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US talk show host blasts the use of the Bible at Obama’s inauguration

Click on pic for Lawrence O’Donnell's video

Click on pic for Lawrence O’Donnell’s video

MSNBC talk show host Lawrence O’Donnell has outraged many Christian viewers by claiming:

No one accepts all of the teachings of the Bible – no one. There are no literal followers of the word of God as presented in the Bible left on earth. If there were any, they would have to be burning people at the stake all day, every day.

O’Donnell’s comments, according to the Christian News Network, came in the context of a discussion about the withdrawal of Pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from the inauguration after he was criticised for an anti-gay sermon he delivered in the 1990s.

In discussing the matter, O’Donnell claimed that no one believes the Bible, and that it has no business being a part of the inauguration.

He said:

Still, the President, following one of our most absurdest traditions in the government that invented the separation of church and state, will put his hand on this Book filled with things he does not believe – filled with things that no one in the United States of America believes – and with his hand on this book, he will recite the oath of office. And his hand on this Book is actually supposed to make you believe that he really believes what he is saying in taking the oath of office, even though the Book is filled with things that you and he do not believe.

He then offered his suggestion for replacing the Bible at the ceremony.

Now, wouldn’t it be better if the President’s hand was on the shoulder of one of his daughters, suggesting that he was honoring the oath of office as much as he honors Sasha and Malia?

During the segment, O’Donnell also claimed that Michelle Obama is a descendant of slaves, and that he found it ironic that Obama would be sworn in on a Book that he believes endorses slavery.

This time, as it was last time for the first time in history, the Book will be held by a First Lady who is a descendant of slaves. But the Holy Book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery. But that same Book, which spends hundreds and hundreds of pages condemning all sorts of things, and couldn’t find one sentence in here to condemn slavery, does indeed manage find the space to repeatedly condemn gay people, as the now banished Louie Giglio said it does.

He added:

And as the First Lady is holding that Book for the President, sitting someone near them will be a pastor who the Inauguration Committee will make sure is much more adept at hiding what that Book actually says than Louie Giglio was.

Obama is scheduled to be sworn in on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible on January 21. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago, setting millions of slaves free across America.

Following his comments, which have been reported by major news outlets nationwide, a number of Christians have expressed their disgust and disapproval.

Wrote one commenter.

What he says is almost amusing if it weren’t so sick.

A man named Hal chimed in

O’Donnell also shows his ignorance about the Constitution. Separation of church and state does not occur in the Constitution. It was mentioned by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to assure a friend that the Church was protected from the state by the wall of the Constitution. He never once said the state should be protected from the Church!

Another remarked.

Lawrence will have to explain his position when he meets his Maker. He wouldn’t even call the Bible the Bible. He said, ‘That Book’.

45 Responses to “US talk show host blasts the use of the Bible at Obama’s inauguration”

  1. RabbitOnAStick says:

    I met my maker. My parents. And their makers. My grandparents.

  2. Broga says:

    I notice that the Christians have not refuted O’Donnell with chapter and verse from their bible. Could be a job for Ken, and I suspect like those before him, the temporary and current priest of this parish. He does tend to keep his head well below the parapet when confronted with awkward questions so we should not hold our breaths. What we may assume is that no answer is the same as being unable to answer.

  3. Angela_K says:

    RoaS. Yes, I agree and when I look at the Universe through my telescope I see the stuff that I, all life forms and matter itself was made.

    Interesting comment from O’Donnell regarding slavery and the Bible when one considers how reactionary and fundamental the black churches have become. There is a great piece in the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” about how easily the black slaves take up the bible and its teaching, including the bible’s endorsement of slavery. Ironic then, that Tom is beaten to death still believing that his god loves him, his people and has a purpose for them.

  4. barriejohn says:

    The Young Turks are having their say on this as well:

    http://youtu.be/NnFB-a7lCDA

  5. Ivan says:

    Meanwhile, Bill Donohue, bloviating President of the Catholic League, has foamed that the president should swear on Das Kapital.

    http://goo.gl/REHwa

  6. tony e says:

    ‘Lawrence will have to explain his position when he meets his Maker’ As always it’s the same underlying threat from the religious. Think as we think or burn in hell.

    I can never equate how a religion supposedly built on love can have so many followers who are rabid in their hatred of their fellow man/woman.

  7. James Thompson says:

    I was surprised how hard he went down on that. I was thinking, even though he is right, it will stir up a hornet’s nest.

  8. RabbitOnAStick says:

    gawd is everywhere you know. He even makes spaghetti and oil, and he makes tyres & shoes last longer. This woman ought to be in a mental institution.

    http://www.atheistmedia.com/2013/01/god-miraculously-made-pair-of-cindy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AtheistMedia+%28Atheist+Media%29

  9. barriejohn says:

    ROAS: Christians thrive on that sort of nonsense. I knew many who experienced “miracles” almost every day of their lives! Just have a browse here:

    http://www.ainglkiss.com/miracles/mir.htm

    It was afternoon, and it was a very sunny day. I was in town to managed my entry to universities, and have no car or motorcycle to go around the town, so I walk on that sunny day. I’ve been walking like 3 hours now, and there is still so much things to do. I was thirsty, sweating all over, and really, really tired. When I came to my limits, I said a little prayer in my heart, “Lord I’m tired, please give me a ride home.”, then out of nowhere, a car honed me. It was friend of mine, and he offered me a ride home. I was really shock and frozen that time, because my prayer were answered within a second just like that. When I was in the car I felt relief and say thanks to God. God had helped me in a instance, praise to you Lord. Amen.

    I used to visit an elderly Salvation Army friend, and if she was not at home I would wander down towards the local shopping centre to see whether she was there. She would often be on her way home by then, and I would take control of her little shopping trolley for her. “The Lord knew I needed some help,” she would say, “so he sent you along.” No mention was made of all the days when she had to drag the trolley home without assistance!

  10. David says:

    Mr. O’Donnel is spot on correct, and I’m so glad he is using his platform in the media to state his case. Another sign that religion is slowly losing its grip on this country.

  11. Marky Mark says:

    (No one accepts all of the teachings of the Bible – no one. There are no literal followers of the word of God as presented in the Bible left on earth. If there were any, they would have to be burning people at the stake all day, every day.)

    I do watch Lawrence O’Donnell when I can and consider him a very logical and honest person. I did not know about this comment but glad he said it and will have to turn on his show more often to keep the ratings high.

    Angela_K said:
    (Yes, I agree and when I look at the Universe through my telescope I see the stuff that I, all life forms and matter itself was made.)

    Angela…what type of Telescope do you have? I use to have a Mead 42” reflector with a 10” mirror. Great scope, loved showing the rings of Saturn and the Andromeda Galaxy to my nieces and nephews. They became REAL to them as apposed to just pictures in a book.

  12. Marky Mark says:

    (No mention was made of all the days when she had to drag the trolley home without assistance!)
    …corse not, in their mind they did not prove their obedience to their selfish creator that day, like prey to him 67 times or skip a few meals to give money to his church…God sure is an insecure, greedy SOB !!

  13. barriejohn says:

    God planned for a “happy” little eight-year-old girl, on holiday with her family in Jamaica, to be shot in the head this weekend. Isn’t he wonderful?

  14. Georgina says:

    Re : comment He wouldn’t even call the Bible the Bible. He said, ‘That Book’.

    Bible (n.) early 14c., from Anglo-Latin biblia
    [http://www.etymonline.com]

    Bible means book, dufus.

  15. Angela_K says:

    Marky Mark. I too have a Meade reflector, 114mm [4.5"] mirror. I have the Autostar unit that moves the ‘scope to any object in the sky – very useful. I live in a remote village so light pollution isn’t too bad. It is amazing how time flies when staring out into space.

  16. remigius says:

    Marky Mark & Angela_K. I had a Meade ETX 90 on a GoTo mount, but after I moved to London I found that the light pollution rendered it almost unusable. So I gave it away.

    I shall, however, be buying another one for Comet Ison later this year.

  17. Jeff johnson says:

    The comment by Hal demonstrates confusion and ignorance by trying to claim that the Wall of Separation referred to by Jefferson only protects freedom of religion from the state, but does not block religion from controlling the state. The wall, as are all walls, is a two way wall, and the context of Jefferson’s famous letter makes that abundantly clear.

    Jefferson wrote that letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut to assuage their fears that the Congregationalists of Danbury were going to gain supremacy under the laws of the new nation, and thus gain power to discriminate against or otherwise corrupt the worship of the Baptists. That wall is not only protecting religion from state, but also protecting religion from religion, or Christian sect from Christian sect. It accomplishes this by insisting that the laws are drafted in a way that is neutral with respect to religion. This principle is articulated clearly in the First Amendment in a clause known as the establishment clause, which states that the government shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion. Without this additional protection of the state from religious domination and control, if any religion or sect were to gain a simple democratic majority, it would be able to enact laws in favor of its preferred religion or sect, leaving all other religions and sects in a position of inferiority in the eyes of the law. This is a form of injustice that centuries of experience of the Catholic church united with the various European monarchies taught our founders about, and gave them the wisdom to exclude any explicit religious foundations from our Constitution. This leaves a situation where the only influence religion has on our politics and law is contained in the extent to which each individual conscience is governed by that individual’s religion, but there is no sense in which government favors any religion over another, and by extension there is no sense in which government should enshrine laws based on religion because that automatically establishes government power in favor of one religion over another. This Wall is what protects religions from being persecuted using government power at the behest of a rival religion.

    It only takes a few minutes of reflection to realize how mistaken Hal is. If it were true that the founding of this nation were intended to be the establishment of a Christian nation, or a Presbyterian or Baptist or Calvinist or Catholic nation, how could 55 of the best and brightest representatives of the various states debate and argue for four months and produce a document that does not mention the name of any religion, nor the word God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Lord, Savior, or any other term colored by a particular religious belief? It does explicitly forbid a religious test for office holders. Rather than base it’s laws and governmental structure upon religion, it follows the wisdom of the Enlightenment, taking a neutral stance toward religion, enabling each person to believe or not believe according to their conscience, and guaranteeing that a fundamental common denominator of just laws applies equally to persons of every or any religion or no religion, based simply upon the innate rights due them by virtue of their human birth.

  18. AgentCormac says:

    Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? It will be the undoing of religion. It really will.

  19. remigius says:

    AgentCormac. They said something similar about the printing press!

  20. Daz says:

    What he says is almost amusing if it weren’t so sick.

    Sick? Read Job. Read the story of Elisha and the two bears. Need I go on?

  21. Broga says:

    remigius/AgentCormac: I think the internet is landing some heavy blows on religion. Instead of having to accept passively what the preachers dish out even “ordinary” people have a means of comment.

  22. Marky Mark says:

    Angela_K said:
    (I have the Autostar unit that moves the ‘scope to any object in the sky – very useful.)

    I’m familiar with this device but did not have it, the size of my scope would make it very expensive. I use a program on my labtop to identify objects, found a familiar one to use as a benchmark, than moved by hand. Took some time and hard to track by hand as we rotated throughout the night. But some sweet wine and a warm fire made this task more interesting.
    I’m sure your 4.5” mirror works well on objects in our solar system, how does it work on further objects?
    Like, can you see the Andromeda Galaxy?
    How about the Orion Nebula, a truly beautiful sight? The one in Orion’s belt.

    At the time I lived in a rural location without much light pollution. Had built a good size patio with a great outdoor fireplace for warmth and to cook snacks. When relatives came to visit we were always out there at night.

    Remigius…what size mirror did your Meade ETX 90 have? I guess I could look it up.

    U people with your “auto find” devices are missing out on the hunt…great fun and a way to find other objects of interest.

  23. Jeff johnson says:

    “He wouldn’t even call the Bible the Bible. He said, ‘That Book’.”

    I think we see the fetishization of the Bible here, to the point it is no longer a book to read, but rather an object to worship while assuming you know what it says.

  24. Buffy says:

    It’s scary what a froth people get into when someone speaks the truth.

  25. fester60613 says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lawrence O’Donnell for this magnificent challenge to the naked American Christian privilege! Thank you.!

  26. fester60613 says:

    The intelligent alternative I read somewhere was to use – instead of a bible – a copy of the Constitution.

  27. Trevor Blake says:

    Here’s a funny thing. When President Obama was first inaugurated, the man holding the Bible flubbed his lines. In a strict technical sense, that inauguration didn’t count. So they did it again a short while later, and the guy got his lines correct – but they ‘couldn’t find’ a Bible so they didn’t use one. Not generally known, and trivial, but in some sense Obama was sworn in without a Bible already and the nation didn’t seem to collapse for it.

  28. barriejohn says:

    Trevor Blake:

    in some sense Obama was sworn in without a Bible already and the nation didn’t seem to collapse for it.

    Not from what I read!

  29. Angela_K says:

    Marky Mark. My ‘scope has a focal length of 910mm so a “power of about 325X. Using different eyepieces [Barlow] I can see the Orion and Andromeda but not in detail. My ‘scope is excellent for objects in our Solar system. When funds permit I’d like something with a bigger mirror.

  30. David Anderson says:

    Obama may or may not have been sworn in on the bibble but either way, he lied.

  31. Marky Mark says:

    Angela_K…Yes, mirror size is everything for gathering light. I am envious of the tracking devices since even though I had a good size mirror, it was almost imposable to view distant objects at any length of time with the more powerful lenses. Always lost them.
    Being an amateur Astronomer and years since I had my scope I don’t remember the specifics of the lenses I used. I remember the Barlow would double the power of any lens used. I did order a very powerful lens that was useless to me without a tracking device, but worked ok when viewing the Moon. Loved viewing the Moon during crescent, 1/4 , and 1/2 Moon cycles as the shadows cast on the craters and mountain ranges were spectacular. I would often tease visiting guests and say, “With this new lens we will see the flag planted by the visiting astronauts.” ….LOL !
    Also loved viewing Jupiter and its moons. Would point to a fuzzy point of light in the night sky to guests and than let them look through the scope at the detail of Jupiter and the points of light that are orbiting moons. We’d seen them move after several nights of viewing.

    I guess we hijacked this thread…sorry.

    So to get back on track… yes, real Christians like being eaten by lions. The rest? Posers !

  32. JohnMWhite says:

    It says a lot that accurate descriptions of what the bible teaches are described as “sick” by people trying to defend the bible.

  33. Richard Watkins says:

    He shouldn’t be swearing on anything. It’s a ridiculous, empty practice. He should say “You elected me president. I promise I will serve your interests and the collective interests of the country as best I can.”

  34. Ken says:

    “But the Holy Book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery.”

    1 Tim 1 : 9 ff – “… realizing that law is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for ….kidnappers, liars, perjurers – in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching.”

    The word translated here as kidnappers means “slave traders”, “enslavers”, or “men-stealers” i.e. abducting with a view to sell into slavery, and is contrary to sound doctrine. It’s sinful, ungodly. It is true that slavery, like divorce, was regulated and restricted in the OT, but is not a divine institution like marriage or government.

    1 Cor 7: “Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. …. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”

    Also hardly a ringing endorsement of slavery.

  35. Daz says:

    Ken, You need to read what people say before answering. There’s a big difference between “doesn’t condemn” and “ringingly endorses.” That said, I take the spirit of any work which contains a list of how to treat slaves to be one of endorsement, even if it doesn’t come right out and say “Hey, slavery; what a great idea!”

    realizing that law is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people

    Huh? You do realise how redundant that statement is, right?

  36. remigius says:

    ‘Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.’

    Exodus 21:20-21

    Ken, any opinion on whether this is an endorsement of slavery?

  37. Broga says:

    Ken: I think we may confidently assume that the various biblical comments placed before you have left you unable to respond. So you are up to your old irritating and dishonest trick of ignoring these and starting again with selective and partial quotes. You choose to understand these according to what goes on in your religion addled brain. You don’t really think any of us in taken in by your foolish posturing, do you? You are just too obvious.

  38. Ken says:

    “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

    This no more endorses slavery than it endorses beating your slave or servant, a foolish comment so often made by atheist commenters (“you can beat your slave all you want, but don’t kill him! you’ll get in trouble”).

    You should read the whole of Exodus 21. It contains a whole series of laws stating IF this happens, this is how your judges are to judge the issue. Lawmakers regulating something does not equal endorsing what they regulate. If a man beats his slave, then ….

    Note that beating a slave to death incurs punishment (cf v 12). Also how the chapter deals with and limits indentured service, and in v 16 makes abduction with a view to enslavement a capital offence. Permanent injury required a slave to be released. Elsewhere it states escaped slaves were not to be returned to their masters.

    This regulates slavery, heavily restricting it, and in no sense can be said to be an endorsement. The treatment of slaves here is vastly better than that of the surrounding nations, though no-one would pretend it produced an ideal situation.

  39. remigius says:

    Ken, why couldn’t the bible just say owning people is bad?

    And beating people you own is badder.

    Why all that shit about it’s OK to beat them cos you own them, just don’t kill ‘em.

    Eh!

  40. Broga says:

    Ken: You haven’t got one iota of intellectual honesty in your being. I suspect you are terrified of dying and conjuring up a fantasy after life is your way of dealing with it. Get real. When that electrical activity in your brain switches off you are finished There is no you because there is nothing to sustain a you. No brain to think, no heart, no lungs. It is the end. Blank, nada, zilch, finish.

  41. Ken says:

    remigius – in the context of this thread, it’s the atheists who are carrying on believing what they want to believe.

    Why, when having been shown an atheist claim about ‘what the bible says’ is in fact incorrect, do they carry on maintaining something is true that is actually false? Isn’t that not having one iota of intellectual honesty in their being?!!

  42. remigius says:

    Ken, you keep using those extra A’s. Adding that extra letter makes your comments seem illogical.

    ‘…in the context of this thread, it’s the theists who are carrying on believing what they want to believe.

    Why, when having been shown a theist claim about ‘what the bible says’ is in fact incorrect, do they carry on maintaining something is true that is actually false? Isn’t that not having one iota of intellectual honesty in their being?!!’

    Fixed it for you. See how much more sensible it sounds now!

  43. D.F. says:

    Just a question: who holds the Bible if the president is single?

  44. Stephen Mynett says:

    Good question DF. Cant answer it, all my limited trawling of the net has found is that there does not have to be a bible as part of the ceremony and that Franklin Pierce seems to have been the only president to have affirmed, rather than sworn an oath.
    James Buchanan was the only life-long bachelor to be president.
    However, thanks for giving me something to do while I cant sleep.