Is Barack Obama a Red Letter Christian?

Many evangelicals seem taken with Barack Obama. Tired of the Religious Right and seeking a new tone in Washington, they see in this untested, enigmatic senator a chance for real change. And indeed he is congenial and a breath of fresh air when compared with the grasping Clinton dynasty. Many Bible-believers seem ready to look the other way with Obama, despite his extremely liberal voting record (including unfettered backing of abortion), because he appears to be a genuine person they can work with.

I wonder how his latest, religiously based comments might change this. The other day Obama reiterated his support for civil unions for homosexuals. No surprise there. Some Christians (but not me) do indeed allow for the conferring of some legal rights, short of marital status, on gays as a simple matter of fairness. But I suspect his rationale raised some hackles.

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.

Since when did Romans 1 become obscure? I thought pitting the words of Jesus against those of Paul was a tactic of Red Letter Christians, not something a serious candidate for the Oval Office would engage in.

But be that as it may, it’s a good thing that Obama is not running for theologian in chief. There is no refererence to gay civil unions in the Sermon on the Mount (unless you stretch the Golden Rule beyond all recognition). Perhaps Obama mixed up his Bible references, like Howard Dean calling Job his favorite New Testament book?

When Jesus spoke of marriage, of course, he assumed it is a heterosexual institution. There may be a legal case to be made for marriage-like civil unions. But, please, let’s not drag Jesus into it.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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