I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything.
There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them.
We tried with [Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius and sent thousands of phone calls and emails to the Senate and they didn't pay any attention to it because they don't have to. And so what you can do is pray, pray for this great nation... As I see it, there is no other answer. There's no other answer, short term.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
James Dobson Pitches a Hissy Fit
Along the same lines as the previous post about Liberty University, here's an example of another loser's tantrum from the religious right. This one comes from Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
Dobson used to actually focus on the family. For a long time he was a professor of pediatrics. He studied child development, became a family, marriage, and child counselor, and wrote a number of books on parenting. When I was a kid, my United Methodist church bulletin included monthly inserts written by James Dobson on family issues. It was pretty standard stuff, I think.
But in recent years, Dobson and Focus on the Family became increasingly involved in Republican politics and conservative causes that had little to do with family issues. With the millions who listen to his radio programs, Dobson became arguably the most prominent figure of the religious right, which has been one of the most important pillars of the Republican coalition of the last 30 years. In the past, Dobson spoke out on conservative causes but tried to maintain and aura of nonpartisanship. Lately, however, he's been a loud and loyal Republican soldier. He first endorsed a presidential candidate in 2004 when he worked hard to give President Bush a second term. In 2008, after initially opposing the Republican nomination of John McCain, Dobson fell in line when McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, calling it "one of the most exciting days of my life, because everything that we had hoped for and been working for had come to pass."
Well, Barack Obama's landslide victory extinguished that excitement, and now it looks like Dobson is utterly depressed. On the radio he recently offered what US News and World Report called:
How freaking silly. Yeah, things are so bleak right now that all a good Christian can do is "pray, pray for this great nation." Everything else is futile! Oh the darkness!
The Republican culture war machine was dealt a major blow in November 2008, and James Dobson is crying a self-righteous river. It must be really tough for him right now. He and other conservative Christian leaders have worked hard since the late '70s to bring evangelical Christians into the Republican coalition. In 2004, Karl Rove's election strategy depended on increasing evangelical Christian turnout in the election over what it had been in 2000. So, homosexuality and abortion filled the airwaves. The timing worked exceedingly well. The religious right had been organizing around these issues for decades, and gay marriage questions were on the ballot in many states around the country. Dobson got culture war in the headlines, and Rove got the turnout he needed.
Republicanized Christianity had reached its high-water mark. Everything seemed to be going their way. They had a man in the White House who spoke their language, and their people staffed the administration. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, a majority of governor's mansions, and a majority of state legislatures. In related activity, the United States occupied two Muslim countries, systematically tortured suspects in the "war on terror," and illegally spied on its own citizens. Corporation representatives staffed the government's regulatory agencies and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans owned a larger portion of the country than at any time since 1928.
On all those fronts we have begun to reverse course, so it is understandable why Dobson is so sad. But what is truly bizarre--and illustrative of the religious right--is the specific thing that originally set him off on this hissy fit. The House had just passed a new bill that would expand the definition of "hate crimes" to include attacks based on sexual orientation, gender identify or mental or physical disability, in addition to the criteria of race, color, religion or national origin, which were already covered under hate crimes legislation. Maybe there's some reason to oppose this law (though I can't think of a good one), but no reasonable person would take Dobson's view on it. He referred to it as "the utter evil that's coming out of the United States Congress." That's right, because Christian families need lighter penalties for assaulting people for being gay or handicapped.
Anyway, I'm getting dizzy on this tour through Crazyville.
I just hope James Dobson was happy for a little while to see the accomplishment of what he had worked for. And I literally thank God that his work began to crumble. His political retreat will be good for the country and good for evangelical Christianity.