Friday, March 07, 2008

Distorting Jesus

Obama says that the Sermon on the Mount justifies same sex unions. I suppose that follows from a man who believes in a "living constitution," meaning: it can be changed by activist judges to suit their will. The same goes for the Bible.


The Daily Fuel said...

Hello Dr. Groothuis.

I was almost going to let your post go without a comment, and I would have, but for the fact that you brought up activist judges.

If you want to read about activist judges, I recommend a book I have been devouring. It's called "The Next 25 Years - The New Supreme Court and What It Means for Americans". It's by Martin Garbus. He makes a strong, convincing case that the activist judges are Rehnquist, Scalia, Roberts and Alito, and explains how many of their decisions are appalling, coming from people who call themselves "Originalists".

Good night.

Jeremy Pierce said...

It's not all that fair to Obama to say that he thinks the Sermon on the Mount justifies same-sex marriage. For one thing, he doesn't support same-sex marriage, so it's hard to believe he would use the Sermon on the Mount to support it.

He did talk about providing health insurance benefits for gay partners and kids and allowing gay partners hospital visitation rights. That's his main justification for favoring civil unions. That's certainly got more connection with the Sermon on the Mount than gay marriage does. Jesus does talk about loving your neighbor and giving to those who ask, after all. But it does seem extremely strange to me that he holds this up against Romans 1, as if they're talking about the same thing at all. Romans 1 discusses what's wrong with homosexuality, and the Sermon on the Mount discusses how you treat others, including sinners. I'm a bit confused at why he thinks you have to emphasize one over the other. Why not both?

So there's plenty to criticize Obama for. But one thing that I don't think counts as a fair criticism is saying that he was using the Sermon on the Mount to support a view that he doesn't even hold. He's not supporting gay marriage. He has in faction repeatedly said that he thinks marriage should be only between a man and a woman, and he has said that his support for this is both from tradition and from his Christianity.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


My post and the article correctly mentioned same sex unions,not homosexual marriage. Obama does not support the later.

Nevertheless, I fail to see why you need a civil union to visit a friend in the hospital.

Loving your neighbor does not mean supporting them in their sin. Civil unions helps further legitimize sin, make it normal, and futher corrupt culture. Not something Jesus stands for. It is not loving at all.

Jeremy Pierce said...

OK, so same-sex unions aren't the same as same-sex marriages, but Obama isn't supporting same-sex unions either, is he? He just wants the kinds of rights people in marriages have, such as visiting someone after hours. Whether that's a right worth bestowing is a separate question. I'm simply pointing out that what he's supporting in civil unions is about things like that and not about whether we bestow honor on such unions.

You're right that you don't need civil unions to visit friends in the hospital, but it's usually only allowed during visiting hours. If two gay men adopt a child, both are raising that child, and only one usually is allowed to be considered a parent. That creates difficulties. Regardless of the fact that it's not the ideal scenario for raising a child, it would be nice for a child with two parents (even if they're both men) to have full visitation rights from both. That's the kind of thing that I think he's concerned about, at least judging by the language I'm seeing.

Tom Hinkle said...

I think after repeated posts we might have to take into consideration that Dr. Groothuis has a personal vendetta against Barack Obama. Since Obama and Hillary Clinton are fairly identical on almost all issues it makes me wonder why Obama is being picked apart on this blog and not Clinton.

Jesus never said one thing about homosexuality. He did condemn divorce except in certain circumstances, but it certainly seems like the church has accepted divorce hook, line, and sinker no matter what the circumstance. And society a long time ago "legitimized" it, "made it normal" and "further corruped culture." But divorce is not the hot button issue du jour. Therefore, Dr. Groothuis and a dwindling number of evangelicals continue to treat homosexuality and abortion as the only issues that matter while our troops continue to die in Iraq in a misguided and foolish war.

It is presumputous to say that civil unions would not be "what Jesus stands for" if he was totally silent on the issue. It's like people form an opinion and try to make us think that Jesus signs off on it when He has done no such thing.

The Daily Fuel said...

Dear Tom:

I should probably not speak for Dr. Groothuis, but the fact that he has been quiet on Clinton is not an indication of the fact that he has nothing against her and that he is on the path of war with Sen. Obama. I think Dr. Groothuis is only doing what everybody on the right is doing these days, which is going on the attack against Obama because he is the leading candidate at this moment.

Fear not: Should Clinton clinch the nomination instead, I am sure Dr. Groothuis (and other right-wingers) have a full arsenal of invectives ready to launch. After all, Bill and Hillary Clinton occupied the number 1 and 2 spots in Dr. Groothuis's list of "10 worst things in 2007". Granted, it was not a hierarchical list, nonetheless... I think Dr. Groothuis dislikes both Obama and Clinton with a passion.

It is a heated political season, it will get incandescent before it's done and the spin will feel like we are training for a shuttle mission.

Anonymous said...


"Groothuis and a dwindling number of evangelicals continue to treat homosexuality and abortion as the only issues that matter while our troops continue to die in Iraq in a misguided and foolish war."

This is because Doug is a fundamentalist. Here's a quote from a truly respected apologist about what he considers a fundamentalist.

"Evangelicals are not Fundamentalists. While they share many beliefs in common with Evangelicals, contemporary Christian Fundamentalists differ from Evangelicals in that Fundamentalists are far more black and white, they are deeply suspicious of culture and anything that smacks of compromise with contemporary thought, they are too confrontational, narrow, rigid, judgmental, and harsh for Evangelicals. Fundamentalists tend to elevate minor areas of Christian teaching to the status of central dogmas and militantly fight all who compromise. The texture and tone of Fundamentalists differ sharply from those of Evangelicals. Fundamentalists tend to be defensive while Evangelicals tend to be more mercy-oriented towards outsiders."

I don't think you could describe Doug any more clearly.

Jeremy Pierce said...

Obama and Clinton are similar on a lot of issues, but they are not indistinguishable, and one of the issues where they differ is abortion. Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the born-alive act at the federal level that Obama shut down in Illinois. The bill she voted for did have one difference, but when the Illinois senators tried to add in pretty much the same clause, Obama as committee chair prevented it from even getting to the Senate floor. There are plenty of other differences, but that's pretty significant given that Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton had no problem whatsoever with a bill that he refused even to let the IL Senate vote on.

As for the term 'fundamentalist', I think I prefer the account by a different famous apologist. The cognitive content of the term is little more than "someone considerably to the right of the speaker", and the emotive content is basically "and a jerk", although Plantinga is willing to use stronger language. I think Plantinga is on to something, since most people (present case so very clearly included) use the term as a mere insult with very little content to it beyond that you see the person as too far to the right.

Besides, isn't it a little strange to call a full egalitarian on gender issues a fundamentalist? I know plenty of mainstream evangelicals (who very few evangelicals would class as fundamentalists) who would without hesitation call Doug a liberal on that issue. It would be strange to find anyone who is both a fundamentalist and who could so easily be called a liberal on that issue, wouldn't it?

Doug's views are not simply some party-line set. He thinks for himself and agrees with those who are more conservative then he thinks they're right and not when he thinks they're not. Many of us will agree with him on some things and disagree with him on others, but I'll insist that he's not just accepting some package deal without thinking carefully about it.

Tom Hinkle said...

I think Doug is actually an evangelical and not a fundamentalist (even though, interestingly, Pentecostals are fundamentalistic on most of their beliefs but they have no problem with women in ministry.) I no longer call myself an evangelical but am still a Christian. And, although I don't sound like it, I am adamantly pro-life, but I'm still voting for Obama. For one thing, there are other issues that are important, and for the other, I don't think Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned. Since Roe v. Wade we've had Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2, and none of them have been able to "load" the Supreme Court to get it overturned. Even if it would happen some day, I think it would be just temporary because the way cycles run in politics it would be re-established (unless there is an amendment to the constitution, and even that wouldn't guarantee the pro-life doctrine for all time (remember prohibition?)

However, I do oppose an amendment to the constitution defining marriage. If homosexuals are allowed to enter into civil unions or even marry, that would not affect your marriage, Doug's marriage, or anyone else's. (I'm a single heterosexual, by the way.)Hollywood celebrities who marry and then divorce after a month or two (if even that) do more to harm the institution of marriage than gay marriage would.

Obama is a layperson and not a Bible scholar, but I don't think he "distorts Jesus" either. Jesus has a different agenda than many people think he does. Read "The Secret Message of Jesus" by Brian McLaren if you want to be enlightened in that area.

Ray said...

Read "The Secret Message of Jesus" by Brian McLaren if you want to be enlightened in that area.

If I want enlightenment, I certainly don't go to Brian McLaren for it.

Tom Hinkle said...

Oh, sorry, I forgot that McLaren is going to a devil's hell where he will burn forever in a fiery pit. (obvious sarcasm)

Nevertheless, his book on Jesus is pretty good, but I know some of you are so thick-headed you wouldn't give it a chance.

Anonymous said...

Tom Hinkle,

A rejection of Brian McLaren's (and friends) more radical ideas (i.e. a good percentage of total ideas) does not necessarily equal thick-headedness, though I submit that to be thick-headed is not always a bad thing. After all,an open mind has the *potential* to welcome in junk and let solid thinking escape. Most of the time there are very educated reasons held for not thinking McLaren's work holds up. I, for what its worth, think those reasons are quite solid; if I didn't I would not firmly stand my ground there.

That digression from the topic (sorry Dr. G) is to say that "stubborn" ideas are often times extremely well thought out, and to stand ardently opposed to Obama and even Hillary because of significant moral (and many other) issues is not something to be sneered at.