Why James Dobson is unable to speak of the actual murder of actual children

Dr. James Dobson is a popular, influential and revered evangelical author, radio host and political activist.

On his radio program Monday, Dobson offered his explanation for the massacre Friday at a Connecticut elementary school:

Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November 6 election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.

I mean millions of people have decided that either God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me. And we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too.

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God Almighty, and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.

(Audio here.)

I feel bad for Dobson.

Like most of us, he is rightly horrified by the slaughter in Newtown. He is reeling, recoiling, and struggling to come to grips with the shock and sorrow he feels in response to the murder of 20 children, all aged 6 and 7, and of the teachers and school leaders who cared for them.

But Dobson has no way of expressing this horror and sorrow — not even to himself. He has elsewhere expended the vocabulary that would allow him to speak of it, or even to think of it, and it has left him with no words to articulate, to grasp or to convey the deep sadness he is feeling.

That sadness is right and true and appropriate. It is a proper human response to the murder of children.

But for Dobson, “the murder of children” refers not to Sandy Hook, but to abortion. Hence the weird assertion on his radio program Monday that the murder of 20 schoolchildren is somehow God’s judgment falling on America because of the murder of “54 million babies.”

The incoherence there comes from Dobson’s heartfelt and undeniable recognition that the Newtown massacre was far, far worse than any number of abortions. He knows that. He feels that.

But Dobson has painted himself into an ethical and rhetorical corner and so he cannot allow himself to admit that.

For decades, James Dobson has insisted that abortion is “murder,” that it is “killing babies” and that no distinction — ethical, moral, theological, legal — can be allowed between those “unborn babies” and actual babies. Like most evangelicals and many Catholics, Dobson has always fiercely maintained that the killing of unborn “children” is no different from the killing of actual children.

But whenever horrible crimes like this one occur, then Dobson, just like the rest of us, beholds what has happened and recognizes that it is vastly different and wholly incomparable.

Dobson knows this. Decades of rhetorical obfuscation have deprived him of any way of expressing it or of admitting it, but James Dobson still knows this.

All that talk has left him unable to describe what he is feeling or why. He doesn’t know how to name the sorrow he feels on the news of the actual murder of actual children.

But he knows that this is a different thing. He knows that his revulsion at this crime is nothing at all like the opposition he has always expressed to abortion, even though for all these years he has used identical language demanding that we all regard the two things as identical and equivalent.

But they are not identical and they are not equivalent. Dobson knows this. Every moral intuition he has screams that these things are not equivalent.

We all know this. All of us. Even those of us who have staked our rhetoric, our politics, and our moral reasoning on the glib pretense that it is not so.

Every “pro-life” evangelical, every Operation Rescue picketer, every March for Life participant, every Christianity Today editorialist, every Catholic bishop, priest and pope knows that the murder of 20 children is essentially different and far worse than any 20 abortions. All their beloved rhetoric of “abortion is murder” and “abortion kills unborn children” turns to ashes in the wake of incidents like the slaughter in Newtown.

It seemed so simple. Declare that “personhood begins at conception” and everything clicks neatly into place. You can then insist that no ethical or moral distinction exists between a fetus and a child, between a zygote and a 6-year-old. And ethics seems so much simpler when we don’t have to make or acknowledge distinctions. Then we can have thick black lines and unambiguous rules. We can make sweeping ethical claims with the certainty and clarity we have always coveted.

That certainty and clarity is a delicious indulgence. It means we don’t even have to listen when others point out the distinctions that might threaten our clear, bold lines. When others try to argue that a fetus has great value, but not the same value as a child or as a mother, we can dismiss them as apologists for “murder.”

The simplicity and clarity of this claim of personhood-from-conception is so appealing that most of the time it more than makes up for the persistent nagging intuition that it’s not true. The appeal is almost enough to overcome the sense we can never be rid of that a zygote and a 6-year-old are obviously different, and that pretending the two are equivalent is deeply offensive to some moral intuition that we can never wholly silence.

And when, as on Friday, something horrific happens to force us to remember that, then even someone like James Dobson — one of the most forceful and vocal proponents of the “abortion is murder” claim — is unable to maintain the pretense.

That pretense is corrosive. It is rotting the hearts, minds, souls and tongues of good Christian people. And it has to stop.

Read the names of the slain children — the precious persons murdered Friday in Newtown.

Then go ahead and give it your best shot. Try to sustain the pretense. Try to tell yourself that this is no different from 20 abortions. Try to tell yourself that every fetus, every zygote, every frozen embryo at a fertility clinic, is morally and ethically and theologically and legally identical to these 20 children. Try to tell yourself that every abortion does and should sadden you just exactly as much as the cruel snuffing out of each of these sacred young lives.

Can you do that? Can you sustain that pretense?

Poor Dr. Dobson gave it his best shot, but he failed. I don’t think you can do it either. I don’t think you should.

  • Jim Roberts

    And I am soundly convinced that the reason they cannot articulate this sorrow is that to do so would mean a loss of control. And since they’re whole reason for opposing abortion is controlling others, that is simply unthinkable.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    The Religious Right’s entire worldview is based on denying the obvious fact that morality is  a matter of intuition.  They have always insisted that all moral truth is dictated by a ‘higher father’, and that all moral tenents are inseperable from both each other and from all physical facts.  They have always insisted that treating morality as the obviously intuitive matter it is can only lead to orgiastic heavy metal chaos. 

    They can hardly be expected to change their tune after all these years, even though one could make a drinking game out of how predictiably and mechanicaly they blame terrible deeds on athiests/liberals/gays/multiculturalism/all the above.  If they ever gave up the conceit that they own The Truth and are so entitled to paternal control over the US, then they wouldn’t be the religious right.  Fish gotta swim. 

  • Carstonio

    But Dobson has no way of expressing this horror and sorrow — not even to
    himself. He has elsewhere expended the vocabulary that would allow him
    to speak of it, or even to think of it, and it has left him with no words to articulate, to grasp or to convey the deep sadness he is feeling.

    My own conundrum is that I have no way of responding to Dobson without sounding like Rorschach in Watchmen:  “It
    is not God who kills the children. Not Fate that butchers them or Destiny
    that feeds them to dogs. It’s us. Only us .” While I don’t know Alan Moore’s religious beliefs, the scene almost equates atheism with amorality.

  • Carstonio

    I suspect morality is combination of intuition and calculation. Our moral sense is offended by injustice and unfairness but it’s far from perfect, and with complicated moral problems, two people who agree that it’s wrong to cause others to suffer can disagree on which course is the most moral. Perhaps folks like Dobson can’t or won’t distinguish between their moral sense and their squick. That’s probably also true of the Pope, who cannot argue against same-sex marriage without invoking meaningless concepts like “nature” and “normal.”

  • DCFem

    I read this totally differently than you did since you are able to find some sympathy for this man and you think he is struggling on some level with his belief that life begins at conception. I read that quote and thought that he is saying that the mass slaying of innocent children in Connecticut is our judgment for Roe v. Wade and for allowing gay marriage in several states. He says God has allowed punishment to fall on us. Which makes me think he believes God is a self-righteous bully (projection anyone?) who is just fine with children being slaughtered because we don’t hate women who have abortions and gay people like we should. Which makes Dobson the same smug, self-righteous, butthole he’s always been.

    I’m sure there are people out there who are grappling with trying to sustain the “life begins at conception” notion with the pictures published of those adorable children. The reality of precious children  murdered in their school has to force people to reexamine a lot of their beliefs.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Here’s my problem with Dobson’s statement:  If God views abortion as the murder of innocent children and is angry about it, why would He arrange to have innocent children murdered?  If God wanted to physically punish anyone for abortion, wouldn’t He punish the women who have abortions and the people who provide them?  Because otherwise, God is doing the very thing He’s supposedly punishing *us* for.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I suspect morality is combination of intuition and calculation. Our moral sense is offended by injustice and unfairness but it’s far from perfect,

    True true. Morality is based on our own human judgement and therefore condemned to be occasionaly wrong.  People who are especially phobic towards humiliation or loss of control, people who have been taught that Real American Men must always be in control and always know the answer, cannot tolerate this.  Which brings us back around to the man who beat his pet dog for being uppity and bragged about it in print. 

  • Carstonio

    I was unaware of that but I wasn’t surprised. Probably no coincidence that a man who believes that torturing people in hell forever is a just punishment for loving the wrong person, would also believe that beating an animal is justified to defend his authority. In his world, it’s apparently dominate or be dominated.

    http://bulldogpolitics.blogspot.com/2005/08/struggle-continues-james-dobson.html
     

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (content advisory. you may want to skip this.)

    Fred… seriously… I don’t know.

    I mean, I oppose treating fetuses as people legally, and I don’t consider them morally or ethically equivalent to children, or even babies. 

    But I’m not sure that comparing people’s grief has a lot to do with that.

    And I’m sure as hell not going to tell my friend that she doesn’t get to grieve her miscarriage, for example. Regardless of how we classify her loss legally, or ethically, or morally, the fact is she grieves that loss with everything in her, and it seems proper to me that she ought to.

    To compare her loss with that of someone who loses an infant child, or an adult child, is necessary in many contexts and I accept that necessity. But to compare the depths of her emotional response to theirs?

    I don’t know.

    I remember when the Challenger crashed, and my high-school English teacher assigned us to write something expressing our feelings about the incident.

    I wrote about how sad it was that Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher, had died in the crash. And how sad it was that Dick Scoobee, an astronaut, had died in the crash. And how sad it was that four other astronauts, whose names I didn’t know, had died in the crash. And how much sadder it was that some number of other people had died in car crashes the same day, and not only didn’t I know their names, I didn’t even know how many of them there were, except that it was probably way more than six, and how that really didn’t seem to matter to anyone, and I knew that because about the same number had died the day before, and the day before that, and probably every day for my entire life, and the same number would die the next day, and the day after, and probably every day thereafter for the rest of my life, and nobody would really care about them except for the loved ones they left behind, and how angry that made me.

    I was, perhaps unsurprisingly, chastised for missing the point of the assignment, which was to express my feelings about the Challenger explosion.

    Anyway.

    I guess my point is: I know what it’s like to grieve one person’s death. Sometimes only one person is gone and the whole world seems empty. And I sort of understand how the loss of two people, or ten, or even twenty-seven can stack, how even when I think it can’t possibly get any worse, it somehow does with each additional body on the pyre.

    But one hundred and fifty thousand people die each day. And if I try to wrap my brain around one hundred and fifty thousand deaths today, and another one hundred and fifty thousand deaths tomorrow, and again on Thursday, and… and… and… stretching out into the indefinite future… and that each of those deaths is someone’s loved one, just as worthy of grief as my father…

    I’m sorry, I just can’t do it. I don’t know how. I can grieve one death. I can grieve twenty-six deaths. I suppose I can grieve one hundred and fifty thousand deaths. But I don’t know how to do all of those things at once.

    That doesn’t mean they don’t all deserve just as much individual grief as each murdered child of Newtowne, or as my dad.

    It just means I, as a human, am limited in the ways that I can experience grief.

    So, like I say… I just don’t know that comparing people’s grief has a lot to do with who counts as a person.

  • AlexJarr

     I’m curious, what is the difference between men like Dobson and Mike Huckabee (who recently made similar remarks about the shooting) and the Westboro Baptist Church. Both see any national tragedy — a hurricane, a mass-murder, a terrorist attack — as an excuse to displace blame onto minorities (religious or otherwise), secularists, and political rivals. The only difference that I can tell is from the reaction they get — virtually everyone loathes the WBC but Dobson, Huckabee, etc. still have a sizeable contingent of the population who thinks that they are upstanding faith leaders.

    I don’t understand this dichotomy — why is Phelps condemned for making the same horrific arguments as his brethren? Is he just less photogenic? Less charismatic? Is it the pickets that make him less popular? (If Dobson or Huckabee had given these speeches at the funerals, would that make them less popular?)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WGSJBUGWP7TVETSL3D3NYR7FEE Jonathon

    Got the following comment on Facebook from sharing this article. Any help on fleshing out a response would be appreciated. Unless I’m dealing with a troll. 

  • Adrienne Sanders

    The difference, as far as I can tell, is that WBC is saying it in people’s faces by showing up at funerals.  Dobson & Huckabee have the same opinions but not the conviction to demonstrate it in front of a crowd. I wonder if this is b/c they know it’s actually wrong. Either that or they’re just cowards. Personally I think if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face you should reconsider whether you should say it at all.

  • Carstonio

    From my reading, Fred wasn’t comparing anyone’s grief, but instead suggesting that Dobson’s show of grief over fetuses is not genuine. Dobson has been playing for decades at being a righteous warrior against evil, something that’s cheap and easy to do. It’s left him unprepared for evil in the world outside the womb, because his self-image is tied up in denying the distinction.

  • Robyrt

    I am really uncomfortable with this sort of argument that goes, “This person I don’t know is feeling something diametrically opposed to what they say they’re feeling. Deep down, they know they’re lying.” I would hesitate to say that about anyone because I know how untrue it is in other contexts. I just don’t see the difference between this post and the atheist-troll argument of “Deep down, you know there is no God. Stop lying to yourself!”

  • Persia

     A fetus or an unborn child is the death of an idea. It can be tremendously painful. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I’d lost my (premature) child at her birth or miscarried before. I know I would be devastated.

    But it is not the same experience as losing a child, because a child is something different. It’s not about who feels the most pain. It’s just something different.

  • Carstonio

     Again, I think that’s a misreading of what Dobson is doing and what Fred is saying. (Here goes with another Jean Shepherd reference…) Dobson is like Ralphie Parker fantasizing that he and he alone stands between his tiny, huddled family and insensate evil. His view of abortion is just as cartoonish, with the villains being selfish sluts and greedy doctors. If he really had to face diabolical mauraders to save fetuses, he would probably shit his pants in terror.

  • Jessica_R

    Yeah, I believe that sometimes an asshole is just an Oh My God What The Fuck Is Wrong With You Can’t You At Least Just Keep Your Fucking Mouth Shut Just For Once incredible asshole. It’s why I have slightly more respect for Phelps, because Phelps is a horrible person who doesn’t make any effort to hide it and will hate you right to your face. I can handle that so much better than the pose  of niceness and civility Dobson and Huckabee strike. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > It’s just something different.

    I don’t doubt it.

    And perhaps someone who has been through both is in a position to speak to how the grief in the first case differs from the grief in the second case, and what we can learn from the differences.

    I wouldn’t presume to.

  • Leum

    I don’t understand this dichotomy — why is Phelps condemned for
    making the same horrific arguments as his brethren? Is he just less
    photogenic? Less charismatic? Is it the pickets that make him less
    popular? (If Dobson or Huckabee had given these speeches at the
    funerals, would that make them less popular?)

    Yes, it’s the funerals. Well, not just that. It’s the funerals of people they like. When WBC was only picketing gay people’s funerals, no one cared.

  • rrhersh

     It is not only the pickets, it is the choice of targets.  If Phelps were picketing Planned Parenthood offices and gay bars, he would be cheered on by the right.  Instead, he chooses targets the right approves of, most typically funerals of soldiers, presumably in order to garner attention through shock value.  In a twisted sort of way, this has an admirable element to it.  He is a nutcase through and through, but he isn’t a popularity whore and he is willing to offend persons who otherwise would be his natural supporters in order to get his message out. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Dobson’s grief over fetuses may well not be genuine. And he may well be unable to express genuine grief over the murder of the children of Newtowne. 

    And these things, if true, may well be related causally as you and Fred suggest… that is, his fake show of grief over fetuses might make his genuine expression of grief over the murder of children impossible. 

    All of these things are possible. I don’t much know Dobson, and what I do know I really don’t like. I’m certainly don’t have any desire to defend him.

    And perhaps I’m just being oversensitive to the idea of judging
    someone’s expressions of grief over the murder of children by relating
    it to their expressions of grief over the termination of fetuses. I
    dunno.

    I grant that this is not an area where I’m thinking terribly clearly or dispassionately. So if I’m being unfair to Fred, or to you, I apologize for that.

    All that said, I do know people who genuinely grieve over fetuses. And I know that the relation between grief over one loss and grief over another is too complicated for me to make definitive claims about, even when to an outside perspective one loss is “clearly” more important than the other.

     

  • LL

    I actually would like the fundys and their Republican friends to keep on talking and saying terrible things. Please keep reminding people of how terrible you are and how you shouldn’t be considered an authority on anything besides being a colossal asshole. 

    So keep on talking, Dobson. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Well, I basically agree with your interlocutor’s conclusion about the problem with judging based on sensibilities the way I think Fred is doing here, as I tried to express in an earlier comment.

    So if it would help to discuss the issue with someone who holds a similar position  before responding to them on your Facebook, feel free to respond to me, either here in comments or privately.

    Of course, this presumes that you don’t think I’m a troll.

  • Jim Roberts

    Hi.

    They’re different.

    No, I won’t say more.

    But they are.

  • Carstonio

    You’re right to be concerned over expressions of grief. Look at Dobson’s behavior instead. He doesn’t act like someone who believes abortion is murder. Put aside the fact that better access to contraception and sex education would do far more to reduce abortions than making the procedure illegal. He’s not even barricading clinics like some other pro-lifers, or pleading with women to carry their pregnancies to term, unless I’ve missed him doing so. Or even throwing himself on the doctor about to perform an abortion and wrestling away the tools.

  • AlexJarr

    That makes a lot of sense. It’s kind of screwed up though — Huckabee and the other guys make these comments about child murders, terrorist attacks, etc. too — the only difference is that they don’t actually attend the funerals, but that should only make it slightly less offensive, not significantly less so.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yup, all of that is true.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Exactly.  It’s important to remember that this is a man who advocates spanking for babies of fifteen months and who recommends that spanking is best done with “an object.”

  • jamesprobis

    I think you give the child abuse advocate James Dobson far, far too much credit here. Read any of the Christian child raising guides Dobson has written if you want to see how much he cares about violence against children, see him advocate in favor of violence against children in his own words. Dobson doesn’t care about murdered children, to him they are nothing more than yet another excuse to attack his political enemies.

    When theofascist Christians blame America and blame the schools for this shooting they are blaming the _victims_ of this shooting. And they don’t care. As long as it gives them another chance to scam money from the gullible and meanspirited they don’t care.

  • Luke A

    The implication in all the Rights’ prognostications is that some veil of protection that once previously existed has steadily been lifted off of American culture as it continues to violate perceived objective standards in Scripture.

    I guess my question is and will continue to be: When did the veil cover America? That is, at what point was there protection over America so that we can now decry the fact that said protection has been removed?

    These types of pseudo-prophetic diagnostic statements sound extremely wise and forbidding to those who already agree with them. But they just sound short-sighted to anyone who takes a second to think them through.

    Although, I seem to remember Abraham Lincoln claiming that perhaps the Civil War was God’s judgment on slavery….and I’m not completely willing to disregard that statement…..

  • Kubricks_Rube

    A lot of commenters think Fred’s being too soft on Dobson. Am I the only one who read this as Fred pretending to misread Dobson’s intended point so he could shred what Dobson inadventantly conveyed?

  • TheDarkArtist

    After this whole tragedy, I’ve come to realize something. And, I’m really sorry if this offends anyone, honestly. I’m sure that a lot of conservatives are personally really nice people.

    But I really, really hate the fuck out of every conservative. I’ve heard nothing literally nothing but vitriol from them about this. It’s God’s judgment for evolution being taught in schools, or for “killing babies” or some other stupid shit. It’s “liberals” fault for “gun free zones” and teachers should be armed with M4s. It’s this and it’s that, and those fucking Liberal Logic 101 image macros. And talking about how “Obama was faking his tears” so he can TAKE ARE GUUUNS.

    So, you know what? I hate you. I fucking hate conservatives. If I saw someone with a Romney/Ryan bumper sticker on the side of the road, broken down, I’d try to splash a puddle of water on them. Hey, that’s how Rayford handles the anti-christ, I’m sure it’s fine for some random asshole.

    I just can’t take these people. They have no shame, and I hope they rot in the hottest bowels of Hell. Fuck them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    While I don’t know Alan Moore’s religious beliefs

    You really should. They’re …very interesting. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It’s not even so much that there are some people who don’t realize that arming teachers is a monumentally terrible idea (Though I’m told that they do in Israel).  It’s that there seem to be a lot of people who don’t just think it’s a reasonable idea, but are dead certain that armed teachers are a panacea that would 100% guaranteed have prevented this attack and anyone who thinks differently is a deluted, freedom-and-child-hating nazi.

    You know, I actually do have the courage of my convictions. Let’s try a 100% gun ban, and if it doesn’t reduce the rate of gun-related deaths, I’ll consent to let the president of the NRA shoot me.

  • Tricksterson

    I think it’s because they’re a lot less honest and more calculating than the WBC.  They know that to spout the same line openly as the WBC would cost them, so they don’t.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    The Religious Right’s entire worldview is based on denying the obvious fact that morality is  a matter of intuition.

    You mean King Solomon calling for a baby to be split in half was just “going from the gut,” as it were?

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    there are some people who don’t realize that arming teachers is a monumentally terrible idea 

    It seems reasonable to me to require people in one of the more stressful and poorly paid professions in America to carry deadly weapons.  What possible repercussion could there be?

  • crossforce

    I think Fred’s off the mark here. 

    I don’t think Dobson is particularly shocked.  Surprised that something like this happened, yes, but any shock he feels is a distant, weak sort of thing.  He probably didn’t know any of the victims or their families or friends personally, therefore he can’t really summon too much emotion about it one way or another.  Besides, in his belief system, this is a fallen, sinful world, therefore events such as the Newton shooting, the Aurora theater shooting, the Dunblane school massacre and  and the Columbine massacre are simply par for the course.  Things like this are to be expected–and in exponentially greater magnitudes and numbers–until the Messiah returns to correct the world. 

    Besides, in his mind, those lives lost were God’s property anyway, and God is therefore free to do whatever He wishes with his property.  If that means leaving them alone to live to 90, ending their lives in a pointless war, killing them with cancer or other diseases or simply having them struck dead by lightning, that’s His prerogative and His alone.   And if He wants to punish the killing of children by…killing children, well, that’s God for you.  Sanctity of life is much less important than property rights, and God’s property rights trump all. 

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    The problem you’re having is that you’re picturing a miscarriage, the unplanned death of a wanted fetus. That might be biologically the same as an abortion, but they’re worlds apart emotionally. You seem to be operating on the pro-life assumption that pro-choice people don’t consider a miscarriage to be a big deal, which doesn’t line up with reality.

    You need to think in terms of what the evangelical right says about abortion. Pro-lifers claim that abortion is a holocaust of children, but their response to Sandy Hook says a lot about whether they believe that rhetoric themselves. I don’t think they do any more than Fred does. None of those “abortion is murder” arguments carry the same kind of shock as the reactions we’ve seen over the last few days.

    Dobson – while continuing to act like a dick to keep up his rep – seems to have a hard time using the term “murder” to refer to the shooting. Why do you think that is? Fred is arguing that Dobson has so thoroughly degraded the term murder through overuse that he can no longer use it to refer to an actual murder. If you can think of a better reason why Dobson would use such cool language, I’d love to hear it, because I can’t think of anything.

  • stardreamer42

    I would describe this as yet another case of “God sure has terrible aim.” Whenever the RRR starts talking about this or that thing being “God’s judgment on America for not hating enough,” it always seems to have fallen (1) completely wide of the mark and (2) more heavily on The Faithful than on The Sinners. Honestly, believing as strongly in disasters being God’s messages as they do, by this time you’d think that the message of, “I am displeased with YOU and the things you do in My name,” would have come thru loud and clear.

  • Justin

    I found it interesting that when people were posting remembrances of Victoria Soto, the teacher killed who lied to the gunman about where her kids were, the religious-themed ones left out the fact that she lied. Similar to Dobson, I think they have trouble reconciling the fact that according to their religion, she’s burning in Hell now for bearing false witness.

    Remember when Christine O’Donnell said she wouldn’t lie to protect Jews from the Nazi’s? Wonder what she thinks of Vicki.

  • stardreamer42

    It’s simpler than that. WBC’s primary source of income is settlements from lawsuits in which they accuse someone of infringing on their right of free speech after forcing a confrontation (and, if they’re lucky, physical assault) at one of these funeral pickets. And it’s much easier to provoke such a confrontation if they choose sympathetic targets. Once again, it all comes down to “follow the money”.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.com/ D Johnston

    Name one evangelical who said Victoria Soto is in hell.

    Could we maybe not use this as an excuse to air our political grievances? Comments like this one and those from TheDarkArtist and crossforce really just come across as astoundingly crass. This is not about you, not right now.

  • stardreamer42

    Shorter James Dobson: “My god is an extortionist, and if you don’t pay the vig, it’ll happen to you too.”
     

  • MaryKaye

    I don’t think what Dobson feels, how he grieves or doesn’t grieve, is any of our business.  When his *actions* make things worse for the rest of us (and words are actions) then that’s worthy of condemnation.  But I regret reading this article; I think it goes in a direction we are better not going.  And I agree with the poster who says that “Dobson says X but he must believe Y” is pretty much the same as “People like MaryKaye say they’re pagans but they’re really Satanists at heart” and similar arguments.  This line of argument does not lead to truth and is useful only tactically, to smear someone.  I feel it is beneath us and should be avoided.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    Phelps may not be a popularity whore but he sure as hell is an attention whore. He’s pretty much geared his whole family toward generating as much noise and controversy as possible so they can garner all kinds of attention for their twisted message, and provoke others into actions that they can then sue over. “Admirable” is the last thing I’d call it, in any possible use of the word.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    You seem to be operating on the pro-life assumption that pro-choice people don’t consider a miscarriage to be a big deal, which doesn’t line up with reality.

    I have no idea where you got this idea from. I am myself a pro-choice person who considers miscarriage a big deal, and the bulk of my friends are pro-choice, and I don’t know any of them who wouldn’t consider a miscarriage a big deal. If you were inclined to point out what it was that I said, specifically, that suggested to you that I’m operating on this assumption, I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Justin

    None of them said it. That’s my point. According to the Bible, she bore false witness. What happens to people who disobey God’s law? Like Dobson, they can’t actually believe what they claim to believe (i.e. their religious views), so they retreat into denial. Such is the poison of religious thought that results in the Dobsons and WBCs of this world.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Well, I’d like to see what happens the next time they try to bust up the teachers’ unions afterward.

  • AnonymousSam

    Like most of us, he is rightly horrified by the slaughter in Newtown. He is reeling, recoiling, and struggling to come to grips with the shock and sorrow he feels in response to the murder of 20 children, all aged 6 and 7, and of the teachers and school leaders who cared for them.

    Ah, Fred… I’m so sorry, but once again, you are giving someone more credit than they deserve. Dobson is not like “most of us.” He is like me. To him, this isn’t a tragedy as you think of it; it’s the logical conclusion to an equation wherein the variable Faith has been defined as “too little” and so the only possible Y is “thus, massacre.”

    I can read that list and compare it to abortions, although to do so would be intellectually dishonest. So can Dobson, except that he sees no difference whatsoever and he gives them both equally little value, except as rhetorical evidence for the failing of the world in his ethnocentric and magical worldview.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X