J Walking

J Walking


Meet Barack Dobson

posted by David Kuo

How different are they? Really? James Dobson and Barack Obama?
On the face of it there is little, save their shared humanity, that seems to unite the two men. From their skin color to their positions on abortion, gay marriage, poverty, the role of government, from their views on the separation of church and state to their positions on the Iraq War, the men are about as far apart as men can get.
But appearances are deceiving. The men are actually very, very similar. (And this goes beyond their common love of basketball).
Both men see their religious faith as one of their primary political weapons. They take that faith and move in opposite directions, but their philosophy, their spirituality is very similar.
Dr. Dobson attacked Sen. Obama for having a flawed view – a deliberately skewed view – of Biblical theology “deliberately distorting the Bible,” “dragging biblical understanding through the gutter,” “willfully trying to confuse people,” and having a “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.” Obama responded by saying Dobson either hadn’t read his speech (at a Sojourners event on poverty) or was just trying to score political points.
That back and forth, however, is simply the exchange of men who long ago decided that their faith was a tool for material ends.
It is a common mistake, a common temptation – the temptation to take the very hard work of the spiritual life – living humbly, loving your enemies, putting others first, forgiving always – and replace it with the easy work of politics – the promise that this policy or plan will bring about a sort of spiritual nirvana.
That is what unites Obama and Dobson. That they take those politics in different directions is incidental.



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canucklehead

posted June 27, 2008 at 12:49 am


DAVID! GREAT to hear your reasonable voice AGAIN! I went out to Envision at Princeton hoping to catch up with you – you no show! Rumor was you’d started a Christian nudist colony in Iceland! Trust you’ve thawed out and, seriously, I pray you’re well.
Why do I see this Obama/Dobson thing as a way for Dobson to remind the faithful he’s still around and could sure use their money to fund his empire? How else can one explain such a complete misread of the speech Obama gave at Sojo/Call to Renewal in 06 than as an attempt to inject his waning influence into a campaign that features another old man vs. a representative of those more conversant w/ a post-modern conversation.



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Doug

posted June 27, 2008 at 1:59 am


Subtle, smart interpretation. I second Canucklehead. Half off all Canadians.



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Larry Parker

posted June 27, 2008 at 10:45 am


At least Obama, to my knowledge, doesn’t torture family pets.
That’s one difference ;-P



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Brian Horan

posted June 27, 2008 at 11:54 am


David, David, David. My man is back in town.
canucklehead,
How’s the weather up near Banff?
I think canucklehead’s gotta a point (see above). I think Dobson dealt himself out of the GOP.
Dobson didn’t understand that their traditional brand just ain’t gonna sell this year. The best hope for Republicans is that they can layer ‘maverick’ on top of the Bush-Cheney cake. Really, how different is McCain from Bush?
Dobson practically swore he couldn’t vote for McCain and now he’s irrelevant.
By the way, Dobson, in my mind, was willing to sell out seniors on social security privatization to get Bush to ban gay marriage.
Look at what the markets are doing now. How’d you like to be invested in them to get your medications and pay your mortgage?
I hope David isn’t completely correct about Obama’s faith simply being ‘a tool for material ends’. I’m probably guilty of the same on some level too.
I get really pissed off, as can be evidenced in some of my postings. If I can’t find the humanity in somebody like Dobson, I guess I’ve made my faith ‘a tool for material ends’.
To be quite honest, I think the ‘tool for material ends’ aspect of religion has become cancerous here in our own society. It’s the reason I’m not an Evangelical Christian. I just never saw Biblical support for supply-side economics or war.
On the material plane, Obama called the Iraq war what it was, ‘STUPID’, pre-invasion. This is when Bush’s approval ratings were 60% +.
Since my New Age coursework has failed to elevate me beyond the material plane; and I rely on $4 per gallon of gas for transportation and food, Obama’s still the one.
Hope you’re doing well David! Sincerely…



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amy

posted June 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm


So glad you’re back, hope you’re well.



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Sam Andress

posted June 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm


Well at least Obama is intelligible. I would also argue that it is impossible for any President to be a good theologian. But Obama hardly has the vitriol that Dobson does.
But democratic liberalism has always had two sides of the same coin that think they are different. The conservatives are beholden to a black and white world view that presumes that truth is something that it is objectively known by an individual and the liberals believe that human progress is where human redemption will come from. All we need to do is learn from the British Empire and the “enlightened actions” of Hitler’s Germany to show this “coin” and both its “sides” are deeply flawed.
I find more offensive guys like Bush and McCain who liken Jesus to a great moral influence. They obviously have not read Jesus’ life and teachings in the gospels. McCain’s and Dobson’s arguements for a world that no longer exists, if it ever did.
And besides, as one who does not put hopes in Presidents and Caesars, it would at least be nice to have a President who understands that “might is not always right” and can also talk to us like adults with thoughtful complete sentences and well constructed intellectual arguements.



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Paul

posted June 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm


I always thought the Bible was the book of Hope, Faith and Love. Dr. Dobson has shown the world that his Faith is not in the democratic process, his Hope is in “none of the above”, and his love is not for anything that remotely disagrees with his judgemental and dogmatic theolosophy.
Between the two, Obama has taken the high road again and again. I don’t agree with Obama on a fair number of things but if I must choose between fairness and “Righteousness” of the demons of war, poverty, and neglect, I guess Obama makes more sense than Dobson.
In fact, McClain was so slow on the up take when it came to California’s Gay Marriage ruling that I wonder if he could make a major decision if a crisis did accrue. The more I listen to the two of them, the more I am worry about the future. But not as much as I cry for the past eight years of bad leadership.
p.s. glad you came back. I may not agree with you but I like to read your thoughts.



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Larry Parker

posted June 28, 2008 at 2:40 am


Hate to say it, David, but this WaPo commentary by someone else who has advised the current White House makes you look petty and mean-spirited in comparison (http://)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062702490.html



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aquaman

posted June 28, 2008 at 8:56 am


Welcome back, David. I pray you are well.
Dobson didn’t build the “empire” you reference without being shrewd. So it’s surprising how transparent his ulterior motives are in this controversy. Whether Dobson’s concern was his marginalization within the Republican party, or his total lack of relevance among younger evangelicals (as Jim Wallis argues elsewhere on Beliefnet), no one seriously thinks Dobson is concerned about what Obama did in 2006. And in the process, he probably did Obama a favor– if any of Dobson’s listeners were under the mistaken impression that Obama is a Muslim, Dobson inadvertently set them straight.
I disagree with you on Obama. It’s legitimate for a politician to explain how faith informs his/her policy positions. It’s when faith is used as a wedge issue, in defiance of Christ’s plea that “[we] may all be one,” that faith becomes a political idol. But that’s just my opinion, and you have a lot more experience behind your opinion than I have behind mine.
It looks like BHO is going to be our next President, in which case we’ll all have to pray that David is wrong, and I am right. I guess stranger things have happened!
Peace.



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Boone

posted June 28, 2008 at 4:49 pm


Welcome back David. My wife and I have literally had you in our prayers.
I think that Dobson is pretty impotent here, since he has said he couldn’t imagine a circumstance where he’d support John McCain, and he is clearly not going to support Barack Obama.
Its interesting to me that without the ability to endorse a candidate, Dobson has lost a lot of traction and influence, since it was the very marriage of Evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party that has brought our political landscape into such a terrible place. Now that Dobson has painted himself into a corner, he literally has no place to go.
As far as Obama goes, I think its par for the course.



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canucklehead

posted June 29, 2008 at 12:55 am


Larry, I don’t follow your suggestion that David is “mean-spirited” in his commentary? Please elaborate. Mean-spirited to/about whom?



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CGP

posted June 29, 2008 at 7:16 am


I’m not sure “mean-spirited” is the correct term. Glib might be a better term. The Washington Post article cited above actually provides a thoughtful analysis of the positions taken/comments made by Obama and Dobson.
David simply took the easy way out to suggest that because both men talked about religion as it relates to policy they’re both just, at best, misguide, although the impliation is there for a much worse interpretation. That may be where the perception of “mean-spiritness” comes in. David seems to be convinced that he is the only one who can tell us how religion and politics should intersect.



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Paul

posted June 29, 2008 at 9:53 am

Larry Parker

posted June 29, 2008 at 12:01 pm


I simply meant that David took a “pox on both your houses” approach rather than approaching both Dobson’s and Obama’s comments with grace as the WaPo guest columnist did (before ultimately siding rather more with Obama’s side of the dispute).
Mean-spirited may have been too mean. But glib is too … glib.



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Kat

posted June 29, 2008 at 3:14 pm


This is a surprisingly simplistic view of the Obama/Dobson discussion, and kind of a cop out. I’m glad to see Obama engage here, for too long the voice of Christians in the public square has been the Dobsons, Falwells and Robertsons of the world.



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CGP

posted June 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm


Yes, surprisingly simplistic.
Yes, he painted them both with the same broad brush of a pox on both your houses.
Glib – Showing little thought, preparation, or concern: a glib response to a complex question.
I think I got it right :)



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Los

posted June 30, 2008 at 9:16 am


Holy cow dude.
Seriously.
This is why I love you.
Los



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Andy

posted June 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm


Usually I’m with you, but I have to disagree this time. It may be fair enough to write this about Dobson given his long track record. Then again, as someone said, a little grace might disarm him more.
Leveling the same charge at Obama, that his faith is just a tool to an end, strikes me as contrived, simplistic, mean spirited, glib, etc (all the above). And it seems you’re also using this trumped up theological exchange to score readers for your blog. More of the same?
But it’s not fair to pin that on you, to assume that about you, or is it?
I sometimes think I have supernatural insight into the mind of Dobson. Even still I’d hesitate to say such a thing about him. I’m at a total loss to understand what has led you to (ahem, glibly) conclude (actually, to “know” so well) that Obama’s faith is just a tool. I’m not naive — he’s a politician running for office and has to be aware of every word and nuance — but I think I’ve seen evidence that his faith is real even if I don’t agree with all his conclusions.
Anyway, what good does it do to throw around charges like this?



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Jay

posted June 30, 2008 at 2:21 pm


Politicians do this because it works, and because it’s become necessary to flash their faith about if they want to win office.
Who’s responsible for that? The American public.



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Anonymous

posted June 30, 2008 at 2:29 pm


Read Stephen Carter’s “God’s Name in Vain”. Great book about the disconnect between faith and civic thinking.
I disagree with the original comment and find it a little shallow. Having read all the speeches that come down the road – from most of the candidates – and yes, I am a boring person who reads very fast and should clean the house more – and having read all the books by candidates that I can locate and not purchase – I think it’s time to take a good look at both of these candidates not from the eyes of a religious and faithful person – but the eyes of one who loves the Constitution. Obama speaks as one who understands it profoundly. He apparently also has a layman’s acquaintance with Scripture. I don’t get the feeling McCain has either.
Obama was in town this morning – I had a ticket but was having a bad “pain”day so I didn’t go. I’ve heard him several times. I hope he can bring the spirit of his early campaign back into this one. I’m not seeing it yet.



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noyatin

posted June 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm


Welcome back, David. You’ve been missed.
“Both men see their religious faith as one of their primary political weapons. They take that faith and move in opposite directions, but their philosophy, their spirituality is very similar.”
I don’t see how a comparison of the two speeches can lead to this conclusion. To paraphrase, Obama stated that, in a democracy, an argument from faith must be sufficiently based in the interests of all persons – whether they share that faith or not – to be made into law. Dobson somehow took this to mean that he had no right to his beliefs.
I, too, am not so naive as to think Obama does not play up his faith for political reasons – not the least of which is to blunt the ever-present rumor that he is a Muslim. That said, Obama appears to take his faith as a starting point from which to craft just laws. Dobson takes his beliefs as an end point, and is working towards the day when his particular beliefs are enshrined in law. I find that very different indeed.



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Doug

posted June 30, 2008 at 8:02 pm


Andy, I didn’t see the word “just” in the post. If David was implying that either Dobson or Obama were pretending to believe I would ask him why, when God was speaking directly to him, he wasted time on that question. Sen. Obama has constructively used religion as both an instrument of outreach and to defend himself against the old anti-secular tropes. It’s a fact, not a judgement that both use faith for political ends.



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Peter

posted July 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm


David–this is ridiculous. You are essentially saying that anyone who takes issue with Obama’s religious views is doing so for political points or, in your words, “material ends,” as though the substance of Obama’s theological views and views of Scripture are not really that important. Having read the text of Obama’s speech, and compared it with Dr. Dobson’s comments about it, I find that Dr. Dobson is correct–Obama’s speech was rife with distortions of Biblical teaching, a complete mis-reading of American history, and utterly misleading regarding the purposes specifically expressed by America’s founders. For you to seek to marginalize Dr. Dobson’s comments as merely an attempt to garner some political advantage is absurd. My reading of Dr. Dobson’s comments was that, if Obama is going to spout off regarding America’s spiritual, theological and religious roots and contemporary expression of same, it should be based in fact, not fiction. Obama’s speech was neither factual nor accurate. Since I have found Dobson’s comments to ALWAYS be based in verifiable and documented materials, your insinuation that Obama and Dobson share the same spiritual and philosophical basis is ludicrous.



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Ella in NM

posted July 1, 2008 at 8:49 pm


I was pleased to hear today that Barack Obama plans on funding a REAL faith based/community driven stream of social service funding that would include prohibitions against discrimination or proselytizing.
Doesn’t that show you the difference between Obama and Dobson right there–what do you think Dobson would want?



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Quetzal

posted July 1, 2008 at 10:32 pm


Dear David,
It’s nice to have you back.
Regarding your commentary about Dobson and Obama, I couldn’t disagree more. Dobson’s multi-million dollar media empire is quite clearly based upon bitter partisanship and harmfully narrow political agendas (such as Bush’s 3 trillion dollar preemptive War & Torture machine in Iraq).
As for Obama, you simply can’t put him in the same category. Obama is *not* a “left” version of Dobson, and you’ll need to do much more work when profiling these two figures. I don’t find your evaluation convincing, and I’ve seen much more thoughtful work from you.
At any rate, you’ve been missed, and I look forward to future blog posts.



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PFC Jamie Vandermere

posted July 1, 2008 at 11:46 pm


David,
The last thing in the world I would do is call Senator Barack Obama’s faith “materialistic”.
I love and respect the fact that you had the nerve to speak out against a bogus program that was not performing the good work that it was meant to do with Rove’s bogus store front that he errected.
But (and if I’m wrong, explain how to me) isn’t Senator McCain following that exact methodology to a T?
To call Senator Barack Obama’s faith “materialistic” blows me away.
How – David – did you come to such a conclusion?
Had Senator Obama ignored paying his taxes on one of many ocean front properties in California for almost five years (as Newsweek is reporting McCain did) would you be calling him out for being materialistic?
I am incredibly saddened to read your blog statements dissing Senator Obama’s faith.
It’s one thing to support a candidate and boast about their contributions to the Christian society, but it’s quite another to zero in on only one candidate as if they were the lesser Christian of the two.
OR– again– as you stated, the “MATERIALISTIC” Christian.
They still have a hold on you don’t they David? (Rove and company I mean)
When I read that allegation of Senator Obama, and that it came from you of all people, I was stunned. But moreso, I was saddened.
James (Jamie) Vandermere
Airborne Brigade C/Team
Fort Richardson Army Base, Alaska



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Ray

posted July 2, 2008 at 12:38 am


It sad to see a man like Dobson public attacking a person of “authority”. He should pray for leaders.He said he knew the bible. Politics makes for a mean God. The religious right has made the republican party their God. Abortion and gay rights is an excuse to vote for war mongers. Many christians are still defending the war in Iraq,even thoughj the PUBS has admitted it was a mistake. John hagar and others endorsed MacCain even though Mac does not admit being born again. Church goers are confused ,because their leaders are bought by the GOP. The’ great Commission is long ago lost to the church.



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Ray

posted July 2, 2008 at 12:44 am


Peter. Dobson publicly attacking a leaders shows he is disobedience to the word of God. Pray for your leaders. Go to him and private. Dobson could have ask for a meeting with Obama. These swift boat,and 527’s attacks from Dobson are uncommon for Christian.



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Anonymous

posted July 2, 2008 at 10:08 am


Dobson -not a theologian or minister – don’t think he’s a constitutional lawyer either. just a sort of guy who finds and reports who we are to hate for Jesus. Sorry, the more I read of this guy, the more I know he is more interested in scapegoating violence than anything else. Obama – read his first book – the one he read before politics was on the horizon. Then read Dobson’s self revelations.
One was transformed by faith an the other allowed the language of faith and religion to cover over a very sick and sadistic worldview. I spent yesterday reading both of them. Such comments that Obama is materialistic or phony reveal something about the people who make the accusations rather than the people who are being accused. Karl Rove accuses him of being like “the guy in the country club” – Obama spent ten years in church basements helping people who were poor and desperate and angry – solve problems and organize. Karl rove was the cynical guy with a drink at the country club. Obama was carrying the big cooler full of water or lemonade for meetings in those church basements. Don’t know who you’re hanging around David, but this whole post is not worthy of you.
My primary complaint about Obama right now is that he is moving to the center so fast my head is spinning and thus losing a momentum that creates involvment of others. Dobson never moves out of a mean spirited perverted form of conservatism – that is unworthy of most of the good conservatives that I know. Dobson gathers mobs by sending letters telling them that feminists or homosexuals are coming to get em. I’ve received at least 2 dozen letters from the Obama campaign and none of them talk about who I’m supposed to be afraid of. For some reason, I also reason the occasional “Focus on the Family” mailing and it makes clear who the monsters are in Dobsonland.
We are to care for the poor, love one another, love God and know God’s love for us. We are to transform the world and live beatitude lives – heck that keeps me humble all by itself. Instead of accusing politicians, let us be the inspiration for goodness. Mea culpa on accusations above. I’m gonna try to be positive.



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Deb

posted July 2, 2008 at 3:52 pm


Gotta tell you that if Dobson doesn’t like Obama then Obama is worth voting into office. I don’t take anything Dobson says with a grain of salt. He has fooled himself into believing that everything he does he does for Jesus & in His name. He is nothing more than a money hungry, power hungry person. All in the name of Jesus. What a shame….



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yarrrrrr

posted July 2, 2008 at 5:02 pm


Cudos for somewhat equivalating Obama and Dobson. Christians have to find a way to liberate ourselves from the political process while still making an impact on society. We need to get out of the master(government)/slave(church) dynamic we are in. Political appeals to the faithful feel like slave auctions.



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Gerry Rodgers

posted July 4, 2008 at 8:55 am


God I am rather stunned by your damning indictment of politicans in this article – I can think of so many of them who strive to improve the lot of the people!
I was going to read your book on your experience of working for Bush and to highlight what you felt was his betrayal of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ but not now I’m afraid!
gerry



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Corey Nathan

posted July 4, 2008 at 1:19 pm


Gerry, I don’t think he was indicting all politicians. I think he was indicting politicians (and political/public figures) who try to use faith as a “tool for material ends.” I’m sure he’d agree that there are many politicians who have good intent and are even doing fine work for the people they serve. But to use faith to, let’s say, try to justify an unjust war – not so good.



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canucklehead

posted July 4, 2008 at 1:51 pm


A fine 4th of July to all my Yankee blogger friends!!



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Doug

posted July 4, 2008 at 5:32 pm


Thanks, Canucklehead. Happy Canada Day, belatedly.



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canucklehead

posted July 7, 2008 at 4:50 pm


are the Cincinnati Bengals a faith-based initiative?



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AndyC

posted July 9, 2008 at 9:31 pm


I’m sympathetic with what I take to be the impulse behind Mr. Kuo’s post. In my opinion any faith group should be extremely wary of accepting government largesse in any form.
But I do take comfort in the following quote by Obama that seemed to be at least partly responsible for Dobson baring his fangs…
“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. What do I mean by this? It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”



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Thinker

posted July 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm


OK – so Jesse Jackson has demonstrated that resentment born of envy can make you say stupid things. The conversation between Obama and the activist church populace is of necessity – tense. The problem with Reverend Jackson and Reverend Wright and Dr. Dobson is that all have depended on the fury of the people disguised as some sort of Christian righteousness. I simply do not get the connection between such scapegoating fury – carefully manipulated to form large groups of people who apparently cease to think – and the Gospel. The Gospel requires abandoning such fury. Dr. King understood this. Heck – Gandhi – understood that the secret of Christianity was that it could not be violent. Reverend Jackson is talking in what many would recognize as “locker room” talk. He apologizes, but his resentment is so apparent. Even his son dismissed his remarks. Mimetic envy looks really small and mean when recognized. Poor fellow doesn’t know that yet.



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aquaman

posted July 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm


Good to have you back, Thinker.
For all his mistakes over the years, it was adultery that brought Rev. Jackson down. Not to trivialize adultery, but like C.S. Lewis, I think sins of the flesh are of the lowest order– certainly not as grave as, say, anti-Semitism. In hindsight, it seems Jackson’s standing with his core constituency rested largely on his status as a minister of the Gospel, and his affair with a young woman destroyed that status, at least in the eyes of his followers.
Jackson’s comment on Fox, followed by harsh words of condemnation from his own son, will serve as a coda to his career. When Jackson dies (hopefully not for many years) and the news outlets serve up obituaries, this incident will likely stand as the final noteworthy moment of Jackson’s public life.



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Pia

posted July 12, 2008 at 10:01 am


Hey David,
Just hoping and praying that all is well with you and yours. Be blessed.
Pia



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Thinker

posted July 12, 2008 at 1:28 pm


Yeah – adultery was the big one – but his cynical and vindictive side doesn’t allow for much repair. I agree that sins of the flesh are of the lowest order – apparently a bit exciting to put on TV and feel righteous about, but in the big scheme of things – silly. i’m wondering how many people regret their excitement over Clinton’s moral lapses in light of the last eight years.
Gosh – when you make your own son distance himself in that way – you’ve lost the game.
Hey – is there a way to start a new subject line on here?



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Anonymous

posted July 13, 2008 at 11:30 am


Jackson’s sins went beyond adultery … if I remember correctly, he also had his mistress get an abortion.
I don’t know how you can put Dobson in with Wright and Jackson. He is a pretty good psychologist … he just does not fit into what is considered politically correct by the left (pro life, pro traditioal marriage, etc.)



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*Loreli*

posted July 14, 2008 at 11:48 am


We miss you. Where are you?



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ben

posted July 17, 2008 at 7:57 am


I have been listening to Dobson since the 80s. And after a hiatus of ten years, I tuned in again recently, and found him political and much more arrogant on “the righteous issues.” I am certain his faith in a god that is startling different than mine, but his action speaks louder and much more intolerant. Being a ‘fundamentalist’ in reading the Hebraic texts of the Holy Scriptures and trying to lead life following the difficult passages, I cannot and will no longer be the sheep…..the sheep that blindly follows the deficient shepherd whose interest and aim is not of the biblical mandate, ie. love your neighbors and walk humbling, etc. I think we do not have to all agree on issues, but the respect, not heated hatred is entirely out of the question when the issues collide. Biblical interpretation of Evangelical theology may not fit into the ancient Hebraic thinking, but to insist on conformity to Dobson’s quasi-theological note…..you decide! And certainly faith is no political weapon, at least not in the Jesus’s own teaching.
Good luck David, to enunciate this clearly. Otherwise, besides the gay issue, what about bigamy? slavery? monarchy??



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Thinker

posted July 18, 2008 at 10:35 am


It is apparent that this blog not active at the present time. Wish it was. However, because we have formed a community – wondering where and how we can continue to converse. Wonder about David, but no clue as to whether his health is OK – I suspect it it= or whether this became an overwhelming part of life and time was a problem. Or whether the guy is just on vacation. This is has been a good middle of the road and faithful place on Beliefnet. I find myself wondering what Doug or Donnie, Canucklehead or Aquaman or so many others might say about events going on. Heck, there have been days when the weird ol Canadian has sent me laughing to do the tasks of the day. And days, when Donnie has made smoke come out of my ears like in a cartoon. Doug always has a wise and cogent thought about things and now i feel like the coffee table around which we gather is gone. Well, I’m making chicken salad, strawberry iced tea and homemade rolls for conversations these days and wish you could share. My husband is particularly enamored with the chicken salad.
Last night we spent our evening at Catholic Worker house in the midst of a power outage. We served a great salad, bean soup, break, potatoes, carrots and fruit to 187 guests. Some were addicts, several were whores, some were disabled, a few were homeless vets, there were a couple of families with children. one young man had obviously not been out of prison very long and another came in joyfully – I’m so hungry and you are serving food – thank you” as he dived into. We prayed together, several acted as “crew’ to clean up. It was the night that soap and toilet paper are distributed. I was gratified to find three former students either serving or living there as staff. There was mass about 9:00. As we walked to our car in that very “bad” neighborhood ( at least according to our friend who was very worried about it all) three men sat on the corner. They were dirty and carried their plastic bags with soap and lotion and toilet paper. They had been our guests for dinner. You know these guys – you pass them by most days and like me l- wonder if they are drunk or stoned or mentally ill. As we walked by they called us by name and thanked us for a nice supper “on a hot night”. We stood there for a few minutes and talked about “people” things – the local baseball team, whether the “Chiefs” have a chance this year. it was a light and friendly conversation initiated by the three guys sitting with their plastic bags on the corner. They are not romantic figures. We are not saving figures. We were human beings who met over supper and now know one another’s names. Suddenly gave me a new insight into Eucharist.



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aquaman

posted July 19, 2008 at 10:09 am


Thinker,
Thanks for your touching story. Somewhere, Dorothy Day is smiling.
Our church has lay-led worship on Sundays during July and August. It’s like “Church: Unplugged”– no pastors, no choir, just three dozen people (on average) who are up for just about anything. It’s my favorite time of the year! Anyway, I’m leading one of the services, a my theme will be God and politics, focusing on the Jubilee texts (Lk 4, Lev 25). As I prepare, I’m reminded that the themes that matter to God are nearly absent from our political discourse. That’s sad, but it’s a useful remember that while we as Christians wait expectantly for Christ’s triumphant return, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t likely to be the site of that return.
For political junkies in this slow season, there’s no better site than fivethirtyeight.com. Unmatched statistical analysis of the presidential race, and thoughtful blog posts too.
David, prayers continue for your health, and for the well-being of your family.
Peace.



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Thinker

posted July 19, 2008 at 9:51 pm


thanks Aquaman – I went over there – but it was a bit like going to Target when I’m accustomed to the corner dime store where I know everybody. But – I’ll keep looking.
At any rate – I miss David – worry a bit – but I think he’s OK. Really would like to hear Donnie’s take on things – and Doug’s -and Marlene’s and Canucklhead and yours – feels a bit mournful when the gang breaks up.
Just call me sentimental.
However, what the heck is going on in this election? Read Stephen Mansfield’s book on Obama’s belief system – it was a very good book. He wrote a similar one about George Bush – both were respectful and there was no snarkiness. Always a good thing.
I just registered at fivethirtyeight.com as Thinker1 – Apparently there was already another Thinker. However, I haven’t posted anything yet. Might post on Mansfield’s books later in the weekend.
Will keep hoping this blog comes alive again.



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canucklehead

posted July 20, 2008 at 12:02 am


…the weird ol Canadian…
my lawyers will be in touch, Thinker!
more (litigation, that is) later



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Thinker

posted July 20, 2008 at 7:45 am


OK – movies of the summer. One one has struck me – The Visitor. In a post 9/11 world a successful professor has lost his soul, his curiosity, his wife and the story of reconnecting to a world so dangerous and so wonderful is powerful. Can’t think of a better movie in the last couple of years. I think it is coming out soon on video – since it was only in art houses this summer.



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deville7000

posted January 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm


I can see both sides. Woman’s health is very important and it should be very carefully dealt with because it is about one’s life. At the same time, if you can avoid having abortion, this should be also considered because it is also about a life. Is there any way to accommodate both arguments? I will certainly think about choosing some type of middle ground.



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apple51

posted February 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm


I am a supporter of Pro-choice and I believe by giving women the right to terminate an unwanted, unplanned, or physically hazardous pregnancy, we allow them the same rights as all other people in all other medical and social conditions. Forcing them to carry to full term jeopardizes their ability to have a healthy and fulfilling life.



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dmcrcy

posted March 15, 2009 at 7:51 pm


I am an anti-abortionist. It is sad to see that so many women had their unwanted baby aborted but so many other women want babies desperately but cannot have one. Adoption is a viable alternative to abortion and accomplishes the same result. And with 1.5 million American families wanting to adopt a child, there is no such thing as an unwanted child.



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