God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Dr. Dobson, Let’s Have a Real Debate

posted by gp_intern

James Dobson’s letter attacking Rich Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals has caused a firestorm, and maybe the beginning of a really good dialogue. Brian McLaren’s post yesterday pointed out that the letter from Dobson and friends actually acknowledged that there is a real debate among evangelicals about the seriousness of climate change and the reasons for it. So instead of calling for Cizik’s resignation for saying global warming should be a moral issue for evangelical Christians, why don’t Dobson and his friends accept a real debate on whether climate change is, indeed, one of the great moral issues of our time? A major evangelical Christian university should host just such a debate.

But I want to focus on the following very clear statement from Dobson’s letter:

More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.

That is indeed the key criticism, and the foundation for the real debate. Is the fact that 30,000 children will die globally today, and everyday, from needless hunger and disease a great moral issue for evangelical Christians? How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? And isn’t the still-widespread and needless poverty in our own country, the richest nation in the world, a moral scandal? What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS that wipe out whole generations and countries, or the sex trafficking of massive numbers of women and children? Should genocide in Darfur be a moral issue for Christians? And what about disastrous wars like Iraq? And then there is, of course, the issue that got Dobson and his allies so agitated. If the scientific consensus is right – climate change is real, is caused substantially by human activity, and could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths – then isn’t that also a great moral issue? Could global warming actually be alarming evidence of human tinkering with God’s creation?

Or, are the only really “great moral issues” those concerning abortion, gay marriage, and the teaching of sexual abstinence? I happen to believe that the sanctity of life, the health of marriages, and teaching sexual morality to our children are, indeed, among the great moral issues of our time. But I believe they are not the only great moral issues, and Dobson says they are.

So Jim, let’s have that debate – the big debate. What are the great moral issues of our time for evangelical Christians? You’re right, a new generation is embracing a wider and deeper agenda than you want them to. I think that is a very good thing. You think it is a bad thing, and want to get people fired for raising broader issues than those connected to sexual morality. So, today, I am inviting you to have that debate about what the great moral issues of our time really are. Again, let’s ask a leading evangelical university to invite us both and host a public debate, and perhaps ask a major evangelical publication to co-sponsor it. Let’s have that debate, Jim, and see what America’s evangelicals think the great moral issues of our time really are. How about it?



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:11 pm


“Is the fact that”…. Smoke and mirrors to avoid the 1.3 million children who will die today. Granted, I don’t think the second two listed by Dobson are, taken alone, the biggest issues in America today, and I do think there is a great mistaken emphasis on judging outsiders rather than purifying the body (1 Cor 5).



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Anon for reasons

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:13 pm


Jim – Good luck! I don’t think that you will be having that debate until Dr. Dobson sees that it will help with his own agenda. And people please don’t tell me he doesn’t have an agenda.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:33 pm


The NAE has been involved with advocacy on behalf of human rights, slavery, AIDS, and poverty, without criticism from Dobson, so clearly Dobson is not saying that it is wrong to pursue issues other than abortion or gay marriage. Also, this is a tricky sentence: “If the scientific consensus is right – climate change is real, is caused substantially by human activity, and could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths – then isn t that also a great moral issue?” Climate change is obviously real, and is caused substantially (a vague term that in this context could describe almost any amount) by humans. The scientific consensus is that It could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths, insofar as they have not ruled out the possibility. However, the IPCC report does not claim that hundreds of thousands of people are likely to die from global warming. Wallis is playing word games latch his opinion to scientific consensus. I could do the same thing. “Experts estimate that there are 1.3 million abortions annually in our country, a number that could increase to 25-30 million per year without substantial intervention.”



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butch

posted March 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm


“why don t Dobson and his friends accept a real debate on whether climate change is” Jim Wallis Quite focusing on those who won’t or can’t think. Notice already that Kevin moves the discussion to abortion, another cleaver sneaky way to change the subject. We also need a snide remark about Clinton and Obama to move this forward off course.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Jim, Well put. Great post. Those who want to accept it in the spirit intended will. Those who don’t won’t. Keep up the good work, Jim.



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Josh

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Bravo! Here’s hoping (but not expecting) that Dr. Dobson accepts this invitation. I’ll be going to the Focus on the Family website (family.org) to send an email encouraging Dr. Dobson to do just that.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:32 pm


“Notice already that Kevin moves the discussion to abortion, ” Wallis’ blog was about the relative importance of global warming and abortion, so i didn’t change the topic at all.



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Antonym

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Jim: Please stop with the “Wild, Wild West” posturing. Do you really think that “debating” issues in person will really change anything? The arguments, correlations and causations are too subjective, and require real theological rigor. SJ or you have not demonstrated that you really want to hold to theological consistency, given your prooftexting on behalf of your cause. What is quite interesting to me is that you seem to be overly focused on dynamics within the NAE; they set agendas that are both broad and narrow. If Dobson wants to be narrow, then his own constiuents will see this, and exercise their votes. If the NAE chooses to implode, then let them do so. It seems that your penchant desire for debate reveals the need for visibility that you so crave. Perhaps the real debate should be about agendas that Progressive/SJ Christians are enamored with. Did you read your own post about Constantinian Christians? That’s the topic of discussion. I’m no supporter of Dobson’s agenda, but it seems that NAE has to allow him to uncover and expose himself–and it might be hard for you to believe it, but they can do this without your help. Get the beam out of SJ’s eye first.



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HASH(0x117bdbe4)

posted March 6, 2007 at 6:37 pm


Sorry Kevin, your analogy won’t work. Hundreds of thousands may well die just from higher sea levels resulting from polar glacial ice melt alone, not to mention other possible results of climate change. And if the rise in sea level is slow enough, they may be able to evacuate costal areas, but such a massive displacement could cost many lives from disease, starvation, lack of shelter, etc. Not at all the same as induced abortion, which is a conscious, deliberate decision.



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HASH(0x117be9b0)

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:07 pm


The great moral dilemma of all time is that humans are just too self-centered. Any specific issue from there has its place. For example, we can’t all ignore the environmental issue, but if we all ignore every other issue until the earth is saved, too many other problems will escalate. Stop quibbling about whether or not to talk about an issue and DO something about it.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 7:27 pm


“Not at all the same as induced abortion, which is a conscious, deliberate decision.” It doesn’t have to be the same to be analagous. There is no scientific consensus that hundreds of thousands will die from global warming, which is the point. “Stop quibbling about whether or not to talk about an issue and DO something about it.” What should we do?



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HASH(0x117c0d48)

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm


Abortion: Do what you can – advocate, donate, promote, start, etc – to implement education programs on safe sex (see below), stopping violence against women (in this case, rape), etc. Also, take care of the kids that are already here (education, food and shelter, etc.), rather than advocating for the unborn and then abondoning them. Sex Ed: Don’t tell kids “do this” “don’t do that,” teach them about healthy RELATIONSHIPS. Start by having healthy relationships yourselves. Teach kids to be critical of the culture of sex they see all around them, don’t just tell them it’s “bad.” Environment: By a hybrid, make sure you’re recyling, stop buying so much crap (we can all do this, I GUARANTEE you have too much stuff), clean up the highway, walk to work, ride a bike, work out by going for a run/walk/bike ride instead of using electricity to run a machine and gas to drive to the gym, turn off the lights, by locally grown produce. Do you want me to go on? I certainly can.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:17 pm


I am afraid that such a debate would fail in the same way that most political debates do: failure to engage the third party. While Dobson argues for the government to exercise moral control over individuals, and Wallis asks the state to intervene on behalf of the needy, the possibility that any action on the part of the state might be negative has been ignored. Unbelievers have no obligation to be moral. They also have no obligation to care for the needy. These tasks are the defining unique and peculiar responsibilities of the church. The state exists to wield the sword in punishment of evildoers, people who have encroached on the rights of others, and to enforce contracts. Any attempts to manipulate the state into exercising greater authority or compassion have adverse effects. This side of the debate is not invited. Nathanael Snow



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HASH(0x117c18f4)

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm


If “Unbelievers have no obligation to be moral,” then how is it that humans are the only ones who are immoral? Nature is designed to be balanced for the “greater good” of creation, yet humans’ self-centeredness destroys that balance as nothing else in creation does.



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Elmo

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:31 pm


Why do both sides want the government to solve our problems? Has that ever worked? The government is inefficient, and lacks ingenuity. What we need is for Christians to start putting their money where their mouths are. If American Christians gave 10% of their incomes, we could provide food, schooling, and health care for all of the needy children in the world and have money left over, without adjusting our current church budgets. If you want the research, it’s in the Pub magazine from The Village Church. But we could put 5x that much in the hands of our government or the UN or the World Bank and it wouldn’t get the job done. Besides, the church needs to be first about sharing the Gospel, and bringing others into the kingdom. Of course, winning converts is bad form in our PC environment. But that’s what the mission of the gospel is. The church doesn’t exist for social justice or for social morality, it exists to share Christ. He came to seek and save the lost, not just to feed the hungry and make sure everyone followed the lost. Both sides are off track in this conflict. The great moral crisis of each and every era (our time included) is that not everyone hears the Gospel, and not everyone comes to Christ. We should focus on that.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 8:31 pm


Anonymous, So you arae talking about taking personal responsibility. I agree with you completely.



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kevin s.

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:08 pm


“If American Christians gave 10% of their incomes, we could provide food, schooling, and health care for all of the needy children in the world and have money left over, without adjusting our current church budgets.” That’s exactly right. So few Christians put their money where there mouths are. The average Christian gives, what, 2% of their income? Yuck.



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:09 pm


(note: my original comment should say “this year” rather than “today) To be fair to kevin, I was the person to focus on the abortion issue first, so if you want to say that’s a bad thing, the blame is on my shoulders… Though I don’t think I changed the subject at all. Jim Wallis responded to the question of abortion (et al) by taking the focus elsewhere, and I’m saying, “No. Look. 40 million people have been legally exterminated in America, and 1.3 million more will be killed by the end of the year, due to abortion. There is no other issue which more clearly demands the attention of Americans than this one.” Granted, if you *don’t* think a fetus is a person, it’s a moot point, and you can (and should) ignore my emphasis on abortion (and instead maybe we can have a discussion about the meaning of personhood some day [not today] somewhere [probably not here in this comment thread]). But I get the impression that if I could pin Jim down, he’d say that a fetus IS a person. And that, to me, makes all of the dancing about compromise and other issues a little bit disturbing. So I’m simply saying, “No Jim. Poverty solutions are not on the same level as the legalized extermination of tens of millions of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.” It’s a direct response. —– There’s a prisoner’s dilemma with the environmental question. I’ll explain: Green advocates want Americans to be more efficient, to conserve more. A noble request, to be sure. However, going green is a pain, so, all things equal, the average individual doesn’t want to do it. He’ll only do it if (a) there’s an incentive, making it beneficial or (b) he’s convinced that him going green is CRITICAL. Environmental advocate groups spend all their time on (b), understandably. But it’s not going to work. Bob the average American KNOWS that he is one man in 250 million. So he’s deciding whether he should inconvenience himself and go green. He considers (consciously or otherwise): “If 90% of Americans go green, I can maintain my behavior and reap all the benefits. Because I’m one man in 250 million. If 90% of Americans do NOT go green, why should I break my back doing so when my behavioral change will have no discernible effect on the environment?” Yeah, it’s selfish. But Bob knows that he alone can have virtually no effect on the environment. So until he has a better incentive to change or until he’s convinced that he, one of 250 million Americans, can make a legitimate individual difference, he won’t change. And neither will 250 million others.



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:10 pm


If “personal responsibility” were enough, we wouldn’t need laws, because everyone would “do the right thing” on their own. That’s not to say that personal responsibility isn’t necessary, but it’s clearly not sufficient.



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:12 pm


But Bob knows that he alone can have virtually no effect on the environment. So until he has a better incentive to change or until he’s convinced that he, one of 250 million Americans, can make a legitimate individual difference, he won’t change. Which is partly why “personal responsibility” is insufficient.



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HASH(0x117c9090)

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:16 pm


“If ‘personal responsibility’ were enough, we wouldn’t need laws, because everyone would ‘do the right thing’ on their own.” A fundamental problem… rather than restricting people from doing bad things that harm others, the presumption is that the government’s role is to make people do the right thing. Most people act like this on both sides of the aisle. Look, you can pass laws preventing people from infringing on others’ rights, and to an extent environmental legislation does that (as has been pointed out, we all breath the same air). But as soon as you start passing legislation to make people do good things, you’ve started along the path to authoritarian government (not to mention that you’ve prevented virtuous action by individuals through making a free act compulsory).



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Mark P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:22 pm


Woops, the above comment is mine, not anonymous.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:28 pm


“Unbelievers and morality” to whom are unbelievers accountable for their actions? God. Only. To whom are believers accountable? The Church. Unrepentant believers are to be excommunicated. When encroachment or breach of contract is an issue there has been a crime committed. Where there is no victim there is no crime. The sword should be restricted to punishing for crimes. Not for victimless behavior such as sexual deviation, drug use, or profanity. These are the very things the religious right attempts to legislate.



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:28 pm


Is there really a meaningful distinction between punishing people for doing bad things and punishing them for not doing good things? I’m not convinced there is. In each case, a moral determination has been made, i.e. either that an activity is “bad” or that an activity is “good”. In general, though, I would agree with those who prefer the use of carrots over sticks, but that’s not to say that sticks have no value.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:31 pm


The prisoner’s dilemma is an artificial one created by unclear definitions of property rights. There is no market externality here that freely acting individuals cannot resolve through free transactions. (Coase) Environmental problems only exist where property rights are not clearly defined. By the way, amen, amen, and amen to the 10% comment above.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:32 pm


Replace personal responsibility with personal property and everything works just fine.



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CRP

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:43 pm


Jim, Yep. Let’s have that debate–and others, and force the public to think about these issues. And I hope you et al keep up the pressure to debate these issues publically.



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Kyle

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:49 pm


What do you think of Calvin College hosting that debate? I’d love to attend it!!!



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carl copas

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm


“All property is theft.” — Karl Marx



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D4P

posted March 6, 2007 at 9:55 pm


“All property is theft.” If everything belongs to God, then that’s probably true.



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Elmo

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:16 pm


“All property is theft.” If everything belongs to God, then that’s probably true. Except that God gave Adam and Eve dominion over everything on earth.



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:21 pm


Elmo: But that’s what the mission of the gospel is. No it’s not. The mission of the gospel is to love. It’s not a numbers game, never was. The fact that evangelicals have focused on numbers is part of the problem. The goal was always to make disciples and that might only be one man or it could be a village either way the goal was never to save all only Christ could do that.p



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:28 pm


“Except that God gave Adam and Eve dominion over everything on earth.” It’s not as cut and dry either. The land has a say over who will have dominion or not. if blood overpowers the land and polutes the land will vomit out its inhabitants. The word domonion would better be translated as steward anyway. p



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Payshun

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:29 pm


I agree w/ the poster that said debating this issue is pointless. I have no faith in them to actually discuss the issue on its merits. But I think a discussion would be great and it doesn’t even have to be public. I would love to hear about Dobson and Wallis having a conversation on the phone talking about life and Jesus and his love of the environment. p



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HASH(0x117d7918)

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:44 pm


Hurray for P! I don’t remember Jesus converting anyone, I remember Jesus getting his hands dirty and speaking up for people, hanging out with people, loving people, and teaching people – not mandating, forcing, condemning, or excommunicating.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:49 pm


“…If American Christians gave 10% of their incomes, we could provide food, schooling, and health care for all of the needy children in the world and have money left over, without adjusting our current church budgets. If you want the research, it’s in the Pub magazine from The Village Church…”. Elmo, This would be helpful information, and please tell us where it is, on that web site.



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Runt

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:56 pm


Seems Dobson’s group wants to dictate instead of discuss the broader base of issues that effect the welfare and well being of the masses of the people. Some groups just want to preach, not practice the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught us to practice those teachings with all of our fellow human beings.That’s what he did. He didn’t exempt any of us from doing the same thing. So let’s get to work on all of the moral issues that concern the human species of the world, as well as taking care of our environment which provides all of our sustenance. If we don’t take care of the earth, it can’t take care of us.



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Paul

posted March 6, 2007 at 10:57 pm


D4P, You might want to have a look at C.S.Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”, about a society where if it is not prohibited, it is required. cheers, Paul



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Steven Danver

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:29 pm


Yes, Jim, more power to you! I’d definitely love to see that debate happen. Unfortunately, most “leaders” in the Religious Right only like to “discuss” issues with those who agree with them or who they can bully into submission. Let’s hope you’ve piqued Dobson’s interest somehow…



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Steve's wife

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:49 pm


Dobson isn’t interested in debating unless it can further his agenda. Not that I think his agenda is a bad one…it’s just not the ONLY one.As Jim said, a new generation is embracing a wider and deeper agenda and I for one, am glad. For years, I’ve been considered a liberal Christian (which is most certainly a political distinction), and I’ve wondered why that is. Jesus talks far more about how we should treat the poor than he does about Dobson’s agenda items.Again, not that it’s wrong to embrace Godly principles, but I think that when you begin to assert political and financial power to further your “pet agendas” (as I feel Dobson does), then you step over a line in the sand that ought not to have been drawn to begin with.



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Christy

posted March 6, 2007 at 11:52 pm


The primary objection I have with Dobson’s comments is that what he is really implying is that if the NAE and Rick Cizik were “good” Christians like him and other fundamentalists then they wouldn’t get all mixed up in the (insert your favorite adjective here: liberal, secular, false) issue of global warming and the environment. Because he is an ideologue he will never yield on this issue. According to Dobson and Falwell (see Jerry Falwell’s sermon on “The Myth of Global Warming” dated February 25 on his web site) “good” Christians, “real” Christians, “faithful” Christians only concern themselves politically with the big three moral sins. I would consider it refreshing and a step toward opening up some of the deep seated fundamentalist narrowmindedness if Dobson and Falwell and others like them could even bring themselves to say something like: While it is not part of the agenda of Focus on the Family or Liberty University to support issues concerning the environment, we recognize that God has called us to do His work by giving each of us a unique set of gifts and interests. If God has laid a heavy burden on the hearts of our Christian brothers and sisters at the NAE to speak out on the issue of the environment, then we support them with our prayers in that calling. I won’t hold my breath, but I am faithful that God is able to break through even the hardest of hearts and narrowest of minds even among his own children.



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Peace to all

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:01 am


A good debate would be a wonderful idea. The sad thing is that Dobson is not even on the NAE! Just sad.



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:03 am


” I don’t remember Jesus converting anyone” Jesus definitely converted people.



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Jim Taylor

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:14 am


Is it just me or does “evangelical” show up too much in anything Jim Wallace? I joined Sojourners because I thought it was ecumenical. Was I wrong? I’m not looking to forward the cause of evangelicals. I’m tired of labels that exclude. I don’t know if you folks are the people to ask, but I thought I’d voice my concern here first. Blessings!



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Wm. Thomas Hill

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:42 am


Actually, I think it would be a great topic for an academic conference at a major Christian university… not simply a debate between Jim and James… though I definately agree that the debate should happen. It could be the opening salvo that sets the conference off. Any thoughts?



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:47 am


I’d like to see Jim Wallis debate Richard Cizik, personally. I don’t think Dobson would make for an interesting debate, as I don’t think he has a very strong grasp of political rhetoric.



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Don

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:12 am


Yes, but Jim Wallis going up with Richard Cizik would hardly be a debate, since they essentially agree on this topic. More like a dialogue than a debate, I would think. True, it would probably be interesting. And you’re right, Kevin. I don’t think Dr. Dobson would make a very good debator. He’s too soft-spoken.



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D4P

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:35 am


Maybe Dobson could wear a hidden wire in the back of his suit jacket…



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Wolverine

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:36 am


We’ve already had this debate over the proper priorities for evangelicals in the political realm. Jim Wallis had a back-and-forth with Ralph Reed early in the days of this blog. It was an interesting exchange but I don’t know what James Dobson would say that would be all that different from what Reed said. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:18 am


Besides, the church needs to be first about sharing the Gospel, and bringing others into the kingdom. Of course, winning converts is bad form in our PC environment. But that’s what the mission of the gospel is. The church doesn’t exist for social justice or for social morality, it exists to share Christ. He came to seek and save the lost, not just to feed the hungry and make sure everyone followed the lost. Both sides are off track in this conflict. The great moral crisis of each and every era (our time included) is that not everyone hears the Gospel, and not everyone comes to Christ. We should focus on that. Not quite, Elmo — the Gospel of Christ is about heralding a new sort of Kingdom that rejects the world’s way of thinking. Of course you have to be convicted of your sin and renounce it; but when you do He adopts you into a whole new community. He doesn’t simply save us from sin and hell; He saves us into something. I don’t know what James Dobson would say that would be all that different from what Reed said. It’s not if he would say anything different — it’s the idea that he would debate anyone. I get the feeling he really does look down on anyone who doesn’t think the way he does. Some years ago he even slammed Cal Thomas, no liberal, for even disagreeing with him.



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jeff

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:43 am


I had heard of this organization a long while back, and am grateful that I heard of you again recently. For awhile I had felt that I was the only “Centrist” – which means I am my own political map – Evangelical on the planet, other than my parents. In sincerity, I am happy to have made the acquaintance of fellow Christians who are concerned about the well-being of God’s creation, their fellow man.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:47 am


“…Besides, the church needs to be first about sharing the Gospel, and bringing others into the kingdom… The great moral crisis of each and every era (our time included) is that not everyone hears the Gospel, and not everyone comes to Christ. We should focus on that…”. Elmo, Does God really expect us to compensate for the fact that two-thirds of the population of this small speck in the universe do not have the cultural influence we have here, to be Christians? I think not… that makes no logical sense… we are greatly influenced by our culture… an all-just God does not expect “non-Christians” to see Christianity as do we of primartily European descent… The Christian church should be about the prime message of being Christ to those who are “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” and so on… with our charitable contributions… and, if those are all tied up in church buildings, with our taxes… We do that to God and for God… …in my view…



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Valerie

posted March 7, 2007 at 12:41 pm


Global warming is only part of the problem. For those who wish to debate the issue of whether abortion has a higher moral value, I would encourage you to consider the children currently born in America. A stunning scientific study shows that the average infant is BORN with over “200 industrial chemicals and pollutants” in their tiny bodies. That’s right… all of the pollution the mother is exposed to passes right through to the baby. Now that’s scary! http://www.ewg.org/reports/bodyburden2/ for the full report. If Dobson is not concerned about the impact of global warming, surely he should appreciate this study on the children that are born. While he may debate this one aspect of pollution, there is no denying what is happening to our children today! I sent this report to Dobson many months ago, so he is informed. The problem is big business does not want to acknowledge pollution, and you simply can not be against big business pollution and be a republican at the same time. Hence, Dobson’s defense of his position. Jesus warned us about this!



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David B.

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:20 pm


I would say that both Dobson and Wallis are both right and wrong. Wallis is right that there are major issues that need to be addressed. Clean water, basic medical care, basic education, and hunger are all key issues that should be on the top of our agenda. Wallis is wrong that climate change, in terms of how humans are impacting the trend, is a issue. Climate change is happening, but humanity is not the reason. Let’s focus our efforts on dealing with the REAL human impact of what is going on in the world now and not 100, 200, or 300 years from now. I still say that the “global warming” issue is a convenient cop out for those who what to point to a great cause in which they are participating without any real commitment. Dobson is right that “climate change” and “global warming,” as impacted by human beings, is distracting. How many billions of dollars are we going to spend on a problem that may never have any tangible results. Let’s put the money, resources, and effort where real progress for the kingdom can be made. People dying without Christ because a lack of basic necessities will not care one wit that we have saved the planet for people 100 years from now. Dobson is wrong in that his list of moral issues for our time is too USA centered. All of the issues listed are certainly important issues, but his vision needs to be broader.



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Christy

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:27 pm


Amen Valerie! You have pointed out the keystone to their argument and their choice not to believe in global warming AKA pollution. Ideology has blinded the far right to this human rights issue. Why would good people not support clean air, clean water, and healthy food? Why do they choose to support Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Business and Big Polluters with their position? They can’t evaluate this issue on its own merits because environmental issues have historically been tied to people who do not look like, act like, or vote like they do. The far right sees this as a liberal issue and therefore they are unwilling and unable to give it any consideration. And, because many pastors in fundamentalist churches tell their congregations what to think, the flock follows the shepherd. It is a big world. There is a lot of God’s work to be done for His Kingdom. Thankfully there is a change afoot with progressive Christians to not only be the body of Christ but to be His hands and feet too.



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Donny (a nickname)

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:45 pm


If I was Dobson I would jump at this chance to prove Wallis the heretic that he is. Read any letter from James, John, Peter, Jude or Paul and see that they were critical of wallis before he was born. raed the Gospels and find out that Jesus did speak about homosexuality when He defined marriage immutablyas a man and a woman. Pretty hard to care for the poor and the needy while giving them to pederasts. If it is to be a debate using the New Testament, Wallis would not only lose, he would need to be converted into becoming a Christian. Dobson is fighting the good fight. He is contending for the faith delivered only once to the Saints.Wallis is fighting for another version of a new religion.Dobson is the good guy. Wallis is the false teacher trying to lead people astray preaching what their itching ears want to hear. Just as the writers of the New Testament wrote about. Yeah, let’s have a debate. The victory has already been won.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 1:48 pm


As I see it, the issue here is larger than global climate change. It goes to who will speak with moral authority for the Christian evangelical world. I like the broader range of issues embraced by Sojourners and feel that it is more reflective of the overall mission of the church.There is a great deal of debate over the causes of global warming. If there is something we can do to positively affect the environment, we are compelled to do so both out of common sense and out of a Christian ethic.Like so many others, we are not technical people. We don’t know the intricacies of the analysis and we must defer to those more knowlegeable than ourselves. We must pray for wisdom to discern truth from falsehood and to put our agendas to the side. Otherwise we are bringing nothing to the table and we’re no better than clanging bells. Peace.



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Christy

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:03 pm


I’m not saying Dobson isn’t good, but….. What if Dobson isn’t the good guy? Really imagine it. What if he represents the establishment, the Pharisees. Government and religion in cohort with each other. What if Wallis represents the radical Jesus some of us have recently come to know and love. The questioning Jesus, the not in my Father’s house Jesus, the first shall be last and the last shall be first Jesus. Have you really thought about it? What if?



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IMeanSeriously

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm


James Dobson is a complete fool. Abstinence is really as pressing of a matter as 30k children per day dying????? right….



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm


Valerie, “200 industrial chemicals and pollutants” and yet we manage to live longer and healthier lives than any other generation after the flood. Big business is not the problem. Big business married to the state is. When government moves beyond protecting rights and contracts into trying to do some good, it immediately falls prey to special interests. The most concentrated special interests are able to exert the greatest influence, no matter how small they might be. When we say, “government must do something!” we open the door to all special interests, not just our own. The best solution is to shut the door and to restrict government to protection of rights and enforcement of contracts. This is what the constitution tried to do. When thinking about whether global warming is receiving the appropriate amount of resources, we must always ask, compared to what? If more resources flow to global warming they must be taken away from somewhere else. What if switching to ethanol causes more fertile land to be dedicated to fuel rather than food? What if imposing carbon monoxide restrictions on third world countries creates unemployment? What if cleaner burning diesel fuels won’t work in cold climates and hundreds of kids are stuck in the cold on school buses? There’s always a tradeoff. But the tool does not exist which will enable government decision makers to choose between carbon monoxide and school kids. Only the open and free market can communicate the real relative costs and benefits facing individuals. A clean environment is a luxury good. It is less important than feeding people and looking after their health. Doing away with public property, “commons”, and generating clearly defined property rights will allow individuals to weight their alternatives freely while considering incentives that require personal responsibility.



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Don

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:45 pm


Christy: Right on. I love probing questions like these. Maybe Dr. Dobson is a good guy and maybe Jim Wallis is also. but I think it’s more likely that both carry some good and some bad with them, just like we all do. Martin Luther said we’re all saints and sinners simultaneously. The world is just much too complex to put people, ideas, and movements in two convenient boxes. Trying to say one always wears the white hat while the other always wears the black hat just doesn’t square with reality. Jesus certainly didn’t side with the establishment. If the present administration in DC represents the establishment, then Dr. Dobson has certainly been siding with them, at least from what I have seen. Would that all our religious leaders show a bit more independence than that. Donny: Are you intimately familiar with Jim Wallis’ faith commitment? Do you know what he actually beleives about core Christian doctrines like the incarnation, the atonement, and the Holy Trinity? Only then could you be able to determine whether someone is orthodox in his/her beliefs. One’s political positions by themselves don’t tell us that. Until you know a person’s faith commitments, don’t presume you can identify that person as a heretic. Peace,



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 2:55 pm


Dr. Dobson Don’t bother with the debate. Stay on course with your ministry and continue to help families. I wish Wallis and Sojo would focus on their mission and stop attacking other Christian leaders to promote their agenda. They seem to have a desire to promote dialog between different groups in order to come to consensus on any number of issues. Sadly – they also seem to enjoy attacking what they view as the opposition and cut off meaningful discussion.Don’t say anything about Sojo – that way they can not spin it one way or the other. You deal with families – Sojo can deal with ‘the opposition’ whom ever they view them to be that day. Later – .



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Laura

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:14 pm


Jim,I support your invitation for debate, even if you don’t get an answer. I support you because you are truly looking for answers. You’re not looking for yet another podium to further your agenda. Thank you for that.Forgive me if I lose focus on the global warming debate, but I am so discouraged by the content of religious discourse in the press today. All I hear about are groups with a singular point of view who are, more than anything, closed minded.In order to really truly solve problems, we can not be closed minded. I and my family have been turned off by religion because Christians seem to be the first to tell you how to live your life, but the last to listen to other points of view.Jesus was creative and energetic. He was open to new ways of reaching people. And above all, He loved everyone because we are all children of God. Today, I’m not interested in going to church, and I haven’t really been interested in participating in religious discourse–because all I will hear is that Christians are against abortion and gay marriage. If that’s all ministers have to say to me, then I’d rather stay home and read about this thoughtful debate on beliefnet.com.



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Pete Abel

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:24 pm

TTT

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:44 pm


I am not a Christian and some of my beliefs are at odds with what I expect most of the evangelicals in this thread believe. However, I am very happy to see the open and straightforward way in which this issue is being discussed here, and how so far this thread has been almost totally free from projecting evil or dishonest motives onto others–which is typically where Internet discussions go downhill. You have handled it much better than most secular boards I have visited.



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anonymous

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:51 pm


Dobson is not the President…it is not his job to prioritize which issues are the biggest in our day. He is a voice on issues of morality because that is what he does, as a church leader. I respect his point that Christian leaders should not become entrenched in controversial scientific theories such as this when this is completely out of their realm of experience, knowledge, or purpose. Why are people jumping all over him for “only” focusing on moral-behavior issues? He is not running for political office. He is dedicated to being a voice for the morality of believers and helping them live in a moral fashion. I sense that many of you here can’t ignore his message but wish he wouldn’t harp on that morality thing so much because it is very unpopular and un-PC.



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360

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Non-sequitor of the week: Yeah, let’s have a debate. The victory has already been won. [rolleyes]



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curiouser and curiouser...

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:57 pm


butch, I rarely come to kevin s’s defence, but… “Notice already that Kevin moves the discussion to abortion, another cleaver sneaky way to change the subject.” Sorry, but it was Mr. Dobson and his tribe who moved the discussion to abortion. That is the ESSENCE of the letter his group published. They ‘think’ it is their right to move the discussion AWAY from taking good care of the environment (because ‘Man’ is supposed to have dominion over it) and TO their anti-choice and anti-gay positions. Apparently, that’s where the money is. At leaast it’s where it comes from in their ‘base’.



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Don

posted March 7, 2007 at 3:59 pm


anonymous: If Dr. Dobson were just focusing on moral issues as a Chrstian leader, most of us wouldn’t have a problem with that, even if we might disagree with him. But he’s done more than that. He has entered the political realm as a “kingmaker.” He has created a separate organization that is not tax-exempt so that he can endorse candidates. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it has reflected on his effectiveness as a Christian leader. As I mentioned previously, it appears he is closely aligned with the administratiion in Washington, and therefore his view on what Christians should be talking about re. global climate change is likely influenced by that administration’s views on the topic. And apparently he refuses to recognize that many Christians feel the climate issue is also a moral issue, just like abortion is, and that therefore their faith tells them they should speak out. I don’t think we dislike his harping on moral issues becuase they aren’t “PC.” We just wish he wouldn’t criticize others who would like to talk about other issues that they also regard as moral. Peace,



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:16 pm


“The far right sees this as a liberal issue and therefore they are unwilling and unable to give it any consideration.” Well, Cizik is certainy part of the religious right, as a pro-Bush conservative. It seems that he is willing to give it consideration. “What if Dobson isn’t the good guy? Really imagine it.” While we might believe his political focus is too narrow, there is no question in my mind that abortion and keeping Christ at the center of families are major issues for God. While I wish Dobson had not made such an aggressive foray into politics, to say that he is the “bad guy” is a shallow understanding at best. “What if he represents the establishment, the Pharisees. Government and religion in cohort with each other.” The Pharisees did not represent government and religion in cohort with each other, but rather held an antagonistic attitude. The Sadducees developed a relationship with the Roman Empire, thought that isn’t necessarily why Christ felt they were in the wrong.Dobson’s power to influence government is, I think quite a bit different from using government to achieve power. He runs an interest group, and seeks to have the ear of any president, and you obviously disagree with him, but that is an insufficient case that he is Pharisaical. “What if Wallis represents the radical Jesus some of us have recently come to know and love. The questioning Jesus, the not in my Father’s house Jesus, the first shall be last and the last shall be first Jesus.” What about the “do not sin again” Jesus, or “the way, the truth, and the life” Jesus. I have never seen Wallis say that repenting and accepting Christ into your heart is necessary for anything. I find that more problematic than his political priorities. “Have you really thought about it?” Yep. “What if?” What if you are wrong?



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Mark P

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:41 pm


D4P Is there really a meaningful distinction between punishing people for doing bad things and punishing them for not doing good things? -You aren t punished for doing bad things you re punished for doing bad things that HARM OTHERS. That s the distinction. It s not about omission v commission; it s about whether you harm others and infringe on their liberties. — Jurisnaturalist: -I m not sure what your point is and how it directly responds to my assertion that It ll help your neighbor is not going to effect people s actions like It ll help you will. Thus until people believe that each as an individual going green matters, they won t do it. My post has nothing to do with whether the free market CAN solve. My post is simply stating that if you want people to go green, create incentives rather than wasting your time trying to convince people that one person s action effects the globe because we all know it doesn t. Now, 250 million matter but one out of those 250 million doesn t, taken alone. And people act as individuals (there is no aggregate good/supply/demand). -I do agree that genuine protection of property rights would go a long way in solving. — carlAll property is theft. — Karl Marx -I presume you re referencing Karl to support property rights; he s not exactly the numero uno source of validation for any brand of Christian. If you find yourself agreeing with him, perhaps it s time to reconsider what you believe. — Anonymous I don’t remember Jesus converting anyone, I remember Jesus getting his hands dirty and speaking up for people, hanging out with people, loving people, and teaching people – not mandating, forcing, condemning, or excommunicating. -I remember him calling some religious leaders a brood of vipers. -I remember him flipping over tables in a temple. -I remember him saying it would be better for Sodom and Gomorra than for those that reject His teachings. -Let s not turn Jesus into a happy hippy conveniently formed for your personal political agenda. It s the polar opposite (and just as repugnant) as white-middle-class-Republican Jesus. -The black letters matter too. Paul is Scripture too. — Nickname Donny: I think you re a wee bit (and by that I mean quite a bit) over the top on your condemnation of Wallis. — Christy, What if? -It s not about the what if s, it s about the what is. What if Woodrow Wilson were the REAL Jesus and Jesus was just an archetype? -I don t think it s a probing question; I think it s a silly way to say, Maybe show a little humility in your interaction with others and your labels. -I agree with Don in saying that Donny is taking one arena of Wallis thought that he disagrees with and making it THE definition of Wallis. — Laura If that’s all ministers have to say to me -If that s all your ministers have to say, maybe try a new church rather than dismissing the fellowship altogether.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:42 pm


Don: “I don’t think we dislike his harping on moral issues becuase they aren’t “PC.” We just wish he wouldn’t criticize others who would like to talk about other issues that they also regard as moral.” Well said. Two views of Christianity are in conflict here. Dobson et al view Christianity as a set of personal moral values (valid) and almost nothing beyond that (invalid). Wallis, McLaren et al see Christianity having a much wider scope.It serves no purpose to call Dobson names just as it serves no purpose to call Wallis names. We cannot ultimately know the motives behind their respective political agendas. We are not God. Having said that I completely reject Dobson’s narrow, moralistic view and I think that Wallis’s views reflect a more realistic view of what Christianity is all about.



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Joseph Grigoletti

posted March 7, 2007 at 4:55 pm


The priority of the Church should NOT be determined by cultural issues rather it should by determined by Sacred Scripture. From my youthful Reformed view I see both Wallis and Dobson as being wrong and unbiblical for they put political agendas over the Great Commission. In my view The Wallis’,McClaren’s, and the Campolo’s are the modern day Sadducees who deny the essential truths of the faith. On the other side there are the modern day Pharisees: Falwell, Dobson, and Robertson. This modern day Pharisees may have correct theology (at least on the essentials) but they put moralizing America as a priority over the fate of sinners. I don’t trust either extreme especially when both sides have so many great contradictions in their logic. If you are for intervening in Darfur how could you be against getting rid of Saddam Hussein? And that goes vice versa. If you were for getting rid of Saddam Hussein why arn’t you speaking up neo-cons? The Chief purpose of the Church as well as individuals “is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.



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Stephanie Hansen

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:14 pm


Dobson s letter accuses Richard Cizak of saying, We [proponents of global warming] are the future, and the old guard, he continued, is reaching up to grasp its authority back, like a horror movie where a hand comes out of the grave. To paraphrase, Cizik apparently believes the old guard which defends traditional values is like a rotting corpse that will not die.Proponents of global warming? There are proponents of global warming? (I m hearing Inigo Montoya in my head, saying, You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. ) I don t think anyone really argues in favor of global warming. And Dobson et al must be confused; what the heck does defending traditional values have to do with global warming? Ugh I also have to mention this gem: We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere? How sad to learn that this group believes that promoting abortion, distributing condoms to the young, and infanticide are the only methods by which humans can control the population. I can think of other means right this second. Starting with snipping everyone who signed this letter so that they can t keep poisoning my pool.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Joseph: The Chief purpose of the Church as well as individuals “is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. I agree. But how does the Church do that? If it is not to take as stand on anything, how would it be different from the vast majority of Christians who stood by and did nothing during the holocaust?



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:29 pm


Joseph: “In my view The Wallis’,McClaren’s, and the Campolo’s are the modern day Sadducees who deny the essential truths of the faith.” Could it be that by extension that the Dobson’s and Falwell’s could be compared to the Pharisees then?



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Wolverine

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:51 pm


James Dobson wrote: We ask, how is population control going to be achieved if not by promoting abortion, the distribution of condoms to the young, and, even by infanticide in China and elsewhere? To which Stephanie Hansen commented How sad to learn that this group believes that promoting abortion, distributing condoms to the young, and infanticide are the only methods by which humans can control the population. I think that Dobson has a valid concern — population control has been used as a rationale for abortion and condom distributions (which do present some problems in terms of appearing to sanction casual sex) and he doesn’t want to see NAE contribute something to a political movement that is prone to being hijacked by Planned Parenthood. That having been said, I think Dobson overstates his case: as protestants (last time I checked, evangelicals were protestants) there is room in evangelical moral teaching for responsible contraceptive use, and it’s a little disconcerting to see him lose sight of that here. It would have been better if Dobson had urged extreme caution — which would certainly be justified in my mind — but stayed clear of the categorical conclusion that population control automatically means abortion, infanticide, and promiscuous condom giveaways. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 7, 2007 at 5:51 pm


I have never seen Wallis say that repenting and accepting Christ into your heart is necessary for anything. I find that more problematic than his political priorities. In his follow-up to “God’s Politics” (I can’t remember the name of the book), it is my understanding that Wallis tried to do just that.



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carl copas

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:07 pm


jeff: “In sincerity, I am happy to have made the acquaintance of fellow Christians who are concerned about the well-being of God’s creation, their fellow man.” jeff, welcome aboard brother. In Christ’s love,



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HASH(0x11800440)

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm


Well said, Don. Kevin S., My suggestion of What if? was just that, a suggestion. I did not say it reflected my personal beliefs. Much to the chagrin of my fundamentalist upbringing and current fundy friends, all things are not literal. I opened my statement by saying that I did not believe that Dobson was bad. I agree with Don, and I think most all of us here would agree that there is good and bad in all of us Jim and James included. My point was to open the door to the possibility of considering something other than the status quo. I don’t like boxes either. That’s why we should be thinking outside of them. One is a much better debater if you have first given consideration to the other person’s point of view, a technique often lost on the people I know in the far right. It’s called openmindedness. That being said, being willing to consider new ideas is not the same as odopting them. I have faith in the Gospel of Jesus. The core doctrine of no one comes to the Father but by Me is not lost on me, Kevin. I’m with you there. I know that Jesus too. Who I don’t have faith in are men (and women) who use their power to say that they know what God wants us to think and that as a Christian I am not aloud to question their version of doctrine. That is dangerous faith. And it goes for Jim Wallis as much as it goes for James Dobson. I think we are on the brink of getting locked up in the debate rather than getting any work done here. I used to think I had to convice others to at least consider my opinion even if it didn’t change thier mind. Now I’m thinking that at times this simply proves to be an enormous expense of energy that could otherwise be spent affecting some real change. Let’s stop talking about it. Let’s just get it done. A quick quote from Voltaire: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”



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Christy

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm


Sorry that anonymous was me.



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carl copas

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:19 pm


Mark P, I referenced Marx’s “All property is theft” out of mischief as much as anything, just to see reactions. Not malicious mischief but to observe what direction the conversation might take–small minds are easily amused i guess :). Few people took the bait–probably just as well. Having said that, though I disagree strenuously with most of Marxism (I’m not a philosophical materialist; I don’t argue for proletarian violent revolution, etc), I still find it somewhat useful in trying to understand class inequality and class warfare in modern society.And his analysis of how capitalism commodifies things so that almost every idea and movement, even those that originate in dissent and protest against the status quo, can be bought and sold, mainstreamed, commercialized and trivialized (“All that is solid melts in the air”) is still spot-on.The “WWJD” bracelets from a few years back is one small example. I remember students of mine wearing them because, as one guy told me, “chicks think they’re cool.”



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carl copas

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:22 pm


Joseph Grigoletti: “If you are for intervening in Darfur how could you be against getting rid of Saddam Hussein?” As evil as Saddam was and as many people as he slaughtered, he was not committing genocide.



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jesse

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Couple of thoughts: 1) Why doesn’t Jim invite conservative christians to debate on this blog? He had Ralph Reed once. No one has been here since.2) You think it is a bad thing, and want to get people fired for raising broader issues than those connected to sexual morality. –This annoying statement attempts to throw abortion in with issues of “sexual morality,” as if anyone who’s prolife just cares about people keeping their pants on. Prolifers have always viewed abortion as a HUMAN RIGHTS issue. Because Wallis does not believe in the right to life of the unborn child (he’s against legal protection for them), he fails to see it this way. Prolifers will, accordingly, call him on his double standard in supporting human rights in other cases (e.g., Darfur).



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Valerie

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Look at the hidden agenda..What possible harm could come from the NAE supporting global warming?? Must the agenda be limited? Can’t they be pro-life AND care about the earth? Ofcourse! But, you can not be pro-life and care about the planet, AND support the republican party. The republican party is first and foremost the protector of big business, and big money. Period. Many sincere Christians blindly jumped on the bandwagon to follow the republican agenda, only to find out they don’t care one bit about society. Jesus told us how to take care of the land, how to let it rest. He also taught us to take care of the widows and the orphans. He warns of the rich man, and how difficult it would be for him to get into heaven. I would strongly encourage everyone to be prayerful about the matter. And remember, the end does not justify the means. Ever.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 6:53 pm


“Who I don’t have faith in are men (and women) who use their power to say that they know what God wants us to think and that as a Christian I am not aloud to question their version of doctrine. That is dangerous faith. And it goes for Jim Wallis as much as it goes for James Dobson.” Correct me if I’m wrong but I haven’t heard Wallace say one isn’t Christian if you do not adhere to his doctrinal views. My guess would be that Dobson and Falwell would make that distinction.



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petunia

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:00 pm


to Dobson and his ilk, if it doesn’t involve *somebodys* genitalia, it isn’t a “morality” issue…



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Christy

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:07 pm


Timbuktoo, I didn’t mean to imply that Jim Wallis had (said you are not a Christian if you do not adhere to his doctrinal views). I was simply applying the faith in God vs. faith in men rule evenly across the board. I think Jim would say that there is room at the table for Christians with diverging viewpoints and I would agree that the Falwell and Dobson camps don’t see it that way. I was trying to say that regardless of your political leaning it is dangerous to elevate the man above the faith.



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:07 pm


“What possible harm could come from the NAE supporting global warming?” Stephanie Hansen would make fun of you for phrasing it this way… The potential harm is that, if the political arm of an organization that includes 30,000,000 people takes a particular stand on an issue that deeply divides those people, it has the potential to cause a real schism. While he has not come out with particular proposals, his comments have certain connotations in terms of how they apply to policy. “But, you can not be pro-life and care about the planet, AND support the republican party. The republican party is first and foremost the protector of big business, and big money. Period.” This isn’t true. Sen. McCain co-wrote the op-ed with Lieberman that Wallis referenced. Richard Cizik is a pro-Bush conservative. I care about the planet and I support the Republican party.”Jesus told us how to take care of the land,” What are you referencing, here? “He also taught us to take care of the widows and the orphans.” Sure. “He warns of the rich man, and how difficult it would be for him to get into heaven.” But adds that with the grace of God, anything is possible. We are (almost) all rich compared to the rest of the world.



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:10 pm


“I think Jim would say that there is room at the table for Christians with diverging viewpoints and I would agree that the Falwell and Dobson camps don’t see it that way.” Which table? Which diverging viewpoints?



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Andy

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:13 pm


Way to go Mr. Wallis! I think that would be fantastic debate for the Evangelical movement. Personal politics has infected too many Christians’ theology for too long! The saddest thing about the split among Christians on all of these wedge political issues is there almost always is a compromised, middle-way solution that truly works towards addressing the problem For example with abortion – adoption support, pre and post-counseling for those considering it, the option of real sex-ed that goes beyond abstinence. Gay marriage or civil unions – show real compassion towards all families, not just ones we “judge” to be sexually moral (as opposed to other immoral behaviors that we engage in…see Romans 2:1). Approval of all behavior is not required to live in a secular, pluralistic society (America). We’re not Iran.



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sally

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:21 pm


Good idea Jim, but you will never have a reasonable debate over these issues that make the religious conservatives what they are. Note the opening comment on this page. They are not capable of talking about environment and our responsibilites, health care and our responsiblities, poverty and our responsibilities. Unfortunately the idea of being led is greater than compassionate thinking. When it comes to telling us “what God says”, I find that those who are thumping their bibles very often do not follow it. Sorry, I am not optomistic that Dobson, Falwell, Reed or their followers could debate with any rationality. Even with you.



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kevin s.

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:32 pm


“They are not capable of talking about environment and our responsibilites, health care and our responsiblities, poverty and our responsibilities.” Again, the man who caused this flap in the first place is a religious conservative! “Sorry, I am not optomistic that Dobson, Falwell, Reed or their followers could debate with any rationality. Even with you.” Reed did debate Wallis on this blog. I’m sure you won’t agree with his statements, but any reasonable person would concede they are rational.



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warren sapp

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:37 pm


Thank you, Jim, for making that challenge. I daresay that Mr. Dobson would like to keep his “crucial moral issues” comfortably restricted and separate from his own (and all of us’) responsibilities/guilt. It’s still the speck in the neighbors’ eye and not the log in one’s own. The debate is unlikely, but thanks for trying. Peace, Warren Sapp



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Elmo

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:46 pm


Mike Hayes -Does God really expect us to compensate for the fact that two-thirds of the population of this small speck in the universe do not have the cultural influence we have here, to be Christians? I think not… that makes no logical sense… we are greatly influenced by our culture… an all-just God does not expect “non-Christians” to see Christianity as do we of primartily European descent… You are free to make that argument about “an all-just God”, but it’s not Biblical. Scripture says repeatedly that salvation and eternal life are available only through the Son, and that those who believe will be saved and those who do not are condemned (John 3:18 ). Besides, an “all-just” God would condemn us all because “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”(Ro. 3:23) I’m sure you or someone else will somehow twist this into me being happy that “those other people” will go to hell. But God knows that not everyone will come to him. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14) Here we see that most people will not find life, but go to destruction. Am I happy about this? No. But these are the words or Christ, and therefore the words of God. This would be helpful information, and please tell us where it is, on that web site. The Pub isn’t available online, but click the “Read” link at the left and you can get info about it. Payshun -The mission of the Gospel, the Good News, is to share it. We are to go into the world and make disciples. Numbers isn’t the issue, but social justice isn’t the Christian goal (neither is social morality). Read this for more detailed thoughts. This too. Rick – I never said God only saves us from something. I didn’t mention that at all. God does save us into something. He gives us the opportunity to become His sons and daughters, children of the promise. New life and a new way of thinking are huge parts of that. You’re exactly right.



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Elmo

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Sally -Note that there is no one, conservative or otherwise, on this comment page saying we have no responsibility to the environment, the poor, or the oppressed. We all know that we do. We just have different ideas about how to go about it.



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Joseph Grigoletti

posted March 7, 2007 at 7:56 pm


Timbuktoo, Please re-read my comment. I did compare them to the pharisees very specifically. Second, In Germany during WWII there really were no real Christians left. By that time evangelicism was pretty much dead, the church were supsidized by the gov’t to keep the nice old buildings, and liberalism was the mainstream in theology. The over-glorified Dietrich BonHoeffer was essentially an heretic in my view (that still doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate his resistance). When you have a watered down liberal theology based on social darwinism that denies absolute truth, why should the people resist? Also church attendence then was under 30%, so its not like it was a large part of the population.



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Joseph Grigoletti

posted March 7, 2007 at 8:23 pm


Also how about why didn’t Christians protest the genocides that took place in the past and still exist now: West Papua, Tibet, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Sabra-Shatila, Cambodia, Burundi, Bangladesh War of 1971, Communist China, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq (the gassing of the Kurds was declared genocide by the UN because they were killed for no other reason because of their ethnicity), and now Darfur. Plus the genocide has been going on for several years and it was only in the last couple years that Christians began to speak out. YOU CAN’T STOP BAD THINGS EVERYWHERE bottom line. No where in scripture are we commanded to be involved in such noble things like that. That is why there is a separation of Church and State. The government should only get involved when its national interests are at stake. This doesn’t mean one nation is better than another, rather God has providentially placed people in certain nations and that government should take care of its people.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 7, 2007 at 9:05 pm


God does save us into something. He gives us the opportunity to become His sons and daughters, children of the promise. New life and a new way of thinking are huge parts of that. You’re exactly right. But with that salvation comes a responsibility to speak truth to a world that often rejects Him. That’s why there have always been prophets — whom people didn’t want to hear from. Also how about why didn’t Christians protest the genocides that took place in the past and still exist now: West Papua, Tibet, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Sabra-Shatila, Cambodia, Burundi, Bangladesh War of 1971, Communist China, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq (the gassing of the Kurds was declared genocide by the UN because they were killed for no other reason because of their ethnicity), and now Darfur. Plus the genocide has been going on for several years and it was only in the last couple years that Christians began to speak out. Very simply, American Christians were either ignorant or apathetic.



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jerry

posted March 7, 2007 at 9:10 pm


this is just another post that jim wallis is using to try to get his name on a list with notable people. he is so into himself i can’t believe it. all of the so called moral issues mentioned, including dobson’s, are “great” moral issues. and are often discussed. and who said differing opinions on any one issue create a split or division between evangelicals? all of these issues will illicit differing opinions as to solutions, degree of severity etc. can’t i disagree with wallis on global warming without being considered splitting up with him? wallis is a clever fellow using his God’s politics blog to gain personal status. someone suggested that maybe wallis should stop developing dialog and start doing something. i agree. what could possibly result from his debate with dobson? except to elevate jim’s status.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 7, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Valerie, “the end does not justify the means, ever.” The use of political mechanisms are the means, and they are never justified for Christians. We can argue for limiting the scope of the use of force, and the liberation of all men from compulsion. But we cannot in the same breath say that the state’s use of force to accomplish some cuddly happy agendas is justified.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 9:49 pm


I think Jim would say that there is room at the table for Christians with diverging viewpoints and I would agree that the Falwell and Dobson camps don’t see it that way. I was trying to say that regardless of your political leaning it is dangerous to elevate the man above the faith. ChristyAgreed. You clearly and concisely stated your point.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Timbuktoo, Joseph: Please re-read my comment. I did compare them to the pharisees very specifically.You are right. I agree. Joseph: The over-glorified Dietrich BonHoeffer was essentially an heretic in my view (that still doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate his resistance) If Bonhoeffer was a heretic in your book, would that I could be counted as a heretic of the same type. I would not even presume to be anywhere near Bonhoeffer’s level. Joseph: By that time evangelicism was pretty much dead, the church were supsidized by the gov’t to keep the nice old buildings, and liberalism was the mainstream in theology.Do you believe that because we have theologically conservative evangelicals in this country, they would oppose a Nazi-like regime because of their conservative theology? I don’t believe that for one second. In my experience (speaking in general terms of course) conservative theology has a great deal of respect for authority that comes along with it, which would make it easier to go with the government than against it.



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Mar

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:07 pm


I am stunned that there are still people who deny that climate change is REAL and that it is being caused by human activities. Do you think that humanity’s ever growing footprint on this planet has had NO impact? Are you all just happy to remain ignorant- content to believe that because one conservative think tank ( funded by the Oil Industry- how interesting!) trots out a faux “scientist” to muddy the waters you can sit back and trust in the James Dobsons of the world that everything is okay and we should just remain focused on the REAL “threat” of people having sex?! If you believe God created this beautiful planet, why is it okay for man to exploit and destroy it?I live in a country full of idiots.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm


I live in a country full of idiots. MarYep



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moderatelad

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:31 pm


Mar | 03.07.07 – 5:12 pm | #Maybe it is because we have been through this before on several other issues and found out the ‘chicken little – henny penny and turkey lurkey’ just do not have all the dots connected.There are many many more scientists out there with no connection to the oil industry (unlike AL GORE…) and are willing to talk about Global Warming (sorry – climate change, what is it going to be called next year?) but not willing to believe Gore’s goop. Later – .



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Mark P

posted March 7, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Carl, I haven’t rejected Marx’s condemnation of Capitalism (as he defines it), but I am pretty cautious in agreeing with him on anything :). — Valerie, “What possible harm could come from the NAE supporting global warming??” -Perhaps you should say likely harm… because there are a thousand possible harms ranging in likelihood. For one, the creation of an (even more) authoritarian government and the destruction of the free market. Probable? Maybe not. Possible? You betcha. Again, I’d say this is a big problem in progressivism — the tendency to leap before looking… the lack of careful, considered, and measured forethought. — Grigoletti, “In Germany during WWII there really were no real Christians left.” -This is assuredly not true. Granted, the church was emasculated and secularized, but there were certainly real Christians left. Perhaps we can forgive some of them for being a bit to scared of principalities and powers. And we can steel ourselves to not be afraid. “[The Kurds] were killed for no other reason because of their ethnicity” -Not true. The Kurds were seeking to create an autonomous government and had been progressively becoming more independent of Hussein. Granted, I think they were right to do so, and should have their own nation. The violent portions of Sunni’s and Shia’s in Iraq seem to only agree when it comes to gassing Kurds. “No where in scripture are we commanded to be involved in such noble things like that.” -Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I agree that the commissions are to individuals… but, that doesn’t mean they are not there. —- Timbuktoo, “Do you believe that because we have theologically conservative evangelicals in this country, they would oppose a Nazi-like regime because of their conservative theology? I don’t believe that for one second. In my experience (speaking in general terms of course) conservative theology has a great deal of respect for authority that comes along with it, which would make it easier to go with the government than against it.” -Bear in mind that the most active people helping provide refuge to refugees of Giant Ideology (as Kirk called it) in their heyday in the 60’s and 70’s tended to be conservatives — aka Russell Kirk and company. I might go so far as to say that the more extreme liberals weren’t too interested in helping out those victims because they displayed the deadliness of their agendas. — Mar, The REAL threat in Dobson’s mind is people killing 40 millions of society’s most vulnerable. And I feel for your lonely enlightened soul in the midst of such ignorance and darkness. You’re just like Galileo. If I could only be like you. ;)



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Payshun

posted March 7, 2007 at 11:53 pm


Elmo, The mission of the gospel is to bring unity btwn God and man and then humanity. Salvation is not merely saving somone from hell (whatever that is) its about creating an intimate union btwn God and man.That’s its first purpose to bring a “union” between two beings. Once that is achieved its next purpose is to unite mankind (for those that believe.) In order for unity btwn mankind to happen social justice and reconcilation must occur or the gospel is null and void. That’s why paul spent so much time on it (issues of slavery, favortism, Hebrew and gentile relationships…) Jesus himself spent a great deal of time showing justice even though his goals were not always that (ie letting the pigs go off the cliff and not feeding the woman that gave her last bit of money to God in sacrifice.)He had a much clearer understanding of justice and mercy than most around him. That’s why he could affirm the bleeding woman, and heal the lepers… Justice, love and mercy were always united for him.The gospel is ultimately about healing and restoring, building and transforming mankind into a much deeper relationship w/ God.Only by loving our fellow man can we see how much God loves us.p



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Joseph Grigoletti

posted March 8, 2007 at 12:49 am


Well, how about a verse then to back it up then? Most of the Kurds were innocent.



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Elmo

posted March 8, 2007 at 12:59 am


Payshun -I didn’t deny that social justice is a major part of the Gospel and our task as Christians. It is. But you’re ignoring something huge. Words direct from Jesus mouth. “I did not come to bring peace, but the sword…” “…narrow is the way…and few find it…” “…he who does not believe is condemned…” As I said before, he came to seek and save the lost. That doesn’t happen through social justice alone. When the rich young man asked how he could receive eternal life, his first answers were to follow the commandments, and after the man said he had done that, Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. And you’re also ignoring the fact that Paul spent a great deal of time talking about who Christ is, identifying sin, and telling us to be holy. Also, he said to the Pharisees in Mt. 23:23, “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” When you look at the Parable of the Good Samaritan, you should see a lost man accosted by Sin, who is helped by a follower of Christ. The wounds of his sin are still on him. If the Christian helps him up without tending his wounds and teaching him how to avoid sin in the future, what good has he done? If we help people out of poverty or slavery or oppression, but done bring them to God, have we helped them in any eternal way? And just for the record, I believe Hell to be eternal separation from God. I don’t know about firey torment, but that doesn’t matter much. Biblically there is a type of eternal punishment, and it’s probably not good. Who cares what it’s like exactly? Also, it would be helpful to me if you would use some Scripture to back these positions you’re talking about. Because if you aren’t arguing from Scripture, we’re kinda wasting time.



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carl copas

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:03 am


Joseph Grigoletti, I think it’s a stretch to say that Saddam’s gassing of those Kurds is comparable to Darfur. For instance, there were times when white American interaction with Indians was probably “genocide” (see Sand Creek massacre; deliberate attempts to eliminate Native American culture, just for 2 examples) but in no way on the scale of Darfur.



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Rachel

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:12 am


“Let s have that debate, Jim, and see what America s evangelicals think the great moral issues of our time really are. How about it?” Woo-Hoo! BRING IT ON!



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:16 am


Do you believe that because we have theologically conservative evangelicals in this country, they would oppose a Nazi-like regime because of their conservative theology? I don’t believe that for one second. In my experience (speaking in general terms of course) conservative theology has a great deal of respect for authority that comes along with it, which would make it easier to go with the government than against it. Especially when you consider that the first people Hitler wanted taken out were — surprise — Communists. He also went after homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and labor unions, which conservatives despise, and he also was not particularly fond of Slavs.



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Payshun

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:48 am


Elmo, Not a problem.John 16 and 17 talk about the ultimate aims of the gospel and Jesus role in protecting the faithful But let’s look at John 17:11 11″I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.He was mainly referring to the disciples but it gets even more interesting as things go on. 22″The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.24″Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.Those three verses are the core of the gospel (at least from a mystic/contemplative perspective.) The goal is union w/ God which he achieved thru his death, resurection and giving/union with the holy spirit. In the end it really comes down to this verse as well. 20″I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.The goal of Jesus coming was unifying man w/ God and eliminating the power of death thru sin. By praying what he prayed he is ultimately saying that sinful behavior could no longer condemn us and that we would always be w/ God (unless we choose out of it.) It’s great that you brought up the Pharisees. The context of those stories is extremely important. Jesus was talking to the religous leaders of his time and holding them accountable to the standards they professed to live by. I find it really odd that he never called the Demoniac to those same standards (considering he was Jewish) or the woman at the well (Samaritan) or others.p



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Payshun

posted March 8, 2007 at 1:49 am


correction Demoniac non-Jew. The last part of my response. Jesus only called Jews to the legalistic code of Moses and even then his views were not always acceptatble to leaders of the day. He never called the Syro-Phoenician woman to Hebrew standards in healing her son. As a matter of fact he tested her desire to see her son healed by stating a point: Mark 7:27 27And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”She challenged him back: 28But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”He never once asked the question about sin or unrighteous behavior about parents or anything like that. My point is that right behavior is only important when its done out of love. If it is not then all the right behavior in the world will only push a person away from God. That’s why the law of Moses failed to secure union w/ God. it was designed from jump to cause people to stumble. As it should it was perfect man was/is not.I am not ignoring Jesus’ words at all. Quite the opposite. “I did not come to bring peace, but the sword…” “…narrow is the way…and few find it…” “…he who does not believe is condemned…” The second quote is directly attributable to Mathew chapter 7. In which he begs his listeneres to fix their own behavior first. Mathew 7:! 1″Do not judge so that you will not be judged.2″For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. verse 12: 12″In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.Then he goes onto warning about the few who find it. Because its really hard to do the first part of the chapter and the few who learn not to judge and worry about other’s behavior are few and far between. More later. p



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Jordan W Lester

posted March 8, 2007 at 2:38 am


Hi Mr. Wallis, I think you raise some really good points that evangelical (and other) Christians shouldn’t just stick to sexual and moral issues alone and that we also need to include issues such as Global Warming.Although Mr.Dobson claims that issues like Global Warming will take attention away from issues like abortion, gay marriage,etc… I can Mr.Dobson completely underestimates God’s influence through the Holy Spirit and overestimates his own understanding (such which,according to Proverbs, is never a good thing)An inconvenient truth,anyone?



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Elmo

posted March 8, 2007 at 5:25 am


Payshun My point is that right behavior is only important when its done out of love. If it is not then all the right behavior in the world will only push a person away from God. That’s why the law of Moses failed to secure union w/ God. it was designed from jump to cause people to stumble. As it should it was perfect man was/is not. I want to start by saying I agree with this completely. I disagree that John 17 is a basis for saying that unity is the main focus of the church or the Gospel because Jesus doesn’t say that it is. He does say what the greatest and second greatest commands are. He does give the disciples one final instruction. I know the context of the remarks to the Pharisees. Grant me the courtesy of recognizing that I have (at least) a basic level of understanding. I mentioned it because it deals with people like Falwell, who clearly care more about tithing and cleaning the outside of the cup than taking care of the needy and being a servant. My point was that Jesus said not to neglect those things. They are important. As important as the others. God is righteous and merciful. We are to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1), so we must also be righteous and merciful. Righteousness without mercy means nothing, but likewise, mercy without righteousness means nothing (and neither even matters without faith). There is a beautiful tension in being a follower of God, between trying to be holy, which we can’t do, trying to be perfectly merciful, which we can’t do either, and doing it all knowing that it doesn’t earn us entry into the Kingdom. I do think unity is very important, but it is no more important than righteousness or justice. As far as “judge not” is concerned, that doesn’t mean that we should only confront sin within the body after we’ve eliminated all of the sin from our own lives. Paul tells us not to tolerate immorality in the body (1 Cor 5). Rev. 2 rebukes the church in Thyatira for tolerating “that woman Jezebel” after a great deal of praise for the church’s love and faith. If I have sin in my life I want my brothers and sisters in Christ to come to me and tell me what they see. There’s a difference between accountability and self-righteous judgment. If you let a brother in Christ continue in sin, it’s almost as if you encouraged him in it. “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.” Ezekiel 33:8-9



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Doug

posted March 8, 2007 at 9:13 am


moderatelad: “There are many many more scientists out there with no connection to the oil industry (unlike AL GORE…) and are willing to talk about Global Warming (sorry – climate change, what is it going to be called next year?) but not willing to believe Gore’s goop.” As an atmospheric scientist, a clarification might be in order as there are at least 2 issues going on in this complex puzzle: 1) Is the Earth’s climate changing (in a globally-averaged sense) and 2) if so, is this change due to natural variability or human activity, or some combination of both? There is unequivocal consensus among atmospheric scientists that 1) is happening (remember, in a globally-averaged sense, which implies there are localized areas where it may not be happening). Where it gets interesting is trying to sort the signal from the noise in 2). Without rehashing the results from the IPCC’s Working Group I, it is perhaps more precise, but less a soundbite, to talk about the causes of an Enhanced Greenhouse Effect (EGE) due to anthropogenic sources. This is the crux of the matter, and this description will likely not change from one year to the next. So the term “climate change” is a legitimate one, “global warming” less so since it is imprecise. But a question for Dobson: If, as a Christian, the greatest commandement aside from loving God is to love my neighbor as myself, how can I ignore concerns about an EGE? If my actions pollute the nest and make life miserable for my neighbor, am I not commanded to consider steps I should take to change this? Is this not one of the highest moral issues? At the very least, I think we Christians need to examine the false gods of comfort, convenience, luxury, wealth, extravagance, and consumption which so easily seduce us in the industrialized nations. What an effect this would have on not only minimizing our contributions to an EGE, but also on sharpening our focus to what really matters as we seek to follow Christ.



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Mark P

posted March 8, 2007 at 2:58 pm


Rick Especially when you consider that the first people Hitler wanted taken out were — surprise — Communists. He also went after homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and labor unions, which conservatives despise, and he also was not particularly fond of Slavs. -And Catholics and Protestants and conservative intellectuals. Conservatives suffered too Rick. — Payshun My point is that right behavior is only important when its done out of love. If it is not then all the right behavior in the world will only push a person away from God. -Elegantly put. I agree completely.That’s why the law of Moses failed to secure union w/ God. it was designed from jump to cause people to stumble. -Mostly agreed. The law brought conviction and the understanding of the necessity of a Savior, so, yeah, I pretty much agree.



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Doug

posted March 8, 2007 at 4:11 pm


I would love Dr. James Dobson to debate you Jim. He would run circles around you and what you believe. Did you know that America is the most generous nation on earth? You most likely do but you won’t admit it because it does not fit your agenda. We will get to the Global warming myth in a second but first let us adress poverty. I agree poverty is a big thing but where I disagree is how we help the poor. I would love any liberal christian to show me where in the bible it says to take care of the poor by having the government take(steal)your money thru taxes and redistribute it. This thinking is clearly not biblical but at its roots is very evil.(communism,socialism,marxism) Yes Jesus did say to help the poor but to do it out of love for him not because the government forces you to. Now on to Global warming. What a scam. First of all if there is a conscensus about anything it can not be called science. Second of all there a lot of people who disagree about Global warming and are being silenced. Last but not least anybody notice how cold it has been this year? Care to blame the cold weather on Global warming? I thought not. God must have a sense of humor when you see how many Global warming conferences have been canceled due to extremely cold weather. To think we mere humans have any say over the weather is absurd to me. I can see people who do not believe in God as buying in to it because to them what else is there? But Christians falling for it? How can you say you believe in God and think that we can have any say over the weather? Any body care to answer that? Global warming is a religion.



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Don

posted March 8, 2007 at 4:51 pm


Doug: Responding to you is hardly worth our time. You’ve obviously already made up your mind. But just to take one point of yours, one single cold winter doesn’t disprove the global climate change theory. Moreover, some parts of the world may actually get colder as a result of atmospheric warming. How can that be? If the warming disrupts certain ocean currents that keep the weather mild in some places, e.g., the way the Gulf Stream warms western Europe, then those regions will become cooler. “To think we mere humans have any say over the weather is absurd to me.” dopn’t be so naive. While some on this board have argued that the science doesn’t *prove* that human activity has caused or contributed to global warming, most would probably say that it is at least possible. Humans are doing lots of things that effect the earth. In addition to pumping free CO2 into the air, we’re deforesting large areas of rainforest that absorb atmospheric CO2; we’re altering ecosystems around the world with development, mining, and other activities; and we’re putting a strain on Earth’s resources by our population growth. We can differ on what to do about these things, but these are realities. Get back to us when you have read up on the topic and can formulate a reasoned argument without name-calling (“global warming is a religion”). Peace,



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 8, 2007 at 6:40 pm


And Catholics and Protestants and conservative intellectuals. Conservatives suffered too, Rick. No, they didn’t — not to that extent, anyway. A few years ago I read a book, I think it may have been Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”, in which a member of the Baptist Union went to Nazi Germany and was wowed at just how “moral” it was (Hitler had also banned pornography, among other things). On top of that, it is my understanding that many of South Africa’s leaders during apartheid were educated in Nazi Germany, and right-wing Christian leaders fell all over themselves to support the South African government and denounce Nelson Mandela because of his (exaggerated) ties to Communists. Safe to say, for that reason alone Falwell, Pat Robertson and likely James Dobson would have supported Hitler were he here today.



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Pacific231

posted March 8, 2007 at 7:24 pm


Doug, hang it up. The majority of Christians recognize the facts and reality of global warming. But I do not expect you to acknowledge that fact, that reality for one moment. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your fundamentalist binky.



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Mark P

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:25 pm


Wow Rick. Way to lower yourself there bud. I’ll respond to your offensive and unfounded post soon, hopefully.



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Payshun

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:28 pm


Elmo, Ah yes accountability, the great ball and chain of evangelicalism. We should hold people (inside the church) to certain standards. Many of those standards are influx. For example if someone is an drug/sex addict they probably should not be in leadership. But those standards must be standards that they can live by.Just as you would like me to assume you know the context of the verses you are using I would love it if you would use the context when using your chosen verses. You made a point about accountability and then used Ezekiel to back it up. First off that verse is not about accountability among believers. It is about warning people about an impending invasion and the judgement of the Lord. it’s really about Ezekiel’s obedience to God’s commandment.Since you know that context is so important I don’t need to explain the trangressions God talks about in verse 12. I am quite aware of what Paul said about not allowing sin in your midst. I am also aware of what God says about that. But then I think of Gomer and Hosea, the 12 disciples, Adam and Eve and a whole host of other people that are alive because God showed a grace that seems to be lost to many evangelicals. I don’t believe you stripped union down to unity. that’s impressive. I know you would not agree that the point of the gospel is oneness w/ God. You are an evangelical after all and the goal of the gospel for you is spreading the kingdom. That’s the exact opposite of my theology. The way of contemplation is completely different and not for you.But that’s beside the point the goal of all accountability should be loving the person. Despite what you might think the chances are the person will know what they are doing is wrong. How about loving them out of their sin instead of pointing it out? p



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jerry

posted March 8, 2007 at 10:31 pm


mar. i assume the country full of idiots that you “live in” includes yourself, and all the believing christians, and jim wallis. i don’t live there.



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sam

posted March 8, 2007 at 11:20 pm


A much needed debate. I am sure Azusa Pacific University would host it!



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Tim Callaway

posted March 9, 2007 at 12:31 am


Jim: I think Dobson realizes his star is waning hence I’d be reluctant to give him a platform to bang a drum that desperately needs a new skin. Instead, pour your energies into what God’s called you to do. I must confess I returned to Canada from a visit to South Florida somewhat smug that we Canadians have not stooped as low as you guys when it comes to obsession w/ the “dirty laundry” that goes along with celebrity worship. (The Anna-Nicole nonsense was in full bloom in Fort Lauderdale that week). So imagine my chagrin to get back here and find out some local church is selling bottled water purportedly “purified under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” Was it Billy Graham who once said that “if God doesn’t soon judge North America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Rampant stupidity abounds within and without the church on this continent!! God help us! Tim Callaway



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MacO

posted March 9, 2007 at 1:33 am


Also posted elswhere on Beliefnet, on the similar discussion boards… For a reasoned counter-argument, and a contribution to ‘the debate’, see the Channel 4 (here in the UK) broadcast called, provocatively, “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. This was on tonight at 9pm, UK time. It was alleged that the political (even religious) group-think of ‘green’ and ‘rich’ Westerners was poised to deny the world’s poor some tangible social/economic development progress that the West already enjoys – particularly relatively cheap and reliable electricity supplies. This denial of health/ welfare that we collectively enjoy, to others in need, was compellingly targeted as double-speak by the West’s emerging policy. I am sure there is a counter argument; however as a former practitioner in energy-efficient social housing for low income families in the UK; this argument has a ring of truth to it. My projects were dogged by what I would now call middle-class bullshit about the effectiveness of the new green technologies to deliver anti-poverty strategies. I now work in more traditional economic development, and am already finding that key sustainabity flagship-projects are as yet more aspirational and good PR for a green future than actually, measurably better. i.e. more faith than science! My worry is that this is becoming a new institutional religion not a faith.For myself, having left the world of James Dobson, it would be a shame to end up there again by another name. Orwell s Animal Farm is great reading for Pre-Evangelicals, Evangelicals, Post-Evangelicals and Post-Post-Evangelicals alike. The C4 programme further alleges that there is an evidenced fallacy within this ‘deep green/ anti-industrialist’ theology; the evidence base for a direct linkage of global warming evidence to humanly produced green house gases. i.e. what is the proof or even weight of evidence that our perception of global warming is more than a natural cycle. C4 had some surprising expert witnesses ready to say that the alleged causal link is itself just hot air. This is not my own position, just what the C4 programme presented. Again it had a ring of truth to it – and why I would value a debate and a weighing of scientific evidences (including ‘full disclosure’ of research funding sources and faith positions).



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:37 am


Wow Rick. Way to lower yourself there bud. I’ll respond to your offensive and unfounded post soon, hopefully. Offensive and unfounded? Puh-leeze! Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart actually went to South Africa themselves and made supportive pronouncements (and I heard that Jim Bakker did the same), and support for the apartheid regime was quite clear on the 700 Club, which I stopped watching when former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith was a guest denouncing imminent social change in South Africa. BTW, black Christians are still ticked at these boys because of it. Oh, Yancey also mentioned in the book that there were “Jews Only” facilities in Nazi Germany, which he said were modeled on the “Whites Only” facilities in the Jim Crow South where he grew up.



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Tim Callaway

posted March 9, 2007 at 6:43 am


11:16 a.m. Doug says: “Did you know that America is the most generous nation on earth? You most likely do but you won’t admit it because it does not fit your agenda.” uh, speaking of agendas, Doug, some of us would like to have a factually based conversation here…when the G8 countries met here in Canada in 2002, the U.S. was ranked something like number three or four in terms of international aid on a PER CAPITA BASIS; and sadly, Canada and the U.S. also had the distinction of being light years behind the rest of the pack in terms of coming anywhere near fulfilling an agreement we’d signed years ago that the G-6 countries or whatever it was called at that time would each donate .08% of their GNP to addressing the international AIDS crisis – nothing’s changed on that front – the big American pharmaceutical companies have no interest in providing drug cocktails to sub-Saharan Africa b/c those firms “can’t show me the money!” so Bill Clinton has to appeal to an India-based firm which now provides the only anti-AIDS drugs being sold at cost to NGO charities working in Africa generous?? in what sense?? yeah, let’s talk generous…generous in pouring all kinds of $ not to mention innocent American lives into manufacturing some crisis in Iraq all the while Osama sits in his five-star cave eating grapes and laughing at you? generous in handing scores of Iraq contracts to Haliburton b/c Billy-Bob Cheney says so and it’s good for his pals stock interests? it’s time to start smelling some of the roses that bloom outside of America’s newest holy-city, Colorado Springs, Doug!



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Valerie

posted March 9, 2007 at 2:09 pm


Doug is clearly an uninformed follower. Anyone who simply educates him / herself by only listening to the propaganda espoused by the likes of Dobson or Bush will never understand.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 9, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Was it Billy Graham who once said that “if God doesn’t soon judge North America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Not quite — it was his wife Ruth.



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Mark P

posted March 9, 2007 at 4:30 pm


Rick. You said, “No, conservatives didn’t suffer” even though old-school Catholics were carted off to the death camps like anyone else. Way to belittle their deaths and suffering, because apparently you’ve decided it was less significant than Communists’ deaths. Why don’t you tell their descendants how little Grandpa suffered in Auschwitz because he was a conservative? And we want to start an argument about not opposing brutality, let’s talk about Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia and the leftist silence there. Let’s talk about how Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was attacked by some for The Gulag Archipelago. Let’s talk about college lefties wearing Che shirts… further, let’s talk about Cambodia circa 78-79, the most brutal regime ever created. Who spoke out against it? Conservatives, not liberals… because liberals were too busy trying to say that Southeast Asian Communism was so much better than American capitalism. Rick, you decided Dobson would support Hitler. BASED ON WHAT? The fact that he is perhaps a little too agenda-driven in opposing environmentalists? This makes him a good candidate for supporting Hitler? Are you nuts? That’s the kind of slander political careers are ruined by, and rightly so. You’re also supporting the claim that conservatives would not oppose Hitler. Look, Falwell and Robertson, maybe. But they don’t represent conservatism, and neither does one idiot Baptist. Note that Eric Voegelin, one of the foremost conservative thinkers of the 20th century (though he did go a bit batty towards the end of his life), was booted out by the Nazi’s before Einstein and others because he opposed Hitler so vehemently. He wrote adamantly against Hitler and his regime (amusingly enough, after returning he also kicked out of West Germany again when he accused the late 40’s Germans of being fascists-in-disguise [note how they proved his point]… also note that when he turned his attention to combating Communist ideology in the 60’s, he was viciously attacked by the left as a fascist, the most absurd of claims considering his history). Note that Lewis, Tolkien, and other British conservatives who had experienced German aggression in WW1 firsthand were quick to stand against Hitler in the 1930’s. So, yes, your post was offensive and unfounded.



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Katie

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm


Jim, I think you are wasting your breath on Dobson if you think he’ll focus on anything other than other people’s sexual morality. If it doesn’t have something to do with sex, he doesn’t seem interested and wants to change the subject back to sex. This obsession of his is popular with many fundamentalists.When I see someone who is as focused on sex and things related to sex as Dobson is, my first thought is not that they must be a particularly moral person but rather that they’ve got some issues of their own. The deeper the obsession the deeper the issues. Ted Haggard comes to mind as an example. The more hot air Dobson spews the more I think he is hiding something, and from the amount of hot air, it has got to be very dark and very dirty. So, unless you can somehow tie global climate change to sex, you are wasting your time.And if his conduct on lgbt issues is any clue, I wouldn’t believe anything he says he found in “research.” He tends to lie and twist facts to meet his devious needs. How very moral of him.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:33 pm


So, yes, your post was offensive and unfounded. Sorry, but I don’t buy that at all. When I talk about conservatives, I’m talking specifically about the Buckley-led crowd of American Cold Warriors that got started in 1954, many of which supported any brutal regime (whethen in Africa, Latin America or Asia) that also opposed Communism. Under that definition, what I said is true. And as for Dobson being possibly being a supporter of Hitler, his political views are essentially the same as the people I just mentioned for the reasons I mentioned, although his stature admittedly rose only after the fall of the Berlin Wall (which is why the question is moot).



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 9, 2007 at 5:38 pm


You said, “No, conservatives didn’t suffer” even though old-school Catholics were carted off to the death camps like anyone else. Way to belittle their deaths and suffering, because apparently you’ve decided it was less significant than Communists’ deaths. Forgot to mention — by this definition, “old-school” Catholics are not necessarily politically conservative.



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Payshun

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:07 pm


Rick you would have to bring that up would not you. *winks* p



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Kristopher

posted March 9, 2007 at 7:15 pm


I am what a lot of you would call a right wing conservative Christian, and I am sure that my name is being cursed already, just by labeling myself as such. Though I think the condemnation of James Dobson is absurd, ridiculous, and actually humorous at times (i.e. Katie implying that Dobson has a deep, dark, dirty sexual obsession), what is the point? I, in no way, would be so arrogant to think that I know any of your hearts, but the hatred that I see towards Dobson in some of these posts does not help your cause, or seem to be Christian at all. I have my disagreements with what a lot of you have said, and with a lot of what Jim Wallis writes about, but I would never go as far as to say or write anything that implied that Wallis was any less of a Christina then I was. To almost imply that James Dobson would have been an advocate of the Holocaust, by saying that he would have supported the political views of Hitler is slanderous.— Now back to the issue of Global warming: I think that the global warming crowd or the green elite” find progressive Christians to be an easy target for their propagandist ways. They prey on the concerns of Christian s to be good stewards, by saying that we are killing our beloved Earth, which in turn, makes otherwise intelligent people start thinking to themselves what does it hurt for me to be more conscious about my impact on the environment. To me, that is how the whole scam begins. Now, I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I don t exactly think that there is a grand mastermind behind the swindle, but I think that there are definitely opportunists trying to take advantage of the global warming scare. For example, the new way for you to be environmentally aware is to live your life according to your carbon footprint. You can now buy carbon credits (from a company started by Al Gore), to offset the carbon output of driving your SUV. What a scam! I can see it going even further, with the possibility of the government getting even more involved by making carbon credit a mandatory thing. This is all based off of an unproven, scientific consensus(contradiction?) that we are changing the Earth s climate. It is safe to assume that the people pushing the global warming line are as motivated by money, as the global warming denier s that are supposedly in the back pockets of the oil companies.— It is unfortunate that this avenue of dialogue (i.e. posting on a blog) turns into a critique of one post to another. Of course it can t be as effective as actual conversation, but I would like to say that I am thankful that we as Christians can have healthy debate on secular, and Christian issues in a forum such as this as well as a Country such as this.



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Elmo

posted March 9, 2007 at 8:09 pm


Payshun -How did spreading the Kingdom become a bad thing in your eyes? Why should I feel bad about having standards within the church? It’s not as though I’m saying only perfect individuals are suited for leadership, or that if you struggle with sin you can’t be a Christian. The Ezekiel passage is comparing the prophet to a city’s watchman, and sin to a coming army. Unless you take from this that Ezekiel was actually the watchman over Jerusalem, this is clearly a metaphor for the prophet going to the people and telling them to turn from their sin. The end of chapter 33 explains that Jerusalem fell as a result of its sin. Might it be that if the Israelites had kept each other accountable, this command wouldn’t have been needed? What about accountability Jesus spoke of in Matt. 18? What about Paul’s conflict with Peter in Acts 15? “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:5-6 “Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me it is a kindness; let him rebuke me it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.” Psalm 141:4-5 But that’s beside the point the goal of all accountability should be loving the person. Despite what you might think the chances are the person will know what they are doing is wrong. How about loving them out of their sin instead of pointing it out? I agree with you about the point of accountability. Ad if we truly love someone, we’ll confront their sinfulness, so they can repent and turn to God. But it seems that many progressive ideas of love leave that out. I mean, how do you “love someone out of their sin” without pointing that sin out to them?You’ll have to school me on this concept. But then I think of Gomer and Hosea, the 12 disciples, Adam and Eve and a whole host of other people that are alive because God showed a grace that seems to be lost to many evangelicals. Remember that Jesus called Peter “Satan”, and rebuked the disciples when the didn’t accept his teaching. His rebuke in John 6 caused many to stop following him. Do you think he should have “loved them” into understanding and belief? Hosea divorced Gomer, then bought her back, as God redeemed us through Christ. But he said she “must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man”. Adam and Eve received the punishment for their sin…kicked out of paradise and robbed of the eternal life that would have been theirs. And please don’t lump me in with “evangelicals”, especially since that word has lost any real meaning in the last 8 years. You seem to think that I’m advocating kicking people out of church for sinning. What I’m saying is that we need to be able to count on each other to help us resist temptation.



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kevin s.

posted March 9, 2007 at 9:25 pm


“The more hot air Dobson spews the more I think he is hiding something, and from the amount of hot air, it has got to be very dark and very dirty.” Abortion is not really a sexual issue. This is just a sly way of getting in some cheap name calling. you think that Dobson is dark and dirty, and simply applying some ham-handed pseudo-psychology sprinkled with a Haggard reference doesn’t get you any closer to making a rela argument.



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Payshun

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:33 pm


Elmo: And please don’t lump me in with “evangelicals”, especially since that word has lost any real meaning in the last 8 years. You seem to think that I’m advocating kicking people out of church for sinning. What I’m saying is that we need to be able to count on each other to help us resist temptation. Elmo, You are an evangelical right? That’s how you described yourself. I don’t mean to lump you into some conservative right wing thing but you are about advancing the gospel globally right? Is not that your goal? I agree w/ you to a point. I think people should be honest even if that honesty leads them to sin in some way. I think being hot or cold is a bigger deal to God than being lukewarm anyway. I think God’s grace is still bigger than what you or other “evangelicals” have portrayed. That’s the issue here. You say sin should not be tolerated and yet the bible is clear that God tolerates sin all day everyday. The issue is not that he tolerates sin. The question is why are we selective about it? Why do we tolerate some sin? Yet not others? why are we so behavior focused instead of love focused? The word evangelical has not lost meaning for me. It holds a great deal of power as that group is the powerful arbitor of what is and is not Christian these days. (I am mainly talking about America here.) I am not saying that rebuking someone is bad. I am saying it really is not about the behavior its about the issues underneath that are the real problem. Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter was trying to get in the way of God’s call on Jesus life. I agree w/ Peter on that.I would have gotten in the way too. That would have been the wrong action but I still would have done it. There is no way I could watch my best friend plan his death even if it were murder. I just could not do it. Elmo: I agree with you about the point of accountability. And if we truly love someone, we’ll confront their sinfulness, so they can repent and turn to God. But it seems that many progressive ideas of love leave that out. I mean, how do you “love someone out of their sin” without pointing that sin out to them?Me: It’s really not that hard. Some sin needs to be pointed out some doesn’t. Like let’s take a friend of mine. She is stuck in the past of her broken life (gang raped, abuse, drugs…) You name it she has gone thru it. I know longer focus on calling her out on her victim mentality instead I focus on the fact that she is God’s beloved. I affirm her. I remind her that she is precious.It’s the same thing w/ all serious sin. People already know they are doing wrong. They don’t need you or me pointing it out to them. That leads to self condemnation. One of the many goals (I would argue the primary goal) of the gospel is to end condemnation. They need to be challenged on why they don’t love themselves or to see if their behavior is causing them harm and if they are Christian how it is effecting their relationship w/ God. p



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Elizabeth Bonney

posted March 9, 2007 at 10:44 pm


My name is Elizabeth Bonney and I am a sophomore student at William Jewell College located just outside of Kansas City, MO. As the President, I am writing on behalf of the student organization, Diakrinomena. Diakrinomena generally means of two minds; we are a discussion group that approaches questions of faith from various perspectives. We strive to respectfully examine all sides of faith issues and openly dialogue about our various beliefs.In a March edition of SojoMail, Rev. Jim Wallis posed the question What are the great moral issues of our time for evangelical Christians? and suggested an open debate with Dr. James Dobson in order to address this very question. Kansas City is located between Colorado Springs and Washington D.C., so it would be good middle ground for holding such a dialogue. We would like to invite you to use our campus as a locus for such conversation and debate. Rich with Baptist history and tradition, William Jewell College promotes a diverse environment in which respectful dialogue and open discussion are encouraged and thrive both in and outside the classroom. Not only would a debate between Wallis and Dobson be beneficial to the campus and the entire Christian community both intellectually and spiritually, but it would also be an opportunity to encourage today s Christians to examine such moral issues from all sides and encourage future dialogue between major Christian leaders. I greatly appreciate your prayerful thought on this matter, and hope that you, too, see the great potential value that such a conversation may have in the Christian community.



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Payshun

posted March 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm


Elmo, It really does depend on the behavior too. So I agree confronting can be good but it is not always necessary especially if it’s habitiual sin. I think people should confront but it should be done sparingly unless the behavior leads to death. Then all the old rules go out the window. p



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Elmo

posted March 10, 2007 at 4:16 am


I describe myself as theologically conservative. The highly politicized use of the word evangelical is what I object to. Not really a big deal, though. How have I implied that God’s grace isn’t all-encompassing? Have I said that there is any sin that God’s grace doesn’t cover? Have I said that a person could ever be beyond redemption? You’re projecting that idea onto me. You’ll have to give me an example from Scripture where someone sins, chooses not to repent, and God doesn’t punish them. The repentance part is important. It’s a pretty big part of the Apostles preaching. And what sins are you talking about that we tolerate, while not tolerating others? And have I advocated for this practice? If you check here you’ll see that I don’t believe in that. I am not saying that rebuking someone is bad. I am saying it really is not about the behavior its about the issues underneath that are the real problem. I am with you on this. The attitude leads to the behavior. But should we allow a brother or sister in Christ to continue in sinful behavior? Sinful behavior is always destructive to the heart. How can we watch that happen in a person we love? And just because a person knows that it’s wrong doesn’t mean they don’t need it pointed out to them. I’ve been in that position myself. I’ve had a pastor describe to me how he started sliding into something possibly destructive, but a loving person in his life called him on it. David knew he was doing wrong when he took Bathsheba and had her husband killed. But he needed Nathan’s rebuke. And I would argue that what you term “self-condemnation” is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Until a person begins to realize their sinfulness, they won’t understand the true value of the gift of grace. Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter 2 Cor. 7:8-11 The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ” ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guiltyou have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. Jer. 3:11-13



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 10, 2007 at 5:10 am


I, in no way, would be so arrogant to think that I know any of your hearts, but the hatred that I see towards Dobson in some of these posts does not help your cause, or seem to be Christian at all. I have my disagreements with what a lot of you have said, and with a lot of what Jim Wallis writes about, but I would never go as far as to say or write anything that implied that Wallis was any less of a Christina then I was. To almost imply that James Dobson would have been an advocate of the Holocaust, by saying that he would have supported the political views of Hitler is slanderous. Then I say that you don’t know your political history. Every conservative leader without exception with a microphone back in the early-to-mid 1980s openly supported repressive regimes that nevertheless fought Communism, which was all that mattered. I see no reason to believe that Dobson would have been different, and that is the issue.



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MacO

posted March 10, 2007 at 4:36 pm


Who said I love the smell of napalm in the morning ? it is all getting a bit hot under the collar on this post-site; just as well it is the afternoon now here in the UK.The UK web-site reference is http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/G/great_global_warming_swindle/ UK readers get another chance this programme next week and form their own views. G rdan M Artair



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Christian Beyer

posted March 10, 2007 at 8:49 pm


Every conservative leader without exception with a microphone back in the early-to-mid 1980s openly supported repressive regimes that nevertheless fought Communism, which was all that mattered. You paint with a broad brush, but you make your point. That being said, making expedient (and in retrospect perhaps at times unfortunate) decisions to support relatively small authoritarian regimes in order to combat the much great (and yes, very real) threat of Soviet expansion is not on the order of delighting in the horrors of Bergen-Belsen and Treblinka. To say so is slanderous and maybe indicative of a lack of historical knowledge. But what the heck does any of this have to do with a debate over global warming? Unfortunately it does reveal how far we have gotten away from handling things the way Jesus would have wanted us to. What ever happened to diaglogue? In spite of Mr. Wallis’ invitation to debate Mr. Dobson, the heated remarks made (on both sides) would seem to indicate that minds are already made up and impervious to any further reasoning.



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tc

posted March 11, 2007 at 7:18 pm


I find it interesting that some Christian’s hold Abortion up as the great moral problem in the US and that everything must revolve around outlawing it. This argument can be framed in the same light as others her have tried to frame the Global Warming issue. The question is would it be of greater harm to outlaw abortion or to not outlaw it? It is the same question to deal with Global Warming. Is it greater harm to have government set global warming as a priority or not? In the second case, the argument against making it a priority would be the competition for limited resources (i.e., budget priorities). We can see by the current administration’s budget priorities that neither issue is a big priority. The only lip service they give to the abortion issue is court nominees, and in most cases it is framed in the “strict constructionist” argument. What would it look like if government really took an interest in the abortion issue? Would changing the law itself do the trick? The assumption is that if we change the law then people will behave differently. They will stop doing the action out of fear of the consequences. This is the negative reinforcement theory approach. Well what evidence do we have that this approach is working with other laws? Seat belt use has improved. Speed limits are still being ignored. We put more people in prison for longer sentences, but have to spend a lot more money on housing and the repeat rate for offenses has increased. You see anytime one wants the governement to get involved, they need to look at the true “pragmatic” picture. I do not believe the abortion issue will change with the law changing. All a law change will do is throw it back in the state’s hands and we will have the “wild-west” days of back-alley abortions, like before Roe versus Wade. What needs to happen is a positive reinforcement approach and tackle the reasons why abortion is chosen. This can’t come from government. This has to come from ourselves. We as parents need to model good relationships. We need to be husband and wife, again, and make it our number one priority. Where government should be focusing its energy on is families. This may mean developing and low cost options for families, like parks and forests. This setting up society so both parents in the family don’t have to work full-time, so parents have more time to be parents with their kids. It may mean companies are penalized for working their salaried employees to death (50, 60 and even 80 hour work weeks where the hours are not recorded). Government needs to put more emphasis on fathers being fathers and not abandoning their children. We shouldn’t have the term “dead-beat” dad. We have a society where the dollar is the measure of success. Let’s have a society where in-tact, loving families are the model of success. If you tackle this issue, abortion would be very rare, if needed at all. We don’t need a law change to tackle the issue of abortion, we need a heart change. We need to abandon the “greed” model of living and focus on relationships.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 12, 2007 at 4:52 pm


That being said, making expedient (and in retrospect perhaps at times unfortunate) decisions to support relatively small authoritarian regimes in order to combat the much great (and yes, very real) threat of Soviet expansion is not on the order of delighting in the horrors of Bergen-Belsen and Treblinka. To say so is slanderous and maybe indicative of a lack of historical knowledge. I never said that conservatives would have delighted in that, but because Hitler was avowedly anti-Communist they just wouldn’t have cared one way or the other, and I stand by that. I saw a segment last week on “60 Minutes” as to how even humanitarian organizations were fooled as to what he was doing in one of the concentration camps — the people who were interned even performed an original opera. And as I said, supporting the government of South Africa was more than just “unfortunate” — it actually divided the Body of Christ, much of which in this country is African-American. But what the heck does any of this have to do with a debate over global warming? Unfortunately it does reveal how far we have gotten away from handling things the way Jesus would have wanted us to. A couple of things. For openers, Dobson survives in large part by scapegoating others (Sponge Bob SquarePants, for example) so that people will send money in to Focus and make them think they’re making a difference. Then, many conservative Christians deride environmentalists as “tree-hugging pantheists”; one author called Texe Marrs actually slandered Al Gore (who said in his book “Earth in the Balance” that he subscribed to the Judeo-Christian tradition) as such back in 1992. Bottom line, they care nothing about justice, only about their authority.



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Payshun

posted March 12, 2007 at 8:35 pm


That’s easy. Moses never repented for murdering the Israelite, I never saw Samson repent for any of the numerous crimes he did. Or maybe Saul repented by turning himself in for persecuting Christians. He repented on some level but was never prosected for murder and a whole of other crimes he committed.Shall I keep going? the bible is full of people that don’t repent (in the way you describe it.) Repentance is only importance as it describes accepting grace not from purely turning from wrong action.p



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Payshun

posted March 12, 2007 at 8:36 pm


correction the Egyptian. Moses never repented for that. He fled. p



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Jared

posted March 14, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Since when is science done by consensus? And I thought this was a scientific issue, not a moral one. Let’s get the science right then we can decided if it is a moral issue. Other wise it’s just another in a long list of issues that the more liberal among us have found to champion. What ever happened to the oceans, I thought they were suppose to be dead ten years ago? Or that ice age they were predicting in the 70’s, are we in the middle of that? Now I don’t think we should rape and pillage the earth, but the implications for this type of movement taken at its extreme is the eradication of human life. But then we better not have any wars or they will come unglued as well, after all war does a pretty good job of thinning the population.



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Cynthia

posted March 15, 2007 at 10:27 pm


global warming and the environment ARE about sanctity of life!



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selwyn

posted March 15, 2007 at 11:04 pm


The sanctity of life, the integrity of marriage and lifestyles of sexual morality are all inextricably tied up with issues of economic justice and planetary well-being. They are most undermined in places of oppression (the labour market in Apartheid South Africa) and individualistic self-interest (the free market in the USA). James Dobson’s concerns simply cannot be adequately addressed except in the context of addressing these other critical issues. As one living in a very small country on the bottom of the world (or the top, depending on your point of view) I also observe that the issues named as most important are those of the USA and able to be affected by its educators and legislators. But what for those of us living outside that jurisdiction? It is American economics, resource consumption and waste disposal that impact our lives. And they are the issues that know no constitutional boundaries.



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Wendy

posted March 16, 2007 at 6:18 pm


Doug- Cold weather? Occasionally yes, but check out this news story just out today- http://www.cnn.com/2007/WEATHER/03/15/warmest.winter.reut/index.html ” makes otherwise intelligent people start thinking to themselves what does it hurt for me to be more conscious about my impact on the environment.Kristopher- what does it hurt for people to be more conscious? Does it hurt the earth? Does it HAVE to hurt an individuals pocket book? We live in a capitalist society, so of course, you will find people trying to make money on environmental ‘good stuff’, that doesn’t mean that you need to buy it to reduce your ‘footprint’. We also have a plethora of people selling environmental ‘bad stuff’ and I didn’t hear you squawking about that.”Now, I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I don t exactly think that there is a grand mastermind behind the swindle, but I think that there are definitely opportunists trying to take advantage of the global warming scare.” You said it- you also said that intelligent people might buy into this scam- Last I checked, I haven’t. If it is a scam at all. By trying my best to live a ‘green’ life, I have actually saved my money. My husband and I bought all energy star appliances when we moved here seven years ago- and they were all on sale, because a certain dept. store had discontinued all of their large appliances. I make most of my own cleaning products out of distilled vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. We feel this is especially a good idea with young children in our home. We walk our oldest son to school- yes, I realize that that is a luxury, but we do live in a small town. We watch our energy usage when it comes to heating and cooling, and so, therefore have lower bills, and we limit our footprint. We grow some of our own vegetables- another luxury, but we have a large yard, and a very small house. I limit my trips into ‘the big town’ for shopping, etc. until I can get everything done that I need to get done there. We have also switched all of our lightbulbs to compact flourescent -again- found them on sale- and they really do save money in the long run- I’ve been using them for a little over a year now, and I can see a significant difference in how often I change the bulb- haven’t had to yet- and my electric bill.Other things we do include not eating a lot of meat, shopping for used clothing for our children instead of buying everything new, we recycle (no garbage collection bill) and we compost. But maybe I’m not intelligent enough to fall for the scam. My step father is a lovely man, but is a conspiracy theorist. Dyed in the wool. He got on my case once for recycling. Why would a person get angry at another person for recycling, is my question, but he did. I remember him saying something like- all that plastic they recycle, they can’t sell it to anyone, so its just a waste of time. I listened, and when he was finished, I said- Well, I haven’t seen the proof of your theory, but what I do know is that I am doing the best I can for my family, for the earth, and for God. Isn’t that the point, after all? Instead of argueing about what should or shouldn’t be done, or why global warming is happening- why can’t we come to an agreement to just do our best with what we have. That means, not messing up what we have been given the job of caring for.



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appalled

posted May 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm


I am so sick and tired of your disingenuous posturing, in which you claim to care about the sanctity of life, marriage, and morality in our society. If these really are important issues to you, why do you pay nothing more than lip service to these matters (turning a blind eye to the slaughter of 3,000 innocent babies every day in our country), while continuing to serve as a shill for virtually every leftist political causes. I would actually have some respect for you if you were sincere in representing what you truly stand for, rather than asserting yourself to be of the “non-partisan center,” and worse yet, “an evangelical Christian.” None of those 4 words describe you, you hypocrite and liar. You misrepresent the Gospel and you know it. Shame on you. Matthew 7:15. Your judgment awaits.



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