Franklin Graham’s Apology

From the RNS:

WASHINGTON (RNS) Evangelist Franklin Graham apologized Tuesday (Feb. 28) to President Obama for questioning his Christian faith and said religion has “nothing to do” with Graham’s decision not to support Obama’s re-election.

Graham’s apology came after a group of prominent black religious leaders criticized the evangelist for saying he did not know whether Obama is a Christian and suggesting that Islamic law considers him to be a Muslim.

Graham, president of the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse and the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said he now accepts Obama’s declarations that he is a Christian.

“I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama,” he said in a statement.

“I apologize to him and to any I have offended for not better articulating my reason for not supporting him in this election — for his faith has nothing to do with my consideration of him as a candidate.”

Graham said he objects to Obama’s policy stances on abortion and same-sex marriage, which Graham considers to be in “direct conflict” with Scripture.

More than a dozen members of a religious subgroup of the NAACP had accused Graham of “bearing false witness” and fomenting racial discord.

“We can disagree about what it means to be a Christian engaged in politics, but Christians should not bear false witness,” the NAACP statement said. “We are also concerned that Rev. Graham’s comments can be used to encourage racism.”

When asked in a recent MSNBC interview if Obama was a Christian, Graham responded, “I cannot answer that question for anybody.” He went on to say that because Obama’s father was a Muslim, “under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim.”

By contrast, Graham said there is “no question” that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is a “man of faith” because “his values are so clear on moral issues.” Santorum has also faced criticism for saying the president has a “phony theology” that is unbiblical.

“By his statements, Rev. Graham seems to be aligning himself with those who use faith as a weapon of political division,” the NAACP said. “These kinds of comments could have enormous negative effects for America and are especially harmful to the Christian witness.”

Signatories of the open letter included presidents of the National Baptist Convention, USA; the National Baptist Convention of America; the Progressive National Baptist Convention; as well as bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

 

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Alice

    I agree that Rev. Graham needed to issue an apology. I listened to the interview live last week and was so disgusted with him. This kind of questioning of another person’s faith based purely on political disagreement is tiring at best and much darker than that, at worst. I am pleased he issued an apology, but much damage was already done. I am never ashamed of Jesus, but find I am often ashamed to be a Christian in America.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    (Get ready for tongue in cheek relating to the Koran burnings…)

    He should not have apologized, not until Obama apologized for all the harm he did to our religious institutions! He has no regrets and no apology for his war on religion! Do not apologize for that.

  • Pat Pope

    Whew, DRT, you scared me for that for a moment and then I read your disclaimer. :)

  • MattR

    I’m glad he apologized.

    Saw the whole thing in context, and honestly, he was given several chances at the time to clarify his statement, but he just doubled down!

    I’m glad he’s backing away now, but I fear much of the damage has already been done… especially to his credibility. I seem to remember several other statements in recent years that have confused the Gospel and Christian faith with a conservative political alliance… His Dad seemed to know how to separate that stuff better.

  • Tracy

    It is hard not to imagine that Graham saw the enormous damage he might have done to his own charity, Smaritan’s Purse. But impugning the man’s motives is exactly the sort of thing we should stop doing. So I will take him at his word.

    Billy Graham’s reputation was once nearly ruined by reckless and irresponsible comments he made about Jews. He seemed to have grown wiser later in life. We can hope that the younger Graham’s animus towards Muslims– evident not just in this context, will be outgrown as well.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Tracy, but this is not even close to an isolated incident, no?

  • http://abcwesterville.org Mark Farmer

    I wish Graham would also apologize to Rob Bell as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCOkGDUgij8

  • Pat Pope

    @Tracy, I heard his sister Ruth Graham speak last year and obviously there were a lot of questions from the audience about her family. She even made some tongue-in-cheek comment about her brother and his opinions.

    But yes, I do hope that he grows and mellows with age. If I recall, he was the rebellious one that came back to faith and like all of us, God isn’t done with him yet.

  • Jim

    What a blight on the Graham name. Not that Billy Graham was very sensitive or astute when it came to politics, but Franklin continues to manage to put it over the top. Those who question Obama’s faith bring judgment on thier own house. And we wonder why the world thinks so little of us.

  • http://pauldouglaswalker.blogspot.com/ Paul Walker

    I am wondering if the whole situation with Franklin is an open reminder of the dangers of the policalization of faith. There is much damage that has been and is being done to the Gospel when it is co-opted by the kingdoms and politics of this world. When I listened to the interview I wondered if Franklin and others around him had bought into the myth that our hope as the church in contemporary culture is found in any political leader or politician.

  • EricG

    I believe he made a very similar comment during the last election; this is a long-held belief of his that he has stood by before. I wonder whether the current apology is based on expediency and concern over the opposition from black groups, rather than true remorse. Although I truly hope that he is sincere.

  • http://roundrockministry.blogspot.com/ Gil T

    Issuing an apology is certainly as much Graham’s prerogative as it is for him or anyone to wonder about President Obama’s faith. The knee-jerk aversion to such questioning of anyone’s faith (and which slips unseen under the radar) is that its extraction from the accuser itself strikes me more as a political ploy rather than a genuine concern of faith.

    The reason I say this is because as brothers and sisters in the faith that is in Christ Jesus, whether President Obama, NAACP members or Graham, the matter could ever so joyful be settled if the accused seizing the opportune moment to glorify Jesus as Lord. Of course, that, as is most typically the case, did not happen.

    I have stated in the past I will take President Obama at his word if he declares himself to be a Christian. I heard and replied to his faith comments during his campaign and said he is seriously mistaken about much of what he professes. This is not a crime anymore than it is in any other brother or sister in Christ. The unfortunate matter is that people, both Christians and nonbelievers mistakenly assume Obama’s role as president, his academic background in the law and oratory are qualifications for understanding what he professes, but this is not so necessarily.

  • Fred

    Saying that President Obama is not a Christian and saying “he did not know whether Obama is a Christian” are two entirely different things. Sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Well, I am going to play devils advocate for a second. I wish my oldest son were here because he would quote some universal law about how you can’t tell a religious fanatic from a … nut.

    But to devil’s advocate, are we all not really that far from seeming off base to many? We scoff at this, but to many (most) it is quite difficult to defend what we think.

  • David Wegener

    Alice: Is there ever a valid reason to question someone’s profession of faith?

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    This isn’t an isolated incident. He said essentially the exact same thing on multiple previous occasions. I just went back and looked at video from Aug 2010 on John King with CNN, Morning Joe (fox) Feb 2012, Lawrence O’Donnell in April 2011, and MSNBC Feb 2012. There were probably more, but those were the ones I looked at.

    My question is why he keeps answering in the exact same way and if this apology means anything.

  • Gene

    Is there any reason to believe Obama is a Christian (a biblical one, not a cultural one)? I have seen none. His politics certainly aren’t consistent with Christian values. He has done nothing to stem the tide of abortion in our country; instead he has professed and carried out his intentions to protect it even more. Even his health care plan is contradictory to Christian values. He has no biblical concept of the proper use of money and wealth. He has repeatedly disregarded the constitution which he is sworn to uphold and live under. That reveals a lack of personal integrity. His rhetoric is filled with dishonest statements, personal attacks. He has repeatedly lied, failed to keep his word, played politics with moral issues. He is a man that cannot be trusted.

    So whether or not we like his politics, we should all be able to agree that he has no credible Christian testimony. Christians do not do what he has done.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    I’m glad for his apology, but the “may” in the “may have cast doubt” undercuts it. Graham did overstep, more than once as Adam noted. His and others (e.g., D’Souza’s pablum) & his continued affiliation of Obama to the religion of the parent who left him seems to be deliberately muddying of the waters.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    edit fail… sigh

  • David D

    If Obama is a Christian, then fruit should be evident. He supports gay marriage, he supports a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, he heralded the Roe v. Wade decision on its anniversary just 2 weeks ago, he attended a church that spews hate, he constantly apologizes to Muslims over every little thing. I could keep going but its late. Sorry, but his beliefs don’t line up with Scripture. What does this have to do with Franklin Graham? He was probably right. No apology needed.

  • Steve Sherwood

    I don’t understand why Franklin is opposed to Obama’s repeatedly stated opposition to gay marriage. Not to mention the questioning of his faith.

  • Sundown

    David,
    None of these beliefs make a person “not a true Christian”.

  • kenny Johnson

    I didn’t realize that a person’s view on the governments role on abortion and gay marriage or a sensitivity towards another religion makes you not a Christian. I mistakenly thought ut might be a faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior. I fear David D has just disqualified me.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    This raises lots of issues for me about whether US Evangelicals have decided that political beliefs are a better test of Christian faith than theological affirmation. I know I have been questioned for my political beliefs. And I would never suggest that Obama is an evangelical. I have had more than one person seriously tell me that their Republican affiliation was more important to them than their Christian one. And these people are all serious Christians. I would never question if they were Christians.

    But why do so many American Christians believe that it is required to have a fairly narrow range of political beliefs. This does not seem to be true outside the US from my reading and few interactions.

  • Rick

    Adam #24-

    “But why do so many American Christians believe that it is required to have a fairly narrow range of political beliefs.”

    The liberal v. conservative battles of the 20th Century left a mark that is still being felt.

    How one views and interprets Scripture became a litmus test. Political beliefs were/are seen as a reflection of that interpretation. Furthermore, and partially as a result of those battles, non-essential beliefs became mixed with essentials.

  • Richard

    @ 17, 20

    Professing faith in Christ moves him into the category of being a Christian. As for the fruit you request, scripture doesn’t hold up political stances as the litmus test, it holds up love, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, etc.

    Tough for any of us on this blog to determine whether his personal life manifests those things, unless someone here golfs with him. But he seems like a devoted family man who manages his household well and seamlessly weaves biblical references into his speeches which suggests that either he or at least one of his speech writers has an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures.

    And his church that spews hate (especially the Faux News clip of “God D*&N America”) does so in the name of the prophets. It was a sermon about how governments/kingdoms change and God doesn’t – he’s always the God of justice. Watch the extended clip on youtube and see the context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMbeVQj6Lw

  • http://differentcloth.blogspot.com/ Jeff Stewart

    This is indicative of the polarization that results when followers tout their political preferences via matters of faith – IMO. I think Graham did the right thing.

  • Gene

    @Richard (#26) … Professing faith in Christ does not move one into the category of Christian, biblically speaking. The Bible is clear in many places that profession is not the issue. Fruit is the issue.

    I can’t speak for others, but for me, this is not about political views. Whether or not we should kill babies in the womb is not political; it’s moral. Whether or not we should spend money we don’t have is not political; it’s moral. Whether or not we should tell the truth and keep our word is not political; it’s moral. Whether or not we should force companies to give things away is not political; it’s moral. There’s some legitimate discussion about what tax rates should be, what the best way to run military encounters should be, what kind of judges should be appointed, etc. Those are different kinds of issues, and I think we are lacking in being able to anchor things in the revelation of God vs. anchor them in our own preferences. Abortion is clearly anchored in the revelation of God. Precise tax rates and tax schemes are not.

    I am not one who thinks it matters in politics. I don’t think we need a Christian president, much less a Christian government. But I think the media is playing politics with it. The bottom line, who cares what Graham said? Why does it even matter? It doesn’t. It’s a political point to score.

  • Richard

    @ 28

    So if I do immoral things like lying I’m no longer a Christian? Does this have implications for salvation as well?

    Let’s play your game.

    How many abortions has POTUS performed or had his wife have? If you think he’s guilty because he upholds the law of the land from the past 40 years then so is everyone else in the US, so now none of us are Christians.

    Or we could just let Scripture dictate what that fruit is.

    And if the media is quoting conservative pundits and politicians, it’s not the media “playing politics.”

  • Luke

    @ 28

    So, as you are obviously pro-life (as I am), how can you call anything helping all to get health care against Christianity? If we are going to claim to be pro-life in the political sphere, than we should be consistent. Pro-life to me is standing for people who have no health care, regardless of how they got in that position. This must come before any economic discussions, unless your pro-capitalism trumps your pro-life views. And furthermore, if we are to be pro-life we should stand against the disgusting amount of money we spend on our defense budget, money that could be used to help those who are in need of health care. Not to mention the whole love your enemy thing.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @Gene

    First, you are acting as the judge and not scripture or the holy spirit. And many of your complaints against Obama would apply to just about every President (or politician) of the United States since its inception.

    For example scripture does not say whether or not a government can go in debt (Spend money we don’t have). And since the US Government has had debt since 1791, it would mean all presidents and congresses would disqualify.

    Also the Bible is pretty much silent on abortion and does not (in my opinion) provide any clear guidance on the matter. Is a zygote the same as birthed baby?

    But instead of addressing all your points, why not turn it around (as Sojourners, for example does) and say the same thing from a progressive point of view.

    Not taking care of the poor is a moral issue, not a political issue. Not providing adequate health care is a moral issue not a political issue. Starting a pre-emptive war is a moral issue not a political issue, etc. etc. etc.

    Do you see how this gets us nowhere? THESE ARE political issues. We live in a modern democratic state — very different from both the kingdom of Israel and the Empire of Rome. We have a very different economy economies of the Israel and Rome.

  • Gene

    So if I do immoral things like lying I’m no longer a Christian?

    Who said that? I didn’t.

    Does this have implications for salvation as well?

    Yes, issues such as these have implications for salvation. Is that really disputable? The Bible is filled with this teaching about how believers live. 1 John is a good place to start: If someone says I have fellowship with God and does not keep his commandments (such as don’t lie), then he is lying.

    How many abortions has POTUS performed or had his wife have?

    Don’t know.

    If you think he’s guilty because he upholds the law of the land from the past 40 years then so is everyone else in the US, so now none of us are Christians.

    First, it’s a misnomer that it is the “law of the land.” Second, he has committed his efforts to changing others laws that are far less destructive than this. Third, when the law allows the killing of people, then we should all stand against it. The truth is that he is trying to make abortions more protected, not less. And he is forcing other people to pay for it now through his insurance mandate.

    Or we could just let Scripture dictate what that fruit is.

    My point exactly. It is why I spoke up.

  • Gene

    So, as you are obviously pro-life (as I am), how can you call anything helping all to get health care against Christianity?

    I didn’t call helping people get health care against Christianity. Please read more carefully.

    What I particularly had in mind was his regulations that require the provision of abortion drugs to people. That is against Christianity.

    Furthermore on top of that (or secondary to it), he is promoting a system that is financially irresponsible, disregarding biblical teaching on money and the handling of money. The question for us is whether or not we will allow the Bible to inform all of our thinking, or just the parts where it is convenient.

  • Gene

    First, you are acting as the judge and not scripture or the holy spirit.

    No, I’m not. Everything I have said is firmly rooted in Scripture.

    And many of your complaints against Obama would apply to just about every President (or politician) of the United States since its inception.

    Yes indeed. Staggering isn’t it?

    For example scripture does not say whether or not a government can go in debt (Spend money we don’t have). And since the US Government has had debt since 1791, it would mean all presidents and congresses would disqualify.

    But the Bible gives very clear teaching about money and the use of debt. And by any reasonable standard, the current situation is unbiblical.

    Also the Bible is pretty much silent on abortion and does not (in my opinion) provide any clear guidance on the matter. Is a zygote the same as birthed baby?

    Well, that’s just willful ignorance to be honest. There is no legitimate way to read the Bible and conclude this. The Bible is clear on the personhood of the unborn, and the Law prescribes the death penalty for those who cause the death of the unborn.

    Not taking care of the poor is a moral issue, not a political issue. Not providing adequate health care is a moral issue not a political issue. Starting a pre-emptive war is a moral issue not a political issue, etc. etc. etc.

    You have made a serious blunder here. Taking care of the poor and having adequate health care is not disputable. But we should be talking about the means by which we do this. The government means of the last fifty years is nothing but an abysmal failure.

    A pre-emptive war is slightly different in that the protection of a people may require pre-emptive action. We all recognize this in matters of self-defense. Our law is very clear that if you under imminent threat, you are allowed to defend yourself. An unjustified war is different however.

    Do you see how this gets us nowhere?

    Um, no. You made some major errors in fact, logic, and presentation. That is what gets us nowhere.

    THESE ARE political issues.

    The issues you brought up are much closer to political issues because you are talking about the way in which things are done.

    Taking care of the poor is something we should do. But how do we best do that? History shows that it is not the way our current system is doing it.

    Failure to participate in critical and robust thinking leads to the kind of things you say. And it is most unfortunate because it further politicizes the issues.

    And the fact that media quotes conservatives doesn’t really change. Conservatives are given to playing politics as well.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Gene#32, First, it’s a misnomer that it is the “law of the land.””

    It is the law of the land. If you are going to say its a misnomer then you better back it up.

    “Third, when the law allows the killing of people, then we should all stand against it. “

    Are you against capital punishment and all war? Are you against allowing poor people in developing countries to be driven to suicide and poisoned for our gain? Where do you stand Gene?

    Gene#17 “Even his health care plan is contradictory to Christian values. He has no biblical concept of the proper use of money and wealth. He has repeatedly disregarded the constitution which he is sworn to uphold and live under. That reveals a lack of personal integrity. His rhetoric is filled with dishonest statements, personal attacks. He has repeatedly lied, failed to keep his word, played politics with moral issues. He is a man that cannot be trusted.

    Gene….Gene! Really? Here is how you respond to someone asking if you are judging….#34

    No, I’m not. Everything I have said is firmly rooted in Scripture.

    OK, Prove it.

    Gene#34
    But the Bible gives very clear teaching about money and the use of debt. And by any reasonable standard, the current situation is unbiblical.

    Really? They were not able to figure out what was fair back then, do you really still feel, given a fair structure, that it should not be allowed today? Do you realize that we owe much of the increase in standards of living to the nature of the multiplication effects of loaned money as investments? Do you?

    The government means of the last fifty years is nothing but an abysmal failure.

    You owe it to us to be more specific with this. If, by this, you mean that they are borrowing money then I would like to argue that borrowing is not inherently bad, and if done correctly is very good. If you mean that they have been driven by zealots like you, then I succumb.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @Gene #34
    Just because you say it, doesn’t make it so.

    “No, I’m not. Everything I have said is firmly rooted in Scripture.”

    Proof it.

    “But the Bible gives very clear teaching about money and the use of debt. And by any reasonable standard, the current situation is unbiblical.”

    The Bible does contain some wisdom passages about money and debt, true. I wouldn’t say they are clear, nor are they universally applicable.

    The Bible is also not some Grand Manual on How To Live Your Life and Run Your Government.

    “Well, that’s just willful ignorance to be honest. There is no legitimate way to read the Bible and conclude this.”

    First, thank you for insulting me. Is that a fruit of the spirit as well? So the only legitimate way to read the Bible is the way you do?

    “The Bible is clear on the personhood of the unborn”

    Where?

    “, and the Law prescribes the death penalty for those who cause the death of the unborn.”

    Where? If your using Exodus 22-23, that’s certainly debatable. Some translations actually make it sound like the unborn is only worth a fine. For example the Amplified translation: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2021:22-23&version=AMP

    But even if we take the verse to mean the guilty man should be charged. Can we apply this to abortion? One, this is a 3rd party (not a woman seeking an abortion), 2nd, there is no indication as to the “age” of the unborn, and 3rd, can we really use OT Law as the basis for our morality? How about a couple verses up: Exodus 21:20-21.

    “You have made a serious blunder here. Taking care of the poor and having adequate health care is not disputable. But we should be talking about the means by which we do this. The government means of the last fifty years is nothing but an abysmal failure.”

    It is you who made the blunder. That is a subjective and political statement. Not a moral one.

    “pre-emptive war is slightly different in that the protection of a people may require pre-emptive action. We all recognize this in matters of self-defense. Our law is very clear that if you under imminent threat, you are allowed to defend yourself. An unjustified war is different however.”

    Is this compatible with the teachings and actions of Jesus?
    Is our law “Biblical” or Christian?

    “Um, no. You made some major errors in fact, logic, and presentation. That is what gets us nowhere.”

    Where?

  • Ron Tilley @rontilley

    Why is it that the leaders of the historically African American denominations (who participate in the NAACP Religious Roundtable) had to lead this call for Franklin to retract his remarks aimed at misleading people into believing Obama is a Muslim for the sake of political expediency? I long for the day when leaders of evangelical congregations, missional communities/orgs, denoms and movements find it worthwhile of their time to take a stand against the kind of speech Franklin embarked upon. Speaking truth in love to such improper (hate?) speech by prominent evangelical Christian leaders on such a high-profile media platform as MSNBC is part of the Mission of God (IMHO) for us evangelicals. Why not stand in solidarity with our sisters at the historically African American denominations on this one? I wonder if anyone took the opportunity to use their platform at Verge to (in love) speak truth to justice on this issue?
    Curtis DeYoung in Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity posited that the Euro-American (or whatever term you want to use for those of us who are not Latino/Hispanic and are generally considered White–and therefore historically privileged) can best contribute to Christian Unity and Reconciliation by being Truth-Tellers. From personal experience, I can’t begin to share how many believers whose roots are in the historic African American denoms long for Euro-Americans who will come beside them and be Truth tellers. Seems to me that the entire Emergent/Missional movement within evangelicalism is missing a great opportunity to engage in God’s mission of expressing unity with our sisters and brothers whose experience flows from those historic African American Christian circles.

  • Ron Tilley @rontilley

    Just for clarification: the letter from the NAACP Religious Roundtable to Franklin was also signed by the head of the Advocacy Group for Blacks in the UMC and by the Disciples of Christ’s President of their National Convocation. I think there’s a good chance he’s also African American. Kudos to Disciples of Christ for not jamming him up politically so he wouldn’t be able to put his name on the letter as President of their Natl’ Convocation.

  • Fish

    Wow. I visit the blog for the first time in days and learn I’m not a Christian. Good God. If Obama were white, this thread would not exist.

  • Ron Tilley @rontilley

    Glad to see that other Christian leaders had spoken out against Franklin Graham’s remarks http://betterwitness.wordpress.com

  • Ron Tilley @rontilley

    Not too many Emergent/Missional types signing on to Better Witness from what I could see except my fellow jail cell mate, or I could say “cellie”, Brian McLaren. We spent time next to each other in a holding room together after getting arrested in DC–only to find out the guy goes fishing just up the river from me in Harrisburg, PA. Why is this type of Public Witness seen as being outside of God’s Mission for so many in the evangelical branch of the Emergent/Missional movement? For wanting to reengineer the Body within a new paradigm that sheds traditional evangelicalism…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Gene

    @DRT, #35,

    Roe is not law. As you probably know (or should), in our country, the courts do not have the power to make law. Their decision is not the law of the land. They are charged, under our system, with the interpretation of laws that were already made. It is fairly well established that the decision making involved in Roe was improper. Since then, it has been taken over by idealogues.

    Capital punishment is commanded by God because of the value of human life. But in general, I am opposed to it because of the impossibility of certainty. Just war is also clearly biblical. That is far different than abortion. I am sure you probably know that, and it makes me wonder why you even bring it up.

    The rest of your post is largely unintelligible. I can’t really even grasp what you are trying to say. But calling me a zealot is, quite frankly, silly beyond belief. I am anything but a zealot. But I suppose that if you can’t win on arguments, then just call names because that’s always convincing.

  • Gene

    @Kenny #36.
    You would say the Bible’s passage on money and the use of debt are clear? That is strange. Have you ever read them? You are correct that the Bible doesn’t forbid debt. But I didn’t say it did, so I am not sure why you bring that up. The Bible does clearly talk about the problems of debt, and by any reasonable standard, the present situation is undeniably unbiblical. We do not have either manageable debt or necessary debt.
    As for willful ignorance, when you deny something that is plain and easy to see, it’s willful ignorance. (That’s the phrase Peter used in 2 Peter 3.) It’s not an insult. Hopefully, it is an encouragement to growth for you. Jesus never tolerated nonsense from the religious people of his day. Neither should we. And calling it out didn’t make Jesus the bad guy, and it doesn’t make us the bad guy.
    The verse in question is Exod 21:22-24, and no, it’s not debatable. Read it (even in the amplified version you linked to). It clearly specifies the difference between a premature birth when there is no injury (resulting in a fine as the judge decides) and further injury with the lex talionis punishment. I really don’t intend to be insulting, but to not know this is willful ignorance. How else do we describe it. You obviously know the passage, so you can’t claim complete ignorance. So it has to be willful. You are unwilling to see what it says.
    And yes, of course, we can apply the principle to abortion because it clearly specifies the personhood of the one who is injured in the womb, up to and including a life for a life.
    You ask “Is this compatible with the teachings and actions of Jesus?” Not sure what you are asking about specifically. This was following a section on war, and yes, it is clear that just war is in line with the teachings of Jesus. You then ask “Is our law “Biblical” or Christian?” The answer is neither. It is American.
    You then ask where are your errors in fact, logic, and presentation. The answer is in your whole post and approach. You are factually incorrect in saying that the Bible is “pretty much silent on abortion.” It isn’t. It testifies clearly to the personhood of the unborn, and testifies clearly to the penalty for murder. You are logically incorrect in connecting any debt with the misuse of debt. You are logically incorrect in trying to insert the necessity for caring for the poor into an argument about how we do it. I don’t dispute that we should care for the poor. So raising that issue is irrelevant. The question is how we do it, and it is undeniable that the last fifty years has made the problem worse not better. You are logically incorrect in raising the issue of the kingdom of Israel and the Empire of Rome and the different economies. That’s completely irrelevant. It’s a straw man. In terms of presentation, the phrase” economy economies” doesn’t make sense. It may have meaning, but it should have been presented more clearly. So there are a lot of problems.

  • Gene

    To the larger point of whether or not Obama is a Christian, this article (http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37310) gives evidence that he isn’t. He holds to a faulty view of sin, a faulty view of salvation that is based on works, a faulty view of Jesus as the only way to God.

    It is hard to reconcile that with the notion that he is a Christian.


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