Quoting of Scripture by Obama Regarding Immigration Causes Controversy

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.


One thought on “Quoting of Scripture by Obama Regarding Immigration Causes Controversy

  1. This article provides a useful dose of media dissemination, and a great example of the often objective-driven interplay in the media between religion and politics. How these stories are poised and framed for a general audience is often revealing to the attentive observer – especially in the case of the Fox News story discussed in this post. The hypocritical stance of the Fox News network in favoring biblical passages that support their polemic views and rejecting those that don’t offers a comedic air to the whole enterprise of modern scriptural adherence, but a sense of tragic wonder as well. Is the current generation so far removed from the original arrivals of European immigrants in North American that it is “out of line” for the President to simply make that fact plain in a speech? A dangerous amount of xenophobic privilege is hinted at by this angle of coverage, perhaps not surprising given the pedigree of the news network, but no less worrying for that fact. For someone who has never been to the United States that subsists only on a diet of American media in order to become informed about the general beliefs of the country, this type of coverage can be rightly interpreted as incendiary. When this style of arrogance is placed alongside other representations of violence and sex in entertainment media, a picture of a debauched nation beings to emerge as can be viewed from the outside of America. One can only hope that those “outsiders” who spite the U.S.A. Are equally as adept as this poster at dissemination of certain avenues of news media, and can reach similar conclusions of vapidity and non-representation of many, many people who call the country home.


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