Home » Bible » Armerding: Obama pairs selective reading of Bible with selective enforcement of law – Salem News: Opinion

Armerding: Obama pairs selective reading of Bible with selective enforcement of law – Salem News: Opinion

Armerding: Obama pairs selective reading of Bible with selective enforcement of law - Salem News: Opinion

I waited for a tsunami of outrage from the left the other night after President Obama quoted the Bible during his speech declaring his selective enforcement of immigration laws — especially since the quote was from that patriarchal, terrorist-inspiring portion known as the Old Testament.

How dare the president fail to uphold the constitutional separation of church and state? How dare he try to impose his religious views on the rest of the country? How dare he cite a book that has inspired so many wars, so much persecution and so much discrimination against gays and women?

But, it was quiet, so very quiet. No flaming press release from the ACLU to demand that the president apologize to millions of Americans who don’t believe the Bible and who are terribly uncomfortable when any elected official reads or quotes from it — especially outside of a church. Nothing from the Freedom from Religion Foundation or other atheist or “nontheist” groups.

Not that I was holding my breath. I did wonder a bit whether this would prompt any of the usual self-appointed scolds to warn us that allowing the Bible to be quoted in the public square was just one short step short of establishing a theocracy.

But I wasn’t shocked at the silence. This is, after all, a Democratic president, and he was citing the Bible to justify his unilateral declaration that he will not “faithfully execute” the laws of the land regarding immigration — one of the things he swore an oath to do.

And most of the anti-Bible crowd knows that when President Obama cites Scripture, it’s just out of convenience — to put a veneer of morality on an issue so that he can paint his opponents not only as obstructionists but as sinful. It doesn’t mean that he thinks any other verses in the Bible ought to shape his own moral compass or the direction of government.

Exodus 23:9, as paraphrased by the president, says: “We shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once, too.” It was one of the directives issued to the children of Israel after they escaped 400 years of slavery in Egypt and before they entered what was to be their homeland.

It is a worthy and compassionate directive, except that it wasn’t really relevant. Requiring foreigners to comply with the existing immigration laws to become citizens of this country has nothing to do with oppression. Those requirements conform to the president’s regularly stated belief that America should be a country where “everybody plays by the same rules.”

The other problem is that Obama is being highly selective. Elsewhere in Exodus Chapter 23 are directives that would have leftists, and Obama himself, practically incoherent about “religious extremism.”

Check out Verse 11, which requires that the Israelites grow crops for six years and then let their land “rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat.” Not quite as generous as welfare, Medicaid, Section 8 housing and food stamps.

Or how about Verse 13, which says, “… make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” Not very tolerant, accepting or inclusive.

And to those in the region from other nations who do worship other gods? Verse 24 says, “… thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” Perhaps not the best chapter to be quoting when making a case not just to ignore those breaking immigration laws but provide them with a number of other benefits, like driver’s licenses and work authorization.

There are other verses throughout the Bible that exhort believers to speak truthfully and plainly. Obama obviously doesn’t like them, either.

In his speech, he declared that those who “cut the line” should not be “unfairly rewarded.” A moment later, he offered a deal that rewards millions who have cut the line. He claimed he wasn’t changing the law but at the same time said this deal would let illegal immigrants “get right with the law.”

This kind of doublespeak is essentially erasing the meanings of “legal” and “illegal.” And the message is getting through. National Public Radio did an interview with a young woman who would be affected by the president’s order. It wasn’t enough for her, she said, declaring that she and others in her position were “tired of being treated like second-class citizens.”

Based on what she had just heard, why shouldn’t a noncitizen think that?

It’s supremely ironic, but Obama is going President Nixon one better — or worse. The disgraced former president, in a 1977 interview with David Frost, famously said, “If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

Obama obviously not only subscribes to that belief, he takes it to another level. He believes that whatever he does is legal, even if he had said earlier, multiple times, that it would be illegal, which he did.

Finally, there is the blatant political calculation. The president had promised to issue his order in September but waited until after the midterm elections in an (unsuccessful) effort to protect candidates in his party. He made it good for three years in an effort to ensure that Democrats can tell Latinos in 2016 that if they don’t vote Democratic, they’ll get deported.

Cute. In the name of compassion, use Latinos as electoral pawns.


I’m willing to lay odds that Obama won’t be citing Bible verses about honesty anytime soon.


Armerding: Obama pairs selective reading of Bible with selective enforcement of law – Salem News: Opinion.


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