The Blaze has covered the Obama administration's take on the Bible before. At least one college professor has even posited that the president may be "the most explicitly Christian president in American history." While Obama has been more than open about his allegiance to the Christian faith, there are many who question the tenets he adheres to. In a speech on Friday, he advanced some Biblical ideas that may, once again, have people questioning how his faith worldview impacts his economic policies.
On Friday, Obama appeared in a campaign speech in Vermont where he spoke about helping others and the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. In his address, the president condemned what he sees as "you're-on-your-own economics" and argued, as CNS News alleges, for policies that would transfer wealth from one group to another.
"I hear politicians talking about values in an election year. I hear a lot about that. Let me tell you about values," Obama said. "Hard work, personal responsibility -- those are values. But looking out for one another. That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in this together. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. That’s a value."
Watch Obama speak about this subject, below:
CNS News explains the biblical significance of this mention:
In Genesis, Adam and Eve’s first-born son is Cain and their second-born son is Abel. Cain becomes a farmer and Abel becomes a shepherd. When Cain offers the fruit of his farming to God and Abel offers a lamb, God is pleased with Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. Cain then kills Abel. When God asks Cain where Abel is, Cain says: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Obama's use of the sentence, of course, was rooted in his opinion that hard work and personal responsibility aren't the only values worth promoting. While the vast majority of society would agree with him that it's essential to help those in need, the major disagreement is over who -- the government versus private individuals and enterprises -- should be footing the bill. This was the very subject that Glenn Beck tackled in his recent CNN Belief Blog article about charitable giving.
But the president’s focus on that particular episode in the book of Genesis is instructive. This use of the Cain and Abel story is classic liberation theology, the tasty slurry of Christian teachings and Marxist class struggle that was characteristic of the Church the Obama family attended in Chicago for 20 years. The story of Cain and Abel has a special meaning to liberation theology that sets it apart from most mainstream Christian denominations. In most Christian churches, the idea of original sin is usually associated with the narrative of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God when they fell to temptation and ate the forbidden fruit. In Liberation theology, on the other hand, Adam and Eve’s original sin is largely abandoned and replaced by an increased significance on Cain’s betrayal of his brother.
Further explanation of this significance comes from Christopher Rowland and Mark Corner’s 1989 book Liberating Exegesis: The Challenge of Liberation Theology to Biblical Studies:
The story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4) is read as an example of the kind of struggle which goes on in society between the landed and the landless, the farmers and the shepherds…The cause of Abel’s death is the division of labour, which creates social classes and the ensuing struggle for land.
As a central theme of the class-struggle preached at church the President attended, he’s clearly drawing from a familiar well.
Regardless of where these sentiments were rooted in a grander spiritual underpinning based on the president's past experience or in a mere attempt to showcase his urge to see the government "help" others -- Obama went on to discuss other plans and proposals. These included: the need to offer more resources to public education, his urge to freeze government-subsidized student loan interest rates, his pledge for more "investment" in stem cell research and climate change research and plenty more.
"An economy built to last is one that supports scientists and researchers and science," he proclaimed. "Whether we’re talking about stem cell research or climate change, we don’t need science deniers. We need people to understand that America has always succeed because of our belief in science, our investment in research."
(H/T: CNS News)