Quoting of Scripture by Obama Regarding Immigration Causes Controversy
Article Link: http://huff.to/1yT1gF8
At a recent press conference President Obama quoted scripture as a method of reinforcing his points on immigration reform, stating “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too…My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants”. This sparked some controversy, particularly from Fox News (the decidedly Christian republican-slanted news network), as they ironically stated that his referencing of scripture “was out of line”. They claimed that his interpretation of scripture is taken in false context and understanding. This news network has used biblical passages to reinforce their stories on several occasions previously, to which they have received similar responses making claiming a lack of understanding and interpretation of said scripture.
The interpretation of religious texts always seems to be an contentious issue in that readings and understandings of said literature is just that; an interpretation. The bible can be viewed as a historical text, a sort of moral compass, a source a comfort, fear or anger, or it can be viewed as nothing but fiction. However, never has it been confirmed that any sort of religious text (or interpretation of a religious text) is understood universally as true or correct. Individuals’ understandings of these texts are simply their personal interpretations, and thus are not meant to be evaluated under the guise of absolute truth when compared or contrasted to someone else’s interpretation.
It is understandable as to why Obama would think to use a scripture passage at this press conference to make his pro-immigration stance to the target demographic seem more appealing (that target demographic being middle-class, typically Christian Americans). While I am sure that it was not his intent for his quoting of said scripture passage to be interpreted as fact, the backlash from it is a testament as to why church and state should truly be separate. As these two areas are melded together it is easy for the personal aspects of religion to cloud the governmental decision making process intended for the people as a whole, regardless of their religion.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Fox News weighed in, saying “To guilt someone into supporting immigration reform…That’s not what the scholars behind the Bible would interpret as proper use.” This is a rather hypocritical statement coming from a network that frequently references scripture to reinforce their points, and rather egotistical for them to claim to know the intended interpretation of these scriptures by biblical scholars.