Did Dobson take the red pill?

images 1OK, now I can relax a bit. The omnipresent Ted Olsen & Co. at the Christianity Today weblog have put up the official list of all — surely this is all of them — URLs linked to the HHGR case.

Of particular interest (I plan to post on this later in the day) is the collection of links covering the current state of the heart and mind of Karl Rove’s main man — James Dobson. Scroll down and note the link to the actual radio broadcast in which Dobson takes the red pill.

Enjoy, folks. After all, people on both sides of the sanctuary aisle are still buzzing about the following Dobson quotes in The New York Times regarding the Harriet Miers nomination.

Explaining his reasons for supporting her and praying for guidance, Dr. Dobson cited her religious faith and said he knew her conservative evangelical church. “I know the person who brought her to the Lord,” he said. “I have talked at length to people that know her and have known her for a long time.”

Dr. Dobson acknowledged conversations with Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, about the selection but declined to disclose their contents. “You will have to trust me on this one,” he said, adding that if he was wrong, “the blood of those babies” — aborted fetuses — “will be on my hands to some degree.”

Now, I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian and a pro-life Democrat. Please remember that.images 01 But I think it’s time to ask Dobson a variation on the question I asked him a decade ago in a Religion Newswriters Association press conference out in Wheaton of the West. I asked if Bill Clinton had become his own personal Vietnam, pulling him out of the ministry to which he was called (while the Baby Boomers had their childen in their homes) and into partisan politics in much the same manner as the war did for the mainline Protestant left in the 1960s (when members of the GI Generation were still heavily involved in building families). Dobson said he would sacrifice his ministry if it would help him defeat Clinton on the issue of abortion.

The assumption? That Dobson could do more through politics to advance the pro-life cause than he could through working with mothers, fathers and their children. My conviction (and, yes, you can see this in my newspaper columns) is that we live in an age in which culture matters more than politics. I believe that what happens in homes and, yes, movie theaters and malls does as much or more to shape the reality of daily American life than what happens in voting booths. Does Dobson think he can vote in the Kingdom?

Just asking. I think that, on the religious left, E.J. Dionne is asking some very similar questions. Check him out. But here are the money quotes:

The use of Miers’s religion as a magnet for conservative support is not just the work of a few religious voices. It’s part of the administration’s strategy. . . . Let’s be clear: It is pro-administration conservatives, not those terrible liberals, who are making an issue of Miers’s evangelical faith. Liberals are not opposing Miers because she is an evangelical. Conservatives are telling their friends to support Miers because she is an evangelical.

And many conservatives are now opposing her, not because she is an evangelical, but because they simply do not believe she is a worthy candidate for such an important position in American life and culture.

It’s a fascinating moment in GetReligion land. Friends and neighbors, this is why we are here. We are watching the MSM wrestle with a some big questions that are worth wrestling with. Let us know what you think and let the newsrooms — local and national — know what you think, too.

P.S. Check this out. An army of Los Angeles Times reporters. About 3,300 words of text. An explosion of travel money (maybe) and bureau time (for certain). Number of new insights or critical pieces of information? Zero?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://japery.newpantagruel.com G.J.

    Sounds kind of the old left’s trainwreck positon of anti-anti-communism. Now it is anti-pro-evangelical, not anti-evangelical. Note the subtle but crucial distinction!

    “Does Dobson think he can vote in the Kingdom?”

    Do you think he really thinks that even if Roe v. Wade was overturned, this would “bring in the Kingdom?” What does that mean exactly? Perhaps he thinks certain political ends would be highly significant and even “redemptive” but still far less than a Christian utopia. If this is so, Dobson has company from all the evangelical cultural and intellectual leaders who have gone with the well-established view that, depsite many a myth, there has never been a successful cultural revolution effected “from below.” Christianity itself is a prime example. In any event, I think we can reject as naive a model of political power and change that hinges on simplistic, “street-Marxist” oppositions: “the people vs. the establishment” and the like.

  • Christopher

    As an Eastern Orthodox Christian and a pro-life Republican (though, perhaps for not too much longer given the betrayals of the Bush administration to conservative principles these last 5 years), I am a bit confused by this post. While I agree with the assumption that “we live in an age in which culture matters more than politics.”, I do not see how abortion “politics” fits into this generalization. Abortion is an immanently “political” problem here in the USA. A simple switch of one vote on the Supreme Courts could save hundred of thousands of lives every year (even granting the fact that many blue states would still have unrestricted abortion access). A single vote! Abortion as we know it was crammed down our throat by a political minority, and it is up to an energized political minority to correct this error. Mr. Mattingly seems to agree with Frederica M-G (I am thinking of “Real Choices”). That’s fine, but I have a hard time believing that he is ignorant of the many like myself who disagree with this approach (or rather, think the political solution is the profitable one). Did I misread this comment??

    p.s. I am a no less surprised with the question of “Does Dobson think he can vote in the Kingdom?” which seems profoundly ignorant of both Mr. Dobson’s position and the many, like myself, who agree with him on this issue. I will write it off to a bit of rhetorical flourish for now…


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