Dobson Surrenders

James Dobson, in a farewell speech to the Focus on the Family staff, said:

“We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.”

Whether Dobson is capable of "humanly speaking" is questionable. The man who adamantly opposed the right of women to control their own bodies, of families to make their own end-of-life decisions, of patients to benefit from stem cell research, of gays to enjoy equal rights, and of Harry Potter fans to enjoy their books, is no fan of human rights.

Perhaps the one positive aspect of George Bush's presidency is an unintended consequence: a liberal victory (albeit incomplete) in the culture wars. [more ...]

Leading evangelicals have admitted that their association with George W. Bush has not only hurt the cause of social conservatives but contributed to the failure of the key objectives of their 30-year struggle. ... [E]vangelicals have won only minor victories in limiting the availability of abortion. Meanwhile the number of states permitting civil partnerships between homosexuals is rising, and the campaign to restore prayer to schools after 40 years - a decision that helped create the Moral Majority - has got nowhere.

Unsurprisingly, religious right leaders are unwilling to admit that their intolerance of any values, attributes, and political positions that differ from their own lacks appeal to an increasingly diverse majority of Americans.

In the southern Bible belt, many like the Rev Joe Morecraft, head of a small Presbyterian church near Atlanta, judge that the Christian movement failed not because its views were unpalatable for moderates and liberals, but because “it was not Christian enough”.

President Bush was too liberal? One wonders what a "Christian nation" of the sort envisioned by Morecraft would be like.

Morecraft nonetheless has a fine idea:

A deserter from the Republican Party, he said Christians had been corrupted by politics and needed to return to the basics of local social work and preaching the gospel, rather than devoting their “energies to getting a few people elected”.

Exactly. Preach to the choir and end your efforts to impose the extremist dictates of your religion on the rest of us. If the Republican Party is too liberal for you, leave it.

That doesn't mean one disengages from political life, but it might mean that the church shouldn't be a branch of the Republican Party. It might mean trading fame and fortune (green rooms and fundraisers) for humility and charity.

Without the cash and the votes that the Christian right supplies, the GOP will return to its roots -- representing the ultra-wealthy and the multi-national corporations they worship.

Of course, the threat remains that a new, home schooled generation of Christian conservatives -- convinced that stem cell research and gay rights are the product of "radical liberalism" -- will revitalize the battle. Let's hope it takes another generation for that to happen -- and that the next generation of liberals will be braced for the fight.

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    Dobson is 100% right (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by mexboy on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 03:31:39 AM EST
    We are awash in evil...

    He was speaking of his own organization, right?

    my thoughts exactly (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:24:18 AM EST
    I was thinking, gee Dobbie, you need to get out more.  

    You're (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 06:22:34 AM EST
    completely reading Morecraft wrong. What he's saying is that Christians weren't obeying the commandment to "love your neighbor". It doesn't matter how many bible verses you can spout if you can't behave like a Christian.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 08:15:06 AM EST
    from his statements here, it appears Morecraft is saying that those behind the Christian movement in politics failed to act like Christians.

    I don't worry a whole lot about the home (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 06:48:54 AM EST
    schooled.  Can you imagine how badly their kids just want to break the chains and run naked down the streets?  They have at least an automatic 50% loss of infantry the minute their soldiers turn 18 :)  I met this "child" at a  Waffle House a few months back.  She had been attending a Christian college and decided to run off with her boyfriend and forget about school for awhile.  The boyfriend got tired of living on the lam from his parents though and their monetary support, he repented and returned to whatever Christian college.  The girl, not so lucky, her parents weren't as understanding and she is damaged goods now too.  I looked over the top of my O.J. and asked incredibly if her parents really thought this was a better solution than getting over it and figuring out how to get back to school.  She said they didn't care about her anymore, they won't talk to her.

    I know (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 07:56:16 AM EST
    of someone who homeschooled all their children and when the oldest went off to college they found out that she was having sex. They freaked out and last I heard they were trying to make them get married. Honestly, everything with these people is about sex. I think they would've been less upset if she'd robbed a bank.

    It's all about control. (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 08:26:49 AM EST
    All of the issues Dobson's face turns purple over are about him wanting to control the way other people live their lives, and the reason Dobson and his followers have failed in their mission is that the majority of people are just not willing to cede that control.  Who we love and when or if we have children, when and how we die - these are all decisions that most people do not wish to have strangers weighing in on - no matter how much Bible-and-Jesus talk they wrap their "concern" in.

    I have never for a moment believed that those who risk apoplexy over the failure of people to heed their commands are people who embody - for me, anyway - what religion and faith are supposed to be about.  How we are supposed to treat each other.  

    It's about power and control, always, with Dobson and others like him.

    What scares me sometimes is that there isn't much of a line between the traits of these kinds of "religious" leaders, and politicians.

    I hear that.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:03:35 AM EST
    What scares me sometimes is that there isn't much of a line between the traits of these kinds of "religious" leaders, and politicians.

    Not much of a line at all, one selling paradise in the afterlife, one selling paradise here on earth...and all they ask in return is your sovereignty and a slice of your action, which is a heckuva lot more expensive than it sounds.


    Free the Springs! (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:08:37 AM EST
    I hope that Dobson stepping down and the sharp decrease in revenue--along with one of their employees being charged with using the internet to commit sexual assualt is the beginning of the end to the religious right's stranglehold on Colorado Springs.  


    "Homeschooler" fear is already realized (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ricosuave on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:32:50 AM EST
    We are already seeing the effects of a generation of right-wingers who were brought up in the wake of the 1980's.  Ronald Reagan said all kinds of crazy stuff, and then when it came time to sign bills or work with congress he would compromise (well...sometimes).

    The republicans of the last decade have taken his words to be gospel.  I would guess that, no matter how discredited their party is right now, there are more republicans out there who genuinely believe that lowering taxes will increase government revenue than when Laffer invented that cockamamie notion or when Reagan tried to implement it.  We are still fighting the evolution battle here in Texas (which, if you don't know, affects the schoolbooks that will be available to you guys in the rest of the country) a century after the political debate started, and I think the creationists are winning.  We still have an astoundingly huge defense budget, even if you (like the last administration) leave the two wars out of the budget (and that is not changing rapidly either).  We don't have gays openly serving in the military or living without fear of losing their jobs in much of the country, and there is only one state whose legislature would pass a gay marriage law.  We still have an executive office for "faith-based" initiatives.  Most of the country thinks our money always said "In God We Trust" on it, and that the pledge of allegiance always referred to a diety, and these are used to justify more state-sponsored religion every day.

    Christian conservatives may think it looks bleak for them right now, but anyone who saw Obama's campaign materials from South Carolina would think they have the upper hand.  Their candidates are not winning this year, but I fear that alot of their ideas are very firmly rooted in both political parties.

    Manipulation of charter (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by waldenpond on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:00:54 AM EST
    schools.  Here in California, tax dollars follow the student.  I left a charter for another.  A friend is still with the cheating charter.  They find reasons to waive the memebership of certain individuals serving only one term on the board and to end early others..... the requirement?  They must be strict creationists.  They buy religious books, one parent insisted the religious text be returned for one that wasn't.  They force parents to buy art and school supplies only from a religious supplier.  They are required by the state to teach a science course... the parent could take a science class at a local college, instead the students stand up and yell 'liar'... the Director thinks it's funny.

    It worries me that there is agreement by some Dems to increase charter schools and locating them in churches.  The right has not given up.  They are on tv saying they are going to raise money to get their believers on school boards and city councils.  A recruiting meeting for the tea bag party, was saying the digital converters are brainwashing (throw them away), college is brainwashing (take your kids out).  A reporter asked a woman what was brainwashing, she said books.  The reporter asked what books, she said 'that evolution crap'  

    Dobson was just pouting and having a bad day.  There are plenty of church members that will forgive him and show him how dedicated they are.  Warren will correct his statements and he will be forgiven.


    Profoundly scary. n/t. (none / 0) (#19)
    by sallywally on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:30:28 AM EST
    Dobson lost for a very simple reason (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 07:13:32 AM EST
    he and his were worshipping a false god.

    And, as to that southern preacher who thinks things will be solved by more preaching the Gospel, he should pull himself up short and reconfigure that to more living the Gospel.

    I can give him three easy places to start - phrases (I paraphrase rather than get off my silly butt to get my copy of the Bible and quote directly) everyone knows:

    Mind not the speck in your brother's eye, but tend first to the log in your own.

    He who is without Spirit and preaches is a clanging gong, a clashing cymbal - all noise and no substance.

    When someone slaps you in the one cheek, turn the other and let him slap that one, too.  And when you want to know how many times you must forgive - try seventy times seven.

    Y'all get the point.

    The last of those three is the one which a lot of people (myself included) seem to have the worst trouble with, particularly in the "crimes and injustice" context.  After the Binghamton shootings last week, I saw reports of a huge brouhaha relative to the memorial service.  Why?  Because they had the temerity to mourn the shooter's life, too.  To ring the church bell fourteen times and light fourteen candles.

    Here was a guy who, for all his flaws, didn't exactly get kind, generous treatment during his life - I suspect he was the kind of loose screw who got taunts and emotional torture from those closer to the center-line of society, more for their entertainment than anything else.  And when, as was pretty much inevitable, he snapped the same sort of people who did that to him in life, tried to vilify those who would live that requirement of forgiveness.

    And, BTW, I agree with Tracy on the home-schooled kids.  I think their bustin' out and raising a rumpus puts Amish kids on Rumspringa to shame.

    From one of the best passages of the NT: (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by DFLer on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 08:55:05 AM EST
    Without love, there is nothing.

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


    From 1 Corinthians 13


    Dobson and his ilk in the religious right (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ruffian on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:00:54 AM EST
    are associated with hate and fear in my mind, and many others. Just the opposite of Christ and his teachings.

    All the Dobsonites and the like-minded folks (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:19:49 AM EST
    know is the Old Testament.  They speak some about the New Testament and a lot more about Jeee-sus, but empty words on those are about it.

    Interesting too (none / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 03:58:21 PM EST
    that for some mysterious reason the Dixiechrists almost NEVER reference, in all their testifyin' 'n carryin' on, the longest and most in-depth sermon given by their alleged savior, The Sermon on the Mount.

    A little too much hippie talk about forgiveness and peace makin' ('n not enough about The Rapture),for most folks, apparently; best to skip right ahead to Paul and Revelations.


    Here is a pastor (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:42:30 AM EST
    who wanted to practice what he preached and his whole town flipped out.  This man to me is the sign of a true believer.  Someone who can forgive.

    these are great (none / 0) (#22)
    by Learned Hand on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 11:25:04 AM EST
    I'm not a Christian but I love these basic principles and think the world would be a better place if we lived by them. Can someone point me to the bible verses where they are?

    Dobson fudges the truth (none / 0) (#12)
    by kenosharick on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:13:34 AM EST
    when he claims the "moral majority" came out of an effort to return prayer to public schools. That may have been part of it but the biggest reason concerned race.  In 1978, the IRS attempted to enforce civil rights policies by requiring private schools to meet minority enrollment quotas.  The religious right went wild, the IRS backed down, and they had tasted political power.  This was the start of the moral majority- they did not want minorities in "their" schools.

    so long Dobbie (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:19:01 AM EST
    dont let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

    the pearl clutchers are in a tailspin (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:29:50 AM EST
    Religious Affiliation Declining; A Record 11% Have No Preference

    Number of N.E. Catholics tumbles

    I would guess it is more than that.  at that is as large a block as many other minorities in this country.
    could I live to see an unaffiliated president?  probably not.  but I would vote for one if I could for that reason alone.

    Everytime I read your subject line (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 03:02:48 PM EST
    I think of Bizet's terrible opera, "The Pearl Fishers."

    The Culture Wars live on (none / 0) (#21)
    by SeeEmDee on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:53:52 AM EST
    As does Jim Crow...in our drug laws. Many of whom were lobbied for early last century by Protestant missionaries seeking converts in the Far East.

    So, until the drug laws of this country are publicly dissected, and their racially bigoted origins held up for the scrutiny they deserve, the culture wars will continue. It's way too soon to play the funeral dirge for them...

    Liberal Secularists 1; Christianists 0 (none / 0) (#23)
    by KoolJeffrey on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 12:16:04 PM EST
    At least for one day. See you in hell Dobson.

    world awash in evil (none / 0) (#24)
    by diogenes on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 12:57:11 PM EST
    In the last twenty years alone, there have arguably been five genocides-Saddam versus the Kurds, Hutu versus Tutsi in Rwanda, Serbs versus Bosnians, Serbs versus Kosovars, and in Darfur.
    Sure looks like an escalation of evil to me.  

    All of those combined can't match WWII. (none / 0) (#26)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 04:02:51 PM EST
    Once the bar is set so high it's difficult to compete on the evil-meter.  You'd also have to add up all the incidents in the 50s-70s and see what you come up with.  Cambodia, Algeria, Congo, etc.  The graph is as likely to be decreasing as increasing.

    But of course the point was meant to be rhetorical, not a literal benchmark.


    not to mention (none / 0) (#28)
    by CST on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 04:07:01 PM EST
    the slaughter of native americans, slavery, etc...  etc...

    All of history is bloody. At least now we're at the point where a large body of people admit officially that it is wrong.  This stuff used to be standard procedure.


    More like an escalation (none / 0) (#27)
    by jondee on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 04:04:48 PM EST
    like the last escalation.

    Also,there seems to be an escalation in people using the names of Greek philosophers they bear no resemblence to.