Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Thu

28

Aug

2008

America’s Christianist Evangelical Leaders-Insidious Buffoons with a Sinister Socio-Political Agenda
Thursday, 28 August 2008 00:19
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, claimed in his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire that if gay and lesbian Americans were allowed to legally marry, the world would end “as it was in the days of Noah.” Dobson was also one of the Christianist evangelical leaders who claimed the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants was part of a plot to turn kids gay.

Over at the Focus on the Family “ministry” – a useful designation for tax purposes – Stuart Shepard is “director of digital media for the ministry’s Government and Public Policy division.” One of his recent videos called on the faithful “to pray for rain of biblical proportions … Not just rain. Abundant rain, torrential rain, urban-and-small-stream flood-advisory rain … I’m talking umbrellas-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain … good ol’ swamp-the-intersection rain...network-cameras-can’t-see-the podium rain.”

Why did this supposed spokesman for Christianity want the sheeple to pray for a biblical deluge?
 
In order to flood the Denver area and wash out Senator Obama’s acceptance speech scheduled to be delivered outdoors in Invesco Field on August 28, 2008. Shepard was quite specific. He called for good Christianists to join him in “praying for unexpected, unanticipated, unforecasted rain that starts two minutes before the speech is set to begin.”

Focus on the Family pulled the video within 24 hours of its posting, but more than a few had already noticed. Jake Tapper, Senior National Correspondent at ABC News, did a story on the video.

In Britain, the story was reported by TimesOnLine:
Come rain and floods to drown out Obama, pray Christians

August 13, 2008

A Christian fundamentalist group is praying for a deluge to drown out Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in two weeks’ time.

Focus on the Family is asking for “abundant, torrential” downpours to flood Denver and silence Senator Obama when he accepts the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on August 28.

“Would it be wrong to ask people to pray for rain of Biblical proportins,” asks an umbrella wielding Stuart Shepard in a video put out by the ultra conservative evangelical group.
The Australian also carried the story:
a Christian fundamentalist group said it was fervently praying for rain to drown out the Senator when he accepted the Democratic Party's presidential nomination at the national convention this month.

“Would it be wrong to ask people to pray for rain of biblical proportions,” asked Stuart Shepard in a video put out by the ultra-conservative Focus on the Family group.

He asked for “abundant, torrential” downpours to flood Denver during the Democratic National Convention…
Two comments – by Americans – to the TimesOnLine story bear repeating:
So-called Christians are “praying” for harm to come to another human being? The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

Anne, Portland, USA
Focus on the Family is an ultra-conservative ultra-rich church that is best known for stating that homosexuality can be prevented if fathers shower often with their sons. I live ten minutes away from their headquarters, and most people around here consider them an embarrassment.
Jina, Colorado [italics added]
“Jina’s” comment about how Dobson “thinks” homosexuality can be prevented is quite true. He urged fathers to educate their sons about manhood by showing them dad’s penis: “He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.”

The FOF founder and chairman has also had other strange advice for parents. In his book Dare to Discipline, Dobson urged parents to beat their children – from the age of 18 months to 12 years old – using a switch or a paddle, and called for hitting kids with “sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.”

After pulling the Shepard video, Focus on the Family issued statements. Political Base.com compiled some of them:
CNN reports

Focus officials insist the video – narrated by the man in charge of Web operations for the group’s political wing – was intended as a joke, and not a request for any divinely-inspired weather patterns.
Colorado 9News.com

Stuart Shepard made the prayer request in his latest Internet video for the Christian evangelical group.

He says he’s only partly joking.

“Sure it’s boyish humor perhaps to wish for something like that, but at the same time it’s something people feel very strongly about. They’re concerned about where he would take the nation,” Shepard said.
Rocky Mountain News

But complaints from about a dozen Focus members convinced the organization to pull the video, said Tom Minnery, Focus Action vice president of public policy.

“If people took it seriously, we regret it,” Minnery said Monday. [italics added]
Shepard said he was “only partly joking.” Apparently the vast majority of FOF members thought it was a good idea and took Shepard seriously since only about a dozen complaints were sent in.

Minnery said “if people took it seriously, we regret it.” Nonsense. When other Christianist evangelicals claimed that “God” had sent hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because the city was going to host a gay pride event, Dobson and Focus on the Family remained silent… silent complicity speaks loudly indeed.

The more they speak (or screech silence), the more the Christianist Evangelical Right exposes themselves as insidious buffoons. Frank Schaeffer pegged them in his Huffington Post article:
“the Evangelical right wing movement cannot speak with a prophetic (let alone single) voice, because it has become the consumer/entertainment culture, it’s left with turning itself into a public joke and/or nuisance much as a spoiled three-year-old at a birthday party will insist on getting attention by throwing pieces a birthday cake across the room.”
Mr. Schaeffer also had other insights that perfectly describe James Dobson and his less-than-spiritual financial empire:
Evangelicalism is a series of personality cults masquerading as religion. … That’s because Evangelicals say they believe in “sola scriptura” in other words the Bible only. That works out fine until they start arguing about biblical interpretation. Each pastor and individual becomes their own pope. That turns pastors into nothing but glorified entertainers, wherein the hottest ones pull the biggest congregations. Success-measured in attendance and dollars-becomes the metaphor for spiritual wisdom. Dobson rakes in millions, so God must be on his side!
Dobson and FOF spokespeople have been beating their version of the Bible for political power and profit for some time. The chairman used his June 24, 2008 radio broadcast to make preposterous claims against Barack Obama.
A top U.S. evangelical leader is accusing Sen. Barack Obama of deliberately distorting the Bible and taking a “fruitcake interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution.

In comments to be aired on his radio show Tuesday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson criticizes the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for comments he made in a June 2006 speech to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

In the speech, Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

“Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?” Obama asked in the speech. “Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount? … a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application.”
Dobson’s comments and accusations were so outrageous that a group of pastors lead by Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell started JamesDobsonDoesNotSpeakForMe.com. On the site, Dobson’s statements are compared, point by point, with what Mr. Obama actually said in his 2006 speech which, by the way, warned against the dangers of America become a theocratic state.

Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners also responded to Dobson’s comments. His comments were based on firsthand knowledge. Rev. Wallis was present at the 2006 speech. Indeed, Sojourners sponsored the event:
The clear purpose of the show was to attack Barack Obama. On the show, Dobson says of himself, “I’m not a reverend. I’m not a minister. I’m not a theologian. I’m not an evangelist. I’m a psychologist. I have a Ph.D. in child development.” Child psychologists don’t insert themselves into partisan politics in the regular way that James Dobson does and has over many years as one of the premier leaders of the Religious Right. He has spoken about how often he talked to Republican leaders – Karl Rove, administration strategists, and even President Bush himself. This year he tried to influence the outcome of the Republican primary by saying he would never vote for John McCain or the Republicans if they nominated him, then reversed himself and said he would vote after all but didn’t say for whom. But why should America care about how a child psychologist votes?
James Dobson is insinuating himself into this presidential campaign, and his attacks against his fellow Christian, Barack Obama, should be seriously scrutinized. And because the basis for his attack on Obama is the speech the Illinois senator gave at our Sojourners/Call to Renewal event in 2006 (for the record, we also had Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback speak that year), I have decided to respond to Dobson’s attacks. In most every case they are themselves clear distortions of what Obama said in that speech. I was there for the speech; Dobson was not.

As would be expected, Dobson and Focus on the Family were portrayed as the victims in an article posted by the propaganda organ of fellow Christianist evangelical Don Wildmon’s American Family Association:

Obama radio ad targets Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is speaking out against a new pro-Obama radio ad airing on Christian radio. The ad calls for “a better Christian witness in politics.”

The new liberal political action committee Matthew 25 is running pro-Barack Obama ads on Christian radio. Salem Radio affiliate KBIQ 102.7 FM in Colorado Springs, Colorado – home to Focus on the Family – aired an ad that came in response to Dr. James Dobson’s recent criticism of the presidential candidate's theological views. …

Spokesman Carrie Gordon Earll says Focus on the Family’s response to the ad would be Christ’s words found in Matthew 7:20, “You will know them by their fruits.” [links added]
Dobson and Wildmon are notorious for cherry-picking the Bible to support their agenda. The link OneNewsNow added to “Matthew 7:20” was true to form. It provided only a snippet of the message. A fuller context perfectly describes James Dobson:

Matthew 7 (New International Version)

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. …

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Dobson makes his living judging others. And, of course, those who do not support his theopolitical views are judged “morally lacking” or accused of “distorting the Bible.” As Chris Hedges demonstrated throughout American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, that’s a standard tactic for Christianist evangelicals: only they can interpret scriptures correctly, only they can say what’s right and wrong for everyone, only they can tell who’s fit to be a political candidate, a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, and only they should be listened to and obeyed… without question. A perfect description of James Dobson.

Using his grandfatherly persona and soothing voice, James Dobson exemplifies the “false prophet” who comes “in sheep’s clothing.” A classic example was his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire. In his best down-home, folksy mannerism, Dobson deployed false information, manipulated facts and deliberately misrepresented research before prophesizing the end of the world because of marriage equality. (See “Out of Focus on the Family: A Response to Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage,” Popular Culture Review, 16:1, 45-75.)

The fruit James Dobson and the FOF bear is three-fold: hate, bigotry, discrimination.

Dobson sees no flaws in his actions or his socio-political agenda, but he’s quick to point out flaws in others’ actions and in all other political points of view except, of course, when he may loses influence or power. Then, his theo-politics loses its “theo-“ and maintaining political power becomes the only goal.

When there were several contenders for the Republican nomination for president, Dobson adamantly refused to consider McCain. The headlines blared: “Dobson says ‘no way’ to McCain candidacy: Christian leader declares he couldn't support senator 'under any circumstances.'” Now that McCain is the presumptive nominee, Dobson has changed his “no way” and “under any circumstances”: “Dobson may endorse McCain.” Power and influence trump principles and theology.

Hypocrite: 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

And speaking of fanatical, self-serving Christianist evangelical hypocrites, who can forget Don Wildmon and his American Family Association that once accused the cartoon character Mighty Mouse of snorting cocaine?

Wildmon and his organization are notorious for launching boycotts against any company that treats its gay and lesbian employees equally or that advertises in gay-related publications. They’ve gone after Kraft Foods, the Ford Motor Company and Disney. Currently they’re sponsoring a boycott against McDonald’s because, according to AFA’s propaganda organ, OneNewsNow, the corporation:
“...donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, in exchange for membership and a seat on the group’s board of directors.” [italics added]
Apparently OneNewsNow’s rare honesty – “donated” – didn’t inflame the sheeple enough, so Rev. Wildmon stepped in and issued his own “Action Alert” and, as a good Christianist hell bent on propagating injustice and discrimination in society and the workplace, used a far less honest, but much more inflammatory word:
“...the company [McDonald’s] paid $20,000 to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and to have a seat on the board of directors” [italics added].
Donate: 1: to make a gift of; especially : to contribute to a public or charitable cause
[italics added]

Paid: 1 a: to make due return to for services rendered or property delivered b: to engage for money: hire <you couldn’t pay me to do that> 2 a: to give in return for goods or service <pay wages>
Both McDonald’s and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce made an appropriate, wise business decision to work together for diversity and equality in the workplace, a public cause the vast majority of Americans believe in. But real-world, legitimate business practices upset Mr. Wildmon, primarily because he does not live in the real world. Wildmon, like Dobson and the other leaders of American Christianism, live in a narcissistic, make-believe world of myth, magic and fantasy in which they are to be worshiped as “God’s” personal representatives.

As Chris Hedges noted in American Fascists, Christianist evangelicals:
“...like all fascist movements … believe in magic along with leadership adoration and a strident call for moral and physical supremacy of a master race, in this case American Christians.”
That “master race” and their “magic” are the essence of Wildmon’s latest crusade against reality:
In light of PBS’s [Public Broadcasting System] decision to air “The Bible’s Buried Secrets,” I ask that you [Congress] vote to stop funding PBS with tax dollars. …

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS), probably the most liberal network in America, will present a program this fall that says the Old Testament is a bunch of made-up stories that never happened. “The Bible’s Buried Secrets” says the Bible is not true. It is scheduled to air on November 18. …

Among highlights of “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”:

• The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.

• Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn't exist.

• There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.

• Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.

• The Israelites were actually Canaanites.

• The Israelites believed that God had a wife.
After consulting a biblical scholar, a professor of religion, an archeologist, and an anthropologist, the verdict was unanimous. The first four talking points are true. Some believe the Israelites were more likely related to the Aryans from central Asia, and as for God’s wife, Raphael Patai’s The Hebrew Goddess “presents an in-depth evaluation of the important but oft ignored role played by the feminine in Hebrew myth and religion, following the story of the Hebrew goddess from antiquity through its manifestations in Kabbalah and in the developing myth of Lilith.”

In what were previously “sacred texts” but then deemed contrary to the goals of the socio-political document called “the Bible” – and therefore excluded from it – Lilith was the first woman “God” created. She was made at the same time and from the same soil as Adam, which made her his equal. That didn’t fit with the cult of masculinity and the need to have women subservient to men, so Lilith was replaced by Eve, who was made after Adam and from his rib thereby making her subservient.

Given Wildmon’s anti-rational, anti-intellectual, anti-fact mindset, it’s not surprising that his followers regard reality-based discussions as unacceptable. OneNewsNow runs daily polls. A recent one made the point. The question posed was “Do you agree with Pastor Rick Warren that the biblical gospel is not compromised when Christians and non-Christians team up to promote the ‘common good’?” [link added].
After 7,147 votes, the results were:

Yes, I agree with Rick Warren - 26.46%

No, I disagree with Rick Warren - 61.51%

Unsure - 12.03%
So much for the “common good.” Christianist evangelicals leaders and their followers are concerned only with their own “good” and an agenda that excludes everyone but them. That was clear in a follow-up OneNewsNow article:
Is Rick Warren ignoring sin in search for ‘peace’?

Christian broadcaster and author Tom McMahon says evangelical pastor Rick Warren's belief that the church must take the lead in solving the world’s problems of poverty, disease, and war cannot be reconciled with the scriptures.

Pastor Warren will be hosting an interfaith meeting next month with 30 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders “to discuss cooperation for the common good of all Americans.” Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan mobilizes churches to address global problems. But McMahon, president of The Berean Call ministry, says the popular Christian author is introducing evangelical Christianity to the social gospel that he learned from his mentor, social scientist Peter Drucker.

“As a Christian, as a biblical Christian, I have real concerns about this because I don't find this in the scriptures,” McMahon explains. “You see, it’s true the world has all kinds of problems, but he’s working on the symptoms and avoiding the root cause, which is the sin nature of humanity. So how can you work with all kinds of people [who are] called ‘people of faith,’ but it’s not biblical faith?” [link added]
Using McMahon’s “logic,” if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not appropriate for “biblical Christians.” One has to wonder if McMahon lives in a clay-brick hut without central heating, indoor plumbing or air conditioning, dresses in homemade sackcloth and rides a camel to work. One also has to wonder what Bible he’s reading because Jesus spoke often about helping the poor and afflicted, and there was that “turn the other cheek” anti-war directive.

“The sin nature of humanity.” Christianist evangelicals do so love the notion of sin. It’s their primary weapon for herding the flock, especially since they are the ones who decide what’s a sin and what isn’t. In discussing the late Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion workshops – one of which he participated in – Chris Hedges reported the tactics taught. The rhetoric bears a striking resemblance to McMahon’s as well it should. He and Kennedy are cut from the same soiled cloth:

The evangelists [in training] are told to disabuse converts of the notion that sin is limited to robbery, murder, adultery or other specific acts. We are informed that sin “is anything that doesn’t please God or is a transgression of His law.” Sin, the convert is to be told, is “the fatal malignancy which infects the soul of the entire human race.” … The emphasis, once the conversion is made, is on acts, acts that please or displease God. The believer can delineate these acts only with the aid of church leaders.

Apparently Mr. McMahon believes feeding the hungry, tending to the afflicted and ending the slaughter called “war” would not be pleasing to “God.” But then again, he share the same Christianist dogma as Dr. Kennedy did when he proclaimed, “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost … As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors – in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

McMahon questioned, “So how can you work with all kinds of people [who are] called ‘people of faith,’ but it’s not biblical faith?” What does “biblical faith” mean in that sentence? Rev. Warren’s conference will bring together Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders: “people of faith” one and all. How is Judaism not a “biblical faith”? Wasn’t Jesus a Jew, and doesn’t Islam recognize the patriarchs of the Old Testament as well as Jesus as a prophet?

Pray for rain to wash out Obama’s speech. Dads, shower with your sons and show them you big, hairy penis. Then, if they don’t do as you want, spank them with a switch or a paddle “sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.”

SpongeBob SquarePants is gay and recruiting your kids. Might Mouse snorts cocaine. Genesis is literal history and the earth is only 6000 years old: archeology, geology and all other sciences lie!

The leaders of America’s Christianist evangelical make preposterous, downright stupid statements. That’s their “job.” But why do so many people believe them?

Perhaps the answer is simple.

Not thinking is much easier. That’s the appeal of Dobson, Wildmon, and the rest of the self-appointed spokesmen for “God.” No need to think, just listen and obey. Life will be much easier then. And once the sheeple are convinced by those spokesmen for “God” that they’re among the holy, hatred of and violence against the unholy will be completely justifiable ad majorem gloriam Dei.

Dobson, Wildmon, and the rest of the self-appointed spokesmen for “God” live large with incomes and perks far beyond what their supporters could ever hope for. They grow rich by propagating hate and discrimination in the name of a “loving” religion. What’s wrong with this picture?
 
More from this author:
From Liberating Spirituality to Oppressive Dogma: The Politics of Religion (17847 Hits)
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. Spirituality is intrapersonal. It’s a liberating and uplifting awareness. It nurtures personal growth. It inspires...
Herding the Sheeple, Voting on Justice (19413 Hits)
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. “Let’s vote on it.” To most people that sounds like the ideal way to solve any issue. But it can also...
What’s in a Word: Wal-Mart and the New Jersey Supreme Court (13492 Hits)
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party used the Bible and their perversion of Christianity...
Rev. Ted Haggard: “A deceiver and a liar,” exposed (15774 Hits)
By Mel Sheesholtz Ph.D. Once again a self-appointed spokesman for “God” and the leader of a politically active (and lucrative) faith-based...
“Times they are a-changin’…” (8807 Hits)
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum – Golden Boy of the Christian Right, rabid homophobe, and Bush...
Related Articles:
Catapulting the Propaganda with the Washington Post (11817 Hits)
by Chris Floyd The ever persipacious Angry Arab, As'ad AbuKhalil, plucks out the hidden (or not-so-hidden) propaganda in a passing...
Rough Justice; prowling Baghdad with a sidearm and a defective bulletproof-vest (8856 Hits)
by Mike Whitney On Monday, an editorial is scheduled to appear in the “Army Times” which will call for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation as...
Paper Trail:Turning the Corner With a Timely Verdict (9924 Hits)
by Chris Floyd Well, Karl Rove got the banner headline he wanted for all the final Sunday papers before the ele ction: Saddam Hussein Is...
New Faces, Same Agenda (10684 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman The political firmament shook briefly post-November 7 raising hopes change would follow the Republican's drubbing at the...
To Hell with Centrism: We Must Reclaim the Inspired Edge (7225 Hits)
by Phil Rockstroh "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act". -George...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (1)add comment

SarahPw said:

0
title=respond this post
I don't opine that each single student in whole world has a passion of critical essay writing! Nevertheless, students ,which don't know how to write have to utilize a support of distinguished media essay writing service and be happy with a result.
 
February 19, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top