During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
The most recent example came last week during a trip to Alabama to draw attention to a relatively obscure item on the president's policy list, payday lending rules. The president said some "very conservative folks" recognize scriptural prohibitions against excessive interest, or usury, part of a Biblical principle to prevent exploitation of the poor. Here are the president's remarks in context:
You've got some very conservative folks here in Alabama who recognize -- they're reading their Bible, they're saying, well, that ain’t right. (Laughter and applause.) Right? I mean, they're saying the Bible is not wild about somebody charging $1,000 worth of interest on a $500 loan. Because it feels like you're taking advantage of somebody.
President Obama's citation of "folks" in Alabama reading their Bibles and concluding "that ain’t right" seems especially ironic in light of the recent drama in that state over same-sex marriage. A federal judge struck down state laws defining marriage as one man-on woman, a decision the state appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to stay the original ruling. However, the Alabama state supreme court chief justice, Roy Moore, subsequently ordered a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, and the Alabama house approved a bill that would permit judges, ministers and other officials to decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Although the president has not directly commented on the same-sex marriage controversy in Alabama, just three weeks ago White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that the president speaks out "boldly in support of gay marriage," so it seems safe to say the those who look at their Bibles and same-sex marriage and conclude "that ain't right" would not find the president in their corner on that issue.
President Obama recently attempted to use the Bible in support of his immigration initiatives, with mixed success. He noted that the "good book" says to "make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before were pulling out the mote in other folks eyes" (which does appear in Scripture), but also "don’t throw stones in glass houses" (a much more recent proverb of uncertain origin).