November 6, 2011
By Jan LaRue
“I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. Throughout the day I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why I am doing it.” —Barack Obama
Christine Falsani of the Chicago Sun Times interviewed then-U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004 about his religious beliefs. According to Falsani:
Obama reads the Bible, though not as regularly as he’d like given the ever-increasing demands on his time that political life has brought. But he does find time to pray. “It’s not formal, me getting on my knees,” he says. “I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. Throughout the day I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why I am doing it. … And so the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I’m having with God internally. I’m measuring my actions against that inner voice that, for me at least, is audible, is active. It tells me where I think I’m on track and where I’m off track. … He uses prayer as a litmus test for altruism? ‘Yeah, something like that,’ he says, smiling sheepishly. ‘The most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I’m talking to a group and I’m saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I’m just being glib or clever.'”
On the subject of governing, Obama told Falsani:
“I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God’s mandate.”
As President, Obama has repeatedly ignored his own ominous warning.
Before an audience of construction workers with the backdrop of the Key Bridge connecting Washington, D.C. with Virginia, Obama on Wednesday pushed for passage of a $60 billion jobs bill that he claimed “will help private sector companies put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our airports, our bridges and our transit systems.”
Obama chided the House of Representatives for not passing his jobs bill while spending time passing “legislation reaffirming that “In God We Trust” is our motto.
“That’s not putting people back to work. I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.” Obama added.
Despite House passage of at least 15 jobs bills by the House, once again, it was Senate Democrats who failed by nine votes on Thursday to end a filibuster and have an up or down vote on the bill.
At CNN’s “Compassion Forum” on April 13, 2008, Obama said that those in the public square shouldn’t claim a “direct line to God”:
“And the biggest danger, I think, for those of us of religious faith when we’re in the public sphere is a certain self-righteousness, where we start thinking that, ‘Well, you know, I’ve got a direct line to God.’ You know, that is incompatible with democracy. You may have a direct line to God. But, you know, that is not — the public square is not the place for us to empower ourselves in that way.”
Again on the subject of making public policy, it was Obama who said [at 42 seconds on the tape]: “So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles now. Folks haven’t been reading their Bible.”
Nonetheless, Obama claimed a direct link to God as His “partner” in passing “ObamaCare.” Obama made a clergy call in Aug. 2009, urging Jewish and Christian clergy to push health care reform from the pulpit, “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death” Obama told rabbis in an earlier call Wednesday, according to Ben Smith at Politico.com.
Obama needs to explain why, contrary to God’s expressed will for marriage, he is pushing repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) and has ordered the Justice Department to stop defending it in court. Except for “gay wedding” planners and “gay divorce” lawyers, this creates jobs how?
In a 2006 speech in Washington, D.C., Obama said his support of state-sanctioned legal rights for homosexual unions comes from the “Sermon on the Mount.” He finds it “more central than “an obscure passage in Romans,” according to Daniel Burke, writing for Christianity Today, April. 4, 2009.
So far, Obama hasn’t attempted to wrap the Sermon on the Mount around his zealous support of abortion, which includes denying basic medical care to a baby who survives an abortion. There is no partnering with God here “on matters of life and death.”
But then, contradicting Christ on the subject of salvation and Hell, as Falsani correctly noted in her interview of Obama, Obama has already made the “Mount” into a political mole hill.
As to passage of the “In God We Trust” resolution, that took about 35 minutes. The House sensed the need to reaffirm the nation’s national motto for several reasons, including addressing Obama’s misstatement about our national motto during a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 10, 2010, which is posted on the White House web site. Obama told the audience that our national motto is “E pluribus unum — out of many, one.”
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan Resolution, explains that, in addition to addressing Obama’s mistake, the Resolution is necessary because of misunderstandings about the “separation of church and state,” “inaccuracies and omissions in the half-billion-dollar Capitol Visitor Center, and “efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats,” which includes a lot of help from Obama’s friends at the ACLU.
Contrary to Obama’s prophecy in yet another campaign speech that “If we lose in 2012, government will tell people ‘you’re on your own,’ most Americans will continue trusting God and rejoicing from on high.
Obama would be wise to check the Bible on which he swore his oath of office when having his “ongoing conversations with God.” That is, if he cares whether his inner voice” is God’s or his own. There really is “an enormous danger” in mistaking the two.
Invoking the Almighty in support of a political agenda comes with caveats, especially when the agenda contradicts the Bible or the Bible is silent on the subject:
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30: 5, 6
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me'” John 14: 23, 24
It’s a lot like interpreting the Constitution — Without text in context, it’s pretext.
Jan LaRue is senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.