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Oh Please!! Dr. Dobson Reacts to a Speech by Barack Obama

June 25, 2008

I was just reading Scot McKnight’s blog and he had a post about a Focus on the Family episode where Dr. Dobson was commenting on a speech by Barack Obama where Dobson’s name was used.

Now, I don’t agree with everything that Obama supports, and I don’t even know how I am going to vote in the Presidential election (yes, I still get to vote even though I don’t live in the States… I’m still a US citizen). In listening to the Focus on the Family broadcast, though, I was taken aback at how Dobson and his co-host chose to interpret what Obama was saying. Their claims did not match up with what Obama was saying in the clips they played. Many times Dobson said that he wasn’t trying to be defensive, but that’s exactly what he was doing. I don’t even understand why Dobson was so offended by Obama’s mention of Dobson in a speech that happened two years ago! Obama was slamming him in any way or equating him in any way with anyone or anything as Dobson was claiming. Obama, in actuality, was giving tribute to the influence that Dobson has on a certain view of evangelical Christianity. Also, Dobson took other comments way out of context and seemed to be very paranoid in how they viewed what Obama was saying. What I gathered from the clips in the speech was that Obama was simply saying that Christians can’t just influence the political process by pointing to themselves and the Bible and saying they are right and everyone else is wrong. Even Evangelicals disagree on what is essential and what is non-essential. Plus, there are more than just Christians that live in the States and we have to meet those people on some common ground before imposing a set of values on them simply on the basis on having a sense of a greater revealed truth.

Dobson’s reaction to Obama’s speech, in my opinion, is doing a disservice to followers of Christ. He has done exactly what he accuses “the media” of doing to him: pulling sound bites out of context and misinterpreting them. We need to stop being a paranoid people. We need to stop being afraid of what is being said and the questions that are being asked. We need to engage the conversations around us intelligently and in a way that encourages dialogue. We need to stop insisting that we are right and admit that sometimes we are wrong and narrow minded. It’s not about being right. It’s about meeting people where they are and pointing them to a more full life following Christ. It’s hard to do that when we are whining about how right we are.

NOTE: I just finished reading Obama’s speech that is talked about in the broadcast. While I may not agree with all of what Obama was saying, I do think that Dobson misrepresents the spirit of the speech. I do think, though, that much of what Obama brought up about reconciling religion and politics is well worth thinking over and valid. If only more people would be so willing to put their views under scrutiny and be as authentic as he seems to be.

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One comment

  1. Yes! Henry, I love what you said: “It’s not about being right. It’s about meeting people where they are and pointing them to a more full life following Christ. It’s hard to do that when we are whining about how right we are.”

    We are reaping what the moral majority has sown–people who are suspicious of the church (ie, the results in the book Unchristian).

    Hopefully, a new generation is rising up that will speak the truth in love instead of just trying to cram its truth down people’s throats.



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