Dobbs falsely claimed that Obama's "relationship with his faith [was] heretofore ... unexpressed"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs said of Sen. Barack Obama: "[H]e may not be converting, but he is certainly revealing a relationship with his faith that heretofore had been unexpressed." In fact, Obama has discussed his faith publicly for years, including in his 1995 memoir.

On the November 5 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, during a discussion with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on evangelical voters and the 2008 presidential election, host Lou Dobbs said of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): "[H]e may not be converting, but he is certainly revealing a relationship with his faith that heretofore had been unexpressed." In fact, Obama has discussed his faith publicly for years, as Media Matters for America noted in response to CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash's assertion that, in contrast with the Democratic candidates, "[W]e usually hear ... from Republicans ... about their faith, their religion, and their values."

For instance, on Pages 294 and 295 of his memoir Dreams From My Father (Crown, July 1995), Obama wrote:

And in that single note -- hope! -- I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories -- of survival, and freedom, and hope -- became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shamed about, memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish -- and with which we could start to rebuild. And if part of me continued to feel that this Sunday communion sometimes simplified our condition, that it could sometimes disguise or suppress the very real conflicts among us and would fulfill its promise only through action, I also felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.


As the choir lifted back up into song, as the congregation began to applaud those who were walking to the altar to accept Reverend Wright's call, I felt a light touch on the top of my hand. I looked down to see the older of the two boys sitting beside me, his face slightly apprehensive as he handed me a pocket tissue. Beside him, his mother glanced at me with a faint smile before turning back toward the altar. It was only as I thanked the boy that I felt the tears running down my cheeks.

Additionally, during his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama said: "[T]he pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states." He added that "a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead" is "God's greatest gift to us." In June 2006, Obama gave a speech on religion and politics that Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne touted as "the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy's Houston speech in 1960." Since at least June, Obama's campaign website has said that Obama "is a committed Christian and his faith informs his values."

From the November 5 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Fifty-five percent of Republican white evangelicals saying that they would consider voting for a third party candidate. We have seen [former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee [R] move up pretty smartly in some of the polls. He's a candidate that -- that won favor in your values conference. Is he, in your best assessment, inadequate to the task? Or is he the -- he -- are he and Romney the only two who would be capable of forestalling --


DOBBS: --a third-party candidate?

PERKINS: No, I think there's several options on the table. I think what was being said here, Lou, and I heard earlier Rudy Giuliani commented on it, it's not an idle threat. I think it's very significant when you consider that 79 percent of evangelicals voted for President Bush in 2004, making up about a third of his voter base. If a third, or 55 percent of that third, leaves the Republican Party looking for another option, the prospects of victory are nonexistent. I mean, if you lost the majority of a third of your viewership, you would not be the top-rated show on CNN.

DOBBS: Well, we don't want to even consider that possibility, Tony, and I'm sure that those candidates don't either. But there is a candidate who is -- strikes me at least publicly -- he may not be converting, but he is certainly revealing a relationship with his faith that heretofore had been unexpressed. And that, of course, is Senator Barack Obama. Is he winning favor?

PERKINS: Well, I think it's more than talking about faith. It comes down to positions on the issues. And I know that there's been a lot of talk that the values issues are not prominent in this election. That's simply not true. When you look at evangelical voters, conservative evangelical voters, their issue set is pretty different than the vast majority, which makes it a challenge for the candidates to address those issues. But if they walk away from them, if the Republican Party chooses to abandon the issue of life, I believe it will be the death of the conservative coalition that has made them successful.

DOBBS: You couldn't be much clearer than that. Tony Perkins, thank you very much for being here.

Lou Dobbs
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.