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NewsReal Sunday: Loyola Professor Analyzes Obama’s Shrewd Use of Scriptures
Posted By Paul Cooper On August 15, 2010 @ 10:00 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments
The Bible says that the scriptures are like a weapon. That weapon is a sword that opens us up, so that we might change. But in the hands of President Obama, the Bible is a weapon to be used for cherry picking verses whenever convenient, so that you can defeat political opponents. Some people think such an outlook on the sacred texts is enlightening, I think it is simply disingenuous and dangerous.
Dr. Jeffrey Siker, professor of religion at Loyola University and a liberal Presbyterian minister, was featured in the LA Times yesterday for an academic paper he did on Obama’s use of the Bible in public speeches and writings. His findings show a candidate and President willing to pick and choose scripture that Obama considers pluralistic and in support of his policies. Siker presents this fact as positive pragmatism instead of what it really may be – sacrilegious ambition.
Siker says Obama most often quotes the Old Testament. The President has often used the familiar story of Moses and the Exodus out of slavery. That story has been a frequently used parable for African-Americans since slavery. However, Obama’s two favorite biblical references are that “we are our brother’s keeper” ( Genesis 4:9) and the notion of the “Joshua generation.”
Obama uses “brother’s keeper” to convince Americans to support socialist policies.
“This vision of being my brother’s keeper has important political and social consequences when it comes to such issues as healthcare, consumer protection or education reform.” – Siker
The problem with that interpretation is that the “brother’s keeper” passage has nothing to do with supporting welfare policies. Cain has just killed his brother Abel, and God was condemning Cain for the sin by asking Cain where his brother was. Cain said he didn’t know where Abel was because he’s not responsible for him. God does not respond by saying, “Yes you are Cain. You are responsible to make enough money to pay not only for your healthcare but also Abel’s.”
Presidential candidate Obama loved talking about the “Joshua generation” when running for office. Joshua followed up Moses in the Old Testament as leader of the Hebrews. His task was to finish the job of taking God’s people into the promised land. Moses couldn’t finish the job so Joshua had to do it. Obama has basically told young people that they must finish the leftist agenda of the people in the 1960s.
“The previous generation, the Moses generation, pointed the way. So the question, I guess, that I have today is what’s called of us in this Joshua generation? What do we do in order to fulfill that legacy; to fulfill the obligations and the debt that we owe to those who allowed us to be here today?” – Obama, March 2007 speech.
The following June Obama’s campaign would launch the “Joshua Generation Project,” calling on young Christian voters to support Obama. Is anyone else bothered by the fact that Obama sees his job is to take America to the promised land of liberalism? Imagine if Bush used such language for taking America into conservatism.
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