Dobson falsely suggested Obama accused Dobson of "want[ing] to expel people who are not Christians" from the U.S.

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

On his radio show, James Dobson falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama claimed Dobson "wants to expel people who are not Christians" from the United States. Dobson was referring to a 2006 speech in which Obama actually asked: "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? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's?"

During the June 24 broadcast of his radio show, Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama claimed Dobson "wants to expel people who are not Christians" from the United States. Dobson was referring to a speech Obama gave in 2006 in which Obama actually asked: "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? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's?" After airing that statement, Dobson responded: "I don't want to be defensive here. Obviously, that is offensive to me. I mean, who wants to expel people who are not Christians? Expel them from what? From the country? Deprive them of constitutional rights? Is that what he thinks I want to do? Why'd this man jump on me? I haven't said anything anywhere near that."

From Obama's June 28, 2006, speech before the Call to Renewal organization:

OBAMA: And moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's populations, the dangers of sectarianism are greater than ever. Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and 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? Would it be 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 an abomination? Or we could go with 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? We -- so, before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles now. Folks haven't been reading their Bible.

From the June 24 broadcast of Focus on the Family:

TOM MINNERY (host): Later in the speech, he says, "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."

Well, I say, "Excuse me?" Seventy-six percent of the people identify themselves as Christian. There are only six-tenths of 1 percent who are Muslim, seven-tenths of 1 percent who are Buddhist, four-tenths of 1 percent who are Hindu. That's from last year's Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Religious Survey. So he's diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say. And then he begins to diminish you.

OBAMA [audio clip]: 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? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's?

MINNERY: Well, we have to camp on that for just a moment, because he has compared you somehow as being on the right what Al Sharpton is on the left. Al Sharpton achieved his notoriety in the '80s and '90s by engaging in racial bigotry, and many people have called him "a black racist." And he is somehow equating you with that and racial bigotry.

DOBSON: You know, Tom, I don't want to be defensive here. Obviously, that is offensive to me. I mean, who wants to expel people who are not Christians? Expel them from what? From the country? Deprive them of constitutional rights? Is that what he thinks I want to do? Why'd this man jump on me? I haven't said anything anywhere near that.

He also equates me with Al Sharpton, who is a reverend. I am not a reverend, I'm not a minister, I'm not a theologian, I'm not an evangelist. I'm a psychologist. I have a Ph.D. in child development from the University of Southern California. And there is no equivalence to us. So I don't want to overreact to it. But, you know, I -- this comment was made two years ago, and it's taken me two years to find about it, so --

MINNERY: Well, you're in good company, because from there, he proceeds to disparage serious understanding of the Bible.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Person
James Dobson
Show/Publication
Focus on the Family
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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