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Maybe James Dobson was just having a particularly bad day. As the top Religious Right leader gave a “farewell speech” to the staff at Focus On the Family he noted that “we are awash in evil” and that “humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.” By those battles he meant the “cultural” clash over reproductive choice, gay rights and censorship. As a few bloggers did point out, however, Dobson also noted that “God is in control and we are not going to give up, right?”
Of course, Dobson and his “far-right-of-center” colleagues aren’t giving up. They have a mound of money, are raising more with Obama-bashing every day and continue to return to the wells of gay-bashing and vilifying the separation of church and state on a daily basis. In the last year for which we have IRS records, Focus took in about $145 million and Dobson’s more overtly political arm vacuumed in an additional $10 million.
Now, I’d say thankfully, Dobson has lost some big battles: no
constitutional amendments to outlaw abortion, define marriage as “one
man and one woman,” or return government-sponsored prayer to public
school. I hope he loses plenty more.
However, we can’t look at the Right’s record and not see how
successful they have been in other venues. On Election Night 2008, they managed to get voters to adopt three anti-gay state constitutional
amendments in Arkansas, California and Florida. Some years they manage
to get a half dozen restrictions on reproductive choice enacted in
state legislatures. Moreover, their often hand-selected, George Bush-appointed federal judges chip away at church/state separation or even
deny litigants a day in court to protest intrusions into religious
I discussed some of this last night on Ed Schultz’s new MSNBC show;
Dobson will be making an appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox tonight to
“clarify” his comments on the “culture wars.” When all is said and
done, it may be that Dr. Dobson and I finally agree on something: those
wars are not over and the “soul” (literally or figuratively) of America
is still in the balance.
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