Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mrs. Zeke, I love you. Don't read this post.

I've been doing a lot of business in Colorado in the last year, and must've passed by the "Next Exit: Focus on the Family Visitor Center" sign maybe a dozen times. This last trip, I had time to burn before my flight so I took the plunge.

After making a silent vow not to be a cynical jerk inside, I signed in at the visitors center and slapped on my name tag (scratching my head here--have I ever gone to a visitors center and needed a name tag?) I made my way around the modestly sized but cleanly designed exhibits. This one said it all for me:

(Full disclosure #1: I do not believe that everything Dr. Dobson does is bad.)

If I have a beef with Dr. Dobson it's with the degree to which he has contributed to the politicization of the church in America. Well, I have two beefs with him: with that, and with his over the top fixation with homosexuality. Does American culture present moral challenges to parents and families? Sure. Are families "under fire" by some unholy alliance of leftists, cultural elites, and postmodern amoral relativists under the secret banner of Satan? That seems to be Dr. Dobson's diagnosis, and his prescription is angry politics. I guess it's not really a surprise; if I believed that Satan was using left-wing and perverted minions to undermine Christian America (the world's last hope!), I might be scared and angry too. But I'm not with him on this one. I might know somebody who is:

Is Bush a sincere Christian? I have no reason to believe otherwise, but I also think this man and his administration have serious integrity issues that men like Dobson should be weighing in against. Instead, they provide political cover for an administration that I increasingly see to be insincere, power abusing and cronyist. Depressingly so.

(Full disclosure #2: I voted for him twice.)

I also was not impressed with Dr. Dobson's performance during the fall of Ted Haggard. At first, Dobson angrily defended his "good friend" against the initial allegations, saying that "the situation has grave implications for the Cause of Christ." I'm sure he was as serious when he wrote that as he seems to be about so many other moral crises threatening America and the work of the Gospel. Then when Haggard admitted his gay affair (as in having sex with a male prostitute, not hosting a lovely garden party) Dr. Dobson committed himself publicly to serving on a "recovery team" with other notable Christian leaders--only to blow off his obligation because of his busy schedule. Apparently, some other dark crisis loomed in opposition to the Cause of Christ. Bigger name on the other line. Sorry, Ted.

(Full disclosure #3: I admit it: I'm a cynical jerk about James Dobson.)

A final personal word: Dr. Dobson, my cynicism doesn't extend to the lovely and touching memorial you built to your father inside the visitors' center.

A son's love and respect for his father was plain to see in this exhibit, and I was genuinely touched as I walked the space.

Dr. Dobson, I believe that you are a sincere man and are passionate about your beliefs. But that doesn't mean that you aren't hurting this country, so I won't let you off the hook--as I'm sure you wouldn't give me a pass about believing that gays should be left in peace to love and live their lives, or that politics should be left at the doors of the church.


At 7:18 AM, Blogger dorsey said...

You pretty much exactly summed up my thoughts on this subject (disclosures included). Well said.


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