Who Speaks For You?

Friends,

I will state at the very beginning that this post is in no way, shape, form or otherwise an explicit or implicit endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president. Regardless of how wonderful people think he is, regardless of how many think he is the new Messiah, regardless of how many people think his ‘The Rock’ like voice commands attention, he will not make a good president and I have serious concerns about his use of the Scripture in his political campaign.

Second, I will state that this post is in no way a condemnation of everything that Dr James Dobson says or does. I think Dobson has many good and true things to say about any number of issues regarding the family, and other issues. However, and I have said this before, Dr Dobson is not THE voice of the evangelical church and much of what he says politically opposes much of what other people believe about their faith; this is necessarily divisive. That is to say, Many of us wish that Dr Dobson would stick to family matters and stay out of political matters or at least keep his political matters to himself and stop pretending to speak for the rest of us. There are times when Dr Dobson seems to equate the agenda of the Kingdom of God with the agenda of the kingdom of America. God’s kingdom advance does not need America to do well or to be on some version of a moral code in order for it to move forward. It is a silly thing to beg sinners to act like saints or to expect sinners to do the things that saints aren’t doing or to expect sinners to line up their agenda with that of the Church just because Christians think they should.

If we want sinners to do the things of saints, then we should pray for sinners to become saints, but it seems almost fruitless to expect Christian morality out of people who explicitly reject Christ. This is like getting upset when Kathy Griffen makes rude comments about Jesus: What do we Christians expect her to do?

That said, an online friend, Odgie, posted a link to this website: James Dobson Doesn’t Speak for Me. The website is an unabashed Obama for president gimmick run by a pastor named Kirbyjon Caldwell whom I do not know (although, to be sure, there is nothing at the website suggesting that it is officially endorsed by the Obama Campaign or any particular congregation or denomination). Nevertheless, aside from his ridiculous support for the uber-ridiculous Obama, I like the statement as it reads. Here’s some of it:

James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.

He doesn’t speak for me when he uses religion as a wedge to divide;

He doesn’t speak for me when he speaks as the final arbiter on the meaning of the Bible;

James Dobson doesn’t speak for me when he uses the beliefs of others as a line of attack;

He doesn’t speak for me when he denigrates his neighbor’s views when they don’t line up with his;

He doesn’t speak for me when he seeks to confine the values of my faith to two or three issues alone;

What does speak for me is David’s psalm celebrating how good and pleasant it is when we come together in unity;

Micah speaks for me in reminding us that the Lord requires us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him;

The prophet Isaiah speaks for me in his call for all to come and reason together and also to seek justice, encourage the oppressed and to defend the cause of the vulnerable;

The book of Nehemiah speaks for me in its example to work with our neighbors, not against them, to restore what was broken in our communities;

The book of Matthew speaks for me in saying to bless those that curse you and pray for those who persecute you;

The words of the apostle Paul speak for me in saying that words spoken and deeds done without love amount to nothing.

The apostle John speaks for me in reminding us of Jesus’ command to love one another. The world will know His disciples by that love.

These words speak for me. But when James Dobson attacks Barack Obama, James Dobson doesn’t speak for me.

Well again, aside from the uncritical support of Senator Obama, I think Pastor Caldwell has written well concerning the testimony of Scripture. I think what he says about the prophets and the apostles is well written and right on the mark. To be sure, I DO NOT believe Dr Dobson would disagree which is what makes all of this so much fun. They probably both believe every word that Caldwell has written aside from the part about Obama.

I am glad that Pastor Caldwell has written this even if I am particularly dismayed at his support for such a divisive and liberal figure as Senator Obama–not that McCain is any better! Seriously, maybe we could just go the next eight years without a president. That might be fun.

The only thing that kind of bugs me about the site, aside from the pathetic support for the senator from Illinois, is that there is no way to know how many people have actually signed the petition and the ‘testimonials’ page is not deep enough to get a good feel. There are some naive responses on the testimonials page too.

We might debate what role such public figures have when it comes to Christianity, the kingdom of God, and politicians. I have been wondering if it is right for Christians to call out politicians and hold them accountable. Others have suggested yes, we should. Strangely enough, those politicians that I might call out would be defended by Christians who in turn would call out politicians that I would defend. There seems to be no real solution to this yet. Maybe quiet, peaceful lives would be helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

jerry

HT: Odgie

PS–Just so I am clear, I am not endorsing the website, the petition drive, Senator Obama; I am not condemning James Dobson. I like what Caldwell says about Scripture and think it is well written. That’s all this is about, so please do not misinterpret what I said or wrote.

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  1. Just curious … in your opinion, in what way is Obama “divisive”? I’ve heard a lot of criticisms of him, but I actually haven’t heard this one before. I’m not saying it’s not valid, just that it’s not really explained here, and I’m not sure what exactly it is you’re referring to. Thanks in advance for taking the time to expand upon your thoughts.

  2. Jeff,

    Thank you for asking me to expand my thoughts. I’ll answer your question by asking you one: Do you think George W Bush is divisive? (I’m not implying that you are necessarily opposed to the current president, but as a means of answering your question I ask.) Thanks.

    jerry

  3. Well, that doesn’t answer my question at all, Jerry. But to answer, no, I don’t. Clinton was much more divisive than is Bush, IMO. Bush probably is divisive to a certain extent, but I doubt it would be on a top 20 list of adjectives I’d use for the prez.

    As such, I really don’t understand in the slightest how your question addresses mine. But I’ll check back in to see a further explanation. Thanks, Jerry.

  4. Jeff,

    My question wasn’t intended to answer your question per se but rather it was a means of gaging where you are with respect to politics. Your Clinton example will work just as well: In the same way you think Bill Clinton was divisive, and in the same way many others think George Bush divisive, I think Senator Obama is divisive. But please understand: I think the same thing about Senator McCain who is doing, and will do, very little to bring together the Republican party and who does NOTHING at all to strengthen Conservatism.

    Obama couldn’t even win a super majority of the Democrat party delegates. So not only does he divide his party (all this talk of unity for the party is hogwash; Hilary is pissed and everyone knows it; this is why McCain is expending so much effort courting Democrats, that is, Hilary’s supporters) but he divides Americans. There are those who detest him for his association with Jeremiah Wright. There are those who detest him for his position on abortion (“I am a Christian, I hate abortion; but it should be legal.” (And it is.)). There are those who detest him because he proposes to tax, tax, tax like ALL Liberals do (and not a few conservatives too!) And this is to name but a few.

    Divisiveness is not, therefore, not an Obama phenomenon. All politicians are divisive, and necessarily so. If they were not, there’d be no such thing as political parties. I’m not saying anything unique about Senator Obama than I would not say about any politician. None of them have the best interests of America in mind; only their political party’s interests: Power, control, wealth.

    Thanks for asking. I hope this helps. (However, I’m not going to argue the point with you. You are free to disagree, but I am out of the tit-for-tat, I-say-You-say, blarguing. We can agree to disagree. But I want you to understand this: I am as equally opposed to McCain as I am to Obama. I haven’t written as much, I don’t think, about McCain because he doesn’t run around quoting Scripture every other minute and go out of his way to distance himself from Muslim Americans like the Senator from Illinois does. But if it would make you happier to see more fairness, more balance, I’ll happily write about my disgust with McCain too.)

    jerry

  5. I can get that. I just see your definition of “divisive” differs pretty greatly from mine, at least with regard to politicians. I don’t think hardly any policy decisions can be reasonably called “divisive” because, otherwise, as you say here, all politicians are divisive since one side will pretty much always agree and the other side won’t. That’s the way American politics work. So if all politicians are “divisive,” as you say they are, then none of them might as well be. The word loses its meaning when it fits everyone. By your definition, the only politicians who wouldn’t be “divisive” are ones who never took any positions on any issues, which would mean, well, they wouldn’t be politicians at all. You might as well say Obama is “human” and “lives on Earth.”

    My definition of “divisive,” however, would fit politicians whose actions split the people who follow them roughly down the middle between those who passionately dislike them and those who will defend them reflexively, often due to their party affiliation. Another word for this would be “polarizing.” The Clintons are the most divisive and polarizing politicians in the country. They perfectly fit the “Love ’em or hate ’em” cliche. Not too many people are ambivalent toward those two.

    Obama? Meh. He doesn’t have the history for this. Sure, there are people who don’t like the whole Jeremiah Wright thing, but it’s mostly people who were looking for a reason to not like him to begin with. Hardly anybody hates him for anything he did. Same with McCain. Hardly anybody hates him. Democrats don’t. Some Conservatives claim to, but that’s mostly for his policy decisions, which I don’t think counts here. He had to make the best decisions he knew how; if that pissed some people off, so be it. McCain’s not divisive at all, at least not by a definition that wouldn’t include every politician alive.

    There are probably a lot more local politicians who would fit the definition of “divisive.” Cynthia McKinney in Georgia would probably be one. The Daleys in Chicago, at least at one point. Giuliani in New York during his last couple of years as mayor. These politicians fit my definition of “divisive.” McCain and Obama are pretty far from it, regardless of whether I like either one of them.

    Jeff

  6. Jeff,

    OK. I guess I was just thinking that politicians are necessarily divisive not coincidentally–it is a necessary aspect of being a politician. I wasn’t making an ontological statement about Senator Obama’s person and if it was construed tha way, I am sorry.

    jerry




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