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Sermonizing on the campaign trail

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted March 10, 2008

During the course of an election year, one is used to coming across all sorts of surprises. Oftentimes it's some sort of a vocal gaffe like, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Sometimes it is a photo; say, of a candidate posing in the turret of a tank, or maybe in what looked for all the world like a powder blue bunny suit.

Barack ObamaSo far, the list of 2008 doozies is short, although the campaign season has thus far been excruciatingly long. There's been the Barack Obama middle name controversy as well as a photo of him dressed as a Muslim tribal chief, and a few Hillary Clinton crying jags. But to me, the winner so far has got to be Barack Obama's revelation that his support for same-sex unions is justified by the Sermon on the Mount.

Yes, that Sermon; the same gift of love given us by our Savior as a roadmap to the virtues which, if followed to the letter, can neutralize the Seven Deadly Sins and lead us through the narrow gate to life eternal. Senator Obama, in his Pauline attempt at being all things to all people, defended his support of legitimizing homosexuality by pronouncing the following in Ohio recently:

If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that.

Now, many politicians have tried to pilot their way through the stormy seas of Christian America by quoting the Bible or, in the case of some, merely carrying one. Who can forget erstwhile altar boy John Kerry's embarrassing invocation of James 2:14: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" This from a man who's a charter member of the "I'm personally against abortion, but…" club. By their fruits you shall know them, indeed.

Too many politicos will deny that public deeds must accompany their faith, and cower behind the imaginary wall between church and state. But Obama has taken this a step further; using faith as license. Now this is nothing new among relativists and their ilk, but for a major presidential candidate, and one who feels it necessary to proclaims his Christianity daily, it is truly remarkable.

Though Obama failed to specifically identify chapter and verse from the Sermon, it is assumed that he was referring to the warning to "judge not, lest ye be judged." This, of course, was spoken in reference to the measure of mercy we will receive at the Final Judgment and accordingly admonishes us to temper our earthly judgments with mercy.

The "obscure passage in Romans" that Senator Obama referenced is, by the way, a great example of one of the many that is mostly ignored by a great number of folks who find God's commands impossible and inconvenient. It goes further than calling homosexuality a sin; it reveals that homosexual acts are in themselves the punishment for turning away from God:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

To suggest that the Sermon on the Mount's admonition to avoid harsh judgments in this world contradicts God's commandments concerning sins against Him, comes perilously close to blasphemy. Should this idea--that we are to make no moral judgments--reach its likely conclusion, the rule of law, as it was originally conceived in this country, would crumble in a few short years. Yet, the notion that public officials should divest themselves of faith in performance of their duties is growing.

A speech given by Obama in 2006, where he discusses the theological beating given him by Alan Keyes on the Illinois campaign trail in 2004 illustrates the point:

I answered with the typically liberal response in some debates – namely, that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois…

Later on in that same address is the real kicker, and one that should give all Christians pause. In a single paragraph, Obama perfectly illustrates all that Jesus said concerning the differences between His followers, and those of ‘the World'.

At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing. ESR

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut. You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.


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