Yesterday I wrote about the parsing of Barack Obama's 2006 speech on faith by Focus on the Family. They've posted the last two parts of their reply here and here. It's interesting, if not really surprising, to see this sort of intellectual dishonesty on open display.
Tom Minnery begins by taking exception to Obama's point about what parts of the Biblical law we would ostensibly follow under Christian rule, and makes an interesting point--that the Sermon on the Mount is so radical that our Defense Department would not likely survive it. Minnery chooses to avoid that part and instead focuses on Obama's invocation of Levitical law, and acts as though it's the most dishonest thing anyone has ever said. Well, when Focus on the Family stops hating on gay people, then maybe we'll pay attention, because while Leviticus calls homosexuality an abomination, Jesus doesn't, and if things that were part of Levitical law have to be reinforced by Jesus, then gay-hating fails that test.
Next, Minnery pulls the abortion bait-and-switch. Obama says, basically, that we can't rely solely on religious beliefs when making laws, that we have to speak in universal terms, and that most importantly, there has to be a logical reason for a law. If it meets both a logical and a spiritual test, that's fine, but the logical test has to reign supreme. Minnery never actually answers this point. Instead of answering what Obama said, he answers what he wishes Obama had said by dealing specifically with abortion as murder, and then claiming that the only reason for laws against murder are religious ones. Obviously, his claim fails on two levels. The first is that abortion is not murder--it is only the termination of a potential life, while murder is the unlawful termination of a living human.
But more importantly, laws against murder formed in places outside the Judeo-Christian tradition in situations outside a religious legal system. There are logical reasons why murder is a crime--it is a violation of the most basic human right to live one's life. It would be a violation of that right no matter how many religions came up with a similar edict. But Minnery can't or won't acknowledge that, because to do so would render his overall argument meaningless. Minnery is coming from a tradition that discounts any other civilization other than the one that comes out of Biblical history, but to do so, he has to hint that other civilizations couldn't have come up with laws against things like murder on their own, because if they did, then that law didn't come solely from his god.
Finally, Minnery asks "because it's religious, should it be erased from law?" Well, for starters, Obama didn't suggest that it should. He said that when passing new laws, we should rely on more than religious arguments, not that religious arguments themselves disqualified an idea from becoming a law. Again, that's an important difference, because there's no question that there are overlaps between religious law codes and our current laws, but since we live in a secular society (much to Minnery's chagrin), and since we don't all share the same religious values, new laws have to be based on more than the myopic views of a single, largely irrelevant sect of Christianity like Focus on the Family.
There's one more section of this, but I don't have the patience to deal with it today. In short, Minnery is a dishonest ass, which makes him a perfect spokesperson for Focus on the Family, and further reinforces my belief that Dobson is setting the stage for a move to support McCain openly. The base argument in this series of videos is that Obama is too far gone from Christianity to allow him anywhere near the Oval Office.