivocating smart-alecky answer, “I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?”

Not exactly the guy whose words you want to use as the fundamental example of what makes America great.

Obama also likes to pretend Jesus Himself was a socialist. In February the president was trying to justify raising taxes on rich people and said:
“I actually think that is going to make economic sense, but for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’”
Those words come from Luke Chapter 12, Verse 49, and Jesus was talking about the relationship of a slave to his master, creating a metaphor for what God would require from us. Jesus wasn’t talking about what the government should steal from us.

If you look carefully at what Obama is saying, you’ll see that he’s plugging us, American citizens, into the metaphor as the slaves. That kind of makes me nervous. Is that how he sees us? As slaves?

Sometimes the president quotes the Bible with words that aren’t even in the Bible, like when he wanted another jobs bill passed last year but Republicans weren’t cooperating. Obama said:
“I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney defended the president’s implication that God is on the Democrats’ side, not the Republicans’, by saying Obama was quoting from the Bible. “I believe the phrase from the Bible is, `The Lord helps those who help themselves,’” said Carney.

There is no such phrase in the Bible. It’s a popular motto about self-initiative – we’ve all heard it – but it comes from the ancient Greeks, not the Bible. What’s more, saying God is on your side in a political dispute about a dubious piece of legislation is low class baloney. I wish Barack Obama would form a personal relationship with the Bible before he tries quoting it for political gain.

That's... today’s dose of common sense..

"The devil can site scripture for his own purpose! An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek." – William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." – Matthew 22:29

"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." – James 1:26

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

June 15, 2012 - U got it wrong mr. man. I am fan of president Obama. - Joann S., Virginia

April 9, 2012 - I echo your observations about Ozymandias-on-the-Potomac's eisigesis (forcing unintended meaning into) versus proper exegesis (studying via hermeneutics and context to draw the intended meaning out) of Scripture. Also fond of the myriad bloggers who've wondered where-oh-where is The One's compassion regarding his half-brother in Kenya who is living on less that $20 per year. Then again, our Narcissist-in-Chief never claimed to be his HALF-brother's keeper. I guess that nuanced subtlety gets him off the hook. - Chris, Virginia

April 8, 2012 - Hey, you made Doug Ross's Quote of the Day. Congratulations. Never heard of you, but I like your site. - Q, Oregon
J.P. replies: Cool beans. I grabbed a screenshot:

April 8, 2012 - If I hear that "brother's keeper, sister's keeper" line from the president one more time I'm going to scream. You'd think he'd get sick of saying it. - Lisa B., Reno

April 8, 2012 - Excellent! Thank you & Happy Easter to you! - Mary D., Michigan
J.P. replies: Same to you, Mary. Hope you have a wonderful Easter.

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