New York, New York — MSNBC talk show host Lawrence O’Donnell took aim at the Bible on his broadcast The Last Word this week, claiming that it has no place at the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama.
O’Donnell’s remarks came in response to Pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from the Inauguration after being criticized by homosexual advocates for a sermon he had delivered in the 1990’s in which he pointed to Scriptures that speak against homosexual behavior. Giglio had initially accepted the invitation, but bowed out because he feared that his appearance at the event would turn into an argument over homosexuality — something that he states has not been the focus of his ministry for a long time.
“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the Inauguration,” he wrote. “Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. … Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation.”
In discussing the matter, O’Donnell began to claim that no one believes the Bible, and that it has no business in being a part of the Inauguration.
“No one accepts all of the teachings of the Bible — no one,” O’Donnell asserted. “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.”
“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,” O’Donnell continued. “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?” O’Donnell asked.
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. Obama is scheduled to be sworn in on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago, setting millions of slaves free across America.
“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,” he railed. “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.”
“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,” O’Donnell added.
Following his comments, which have been reported by major news outlets nationwide, a number of Christians have expressed their disgust and disapproval.
“[W]hat he says is almost amusing if it weren’t so sick,” wrote one commenter.
“Let’s not forget O’Donnell did not voice opposition to Keith Ellison for taking his oath on the Quran,” another remarked. “But using the Bible should be avoided?”
“O’Donnell also shows his ignorance about the Constitution,” a man named Hal chimed in. “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!”
“Lawrence will have to explain his position when he meets his Maker,” a fourth remarked. “He wouldn’t even call the Bible the Bible. He said, ‘That Book.'”
The Inauguration is scheduled to take place on January 21st at the U.S. Capitol.