North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

Obama on the Mount

with 6 comments

It’s been a long time, but I simply can’t let this pass by me without a rejoinder:

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him “less Christian.””I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” said Obama. “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.” ((Hear audio from WTAP-TV)) St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.

I sincerely hope our American friends will soundly reject Obama as a presidential candidate in favour of a far more mature and steady John McCain. There is much about Obama that makes me more than a little queasy.For starters, that ‘obscure’ quote from St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans is older than any of the gospels. I just happen to be reading Garry Wills’ book, What Paul Meant at the moment. Wills is a liberal Catholic. He might, for all I know, agree with Obama’s positions.This quote from the introduction shows that he would argue for such a position along very different lines. It also makes Obama look silly:

Many people would just as soon avoid Paul’s psychodrama and go “back” to the Gospels, which do not argue about understanding Jesus but just present him. Taking the shortcut was the obvious thing to do in the Middle Ages, when it was thought that the Gospels were written by the original followers of Jesus, who were eyewitnesses to what they set down. This lead to the view that there was a primitive church, true to Jesus’ simple teachings, which was later contaminated by Paul’s doubts and theories and wrangling (this is Jefferson’s thesis). But scholarly enquiry has destroyed the idea that the Gospels have a simple biographical basis. They are sophisticated theological constructs, none written by their putative authors, all drawing on second – or third – or fourth hand accounts – and all written from a quarter of a century to half a century after Paul’s letters. If we want to see what the original Jesus communities looked like, the first and best witness is Paul, the earliest writer of what would become the New Testament. In fact, his authentic letters [of which Romans is one - ed.] are the only parts of the of which we can say we know who wrote them. The Gospels, coming later, try to make sense of a history that already contained the conflicts that Paul reveals to us. Those who believe in a providential revelation through the New Testament must deal with the fact that Providence preserved the first batch of inspired writing with the signature of Paul. His letters were written roughly two decades after the death of Jesus. Other new Testament letters attributed to Paul or other authors (Peter, Paul, or John) are written two to five decades after his, and imitate the form of his.

Written by Curt

March 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Mike Huckabee is the closest thing to a Christian politician in the American political presidential race. The rest are not born-again.

    lovefights

    March 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

  2. I’m not arguing religion, but Paul was right in the debate.
    We have rejected the Theory of Just War.

    Jesse

    March 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm

  3. Interesting post…I never thought of the chronology of Paul as that important to understanding the people of the New Testament era. Not being a Biblical fundamentalist, I think it is important to have a sense of history about this confusing book. Good post.

    uncutdiamond

    March 26, 2008 at 10:48 am

  4. none written by their putative authors, all drawing on second – or third – or fourth hand accounts

    No. Really, do we have to denigrate the gospels in order to affirm the value and inspired nature of Paul’s Epistles?

    To be specific, people can and do dispute the authorship of all four gospels, but the traditional authors are strong and viable candidates. Also see Richard Bauckham’s “Jesus & the Eyewitnesses”

    gerard

    March 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  5. Obama: “… an obscure passage in Romans.”

    Ouch — Obama’s playing to people’s ignorance of the Bible.

    Romans is one of Paul’s most systematic letters. The “obscure passage” comes in the first chapter, right after the salutations. Everything that comes later is predicated on the very reason Paul brought up homosexuality — demonstrating humanity’s sinfulness and need of salvation. This is an obscure passage?

    I was going to approach Obama with an open mind, but the willfulness of this spin will make me question anything he says.

    the forester

    May 4, 2008 at 7:56 pm

  6. hi there curt…please let Rebecca know I posted a note to her on her prayer journal page…thanks…love in Christ…Val.

    VAL

    July 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm


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