Last week's clash between Dr. James Dobson and Barack Obama is but the latest skirmish in a war that dates back to the time of Christ. At issue: What is Christian truth? Does the true Christian put social peace ahead of his duty to make God's Law man's law?
In a speech in June 2006, Obama, citing the Book of Leviticus, which declares homosexuality an abomination, noted that Leviticus also says the eating of shellfish is an abomination and condones slavery.
Moreover, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is "a passage so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."
"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," said Obama.
"Even ... if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States ... whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's or with Al Sharpton's?"
Barack was saying that, since Christians disagree deeply over what is biblical truth, why fight? Let us "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than have religion divide us."
In Catholicism, this is the heresy of indifferentism, which holds that one religion is just as good as another and all religions can be a path to salvation. The Pew poll out last week reveals that 82 percent of Protestants believe there are multiple paths to salvation, as do 79 percent of Catholics and 57 percent of evangelicals.
A striking development. For did not Christ say, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"?
Dr. Dobson is having none of it. Tuesday, he accused Obama of "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology."
"(H)e is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter," said Dobson. "Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the life of tiny babies?"
"What he (Obama) is saying here is that unless everyone agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe."
Dobson has no small point. For in his litany of moral heroes, Barack himself selected no "can't-we-all-just-get-along?" Christians.
Indeed, Obama celebrates the Underground Railroad and the abolitionists who, to end slavery, took us over the brink into Civil War. He invokes the defiant marchers of Selma Bridge and Dr. King, who chose confrontation and tore the nation asunder rather than see segregation endure.
Obama, however, is now preaching a kumbaya Christianity where leaders who believe abortion is the killing of the innocent unborn are to set their convictions and cause aside in the name of ecumenical amity.