James Dobson, Religious Right personality and founder of Focus on the Family, is circulating a letter from the future. Dobson’s vision of America under the limp-wristed leadership of President Barack Obama is as dark and twisted as the “Chick tracts” that label non-fundamentalists as the spawn of Satan (especially liberals and Catholics). It’s like an Onion parody.
Dobson’s Letter meanders on for a dozen pages but the central premise is painfully simple: the ultra-liberal (ACLU-affiliated) judges President Obama will appoint to the Supreme Court are going to run amok. Not only will they legalize gay marriage, they will sanction any church, school or Boy Scout troop that refuses to celebrate gayness. Books critical of “the gay agenda” will be pulled from the shelves of Barnes and Nobles. Home schoolers will be punished for teaching their children that homosexuality is wrong or that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Sex education classes will rejoice in the gay life style and teachers and parents who refuse to go along . . . well, you get the idea.
The letter is aimed at the naive evangelical Christians who, polls suggest, are flocking to the Democratic candidate in surprising numbers. These deluded souls thought they were voting for change; instead they unleashed a liberal apocalypse.
Dobson et al make a pretense of dissociating Obama from this scourge of the liberal fundamentalists. The poor man never dreamed that placing a few ACLU types on the court would transform America into Sodom and Gomorrah in a mere four years. Obama wrings his hands in disbelief as the Frankenstein monster he has unleashed rampages through the heartland.
Dobson’s Obama, following the lead of Bill Clinton, fires all the US Attorneys in America, replacing them with card carrying members of the ACLU eager to punish former Bush officials.
If you want to tell Dr. Dobson what you think of his letter (please read it first) you can go to the Matthew 25 website. But I have come not to scorn Focus on the Family but to lament the demise the implosion of an organization that once did good work.
When Nancy and I were starting out in pastoral ministry, Dobson’s organization produced a series of parenting manuals and practical videos aimed at the evangelical mainstream. The basic themes were tough love, the need for clear parent-child boundaries, consistent consequences, and the idea that parenting is a high calling. If children are allowed to rule the home, Dobson taught, they will become unhappy tyrants who grow into undisciplined and unloving adults. Think of a biblically based “Super Nanny” and you’ll have the right idea.
Then Dobson ran off the rails. Every year his comb-over became more extreme and his religion more political. Before long, Dobson was Rush Limbaugh with a Bible. His gay-hating, gun-toting, free enterprise-loving, militaristic Jesus became harder and harder to square with the Jesus of the Gospels.
And now we have this fear-mongering letter. Dr. Dobson clearly has no idea how progressive Americans think and feel. Tragically, an equal and opposite ignorance can often be found on the extreme left. Dobson’s exercise in self-parody simply widens the gap.