Democrat presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in a speech before a Hocking College crowd on Sunday claimed that the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions, Cybercast News Service reports.
Obama’s speech drew perplexed responses from commentators who did not see the connection.
"I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "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."
The Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, includes the Beatitudes, an endorsement of scriptural moral commandments, and condemnations of murder, divorce, and adultery. The passage in Romans (1:27) referred to by Obama condemns those who have rejected their creation in God’s image by their actions, among the acts mentioned is homosexual sex.
Kiera McCaffrey director of communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, responded to Obama’s remarks on same-sex unions.
"It seems pretty bogus using (the Bible) to justify civil unions," McCaffrey told Cybercast News Service. "He should be using secular reasons to back it up.
"He can search the whole Bible and not find anything that justifies gay marriage or same-sex unions," she said.
Other religious leaders were also puzzled by Obama’s connection of the Sermon on the Mount and same-sex unions.
"If he's finding support for same-sex marriage from the Sermon on the Mount, he's reading a different Bible than I've ever read," Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy with Focus on the Family, told Cybercast News Service.
Reverend Jesse Peterson, founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, told Cybercast News Service that he too saw no connection between the cited passages and Obama’s platform.
"When I first heard Obama comment on the Sermon on the Mount and homosexuality I couldn't grasp any relationship between the two," Peterson said.
"There is no correlation at all. The Sermon on the Mount is for the saints, and it explains their suffering and their reward as a result of suffering for what is right for Christ's sake. It doesn't give blessings or approval to homosexual unions," he said.
"I think maybe Senator Obama came up with the wrong passage," Peterson said. "Unless he is just trying to deceive the people. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he could be so desperate to win he'll just say anything."
Obama recently published a letter on his campaign website promising that he would use the presidency as a “bully pulpit” for homosexual causes.