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.

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  • smrnda

     Perhaps a difference is that people don’t feel bad about Pakistani or Afghan kids killed in drone strikes simply because the actual details slip under the radar. We don’t get the names of these kids, or the details of how the drone strike killed them along with a detailed report of who made the drone, who ordered the attack and who piloted the drone. We aren’t interviewing their parents or neighbors. They’re only listed as statistics.

  • smrnda

     Thanks for pointing that out so clearly, and it helps me see the connection between certain religious beliefs and the extreme economic libertarianism that is often paired with Christianity. I guess to some people, we are God’s property, and therefore, property rights are from God, and everything is understood as a hierarchical relationship to be determined by whose property you happen to be standing on.

  • JC

    The Christian Church doesn’t baptize the unborn nor have I ever heard of a denomination that performs funerals for miscarriages, though a church might have a separate rite for grieving for a miscarriage.  So, liturgically the Church does see a difference between a born human being and a fetus.  

    I do not question Dobson’s genuine belief that abortion is wrong.  But he never seems to campaign for increased availability of contraception nor does he argue for an expansive social safety net that might conceivably reduce the need for an abortion.  The problem with much of the anti-abortion movement is that it seems to be motivated by a desire to control women, rather than in any genuine commitment to reducing abortion.  

  •  I don’t think anyone per se doubts that Dobson believes abortion is wrong — the real point of contention is why. He claims  he believes it is wrong because it is a form of murder. But his reactions belie that. This suggests that his actual reason for believing abortion is wrong is something else. I, and a lot of us, think that the explanation that least contradicts the evidence of his actions is that he thinks abortion is wrong because it takes away his power to control other people (Women in particular, but there’s certainly other forms of control there, since by preventing abortion he can force entire families into poverty and deprivation).

  • Dan Audy

    Well if God had good aim inevitably human’s would take advantage of that fact to their own benefit.


    I don’t think anyone per se doubts that Dobson believes abortion is wrong [..] he thinks abortion is wrong because it takes away his power to
    control other people

    It is perhaps worth clarifying the distinction between believing that Dobson knows that the reason he opposes abortion is because it takes away his power over others, and believing that that is in fact his reason (whether he knows it or not), and believing that this is his reason though he doesn’t know it.

  • banancat

     Funerals for miscarriages are slowly catching on as A Thing in some very extreme fundagelical circles.  They have begun to realize that if they claim this embryo is  a precious baby then they really should mourn a miscarriage like the loss of a living child.  The biggest spectacle of this that I know of is when the Duggars went through a second miscarriage (the first being about 20 years ago).  This was held in a megachurch and was complete with photos of the fetus’s hands and feet and a burial at what I believe was a normal cemetery.  Of course, they are in the spotlight and likely would have reacted differently if there was nobody around to point out the hypocrisy of believing and embryo is a baby but only being somewhat sad at a miscarriage (instead of devastated).  I’m sure the Duggars thought they were doing a great job of evangelizing (one of the two reasons they did the show in the first place, the other being money), but in reality it just made outsiders see them as exploiting a sad event for fame and money (donations).  It really was a big tacky spectacle.  Michelle wrote a letter about the experience and forgot to mention her OTHER precious angel baby that she lost to a miscarriage all those years ago and when someone pointed that out she actually went back and changed it and tried to pretend it had always been that way. 

    It really highlighted how different they felt about the two miscarriages, one of them being early-term and decades ago, the other being late-term and recent.  Nearly everyone would be more saddened by the latter and that’s completely understandable, but if they actually admit that then they would be implying that an early term embryo maybe isn’t exactly the same as a later term one which maybe isn’t exactly the same as a newborn baby.

    I have stopped following them because it all just got to be too much, but for awhile after the miscarriage they included the fetus in their count of children, and then started counting the earlier miscarriage too.  The first miscarriage was after their first child and they never counted it among their other children for the next 18 kids that followed.  But it will go down the memory hole among their followers and they’ll insist that they always counted that first one, just like how Evangelicals have always been at war with abortion.

  • Ginny Bain Allen

    We meet again.  You are 100% incorrect, Sam.  Exemplary Dr. James Dobson (Godson) is as far from a sociopath as one can get!

  • Given American gun culture I am actually really surprised nobody from the WBC has been shot in a scuffle or argument.

  • AnonymousSam

    Right. Because being willfully ignorant, child and animal abusive, a liar, and a Nazi apologist is the mark of an exemplary man.

  • Jenny Islander

    I’m sorry, are you trolling?  Godson?  Seriously?

    The one story I trot out every time to explain why I don’t trust Dobson’s word on anything is the story he himself uses to uphold his claim to authority: the story of the family dachshund.  Dobson is a lousy dog owner and dog trainer, but he appears to be proud of what he did to that 12-pound animal.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    According to Dobson, his God murdered children because he was angry at America about atheists, lukewarm Christians, abortion and gay marriage. Therefore he believes in a God that we should rightly hate.

    Why does anyone think “evangelical” is an appropriate label for this theology? Where’s the good news?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    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.

    It’s not the same, but it’s not nothing either.

    Fred’s abortion rhetoric bugs me for a number of reasons, one of which is that he appears to imply that either abortion is exactly equal to the murder of a fully developed child or adult (which yes, some people say), or it’s nothing at all from a moral standpoint. The thing is, there are huge numbers of people who think that, while it’s not equivalent to murder of a fully developed child or adult, it’s not nothing either.

    It would be nice for someone like Fred who usually goes to great efforts not to polemicise, even giving the benefit of the doubt where it’s almost certainly not due, to acknowledge that the shades of grey exist. Black and white thinking is not helpful from either side. 

  • banancat

    If you truly believe that Fred out anyone else here thinks miscarriage is nothing, then you need to quote examples because I don’t believe it.

  • Tapetum

    You’d think they might have some pause about the idea of turning the teacher’s union into a para-military force, wouldn’t you?

  • I can see “going teacher” replacing “going postal” …

  • I sure can’t say that, no way.

  • Carstonio

     I don’t know if Fred believes that, but Dobson claims to believe it. Very frequently Fred shows the hateful and disingenuous aspects of the religious right by taking their arguments to the logical conclusions. One would think that someone like Dobson who professes grave concern about fetuses would campaign to make research into miscarriages a national priority. One would think that someone like Brian Brown who professes grave concern over fatherless children would favor mandatory marriage for single or widowed mothers.

  • Miscarriage and abortion are COMPLETELY different things. They are so different, that what you just said is deeply offensive. Miscarriage is something that happens to a woman’s body without her consent, it is often extraordinarily painful, bloody, and violent, and it can be deadly to her. It is a loss of something she wanted, that goes so deep there are no words to articulate it. 

    Abortion is an extremely safe, fast, and relatively painless surgical procedure. 

    Most importantly, miscarriage is something unwanted happening to a woman’s body. Abortion is something wanted happening to a woman’s body. Conflating the two is what misogynists like Dobson do. Do not do it again.

  • Again, Fred is giving someone the benefit of the doubt who does not deserve it. As I am not Christian, and as I do not see anything to be gained from giving evil assholes the benefit of the doubt…

    James Dobson does not care about children. At least, he does not care about children anywhere near as much as he cares about controlling women’s bodies, particularly controlling women’s bodies sexually. Fred’s coming from a point of view that assumes Dobson must care about children more than about keeping women under his heel.

    Actually, Fred ALWAYS does this with anti-choicers. He has all these well-written pieces on pretending there’s an enemy and fraudsters and blah blah, but I cannot remember him once addressing the true motivations of anti-choicers. Or even bringing it up as one of the motives of anti-choicers, if he insists on giving them so much more credit than they deserve. It’s misogyny. Purely, simply, nothing more nor less than attempting to make all women be incubators and nothing more, the way anti-choicers like to believe God intended it, because they have made God in their image.

    Fred appears to be trying to square the circle, in his constant attempts to address anti-choicers without even mentioning misogyny. It’s… sickening, actually. A way of erasing the women who are the victims of anti-choicers. 

  • Mks Mary

    I don’t know. If someone broke into a neo-natal intensive care unit and killed those premature infants — born at 30 weeks or 27 or even 24…. I mean, why should we feel outraged about that, and not about abortions at 24 or 27 or 30 weeks?

    Even if Dobson is inconsistent for feeling differently about abortion than about the slaughter of elementary school kids, I think abortion rights activists are sometimes inconsistent in a similar way, reacting emotionally to the deaths of very premature infants or mature fetuses as though they really are people… Emotional reactions aren’t always logical or consistent.

  • Considering a fetus requires the body of a human being to survive, and both tortures (for most women) and endangers that human being in order to exist, and, best-case scenario, changes the body of that human being forever…

    I don’t give one fine damn about any supposed moral distinction. It could be three years old, or thirty, or sixty. If the human being who is required to keep the whatever in existence does not choose to be used in such a fashion, it’s no one’s business but her own, and those of any people she chooses to talk to about it, when she stops. 

  • It is 100% logical and consistent to want to not force someone to give their body over to the existence of another person/fetus/whatever you want to call it, no matter the circumstances. Otherwise I’d be stumping for everyone being forced to give up a kidney, bone marrow, and blood every time they were physically capable of doing so.

  • Carstonio


    Miscarriage and abortion are COMPLETELY different things.

    Whoa, of course they’re different. The only commonality they have is that both terminate a fetus, and Dobson claims to care deeply about such terminations. But he focuses all his attention on when a woman chooses to do so. That makes it obvious that his true interest in fetuses is only in using them to subjugate women. Just as Brown cares about kids only as proxies for perpetuating straight male privilege.

  • I apologize for being offensive.

    Disqus is being unhelpful about identifying which comment you’re replying to, so I’m not quite sure what it is I said that equated the two. If you can point explicitly to the comment you’re responding to, that would be helpful.

    In any case, I absolutely agree that miscarriage and abortion are completely different things, in that miscarriage does not involve consent and consent is very important, and in that the health impacts of the two can be very different, as you say.

    That said, I won’t agree that abortion is necessarily something wanted happening. Sometimes, it isn’t. It’s fine when it is, and this should absolutely be a choice that women have available to them, and they should be absolutely free to make it and supported when they make it… but I am unwilling to erase or disregard the experience of women who are obligated (for medical reasons, for example) to abort pregnancies they would prefer to continue by making or endorsing flat statements like “abortion is something wanted”.

  • While I don’t know Alan Moore’s religious beliefs …You really should. They’re …very interesting.

    Yes, and certainly unique.  There’s actually a pretty good explanation of them to explain some context around Doctor Who on the blog TARDIS Eridutorium.  As for that specific quote, I think it reflects an existentialist philosophy.  As I understand existentialism, it is often, but not always atheist.  Regardless of the specific existentialist’s view on whether God exists or not, he or she would  say that we are all collectively responsible for the horrible things in the world that humans do, not some outside force.  It doesn’t say that people are amoral without God, but that you can’t hold God responsible for the actions of people.

  •   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).

    I think the fundamental example that completely disproves the idea that “more guns = safety” is the mass shooting at Fort Hood.  At someone on my Facebook pointed out, that was in a facility where everyone was armed and trained to shoot to kill and yet the shooter still killed 13 people and wounded 29 others.  If there was any place in the world that would prove a shooting could have been prevented with more guns and more security, it was there.  And that many people still died.

  • Carstonio

     That’s a view I can understand and appreciate. When I first read Watchmen, I had the impression Moore was using Rorschach to slam existentialism.

  • rrhersh

     “WBC’s primary source of income is settlements from lawsuits…”

    As soon as I hit the reply button, I knew that someone would bring this up.  It is, so far as I can tell, something of an urban legend, treated in some circles as gospel.  There is some evidence that they tried this strategy years ago, but nothing this millennium. 

    Nor should we expect this to be an ongoing strategy, as it doesn’t actually make sense.  The notion that frivolous lawsuits are a good source of big buck$ is a right wing corporatist talking point, designed to de-legitimize individuals’ use of the legal system. (Corporations are more than happy to use it for their own ends, of course.)  The next time you read about some wacky lawsuit, follow it through.  You will almost always find that it gets kicked out early, or that the actual payout isn’t nearly as impressive as those numbers that were tossed about early on, it isn’t so wacky as it was played up to be by the press (who, after all, have little incentive to print stories about sensible litigation resulting in sensible results).

    If this doesn’t persuade you, then consider this:  the press absolutely adores ‘wacky lawsuit’ stories.  We see them all the time.  The press is also enthusiastic about ‘crazy Westboro Baptist’ stories.  A combination of the two would be pure press gold!  So go search for these stories.  Not random people claiming that they happen all the time, but actual news account of specific cases.

  • It’s nice of you to have some measure of sympathy for Dobson, Fred. I have to admit that though I try, I find it difficult. My guess is that some of the people who equate a zygote or embryo with a baby do realize the difference deep down, as you suggest, but perhaps some don’t. Add to that the fact that Dobson is a well-known public figure, and it leads me to believe that maybe he’s just saying it to get support, but my guess is there are at least some people who actually do believe it.

    And, related to previous comments, I agree that what he’s saying is similar to the kind of things that Fred Phelps says, but people don’t dismiss him as they do Phelps because he’s not protesting funerals and doesn’t phrase his positions as “God Hates [Insert hated group here]”. I think you wrote something similar to this earlier in “You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it”. They want to be thought of as better just because they phrased a very similar idea in a different way. 

    Thanks for writing, Fred. I’ve known about your blog for a while now and would occasionally come by, but I’ve been visiting more often recently.

  • DorothyD

    Actually, Fred ALWAYS does this with anti-choicers. He has all these well-written pieces on pretending there’s an enemy and fraudsters and blah blah, but I cannot remember him once addressing the true motivations of anti-choicers. Or even bringing it up as one of the motives of anti-choicers, if he insists on giving them so much more credit than they deserve. It’s misogyny.

    Always? Maybe you can’t remember, but did you actually look?

    It may be true that most of Fred’s anti-anti-choice pieces focus, as does this one, on the question of whether the fetus should have the same legal status as a chld and whether anti-abortionists are hypocritical in arguing as much. But it’s a mistake to say he completely neglects the importance women’s rights.

    Here, I looked for posts tagged with both “abortion” and “gender” and came up with seven hits:


    That’s just the ones he tagged with “gender”. Even a cursory look over posts tagged with just “abortion” came up with this example:

    Miller presents the compelling argument for contraception as the most effective approach to radically reducing the abortion rate. If that is the goal — as opponents of legal abortion claim — then the Affordable Care Act is a more effective means of achieving that goal than overturning Roe v. Wade would ever be. But what if that goal was only a pretense? What if opposition to legal abortion wasn’t really based on a desire to reduce the number of abortions, but were based mainly, instead, on a desire to control and punish women? – If conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively

  • Pam S

    Covering what this idiot says—–publishing it—is some of what is really wrong.  It leads those who are mentally ill to believe that what they do is ok.  AND IT IS NOT!   Dobson has gone past his time——he has moved slightly into a mental health cliff.   God has never and will never operate that way.   There are, an have always been, REAL people who love, worship and honor Him.  They do not spread hate and promote vile behaviors!  

  • BryanCooper

    People – its called dogmatism.  Its not new problem.  This is actually a pretty good narrative of the problem.  Using one’s belief in God as a prism for viewing the world can lead to this corner.  Once there, all new events, no matter how small, must be viewed the same way.  Tighter and tighter strictness must be maintain lest one’s God be let down.  Their view of God though is based upon fear – fear of Hell, fear of others going to Hell, that drives these types of folks.  Trying to be rational with folks who have rationalized their own fears, their own God, every single event in the news – well its called dogmatic thinking for a reason.

  • Ginny Bain Allen

    Dr. James Dobson speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, especially vulnerable, defenseless unborn babies.  That’s what all disciples of Jesus are called to do.  Yes, they are just as valuable as the precious children who were killed at Sandy Hook.  No life is any more valuable or any less valuable than any other.  It’s evil when some are not attributed dignity and worth by narcissistic fools, and nihilism results.  Each life begins at conception.
    Your thinking, Fred, is convoluted if you think Dr. Dobson said that the defenseless young children gunned down in their elementary school were ruthlessly slaughtered due to God’s judgment on our wayward country!  That is most definitely not what he meant.  We cannot continue to live in outright rebellion to God, and His precepts, and expect to continually be blessed by Him as a nation.  That is what Dr. Dobson was saying.  There are natural laws that govern this world, and we are reaping the consequences of rejecting Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords.  We are reaping the expected consequences of not surrendering our allegiance to Him as Master and Saviour.  You are knowingly misleading your readers, and they are relishing every false nugget.  You are well aware that they want more reason to hate on Dr. Dobson, and you seem to delight in providing them with hateful, intolerant, judgmental, false information.  As a Christian, how do you feel free to slam such a righteous man as Dr. Dobson?  Where’s your brotherly love?  How can you say that the Newtown massacre was any more horrific than is our unrelenting American holocaust of abortion that has killed over 54 million humans?  Granted, there are differences between the two atrocities.  The massacre took place in a public setting for our entire nation to be made aware of, not tucked covertly away, like abortion, under cover of darkness, in an abortion mill.   Had this diabolical deed gone unreported to the general public, just like abortion is, we would not all be outraged, for we would not know about it, just like we are not made aware of the evil daily perpetration of the violent slaughtering of unborn humans.  Reporting opposed to lack of reporting is pertinent to understanding how these two situations differ.  Pathetically, the ruthless slaughtering of the unborn is not something that is reported much at all.  If it is reported, it is done so in a manipulative way so as to brainwash people.  This brainwashing has been going on for decades now, and unthinking, uncaring, immature individuals who irresponsibly care more about their right to “free love” than they do about the lives of the most defenseless among us, have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by such poison.  Those lies that are perpetrated upon the American people that not all life is valuable are what’s rotting our hearts, minds and souls, Fred.  That evil MUST stop!  The massacre was seen as wrong by all, while abortion is viewed as right according to law.  Just because something is legal does not make it right.  The families of the 20 children, whose lives were snuffed out last Friday, were blessed with time to get to know them.  TIME.  The families of aborted babies are not afforded the gift of time in the presence of their children.  TIME spent together is a main difference between the deaths of babies and the deaths of older children.  They are all wanted by someone!  The main difference, of course, is that the 20 children who died too soon had worth attributed to their lives.  Babies in the womb do not, according to the heinous law of our faltering nation.  How diabolical for those bent on spreading the poison of abortion to cause naive females to believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to have their own babies killed in their safe havens.  That is the epitome of evil.  The deep sadness that will inevitably come due to the killing of one’s own flesh and blood is one that will never go away, just like the sadness that will never leave the families egregiously wounded at Sandy Hook.  Unborn babies, whether allowed the dignity of their right to life, or violently killed in what’s meant to be their safest haven of nurturing on earth, are actual babies, actual children.  For a mother to do something so against nature as to have her own child ripped from her womb is the most unnatural of acts.   

    My daughter’s baby girl was born still at full term.  The morning she delivered her much-anticipated, much-loved daughter, we were on our merry way rejoicing to the birthing center, hearts full of delight about a new member joining our family.  Within minutes of our arrival, it was discovered that Lily’s tiny heart that had been beating strongly and steadily for 40 weeks was beating no more.  With that devastating news, it was if the life was sucked out of us as well.  How could our hearts go on beating without her?  How could the sun go on shining without her?  How could the wind go on blowing without her?  It was even difficult to breathe.  We will never have, with our Lily, the blessing of time, like the families at Sandy Hook experienced with their children.  We didn’t get to hear her cry after delivery.  We never gazed into Lily’s blue eyes.  We never heard her talk or laugh, or watch while she took her first steps.  My daughter was not afforded the beautiful gift of breast-feeding her baby girl.  We never felt her hugs or her kisses.  We never got to celebrate even one birthday with our little flower.  Along with the Sandy Hook families, we won’t get to celebrate Christmas with our missing child.  Just like them, we will not see Lily graduate, or marry or have children of her own.  Like them, we have been forced to live with shattered dreams, and we will never forget the hopes we had for her.  Lily’s brief life was just as significant as each of the lives of the 20 children who were murdered at Sandy Hook.  We will never stop missing her.  Children are not supposed to die before their parents or grandparents.  Death is such an unnatural robber, and it is difficult at any stage, any age, for any reason, anywhere in the world.    

    Dr. James Dobson cares deeply about children just as much as anyone else in this world, and more than many.  He is not pretending anything.  He is a genuine servant of Jesus.   There is no pro-life rhetoric.  It is truth.  It is factual.  It is simple.  Life does begin at conception.  Period.  There is no distinction made between a new person just conceived or a six year old or a ninety-nine year old.  Every single life has the exact same value in God’s sight, for it is He that creates every life, and that is what counts!  Every abortion that ends a sacred life developing in the womb does sadden me just as much as each of the lives ended on Friday.  I am not pretending.  Abortion is evil too.  It sends the message that human life is not sacred at any stage of development.  After all, we are just animals fighting for survival, right?  Tragically, abortion was born out of the teaching of atheistic evolution.  The unfathomable repercussions of that egregious lie are many and far flung, like feathers in the wind.  Common sense is no longer common.  I am willing to stand with Dr. Dobson, for why should he take all of the heat?


  • My sympathies for your family’s loss.
    As you say, grief is difficult, no matter the reason for it.

  • AnonymousSam

    For those who haven’t yet made her acquaintance, Ginny here is a  56 year old conservative who prides herself on not learning new things or arguing in good faith, is prone to walls of copy-and-paste rants from conservative websites about the evils of abortion, and rarely bothers to acknowledge when she is asked a legitimate question. Those thinking to make an argument in return to the above would be better served by shouting at a wall for a few hours. The wall is more responsive.

  • Leum

    don’t know. If someone broke into a neo-natal intensive care unit and
    killed those premature infants — born at 30 weeks or 27 or even 24…. I
    mean, why should we feel outraged about that, and not about abortions
    at 24 or 27 or 30 weeks?

    Even if Dobson is inconsistent for feeling differently about abortion
    than about the slaughter of elementary school kids, I think abortion
    rights activists are sometimes inconsistent in a similar way, reacting
    emotionally to the deaths of very premature infants or mature fetuses as
    though they really are people… Emotional reactions aren’t always
    logical or consistent.

    Under Roe v Wade third trimester abortions can be–and have been–restricted to those that are medically necessary. They’re also really, really rare. The vast majority of abortions in the US occur during the first trimester.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are you then saying that a woman who gets an abortion in a jurisdiction where abortion is legally murder should get the same penalty the law would impose on the Newtown shooter had he lived to face trial?

  • Isabel C.

    Also, her God seems to disapprove of excessive paragraph breaks. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Born infant, however small, no longer capable of posing a physical threat to the person whose uterus ze’s in on account of not being in a uterus, obviously wanted by somebody on account of neonatal intensive care costs a shitton and somebody’s paying the bill, versus fetus, certainly a physical threat to the person whose uterus it’s in on account of nobody waits till twenty-four weeks in to get an abortion unless there’s a threat to the pregnant person’s life or health that arises that late in pregnancy. (Or unless the decision to abort was made earlier but there were delays–maybe the pregnant person had trouble coming up with the money, maybe there’s only one clinic in the state and the pregnant person had trouble coming up with enough days off in a row to drive there, not to mention all the many legislative roadblocks people like putting in place.)

    Yes, Mary, there is a difference.

  • Isabel C.

    I get the impression Rorschach, if a Take That at anyone, was a Take That at Objectivism and some of the more hardcore Nietzsche fanboys in the comics world: The Question, who inspired him, started out Objectivist. 

  • I don’t know about the difference,but I have often wondered if Dobson is the one who contributes to the Westboro Church to go and protest.They have to be getting money from somewhere to travel nationwide.I am almost convinced it has Dobson’s fingerprints! 

  • AnonymousSam

    A lot of Westboro’s money comes from a constant string of lawsuits. Pretty much every member of the family is a lawyer, and they’re quite lawsuit-happy when it comes to getting back at people for assault and battery, free speech rights and whatnot.

  • CoolHandLNC

    I would sympathize with Ms. Allen’s loss, except that it means little enough to her that she is willing to exploit this sad, irrelevant story as coin to elicit sympathy for her political/religious views. We’re supposed to be nice to her and defer because of her grief. Nope. Step in the ring and you better have the boxing gloves on. Heck, it is so long and melodramatic that I have no problem believing that it is some fake cut-and-paste from somewhere.Of course her screed is so long and filled with so much nonsense, including the usual ignorance of reproductive biology, that she is obviously trolling. Add to that her adulation of Dr. Dobson. This is obviously someone who has no capacity for critical thought.

  • Carstonio


    If conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are
    morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so

    Right, and that was the point I was trying to make earlier, except more broadly. These people don’t act as if they’re confronting a monstrous evil that must be stopped. At best, they act as if they’re declaring loyalty or support. I once asked a pro-lifer what was the point of making abortion illegal if it wouldn’t prevent abortions. (But it would the grievous harm it would cause women and doctors.) His response was that it was necessary to stand up for the unborn. As if laws were mere proclamations.

  • I don’t mean to suggest that anyone is obligated to be kind to her, whether because of her personal loss or for any other reason. And I certainly agree that her personal loss does not provide evidence for her political, religious, and/or scientific beliefs, many of which are simply false.

    I do, in general, endorse people being kind to each other, but that’s just my preference. It’s not an obligation on anybody’s part.

  • CoolHandLNC

    I don’t know. If someone broke into a neo-natal intensive care unit and killed those premature infants — born at 30 weeks or 27 or even 24…. I mean, why should we feel outraged about that, and not about abortions at 24 or 27 or 30 weeks?

    This is typical. People who want to use law to address the issue of abortion practically never take into account the woman the fetus is attached to. That it is her body means nothing. That it is her risk means nothing. That it is her cost means nothing. She is morally equivalent to an intruder in the NICU. 

    The sad thing is that this lack of recognition of the unique nature of the relationship and the agency of women makes it impossible to truly minister to the needs of women who are making choices about their pregnancy. They are shouted at and legislated against, and spoken of in absolute terms, or simply treated as if they did not exist. No, I don’t know what brings women to the decision to abort. Do you? Life has some hard choices. Rather than judge, we should follow the example of God in Christ, and be present. Will you comfort a woman who had to choose between her unborn child and her own life? Will you help with prenatal care, child care, bills when the mother cannot work? Will you tell a mother not to worry, you will take care of everything, hold her hand in labor, see that her child is placed in a loving home, help her with her grief? Will you help a young mother be a good parent? Will you do your part to see to it that her children will receive adequate nutrition and a good education?

    Pick up the cross, or go home.

  • Truth

    I hate to break it to everyone, but pro-lifers genuinely believe abortion is murder.  Period.  They don’t do it to control anyone.  That doesn’t even make sense–do the pro-life women want to . . . control . . . other women?  Or something ridiculous?

    I say we leave religion out of this.  My views on abortion have never been decided by my religion.  The Bible doesn’t even address the issue.  My stance has been based on logic and scientific definitions.  Instead, I am with passionate atheist Christopher Hitchens in this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/11/28/no-god-and-no-abortions.html

    “As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an
    embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did
    used to argue) a growth on or in the female body.  There used to be
    feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even-this
    was seriously maintained-a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped.
     Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and
    moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of
    ‘premature’ babies of feather-like weight, who have achieved ‘viability’
    outside the womb. … The words ‘unborn child,’ even when used in a
    politicized manner, describe a material reality.”
    – Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great (pp. 220-21)

  • Truth

    Congratulations on doing something the extreme right always does–politicizing a tragedy for advancing your beliefs on abortion.

    And your *HUGE* assumption that the reason Dobson didn’t word something a particular way was because he doesn’t believe abortion is equal to killing one of those kids is not only ridiculously unfounded, but it has no shred of logic or fact to back it up.  It’s asinine to the ridiculous degree.  Seriously, this is Tea Party-level rhetoric, and it’s disgusting.

    Let’s take religion out of this debate.  My abortion stance has absolutely zero to do with religion.  It’s founded on logic, facts, and scientific definitions.

    “As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an
    embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did
    used to argue) a growth on or in the female body.  There used to be
    feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even-this
    was seriously maintained-a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped.
     Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and
    moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of
    ‘premature’ babies of feather-like weight, who have achieved ‘viability’
    outside the womb. … The words ‘unborn child,’ even when used in a
    politicized manner, describe a material reality.”
    – Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great (pp. 220-21)

  • Carstonio

    She is morally equivalent to an intruder in the NICU.

    Yes. In some cases, it’s a narcissistic hero fantasy. Probably the “happy” ending has the woman tearfully confessing to the hero that she can’t go through with the procedure. She pledges that she will be a dutiful mother who faithfully submits to the righteous authority of her husband. If this were in a Chick tract, I would expect the evil abortion doctor to embody anti-Semitic stereotypes.