I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union…nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount. (p. 222)So I was quite surprised to see the shock in the news about Obama saying just this in a Q & A session with voters in Nelsonville, Ohio. According to the Baptist Press, a local pastor asked Obama how he plans to win over evangelical voters when they disagree with him on moral issues. Obama's response?
"I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other...I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. 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. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that." HT: Baptist PressIt's apparent that if Obama is nothing else, at least he's consistent. But his response never answered the question of the local pastor for he has no intention of winning over evangelical voters any more than he plans to cross party lines to place nice with conservatives.
What is quite interesting about this exchange with the pastor is that Obama seems unable to separate his politics from his religious beliefs, the basis for his view of civil unions is articulated in a purely Christian terminology. It is unfair for him to answer clergy in a way that he would not permit clergy to answer for themselves in the public square.