James Dobson, the Focus on the Family founder and a leader of the Religious Right, was attacking Barack Obama recently because he says Obama was “deliberately distorting the Bible” and has a “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.”
Dobson was referencing a speech Obama made two years ago. (He’s a fast one, that Dobson.)
Why did he do it? Perhaps because he knows his leverage among Christians is waning and he was trying to make a power move.
Don’t believe his support is dwindling? A group of pastors headed by (friend of George W. Bush) Kirbyjon Caldwell began a website called jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme.com.
Their core statement reads:
James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.
He doesn’t speak for me when he uses religion as a wedge to divide;
He doesn’t speak for me when he speaks as the final arbiter on the meaning of the Bible;
James Dobson doesn’t speak for me when he uses the beliefs of others as a line of attack;
He doesn’t speak for me when he denigrates his neighbor’s views when they don’t line up with his;
He doesn’t speak for me when he seeks to confine the values of my faith to two or three issues alone;
What does speak for me is David’s psalm celebrating how good and pleasant it is when we come together in unity;
Micah speaks for me in reminding us that the Lord requires us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him;
The prophet Isaiah speaks for me in his call for all to come and reason together and also to seek justice, encourage the oppressed and to defend the cause of the vulnerable;
The book of Nehemiah speaks for me in its example to work with our neighbors, not against them, to restore what was broken in our communities;
The book of Matthew speaks for me in saying to bless those that curse you and pray for those who persecute you;
The words of the apostle Paul speak for me in saying that words spoken and deeds done without love amount to nothing.
The apostle John speaks for me in reminding us of Jesus’ command to love one another. The world will know His disciples by that love.
These words speak for me. But when James Dobson attacks Barack Obama, James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.
Those pastors support Obama in their individual capacities, by the way, not on behalf of their churches.
Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners (a “progressive Christian commentary”), also has issues with what Dobson said about Obama. In fact, Obama’s comments were made at an event sponsored by Wallis’ group.
He writes about Dobson’s remarks:
… In most every case they are themselves clear distortions of what Obama said in that speech. I was there for the speech; Dobson was not.
… The United States is not the Christian theocracy that people like James Dobson seem to think it should be. Political appeals, even if rooted in religious convictions, must be argued on moral grounds rather than as sectarian religious demands — so that the people (citizens), whether religious or not, may have the capacity to hear and respond. Religious convictions must be translated into moral arguments, which must win the political debate if they are to be implemented. Religious people don’t get to win just because they are religious. They, like any other citizens, have to convince their fellow citizens that what they propose is best for the common good — for all of us, not just for the religious.
Nice to hear members of the Religious Left turning on the Religious Right. It’s about time. I’m looking forward to the day when religion won’t play such an important role in elections but, right now, that’s unrealistic.
In the meantime, we need to support those Christian leaders who are not using their faith as a weapon to influence political leaders and who want to see an end to their faith being distorted by the likes of Dobson.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Christianity[/tags]