I want this to come out the right way. I don’t want anyone to misread me to think that I’m attacking Focus on the Family or James Dobson. So, what I’m about to say may sound harsh and may sound like I am not uplifting…. but I don’t know any other way to say it.
I want to delineate between the ministry of Focus on the Family (which I like) and the political person of its founder, James Dobson. This is who I am talking about…
This isn’t my guy. I don’t care what Slate says… He doesn’t speak for me as an evangelical, his thoughts are not my thoughts, and his agenda is not my agenda. And I don’t think I’m alone.
It seems to me that leaders in the "middle" politically and those interested in reaching today’s culture are distancing themselves from the man they used to court… and here is why. Personal arrogance. He assumes that the following he has built teaching families how to rear their children can be used as political influence… and he will discover a striking defeat because the middle is tiring of his tirades and too far right meddling.
There is a perfect example of this from Christianity Today:
In a March 1 letter
to L. Roy Taylor, chairman of the NAE Board, Focus on the Family
Chairman James Dobson and others said the NAE vice president’s activism
on global warming is "a threat to the unity and integrity" of the
"The issue that is dividing and
demoralizing the NAE and its leaders is related to global warming,"
wrote the leaders, none of whom are members of the association. "If he
cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals on
environmental issues, then we respectfully suggest that he be
encouraged to resign his position with the NAE." Article
Instead, it is Dobson who choses to divide evangelicals over his personal agenda. Who is James Dobson to try to bully the National Association of Evangelicals into firing someone? Does he really think that getting a leader fired is an act of unification? Does he not see that young evangelicals are passionate enough about social action, the environment, and the war in Iraq to gladly vote in moderately liberal Democrats instead of the super far right Republicans Dobson demands? Does he think that antics like this impress anyone?
What do I mean, "He doesn’t represent me?" Simply put… his scare tactics belittle Christians and that annoys me. He assumes that we are not sophisticated enough to figure out issues on our own… so he pushes his agenda further and further to the right… completely isolating most evangelicals in the middle. His solutions rarely involve compromise, instead he and his organization seems to insist on either getting his way or begging listeners to call their congressmen.
Why aren’t you hearing more about this? Well… truthfully, most will vote by their silence instead of their mouths. Many leaders will simply stop mentioning Dobson and his politics… because they fear the flaming they will likely receive. And that’s probably the way it should be… the best way to not encourage someone’s influence is just to let it go.
What am I looking for politically? I’ve not seen a candidate for President come out about the issues I am actually interested in voting for. And I think that this election will come down two extreme moderates… and I haven’t seen one yet.
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