Weird political predictions

By Alan Bean

John Hagee, the San Antonio preacher whose endorsement John McCain sought then rejected in 2008, is making bold predictions about the consequences of a second Obama term.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: the election on Nov. 6, 2012 for the office of president is the day of decision for America. Four more years of Obama will bring absolute socialism to America. Our children and grandchildren will never know the greatness of America that we have experienced.

“This must not happen! … I am asking the Christians of America to join us in 40 days of prayer for this presidential election. These 40 days of prayer will begin on Sept. 28, 2012. You can do it individually or in groups, but prayer is the most powerful force God has given us to bring our nation back to righteousness. I’ll be saying more about this as the year progresses, but mark it on your calendar and start telling your family, friends, and church members now about the 40 days of prayer.”

To place this in context, let’s remember James Dobson’s predictions about how America would look if Obama got a first term.  Dobson, the erstwhile head of Focus on the Family, is a far more responsible source than Hagee, yet as Fred Clark notes, every single prediction he made in his “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America” was dead wrong.  

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.

When I blogged on the Focus on the Family prophecy four years ago I pointed out that Dobson started out as an amiable and often helpful parenting guide for evangelical Christians.  But it wasn’t long before hard-right politics began to distort his message:

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.

Fred Clark reached a similar conclusion as he recently re-read Dobson’s sixteen-page blast from the past:

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.

The great tragedy of the culture war is that conservative and liberal Americans simply do not understand one another.