A documented case of false prophecy: Four years later, ‘Letter from 2012’ makes Focus on the Family look ridiculous

A documented case of false prophecy: Four years later, ‘Letter from 2012’ makes Focus on the Family look ridiculous October 1, 2012

Before the 2008 election, the religious right was predicting doom, gloom and the end of the world if Barack Obama were to win.

One of the most colorful and intense denunciations of Obama came from Focus on the Family, which produced a 16-page “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America.” I had forgotten all about that dire “letter from the future.”

In 2008, Focus on the Family listed 34 predictions of what would happen if Barack Obama became president. They were wrong about all 34 of them.

Unfortunately for Focus, Libby Anne did not forget about it. Since this fictional “letter” was dated October 2012 — which is now — she dug out a copy to see how it’s many predictions have held up. The result is a devastating post titled “This is the most important election of all time! (again)

Focus on the Family made 34 specific, detailed predictions about what would happen in “Obama’s America.” They came up 0-for-34.

Well, let’s be generous — we’ll give them half credit for prediction No. 10. That one correctly foresaw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — but then also incorrectly predicted a host of disastrous consequences of that repeal. Obama did repeal DADT, but Christians have not been expelled from the military and the Pentagon isn’t paying “special bonuses” to LGBT recruits. But still, that one comes closer than the other 33 predictions, which are all utterly wrong, so let’s cut Focus some slack and say they’re 0.5-for-34.

The Boy Scouts and private Christian schools were not forced to disband by the Supreme Court; adoption agencies remain in business; religious broadcasters still broadcast; churches are not being compelled to host gay weddings or to hire lesbian clergy; Christian tribal gatherings are still permitted “at the pole” in public high schools; the Pledge of Allegiance and private gun ownership have not been outlawed.

Libby Anne’s post is long because it is impressively thorough and methodical. Here is what Focus on the Family said would happen. Here is what actually did happen instead. Over and over and over. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. Focus on the Family was wrong. … Thirty-four times over. Treat yourself to reading the whole thing.

Re-reading the Focus letter four years later, what strikes me most — besides how utterly wrong they are about everything — is how parochial their imagination is when attempting to envision a political dystopia. The horrors they predict are almost all narrowly targeted at and tailored toward them. I’ve read a ton of dystopian stories, good and bad, and this is the most cluelessly self-absorbed vision of its kind that I’ve ever seen.

Maybe my favorite part of the letter (here’s a .pdf version) is prediction No. 18: “Pornographic magazines are openly displayed in gas stations, grocery stores and on newsstands.” I can’t figure out which is more laughably wrong — that this is what they imagine is the real secret agenda of President Obama and his party, or that anyone in 2008 was looking ahead to 2012 and predicting boom times for print media.


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  • P J Evans

     No, it was the Water Tower. I remember it was funny, because he lives in LA.
    (Well, the building at LAX that you could do it from doesn’t have nearly the visibility.)

  • Lori

     That’s so weird, because the link works for me (the track back is to your first comment in this thread). Have you ticked off the disqus gods? Perhaps you should consider a small sacrifice or something.

  • Ross Thompson


    As did Mao Zedong (the “ancient” art of TCM actually dates to the 50’s), but you didn’t see how they did it in this book. The character had a book on physiology hidden in a dust cover for a book on healing mushrooms.

    In truth, the Barefoot Medicine philosophy was pretty much “use real medicine when it’s available, but failing that, do what you can with herbs and stuff”. The version that made it to America had the chapters on real medicine removed because the publishers didn’t think there would be any interest in that, in a nation that has good access to hospitals.

  • Ross Thompson

    Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy

    I should read that again.

  • Barry_D

     “PMDs don’t seem to think the PRC is all that significant – if it were, it would have been mentioned in the Bible, right?”

    Like the USA :)

  • AnonymousSam

    The Illuminatus! Trilogy is just as bad. You don’t have to be on acid or be schizophrenic to read them, but hey, they help!

  • Ross Thompson

    Yeah, I rather suspect Schrodinger’s Cat will hld up rather better than Illuminatus!. And both significantly better than hhis new-age non-fiction.

  • Tricksterson

    That was his only work that I didn’t like.  More specifically I liked the first book of the trilogy but the second and third were too incoherent for my tastes.  It dooes have one of my favorites epigrams though

    “The history of the world id the history of the battle between Schrodiger’s Cat and Pavlov’s Dog”

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    The one thing I see in a lot of naturally thin people is that because they don’t gain weight, they also don’t exercise. (I’m not saying that’s you, of course; I don’t know you). But a lot of my friends who are physically thinner are in far worse shape than I am. They don’t associate the need to exercise with health, because they’re still thinking healthy = thin. 

    (I really should’ve picked a different user name).

  • AnonymousSam

    *Nods* Weight and muscular development shouldn’t be conflated. Too many examples of people all over the X/Y axes.

  •  One of the signs of my disconnect with popular culture is my entire knowledge of the Kardashians: they are apparently a rich family, Kim is very beautiful, and they have or have had a reality show. That’s it.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “PMDs don’t seem to think the PRC is all that significant – if it were, it would have been mentioned in the Bible, right?”

    Remember the 200-million-man army from the East in the Book of Revelation?

    Identifying them with the Chinese (“Fulfillment of Prophecy!”) was de rigeur in the heyday of Hal Lindsay.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    And yeah, she’s definitely been beck’d. That’s how she gets her news.  — Madhabmatics

    Could be worse.  I used to know a guy who I’m pretty sure used Glenn Beck as his financial planner.  Had to field LOTSA phone calls of “GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GUNS! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GAWD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!” 

    And (more akin to John Todd than Glenn Beck) Total Global Economic Collapse, Do You Have Your Fully-Stocked Survival Bolt-Hole Ready, “IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE!!!!!”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    When Innocence of Muslims dude was arrested for violating his probation, then suddenly his former crimes are actually a frame job by the Obama secret police, who snuck records into every court. The actors saying they were lied to? Christians don’t lie, the facists lie, therefore the actors are just being paid by Obama as part of an attempt to make a precedent for the future arrest of every Christian. — Madhabmatics

    “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    — Kooks Magazine

    Until The Conspiracy is so vast EVERYONE in the world (except for the Conspiracy Theorist) is part of The Conspiracy.  Hey — maybe that’s why Conspiracy Theory types are always so bitter — they’re the only one in the world who’s left out!

  • Jeff

    #22 was partly right. There was a car bomb in Times Square, May 2010 but they sucessfully defused it.

  • Brian

    As a non-practicing Jew I’m going to go out on a limb here and agree with the concept that someday the world as we know it will end give or take a million years. I think we can all agree on this. Along with the fact that anybody who drank a glass of milk 150 years ago is now dead.

  • Richard Gadsden

    Re: Fairness doctrine, I’d be happy with someone suing Fox News for false advertising by calling themselves “Fair and Balanced” and not abiding by the Fairness Doctrine.

  •  Well Dave console yourself with this: if it weren’t for democracy this could be the attitude ruling the country with impunity.

  •  Yep, there’s porn in quite a few mini-marts out there.

    Of course, the single MOST porn-a-riffic mini-mart I ever saw was in, I think, 2002. They’d fenced off half the floorspace and filled it with DVDs, clothes you wouldn’t wear outdoors, and fascinating lifestyle accessories.

    I surely, surely can’t remember who was president in 2002, but since there was porn, it must have been a Democrat. Then again, when I think about some of the accessories it was probably a Communist.

  • First of all…. IF people would read their bibles…. Revelations to be exact, Jesus Christ himself does NOT know himself the hour and date of his return, nor the angels. Revelations also explains that certain events have to take place BEFORE his return, meaning we all need to read to see these events to know where we are at in Revelations. I don’t believe in “Psychics, Tarot Cards, Palm readers” what I do believe is what the bible has already stated and what God himself shares with me. I do believe however that America IS asleep and needs to wake up.  According to the bible, 2 will be chosen for election but there will also be a public figure that will rise up, then the anti christ. Are we in that time right now? Hard to say, although things seem to point that way. In the end days, God does talk about division among us. Already we are hearing how the Democrats are talking about if your Christian you need to bail now and leave. God is moving us around folks, he is getting us ready, moving us into position. Wars and rumors of wars are also stated in this book. Israel will NOT see peace until his return. If we sit here and put so much focus on the media and all this madness flying around we actually rob ourselves of what God has given us. We have taken our eyes off of him and not stood on our faith and our trust in him. Yes, these things are heartbreaking,  yes when it does come down to who wins we will be faced with enduring what they have to offer us, but I say take heart, keep your spiritual eyes and ears open and stay focused on what God will have you focused on.  “Satan will come like a thief in the night, a wolf in sheep’s clothing…a coat of many colors” We all need to be watching and praying and continuing life as God intended. We are living in scary times folks, no question. Where is our faith? Where is our trust? God says, FEAR NOT! For I AM with you always! With much love from God and I to all of you! God Bless us all! :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Already we are hearing how the Democrats are talking about if your Christian you need to bail now and leave.

    [citation needed]

  • Citation needed? This means?

  • Citation needed? This means? Not sure I am following you.

  • AnonymousSam

    It means when you say something like this, you need to provide a link to your source material — the idiot saying this who has a destiny with a clue-by-four. There may be people who identify as Democrats who are saying garbage like this, but it is not representative of the Democrat party at large.

    No, not even Obama, as much as people want to make him out to be an antichrist. He’s Christian. Quite explicitly so.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You don’t spend much time on Wikipedia, do you? It means I will not believe you unless presented with evidence that what you say is true. In this case, that means quoting prominent Democrats who are rejecting Christianity, and linking to the news sites from which you got the quotes. Ideally video clips, but text from well-known news sources will do. Unless it’s Fox News, because they are notoriously biased and often flat-out wrong, such as saying a Republican politician is Democratic when that politician is doing something Fox doesn’t like. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/24/fox-news-identifies-sanfo_n_220377.html

  • Eminnith

    “Satan will come like a thief in the night, a wolf in sheep’s clothing…a coat of many colors”

    You’re saying Satan will come dressed like Joseph. You do realize that’s what you’re saying, right? You do realize you’re mixing up Old + New Testment books having nothing to do with each other, right? And do you also realize that there is no book of the Bible called “Revelations”? There is “Revelation” without that “s” because it is one revelation, not many. And you also realize that the original post was about false prophecy making Focus on the Family look dumb, right?

  • prediction #14 was in effect 30 years ago when I lived in Virgina. Like those people are not the brightest bulbs in the pack. Jeesh!

  •  They aren’t really ‘displayed’ as they have a high shelf that hides most of the cover. You have to actually pull the magazine out to see it. At least, that’s how it is in the Midwest.

  • korbermeister

    They’re frakking cunning, those toasters are!

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    Oh, puhleeeze. It was evident before Obama was even a viable candidate that Dobson was a political whore.  What’s next?  Proof that the earth is round?

  • P J Evans

    Jesus Christ himself does NOT know himself the hour and date of his return

    That’s not in Revelation; that’s in one of the Gospels.

  • P J Evans

    Your reading comprehension is failing you. read the post again, so you understand what we’re actually talking about..

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    My reading comprehension is just fine. But per you request, I read the article again. And I realize that I forgot the word “narcissistic” before “political whore”.

    Otherwise my point remains the same. Stating/implying that FoF under Dobson’s reign was a hyperbolic knee-jerk political shill is about as newsworthy as telling us that Barry Bonds used steroids.  And showing that they were wrong is about as surprising as getting wet when I jump in the ocean.
    I am hard pressed to think of a bigger waste of time than to fisk a four-year-old document.

  • Chancey McMorris

    Brilliant! Never heard it said any better.

  • The point is, people on the right like to make these kind of alarmist predictions because it gets them money and votes while failing to seriously address the problems facing their voters.

    Canadian right-wing politicians like to do a version of this vis-a-vis the NDP. They don’t quite achieve the bombast and sheer chutzpah their fellow travellers in the USA do, but they love pushing the hot-button of ZOMG MISMANAGEMENT as well as blatantly lying about what the NDP has done or will do in power.

    American right-wing groups just turn all this crap up to eleven and blare it out over all the loudspeakers they can find, and mix in apocalyptic religious language to boot.

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    I agree with everything you said. Well, technically, just out of ignorance, I can’t fully affirm the Canadian info, but given the few Canadians I know, I find it very believable that things are less bombastic up there. ;-)

    But if anything, your statements just bolster my point. There’s nothing new(sworthy) here. It’s just piling on (if I may use the American football term) four years after the referee blew the whistle.

  • Mentalpig2012

     In my college days in the 1980s, I wrote that the Republican Party would nominate a Muslim to be president in 2012. So we’ve only come partly that way.

  • EllieMurasaki

    ‘Muslim’ and ‘Mormon’ both have two Ms, which does put you nearer the mark than Focus on the Family.

  • Godlesspanther

    “Jesus Christ himself does NOT know himself the hour and date of his return”

    Well, in that case, I do know more than JC himself knows on that subject. I do know the exact day, hour, and minute that Mr. Jesus will make his miraculous come-back. 


    Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. Will not and cannot happen.

    That is not an opinion, that is a fact.  

  • Godlesspanther

    2002, it was a republican who was POTUS. Had it been a Democrat, you would have not had a free choice to not purchase, look at, read, and wear that pornographic material. You would have been mandated by the government to view pornography. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    [citation needed]

  • enochiswatching

    shalom say tune to what is coming  be ready look up his name is yeshua

  • EllieMurasaki

    …Jews for Jesus, or just nonsense?