Posts Tagged James Dobson

Why the Right was against repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”


Because that’s how they handle the issue of sexuality themselves.  Keep it in the closet. (The other closet, not that ‘prayer closet’ – which doesn’t get used much by today’s crop of budding theocrats.)

It’s ironic. Although conservative evangelicals (who are now the power base of the Republican party) claim to be the champions of morality, they have such a hard time living up to their own standards.  Sure, liberals have their share of fallen angels, but rarely does the left claim to be the standard bearer of morality. Yet it is common for the most strident of the ‘moral majority’ to find themselves in the public spotlight with their pants down,  sometimes quite literally.

Why do so many conservative, evangelical, Republicans expose themselves doing precisely the opposite of what they say others should be doing? Henry Hyde, Helen Chenowith, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, David Vitters, Glenn Murphy Jr. – the list goes on. How many of these scandals have resulted in the outing of aggressive homophobes?  After years of rumors that he might be gay,  it looks as if  Lindsey Grahamw will soon find himself in the same predicament. What ‘s the deal?

A 1996  psychology experiment conducted at the University of Georgia found strong evidence that (at least among males) “homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.” If this is true, and since most politically conservative evangelicals are  vigorously opposed to the ‘gay agenda’,  then it makes sense that a significant portion of these people might very well be closet homosexuals.  Of course, this is just speculation, yet it does hold up fairly well under the historical evidence.  But why would people who are confused (or in denial) about their sexuality gravitate towards the evangelical right-wing of the Republican party?

Is it because, having been forgiven for all their sins, both past and future, these closet homosexuals no longer feel the need to confront and conquer their inner “demons”?  That Jesus has already taken care of that for them? Yet eventually many of them will find out that their religion is not sufficient to facilitate lasting personal change (if this type of change is possible or even desirable).

A huge part of Christianity is the idea that we are all broken people who can be healed through the redemptive power of God, as revealed to us by Jesus. But that does not mean that we are somehow magically, perfectly, made ‘whole’ (i.e conforming to someone else’s orthodox world view) – that we are completely changed by God’s grace or the Holy Spirit or the love of Christ.  It doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and expect prayer alone to obliterate years of habitual behavior.  Or obviate our personal natures.  Nor, apparently, will the threat of punishment, divine or otherwise, accomplish this.

I think a better guess might be found in the attraction they may have to the hard-line theology of neo-evangelism.  It’s as if,  though perhaps in denial, they suspect that they are ‘bad’ boys in the eyes of God and feel a need to be part of an ideology that embraces the clear-cut rules of stern father figures, from Yahweh to James Dobson.

‘We’ve decided the Bible is the word of God. We don’t have to have a General Assembly about what we believe. It’s written in the Bible. Alright, so we don’t have to debate what we think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible.” -Ted Haggard

‘Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted. . . Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, ‘You must obey me.’ ” – James Dobson

“Part of my life is so repugnant and dark, I’ve been warring against it all my life…the dirt I thought was gone would resurface … the darkness increased and dominated” -Ted Haggard

Christian fundamentalist parents, James Dobson included,  should know by now that children cannot be spanked into submission, not unless the goal is to create sadly warped versions of themselves.   Who has ever really benefited from this? What type of person is attracted to an intolerant,  domineering and violent task master? For many of these people violence comes to be associated with love.

“In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up” – Mark Driscoll

The threat of punishment, even the ultimate punishment of Hell,  apparently cannot compel people to change their natures beyond a superficial level.  It can, however, compel them to mimic the doctrinaire natures of their overlords, even to the point of absurd and shameful  hypocrisy.  Or develop an appetite for hate filled language, perhaps even violence.  History has provided us with an undeniable pattern.

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

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The Tea Party’s dysfunctional family tree


Now, before anybody comes back trying to link Obama to Karl Marx or George H.W. Bush to the Bildeburgers, all these connections are documented and spoken of quite openly by the people in question. Just Google them and you will see.

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All this country needs is for some of those good old-time religious people to take charge


What is our purpose in life? It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It’s to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life” – Charles Colson

“As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he’s gonna rule the world with a rod of iron. That means he’s gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you’re not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school. We will live by the law of God and no other law.”— John Hagee

“Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court.” –Pat Robertson

“We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.” -Franklin Graham

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” – Sarah Palin

“There are some who would accuse us of trying to Christianize America. Am I trying to Christianize America? You bet your boots I am!” – D. James Kennedy

“The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be ‘What the hell you mean we’re out of missiles?”-Glenn Beck

There is a memorable behind–the-scenes moment in one of Frank Peretti’s books where a little  demon perched on the shoulder of an addict is swirling his hand around inside the man’s skull.  (For those of you who don’t know of him, Frank Peretti writes “Christian” horror tales.  This book, if I remember correctly, was “Piercing the Darkness”. It may just as well have been called “Piercing my Eyeball” for all the pleasure I got from reading it.)

Anyway, this supernatural premise is one that many conservative Christians (Fundamentalists, Neo-Evangelicals, Moral Majoritarians, reactionary Catholics –you get the picture) do not take lightly.  There is no doubt in their minds that the minds of others, especially those who suffer from mental and emotional disorders, are in demonic clutches.  Many of these Christians consider psychologists and psychiatrists to be quacks, or even worse, in the employ of Satan (though perhaps unconsciously). People with chronic depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, OCD –  these people  don’t need medical attention, and they certainly don’t need any drugs. All they need is to turn to Jesus. Or maybe endure a good exorcism. (In their contempt for the psychiatric profession they have a lot in common with Scientologists).

The funny (and sad) thing is that most of these people are not complete idiots.  I know, because I was once one of them, and I am no idiot. (depending on who you ask)  Now, I didn’t completely right-off the mental health profession. But I didn’t put much stock in mental health practitioners, unless he or she was an overt Christian.  Because if therapists didn’t believe that Satan could mess with people’s minds, then it was tantamount to them working for Satan.  There was really no hope for healing.  I guess a Jewish doctor who believed in Satan would be OK except that he would not recognize the healing power of Jesus.  So, no, it would have to be a Christian and a neo-Evangelical, God fearing, born-again Christian to boot. And this is a wide spread conviction among Christian fundamentalists.

Nowadays a belief in Satan would immediately disqualify that professional from my consideration. I couldn’t care less if my mechanic or my post-man or my butcher believed in Satan or Santa. But when it comes to helping people deal with issues that challenge their sanity, well, I just don’t think the supernatural is something worth pursuing.  At least not at $150 an hour.

What I am trying to get at here is that there are quite a lot of Americans (some estimates say around 100 million) who believe that Old Scratch is a legitimate threat to our personal, local and national security.  Heck, our last president thought this way.  Right now there is a lot of angry talk going around about how Muslim people actually belong to a satanic religion and that the Prophet was under satanic influence.  Which, when you think about it, is pretty scary. Not the idea that Islam is satanic – that’s not scary, it’s just plain ignorant. No, what’s scary is that maybe over 100 million Americans have their heads in the Dark Ages. Quite a few readily say that most non-Christians are doing Satan’s work and all are destined for hell. That the world’s problems won’t be solved until America’s problems are solved which won’t happen until America is a Christian nation run by Christians. My God, what if they ever organized?

Which is what they have been, for the last 40 years or so. Though you won’t hear them say it officially, the Christian Right has dominionism on their minds.  Dominionism according to Wikipedia, is:

the tendency among some conservative politically-active Christians, especially in the United States, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action. The goal is either a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.

I don’t think the leaders of the Christian Right would disagree too much with that assessment. And I guess that if you are a conservative Christian you probably don’t have much of a problem with it. But, as a fairly moderate man who struggles with keeping the teachings of Jesus close to heart ( I am hesitant to call myself a “Christian” these days) I am, frankly, fairly frightened. I can’t imagine what a Hindu or a Buddhist or (particularly at this time) a Muslim, thinks of this. (Though I have spoken with some Muslims and they don’t appear to be too worried) Apparently a lot of Jews are willing to overlook the rhetoric of the Christian Right as long as they continue to fervently support Israel.  I guess they, like so many others, don’t take them too seriously. And that’s a mistake.

Considering their stated goals and their political successes (they helped elect a lot of governors and a lot of people to Congress and the last administration was very much under their influence) I think they need to be taken very seriously.  Though they only crow about it to the choir inside churches and those listening to their radio and TV programs, their ultimate agenda is for all elected officials be fundamentalist Christians, all government policies be based upon Biblical law and that eventually all citizens convert to Christianity. Which would mean only Christians would be capable of effective leadership, or even citizenship.  Now, what is that starting to sound like?

Before you think I’m crazy remember that not too long ago I used to be in their camp. And if that’s not enough, go check out their websites:  the American Family Association, Focus on the FamilyCoral Ridge MinistriesAnswers In Genesis, Center for Moral Clarity, Christian Broadcasting Network, John Hagee Ministeries etc.  And follow the links on these sites; you might be surprised what you find there.  Of course most of what you find will sound relatively harmless, maybe even noble.  I mean, what’s wrong with family values?  Patriotism is a good thing, usually.  And it’s kind of hard to object to the Gospel of Jesus. .

So there’s nothing to worry about, right? This is America, after all.  Couldn’t happen here. Well, the Tea Party is growing stronger and some influential people are actually talking about a possible  Beck/Palin presidential bid (in recent Gallup polls Beck was the fourth most admired man alive, right below Nelson Mandela and just above the Pope, while Palin was the number one Republican presidential contender)  So interesting things could happen. We might be surprised. Perhaps unpleasantly.

An old Baptist  preacher once warned me about  ‘false teachings’:  “Remember, rat poison is 95% sugar. It’s the other 5% that’ll kill ya.”

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