by Richard Mansel
Editor’s note: Richard has graciously permitted us to reprint his article from his Preacher Pages blog.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama recently appointed Shaun A. Casey, graduate of Abilene Christian University as his faith advisor. Casey will be given the task of convincing evangelical voters that Obama would be the best choice for President.
Casey previously served John Kerry in a similar role. Dr. Casey is currently professor of religion and politics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. and is writing a book on the role of religion in the 1960 Presidential election. Casey attends the Fairfax, Va., Church of Christ.
Barack Obama has been controversial in his statements on religion. Undoubtedly, Casey will be a frontman in helping Obama mitigate his image. Casey was called upon to go before the media to do damage control after the profane comments made by Jeremiah Wright, preacher at Obama’s home congregation. Obama had been a member of the liberal denomination United Church of Christ for many years before he left the congregation as a result of the incendiary comments coming from their pulpit.
Casey recently found his own controversy when he called Jesus an illegal alien.
And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount — a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.
Obama misunderstands the Biblical doctrine of covenants. We no longer live under the Old Testament [Covenant]. Jesus came to bring a new covenant that came into effect when his blood was shed (Hebrews 9:11-15). Leviticus and Deuteronomy are there for our learning, but are no longer binding for us today (Romans 15:4).
This is not the first time that Obama has been chastised for his misunderstandings of Scripture. “Democratic Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama, recently said that while he did not believe in ‘gay marriage,’ he did believe in same sex civil unions … He said, ‘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.’”
Casey will be responsible for standing up and defending the progressive religious views of Barack Obama. This will also likely include an attempted Biblical basis for Barack’s strong stand on abortion. Casey is trying to steer evangelicals away from being single-issue voters on issues like abortion and homosexuality. Christians, however, must vote as God’s people and stand against immorality. We cannot ignore moral issues.
However, it is perfectly understandable how Casey can defend Obama’s progressive views. Casey harbors them as his own. He co-wrote a chapter for a publication for the Center for American Progress with John Podesta. They stated,
The role of religion in our Democracy is so integral to discussions of public policy, culture, and society that it should come as no surprise that a secular progressive think tank dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans would want to be engaged in “debating the divine.” Much to the surprise of many conservatives who assume that liberals and progressives are hostile to religion and want to banish it altogether from the public square, the Center for American Progress, from our early days, has embraced prophetic religious voices as critical to social change and social movement throughout American history and vital in today’s policy debates.
Casey’s position as a defender and practioner of a progressive faith [if we want to know where progressive Christianity leads, read this] that is so far removed from Biblical truth is untenable. He writes,
As one wag put it, there are only three things left that all members of the Churches of Christ agree on: 1) There are three sacraments: the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and attendance. 2) There are at least two members of the Trinity. 3) There will be a collection on Sunday morning. This is an identity crisis. The only chance for an emerging consensus will be forged from the ground up and not by a top down imposition. Before there can be resurrection there must be crucifixion.
One cannot be pretending to be walking in the light while proclaiming the glories of the darkness (John 8:12; 1 John 1:5). It will bring serious consequences (Galatians 1:7-9) and we must steer clear of the influence of darkness (2 John 9-11). Better yet, run.